Ridley's Malik Jones rushes for big yardage as he gets by Marple Newtown's Tom Perpiglia Friday night.
NEWTOWN SQUARE — Malcom Strand-Young darted 11 yards into the end zone with 2:16 left in the fourth quarter to give Ridley a thrilling 28-21 Central League win over Marple Newtown at damp Harry Harvey Stadium Friday night.
Ridley wide receiver Matt Borchert makes the touchdown catch in the end zone in the first half under pressure from Marple Newtown's Adrian Sapnas. (Robert J. Gurecki)
The Tigers did not go out quietly. After Strand-Young's touchdown, Marple Newtown tried to rally one more time, driving from their 35-yard to the Green Raiders 19 with 34.3 seconds left.On fourth and 11, sophomore quarterback Marcus Weathers dropped back to pass but was sacked by senior safety Shawn Hackett to end the game."Coach (Ralph) Batty knows how to set up a defense,' Hackett said. "All we did was execute, get off the field, and try and get the ' W.''Last week against Radnor, Weathers was pressed into duty when starter Tommy Davis had to leave the game because of injury. He threw one pass in the win, and it was intercepted.This week, asked to start and run the offense, Weathers was 8-of-14 for 118 yards and a touchdown to help the Tigers come back from a 21-7 halftime deficit and almost pull off a major upset.
"He's a 10th grader,' Marple Newtown head coach Ray Gionta said. "He has played on defense all year long and has not played quarterback a lick, even in JV games. So for him to come in and do what he did, I am really proud of the kid. That was a heck of a showing against a pretty good team.'Ridley scored on the first play of the game when Matt Borchert took the kickoff and raced 90 yards to give the Green Raiders a 7-0 leadjust 17 seconds into the game.
Ridley's wide receiver Matt Borchert tries to power his away from Marple Newtown tacklers Matt McKee, far right, and Abel Hoff, bottom right. (Robert J. Gurecki)
Marple Newtown responded with a nine-play, 65-yard drive to tie the game when Abel Hoff scored on a 10-yard run.Ridley tried to establish a running game but ended up with three consecutive three-and-outs going well into the second quarter. The Tigers ran the ball well but were unable to finish any drives for the rest of the half.Ridley head coach Dennis Decker decided to change his strategy and went to the air. It worked.Senior quarterback Collin Wright hit Borchert with a 50-yard touchdown pass with 6:15 left in the second quarter, then hooked up with John Herman for a 33-yard scoring strike with 49.7 seconds left before halftime.Decker said his young offensive line — led by juniors Dan Acker and Jesse Lesher plus senior Austin Anderson - is still finding how to be consistent blocking the run and pass."I think our offensive line is more comfortable pass blocking than that they are run blocking,' Decker said. "We're inexperienced up front, and we've been inexperienced all year. We lost our left tackle last week (senior Brian Sinex) so we started the night short on experience.'Wright finished 6-of-13 for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Wright admitted the offense was not clicking and needed to change things up."I think it just took us a while to get going,' Wright said. "We started off running the ball, we decided to get going, throwing the ball and it worked out to our advantage.'Decker said he was confident Wright would be able to get the offense moving."Collin is a smart kid,' Decker said. "That's what happens when you have a quarterback for two years. He knows the system, he knows what he needs to do and tries to get the ball out of his hands quick. He made some good reads, they went man (-to-man) predominately and we were able to take advantage of it.'Marple (2-5, 2-4) rushed the ball effectively all evening. Adrian Sapnas was a workhorse, carrying the ball 27 times for 155 yards and a touchdown. Hoff carried the ball 20 times for 66 yards and a score."I thought [Sapnas] ran the ball hard, I thought our backs ran the ball hard,' Gionta said. "The offensive line did well, we had a couple nice drives in the first half. The kids came to play, they gave it everything they had and I am real proud of their effort, we just came up a little bit short.'Ridley (4-3, 3-3) still has a chance albeit a slim one, to make the post season. Their quarterback says the Raiders will prepare like a playoff team."We're still hoping,' Wright said. "We're working as hard as we can to get in.'