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Published: Saturday, October 27, 2012 – Delaware County Daily Times

By JAKE KAPLAN, Special to the Times

RADNOR — The conventional move might be to take the extra point and rely on your defense to force overtime. But Radnor coach Tom Ryan had a team seeking its first win in way too long and 11 seniors playing their final home game.

So with Radnor trailing by a point and just under three minutes remaining, Ryan sent the Red Raiders offense back onto the field. Chris Leighton’s pass to tight end Andrew Major was knocked down, however, and Marple Newtown held on for a 14-13 win Friday night at Prevost Field.

Though still a long shot to qualify for the district playoffs, the Tigers (4-5, 4-4 Central League) kept alive their hopes of finishing the season with a winning record. The Red Raiders (0-9 0-8), on the other hand, have one last chance against rival Lower Merion to snap their program’s 20-game losing streak.

“We didn’t go to not lose,” Ryan said of his decision to go for the two-point conversion. “We went for the win. We just came up a foot short with the pass.”

Ray Gionta, Marple Newtown’s 10th-year coach, was not surprised by Ryan’s decision. He said he would’ve done the same thing in that situation.

“He put his kids in a great position to win and they were three yards away from pulling a victory out,” Gionta said.

Following the incompletion, Radnor kicker George Russell approached the ball and got ready to attempt an onside kick. But once his coaches realized a part of the right side of the field was open, they decided to call for a pooch kick. Russell executed, and it was off to the races before Marple Newtown quarterback Tommy Davis, positioned as the lone deep man, fell on the ball.

“Very nerve-wracking,” Gionta said.

The Tigers used six running plays to run out the clock, capping off a successful night running the ball. Senior Anthony Rosanio led the way with 22 carries and 96 yards, while versatile junior Ross Binder chipped in 54 yards on just eight carries.

Marple Newtown scored the game’s first points with 4:33 left in the first half, when Davis rolled out to his right and found Joe Vegso near the sideline. After making the catch, the Tigers’ first reception of the game, Vegso scurried down the sideline and dived over the pylon and into the end zone. The score capped off a 13-play drive kept alive by a key 20-yard keeper by Davis on third down.

After Marple Newtown took a 7-0 lead into halftime, senior Austin DiFabio helped double the score with an 11-yard touchdown run up the middle.

The Red Raiders stalled on their next drive before forcing a big three-and-out. Chris Galloway, their talented junior wide receiver and defensive back, sparked his team with a 62-yard punt return to set up a 3-yard touchdown run from junior running back Jimmie Blake. Another three-and-out followed by yet another 3-yard touchdown run from Blake brought them within one.

But Radnor came up just short.

“It honestly could’ve went either way. For a second I thought he caught it,” Ryan said. “We took a shot.”