By Dan McCarty, News of Delaware County
With the help of running backs Anthony Rosanio (two touchdowns), Austin DiFabio (two touchdowns) and Ross Binder (60 yards), the Marple Newtown Tigers’ football team was able to move the ball well and ultimately register a 33-21 victory over the Penncrest Lions in the season finale Friday night at home.
“We did a nice job of moving the football,” said Marple Newtown head coach Ray Gionta. “The offensive line was doing its job. Binder had a good run. Rosanio broke a long run.”
Marple Newtown saw some definite improvement during the latter part of the season. The Tigers went 4-2 in the last six games of the season to finish the year with a final record of 5-6. This happened after they got off to a 1-4 start.
“That was a pretty good comeback after a not so teriffic start,” said Gionta. “We had good leadership from seniors.”
Penncrest ends the season with a record of 3-8.
“We were inconsistent on both sides of the ball,” said Penncrest head coach Rick Stroup. “There were turnovers. That didn’t help.”
Jeremy Gonzales kicked off for Penncrest. Binder went from the 5 yard line to the 27 but Rosanio only made it as far as the Marple Newtown 30 before being tackled by Tyler Butz. An incomplete pass to Joe Vegso brought Corey Power in to punt. LaVaughn Frame made a catch at the Penncrest 47. Justin Batipps got down to the Marple Newtown 30 but A.J. Cunningham recovered a fumble at the 39.
Rosanio made it in to Penncrest territory to the 47 but there was a loss of five yards. Rosanio got to the Lions’ 43 yard line. DiFabio got to the 41 and then to the 36 and the Tigers used a time out with 4:19 in the first quarter. Rosanio got down to the 14. Vegso picked up six yards and Binder got a touchdown with 2:57 in the period. Nick Pezzotti’s extra point was not good and Marple Newtown settled for a 6-0 lead.
The Tigers got the ball back just before the end of the opening quarter and Rosanio went from the 15 yard line to the 21. DiFabio made it to the 35 and Rosanio gained 10 yards before Binder had a 40 yard gain. Binder got all the way down to the 1 yard line and there was a loss of a yard before Rosanio got the touchdown with 5:48 to play in the half. Pezzotti got the extra point this time and that resulted in a 13-0 halftime score.
Penncrest was a whole new team in the second half. Batipps made it to Marple Newtown’s 47 yard line and got tackled by Vegso at the 39. Mike White tackled Dan Young when he reached the 19. Batipps picked up eight yards before he got the touchdown to put the Lions on the board. Gonzales kicked the extra point. The Tigers did not get very far on their next drive but ended up taking over on downs. Rosanio scored his second touchdown with 2:13 in the third quarter followed by Pezzotti’s extra point. Binder intercepted the ball at the Marple Newtown 20 and DiFabio gained eight yards before the end of the quarter.
The game was far from over for either team. The Lions quickly got the ball back and made it to their 39 on the return. Quarterback Shane Donnelly completed a pass to Kevin Trusty at the 44 but the Tigers took over on downs. DiFabio went from the 40 to the 38 before he got his first touchdown of the game with 5:36 on the clock.
Diego Zubieta-Soto ran 36 yards on the return down to the Marple Newtown 31. Donnelly got down to the 8 and John George picked up five more yards before Batipps got another touchdown with 3:03 in regulation. Gonzales was good for another extra point.
The 26-14 score did not last very long. White recovered the ball at midfield and DiFabio went for his second touchdown on the very next play with 2:50 remaining. Pezzotti’s extra point was good.
It was not yet over for Penncrest. Joe Volciak reached the 50 on the return and Donnelly gained 11 yards before being tackled by Power. After he made it to the 28 his pass to Trusty at the 1 was incomplete. Clay Anderson caught the ball at the 19. Donnelly got to the 16 before Trusty scored the touchdown with 42.9 to go. Gonzales got the extra point yet again and that led to the final score, 33-21.
“We just kept working, changing things defensively and playing,” said Stroup. “We just didn’t make the plays we needed to on both sides of the ball.”
While the Lions were moving much faster in the fourth quarter, the Marple Newtown offensive and defensive linemen kept doing what they had to.
“The offensive line was good,” said Gionta. “We had tackles on defense.”