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Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2013

By Dan McCarty, Delaware County News Network


Despite some off and on rounds of heavy rain, the Marple Newtown Tigers’ football team (2-5) managed to persevere through the inclement weather and host the Ridley Green Raiders (4-3) in a Central League game last Friday night.

At the outset, history would predict that Marple would be no match for the perennial power presented by Ridley. As it turned out, the Tigers proved to be a difficult opponent for the Green Raiders and it was only after a hard-fought fourth quarter did Ridley emerge with a 28-21 victory over Marple.

“Kids fought through the fourth quarter,” said Ridley head coach Dennis Decker. “We have to do a better job up front. It wasn’t pretty.”

“They’re a pretty good team,” said Marple Newtown head coach Ray Gionta. “The closer we got to the goal line, the harder it was to score. We had a couple of missed assignments.”

Ridley could not have gotten off to a better start. Receiver Matt Borchert ran 90 yards for a touchdown on the return just 17 seconds in to the action. Esteban Munoz then kicked the extra point.

It did not take very long for Marple Newtown to get back in to the game. It began its drive at its own 35 yard line. Abel Hoff reached the 44 yard line before the Tigers got a first down at their 46.

Brian Rosborough made it in to Ridley territory to the 46. Hoff picked up five yards. Rosborough got a first down at the 19. After a pickup of nine more yards, Hoff got the touchdown with 7:29 remaining in the first quarter. Brendan Bradley tied the game, 7-7, with the extra point.

The second quarter belonged to the Green Raiders. The score was still 7-7 for the start of the quarter. Ridley’s Shawn Hackett recovered a fumble at the Marple Newtown 37 yard line. Although Borchert was quickly forced to punt, the Tigers could not hang on to the ball for long. Ridley reached midfield and Borchert completed a 50-yard touchdown pass with 6:15 left in the half. Again, Munoz’s kick was good for the extra point.

Marple Newtown’s A.J. Cunningham made a catch at the 36 yard line but after a loss of two yards, Kyle Kelly had to punt. Borchert made it to the 22. Malcom Strand-Young got a first down at the 50. Hackett gained nine yards. Malik Jones picked up six more.

The Tigers called for a time out with 57.4 in the half but John Herman went for the touchdown with 49.7 to go. Munoz’s extra point gave the Green Raiders a 21-7 halftime advantage.

It was quite a different second half for Marple Newtown. The 21-7 score stayed in check for much of the third quarter but after Borchert had to punt, the Tigers got things going in the right direction.

They began this drive seven yards into Green Raider territory. Adrian Sapnas made it to the 38. Rosborough got a first down at the 23 before Sapnas picked up another nine yards. Sapnas got all the way down to the 1 yard line and then followed with a touchdown with 2:32 to play in the third quarter. Bradley successfully kicked another extra point.

The Tigers had great field possession going in to the fourth quarter. Sapnas went from the Marple Newtown 45 yard line to the Ridley 46. While there was a five-yard penalty against the Tigers, Nik Rhoads caught the ball down at the 25. Sapnas went 25 yards for the touchdown and Bradley’s extra point tied the game, 21-21.

The game remained tied for nearly eight minutes. Borchert got the ball down to the Marple Newtown 29 yard line. Strand-Young picked up two yards followed by 16 more before running in for the touchdown with 2:16 in regulation. Munoz was good for an extra point once again.

After Hoff recovered a fumble at the Tiger’s 42, Maple Newtown was still in the contest. Marple Newtown had a run going and made it as far as the Green Raiders’ 19 but Tigers’ quarterback Marcus Weathers was sacked by Hackett. Ridley’s Mike Cropper recovered a fumble and quarterback Collin Wright took a knee for the victory.

Wright went 113 yards on the evening and had two touchdowns.

“Collin is a smart kid,” said Decker. “Defense played well. We made adjustments.”

“We stopped them at times,” said Gionta. “We got beat by big plays. Kicking hurt us.”

Weathers went for 118 yards with a touchdown on the evening. Sapnas carried the ball 27 times going 155 yards with a touchdown.

“We’re happy Weathers played like that,” said Gionta. “Sapnas ran the ball hard. We had a couple of big drives.”

Marple Newtown and Ridley both return to Central League action Friday night. The Tigers travel to take on the Penncrest Lions. The Green Raiders will host the Radnor Red Raiders. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.

“We’ll have to go after Radnor,” said Decker. “Nothing is going to come easy. We need to step our game up.”