By Todd Orodenker, PA Prep Live
NEWTOWN SQAURE, PA – Anthony Paoletti couldn’t stop shaking his head. The scoreboard read a lopsided victory for Marple Newtown, but it didn’t show the amount of turnovers the Tigers committed.
“Turnovers were not good, not good at all,” the junior quarterback and Division I prospect said with a perplexed laugh. “To come out with a win with all of these turnovers (says a lot).”
The Tigers stormed past Archbishop Carroll, 42-13, for a season-opening victory Friday in nonleague action. Sure they won, but they lost four fumbles (amid six total). Paoletti threw an interception and coughed up two of those fumbles.
He made up for it — 259 passing yards, 59 rushing yards, four total touchdowns — but the Tigers know they can’t get away with this every week.
“Way, way too many turnovers for us,” Marple Newtown coach Chris Gicking said. “I’m OK because of the final result, but we have so many things we need to correct. But to turn the ball over five times and beat a really good (team)… that team’s really good.”
Carroll, under new coach Dan Connor, was markedly improved from last season, despite the final result. It capitalized on one of those fumbles and struck first on Steve Honick’s 32-yard pass to Jay Smiley early in the first quarter. The Tigers woke up from there.
They scored on three straight possessions — a Marlon Weathers 36-yard run, then two runs from Paoletti — to take control of the game. On the first play of the second quarter, Carroll’s Christian Smith ran in from four yards out to make it 21-13, but Marple Newtown survived two fumbles and went up 28-13 at halftime on Weathers’ seven-yard scamper.
“I’m proud of the kids and coaches that worked so hard in the offseason,” Gicking said. “I’m proud of them. Obviously it’s only one game, but to pay off in the first game (is great). The community support we have is awesome. It’s great for the kids, coaches and community.”
Paoletti added a one-yard sneak on the first possession of the second half to blow the game open. He capped the night with a 38-yard pass to Cameron Mathes, thrown after miraculously avoiding a blanketing Carroll rush.
Mathes hauled in six passes for 154 yards to lead the receiving corps. Weathers rushed for 131 yards. Jack Fallows added 27 and caught three passes out of the backfield.
“We knew that would happen,” Paoletti said. “We just have a good group of hard working guys that really (put in) a lot of time.”
Gicking was impressed with how the younger and inexperienced players performed. The Tigers returned just four starters from last year’s team that won the first playoff game in school history. On this night, there did not appear to be much of a drop off.
The third-year coach attributed that to these players performing in other sports at the varsity level. They were prepared for the speed and athleticism.
“Stuff like this doesn’t get them nervous,” Gicking said. “So they’ve been in the limelight with other sports, like baseball and lacrosse, so they’re used to competing on that varsity level. So we’re fortunate that way, we love multi-sport athletes here. So that helps a lot when you can have kids like that step in.”
Honick led Carroll with 204 passing yards and 19 rushing yards. The Patriots have quite the uphill climb in the re-formatted Catholic League, but left the Tigers impressed.
“To hold that team to 13 points is great,” Gicking said.