Week 5 Edition: Three good questions featuring Dave DiPasqua, Greg Pecko and Steve Reynolds of the Tigers Radio Network.
1. Looking back on the first 4 weeks of the season what do you make of the Tigers season so far?
The Tigers can be a very good football team. We have seen Adrian Sapnas run wild, breaking school records and have seen glimpses of other Tigers make positive impacts on the team such as defensive standout, Vince Ciavardelli. But in order to be an upper echelon team in the CAL, the Tigers need to limit the mistakes that have hurt them in several games this season. Changing systems on both sides of the ball this season is no easy task but they will continue to improve each week as they strive to make a run to get into the playoffs.
Overall, the 2014 Tigers so far are progressing towards a strong showing this season. After 4 games, they are about where I expected them to be in terms of growth with the new system. They continue to put in work each week and it shows and like anything, there will be hard moments along the way. However, they have a resilient and hard attitude that I believe will carry them through the end of the season towards their team goals.
So far this season, I have been very impressed by the rushing attack of the Tigers, led by senior Adrian Sapnas. The tailback has accumulated 807 yards on 91 carries in only four games. The season opener at Academy Park showcased the team’s toughness as they almost pulled out the victory. Marple Newtown reflected resiliency by bouncing back to defeat Strath Haven and Harriton. Overall, this is still a young team that is gaining experience each and every week under head coach Chris Gicking and his staff.
2. What do you expect from the Tigers against Lower Merion coming off of last week’s loss?
This week’s game against Lower Merion sets up to be a nice test of the resiliency discussed in question 1. Having to come off a loss I expect them to use the home field to their advantage and avoid the proverbial “let down” or “trap game”. Expect an emotional and motivated Tiger’s team because as we hit the mid-point of the season, they are a playoff contender.
I expect the Tigers to bounce back against Lower Merion on Friday night as they return home to Harry Harvey Stadium for Youth Night. There is room for improvement on offense, defense, and special teams as the Tigers attempt to gain momentum moving forward. The offense struggled to sustain drives last week, but assume they will continue to run the ball with Sapnas in the backfield. Defensively, look for the defensive front to get penetration and make plays in the backfield.
I expect the Tigers to put last week’s game behind them and have a great week of practice in preparation for Lower Merion. Coach Gicking and his staff will make the necessary adjustments and put the Tigers in the best position to take care of business on Friday. It is way too early in the season to dwell on a loss and I know these players will come out with lots of energy, ready to go in front of their home crowd.
3. After 4 weeks what is your opinion of the Central League in 2014?
It is still early in the season, but the Central League has shown that is certainly up for grabs. Leading the way in the standings are Conestoga and Springfield, who are both undefeated at 4-0. Be sure to keep an eye on Friday’s matchup with Conestoga traveling to Springfield. Ridley has gotten off to a slow start, but expect them to be one of the teams in the hunt toward the end of the season.
Just like every year, it is going to be a battle each week. There are so many tough teams that will cause havoc in the league. The two teams that stand out to me are the undefeated Springfield Cougars and the Conestoga Pioneers; two teams the Tigers will face this season. I am interested to see how this matchup of the unbeaten pans out on Friday night as Conestoga travels to Springfield. Other teams to watch out for after slow starts are Upper Darby and Ridley. And watch out for Radnor as head coach Tom Ryan continues to build that program into a winning one each year. In the next couple weeks we will learn who will be the CAL championship contenders and start to see what type of playoff implications there are in each game around the league.
The Central League is once again the Central League we have been accustomed to watching. The league is extremely competitive from top to bottom and it is probably not a surprise to anyone that Garnet Valley and Conestoga are tops for the 4A teams this year and Springfield in that role amongst the 3A schools. The performance of the other programs in the league makes this arguably the best in Southeastern Pennsylvania. With that said, I expect at the end of the season the Central League will have 5 or 6 of its members in the playoffs at their respective 4A or 3A level.