The 2013 football season is just about ready to begin. With that, the Marple Newtown Tigers are working hard to gear up for it. While they qualified for the District One Class AAA playoffs in 2009 and 2011, they did not earn a playoff spot last year. Therefore, getting back to the postseason is certainly one of the team’s goals this time.
Marple Newtown will be playing under the direction of longtime head coach Ray Gionta. Assisting him are coaches Sal Oropollo, Isaac Jones, Tom Davidson, Nate Oropollo, Gary Molineux, Ted Carotenuto, Steve Giordano, Justin Pak and Steve Reynolds.
It should be a great year for Marple Newtown. Seven players return to the roster as full-time starters while only four have graduated. All four of last year’s graduating seniors have moved on to play football at the collegiate level.
Defensive end/offensive lineman Corey Power will be playing at Penn. Linebacker Joe Vegso has gone out to Gettysburg. Tight end/defensive end Craig Hamilton is saying hello to Franklin and Marshall. Offensive tackle Ed Graham is hoping to make an impact at Ursinus.
Back for the 2013 season are senior quarterback Tommy Davis (6-2, 155 lbs.), senior running back/defensive back Ross Binder (5-10, 170 lbs.), senior linebacker/tight end A.J. Cunningham (6-1, 185 lbs.), senior defensive tackle Zach Falcone (6-3, 280 lbs.), senior offensive guard/defensive end Markos Katrakazis (5-11, 210 lbs.), senior outside linebacker/wide receiver Nick Rhoads (6-1, 185 lbs.) and senior defensive back/running back Brian Rosborough (5-9, 160 lbs.).
Having a returning quarterback is always a huge advantage. In 2012, Davis ran 637 yards with six touchdowns.
“Davis was a starter last year,” said Gionta. “A returning quarterback is always a good place to start. We’re hoping he’ll provide leadership, offensively. Defensively, we have a lot of depth. We have a good group of sophomores coming up.”
In addition to the veterans, many newcomers are also hoping to shape the future of this team. They consist of senior center Sean Furst, senior tackles Tom McHale and Nick Volpi, sophomore defensive end Noah Turner, sophomore running back/defensive back Abel Hoff, senior wide receiver/defensive back Tom Perpiglia, junior linebacker Brian Brosko, junior running backs and defensive backs Adriel Maas and Lucas Maas, junior offensive guard Jake LeMaitre and junior tackle Dom Talluto.
While the team has so many players vying for time on the field, there are some that have very little experience. There are many sophomores on the roster. Some hold experience including at the junior varsity level. Others have not played before. Depth is often a problem at one of the smaller schools in the Central League.
“I think we’re going to get better,” said Gionta. “The team has a nice attitude. We’re eager to learn. We’re looking to develop. We have a talented group of sophomores. Traditional Central League powers will be a challenge for the Tigers.”
The Tigers expect to gradually improve each week and get closer and closer to the playoffs.
“Look for the Fightin’ Tigers to improve and develop as the season progresses,” said Gionta.