Published: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Special to the Delaware County Daily Times
NEWTOWN SQUARE — Marple Newtown senior running backs Anthony Rosiano and Austin DiFabio made sure to make the last high school football game of their careers very memorable.
Rosiano ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns, and DiFabio added 122 yards and a pair of scores to lead the Tigers past Penncrest, 33-21, in the season finale for both teams.
“We just wanted to give it all we got in our last game,” DiFabio said. “We’ll never be here again. Last time under the lights in high school … we just wanted to give it all we got.”
It would have been easy for the Tigers, who started the season losing four of their first five games, to quit. But Marple Newtown rallied to win four of its last six games to finish with a 5-6 record.
“I think it speaks volumes for the character of the kids, especially in today’s society,” Marple Newtown coach Ray Gionta said. “If you don’t have instant success, sometimes it’s easy to give up. They didn’t give up. They came everyday and worked hard, they worked on the fundamentals, we got better, we had injuries — the kids did a nice job.”
After recovering a Penncrest fumble to halt the Lions’ initial drive, the Tigers got on the scoreboard late in the first quarter after running back Ross Binder (60 yards) scored on an eight-yard scamper for a 6-0 lead.
Marple Newtown made it 13-0 following a 12-play, 85-yard scoring drive, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Rosiano, midway through the second quarter.
Penncrest, however, took the opening kickoff of the second half and, thanks to 49 yards rushing by Justin Batipps, cut the lead to 13-7. Batipps, who was playing in place of the injured Joe Gartland, who suffered a knee injury against Ridley last week, had 22 carries for 91 yards in the game.
“Yeah, that hurt a little bit (not having Gartland) but Justin Batipps did a nice job running the ball,” Penncrest head coach Rick Stroup said. “He was a positive and we have some good, young running backs coming back, so hopefully we will continue to get better. We expect better things next year.”
Trailing by six points, Penncrest (3-8) drove to the Marple Newtown 25 but was turned back on three consecutive plays and had to punt. Three plays later, Rosiano broke a 64-yard touchdown run that pulled momentum back in the Tigers’ favor.
“They came and ran right at us,” Gionta said. “Springfield did the same thing to us two weeks ago. That first drive of the second half, they just ran right into the teeth of our defense and were able to get some yards. The key thing was, Anthony Rosiano broke the long run on the belly play and that kind of took some air out of the balloon for them.”
For Rosiano, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I was lucky to do that,” Rosiano said. “I was determined to have a big night tonight. It was my last game. I had to go out strong.”
In the fourth quarter, it was DiFabio’s turn. He broke touchdown runs of 38 and 50 yards to help seal the win.
Penncrest got a late touchdown run from Batipps and quarterback Shane Donnelly connected with receiver Kevin Trusty for a 16-yard touchdown to cap the scoring.