Jaguars Defense Shuts Down Marple
The Marple-Newtown Tigers and the Garnet Valley Jaguars had an identical record, 5-1. Before tonight’s game the Tigers won their last three games. In the last three games the Tigers scored a total of 90 points. The Jaguars also had won their last three games scoring a total of 82 points. Many people would guess this game would be a high scoring affair. Both of these teams even lost the same week. The Tigers lost week three to Penncrest; and the Jaguars lost to Conestoga.
With a Nor’easter lingering over Delaware County and Harry H. Harvey Field, it was a wet, cold, dreary night at Marple-Newtown’s Homecoming. The rain certainly was a factor in the game early on. On the Tigers’ first possession they decided to punt on fourth and one on their own 49 yard line. Once the center snapped the wet football it went over the head of senior kicker, Adam Fender about 20 yards. Adam calmly picked up the ball and booted as quickly as possible. Once the football landed it basically was punted back to the line of scrimmage.
The Jaguars then marched down the field. Most of the drive consisted of hard running by junior running back, Alex Warden. The junior rushed for nearly 100 yards. After a five yard carry by Warden for a first down, senior running back, Marcellus Irving, scored on a 15 yard touchdown run with two minutes to go in the first quarter. Jaguars took the lead 7-0. Head coach of the Jaguars Mike Ricci said “Alex did a great job running the ball, when they started crashing in on Alex then Marcellus was able to get outside for the touchdown on the toss”.
In this game the Jaguars’ defense was potent. On third and long for the Tigers the Jaguars brought pressure and in came senior linebacker McGrath for a sack which forced the Tigers to punt. Also Alex’s brother, senior linebacker Eric Warden piled up tackles and made a few huge plays.
Midway through the third quarter the Tigers looked like they might tie the game after driving the ball just six yards shy of the end zone. On fourth and goal on the six yard line the Jaguars defense continued to bring the pressure. As six foot one senior quarterback for the Tigers, Kevin Johnson, tried to rush the football for a touchdown, he was met by a swarm of Jaguars. Johnson only gained two yards and not scoring meant the Jaguars’ offense could try to march down field and take time off the clock; that’s exactly what they did.
Taking more than six minutes off the clock helped the Jaguars’ defense to catch a break and come out ready to go again, knowing they were only up seven points. Marple’s offense found themselves in Jaguar territory on their next drive. On second down Eric Warden blitzed and sacked Johnson which forced a third and long. Johnson threw up a prayer to his receiver but the football was intercepted by a Jaguar, senior Ryan Woods. Eric Warden said “We knew we had to stop them and their momentum because they were driving on us. We sent the blitz on second down, sacked them for a loss and on third down our safety Woods was sitting there ready to make a play, and he did.”
The Tigers wouldn’t get to touch the ball again on offense. With only 3:50 left in the fourth quarter the Jaguars’ offense ran out the clock and won by seven points, 7-0. The Jaguars’ defense was stellar. Mike Ricci, commented on the Jaguars’ defensive effort and said, “The defense against a very solid Marple offense played very well. They came up with big plays when they had too, we gave up a couple drives and we knew Marple was going to do a good job of executing and they did, but we had to make the big plays and we did. Eric Warden made a huge play and the entire defense stepped up down near the goal line.”
It was the Tigers second shutout loss of the year. On the other side it was the Jaguars second time only scoring seven points in a game, but it was the defense first shut out of the season. Next week the Marple-Newtown Tigers (5-2) travel to Upper Darby on October 23 at 7pm. The Garnet Valley Jaguars (6-1) head back home to play their Homecoming game at 1pm Saturday October 24 against Radnor.
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