September 4, 2015
MARPLE – Marple Newtown’s Abel Hoff ran a skinny post across the middle of the field and caught a perfect pass from Bobby Siderio in the second quarter of the Tigers’ season-opening, 34-7 victory over Cardinal O’Hara Friday night.
Oh … and it happened to be Siderio’s first passing attempt at the varsity level.
“It was a play that we practiced a lot over the summer,” said Hoff, the All-Delco wide receiver who is simply too fast to cover in one-on-one situations. “This morning I sent him a text, I was like ‘Yo man, I know it’s going to be your first start tonight. Just stay relaxed. If you never need someone, come talk to me and if you’re in trouble, look for me and I’ll do my best to make a play.’
Hoff was being a true leader on a team that has big aspirations this season. Siderio split reps with fellow sophomore Anthony Paoletti and together did plenty of damage. Siderio completed his first four passes and finished 10-of-14 with 187 yards and a touchdown. Paoletti was 5-of-8 for 82 yards and a beautiful scoring strike to Carmen Christiana in the corner of the end zone.
Meanwhile, senior Marcus Weathers, MN’s No. 1 quarterback last year, was getting used to a new spot on the field. Weathers was informed in the spring by coach Chris Gicking that he would be making the shift to wide receiver.
“Gick wanted to keep that secret,” Weathers said with a wink.
Weathers took the news like a champ. He could have made a strong case to remain the Tigers’ starting quarterback after throwing for 1,251 yards and 13 seasons last fall, but Weathers looked forward to his new role with the team. He embraced being a mentor for Siderio and Paoletti while realizing that teaming up with Hoff in the receiving game would give Marple Newtown’s offense an exciting new dimension.
“I look at like, now we have two threats on the outside and they can only double one of us,” said Weathers, who snagged six balls for 91 yards and had a 6-yard TD run. “Somebody is going to be open every play. I just wanted to win, and I knew I wasn’t going to be quarterback in college … so I just wanted to be a mentor to the young guys.”
The Tigers offense waited nearly seven minutes to debut thanks to a lost fumble on a punt return that gave O’Hara new life after a three-and-out on the opening drive of the game. When they hit the field, they needed just four plays to score. Hoff scampered to paydirt from six yards out and the Tigers were off and running.
“We wanted to execute our offense to the best of our ability,” said Hoff, who finished with 119 yards receiving and 65 yards on the ground. “O’Hara really competed and we came out here fired up. Good luck to them the rest of the season and I hope they’re able to build forward with their team. We just did what we had to do tonight.”
B.J. Hogan, in his first game coaching the Lions, witnessed an improved effort from his players in the second half.
The Lions took advantage of solid field position in the third quarter which set up a 20-yard scoring run by Ryan Taylor to cut the Tigers’ advantage 20-7. Wide receiver Jack Gibson hauled in five Tommy O’Hara passes for 73 yards.