NEWTOWN SQUARE >> There are don’t-blink offenses. And then there’s Marple Newtown’s.
The Tigers have developed a reputation around the region for stretching opposing defenses. They waste little time in throwing downfield. Sometimes, not even the Tigers can keep up with their offense.
Marple Newtown scored on its second play from scrimmage and never looked back, burying Conestoga, 38-12, Friday night in a Central League rout.
The Tigers (4-0, 3-0) went ahead on a 43-yard flea flicker from quarterback Anthony Paoletti to wideout Dash Dulgerian. The ball changed hands so many times that even Dulgerian lost track of who had the ball.
“It goes Anthony to Marlon (Weathers) to Carmen (Christiana) and back to Anthony, and then he flipped it to me,” Dulgerian said. “Tonight was the first time we tried it in a game. I guess I just split the safeties and I was open.”
Dulgerian and Cameron Mathes benefited from Paoletti’s strong arm. Dulgerian hauled in four passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns, and Mathes had four catches for 48 yards and two scores.
Paoletti’s big day — 13-for-21, 247 yards and four touchdowns — helped Marple Newtown stay unbeaten as the Tigers embark on a crucial stretch of their schedule. Four of their next five games are on the road, with a meeting at home against fellow Central League unbeaten Ridley sandwiched in-between.
“I think tonight just shows that no matter who we play, when we stick together and play together, we can beat anybody,” Mathes said. “That’s the kind of message this game sends, I think.”
Marple Newtown got off to that quick lead against Conestoga (0-4, 0-3), and added to it following a stop by the Tigers’ defense. On the first play of the next drive, Paoletti slung a 50-yard laser to Dulgerian for another score. Just like that, with only three plays of offense, the Tigers led by two touchdowns.
Perhaps the biggest statement of the game was the Tigers’ final drive of the first half. They covered 91 yards on 13 plays, before Mathes found the end zone on a 17-yard connection with Paoletti.
A sustained drive like that, Marple Newtown coach Chris Gicking said, goes a long way toward cementing the Tigers as a multi-faceted team.
“Everyone knows we can throw the ball,” Gicking said. “But we’re pretty balanced. We have kids who can run the ball, a line that can block, Anthony can throw the ball, and kids who can catch the ball. When we do all four, it makes for a good team.”
“It’s awesome, with Anthony and Coach Gick running our offense,” Mathes said. “It’s a wide receiver’s dream. Lots of throwing, lots of great route combinations, always easy to get open with our line blocking. With Anthony, we can throw all day.”
Mathes added a fourth-quarter score, and running back Jack Fallows (10 carries, 55 yards) punched one in during the third quarter.
Conestoga scored its first touchdown of the season midway through the third quarter, when Dante Gathers corralled a jump ball near midfield and turned it into an 82-yard scoring connection with quarterback Mike Malarkey. The Pioneers struck again in the fourth, on a 1-yard plunge by Milton Robinson.
“We knew they were going to come in tonight with something to prove,” Gicking said. “We held our own, did a lot of good things, and now we have to focus on the things we need to work on.”
Fortunately for the Tigers, their offense isn’t one of them.