UPPER DARBY >> Once the topic of conversation turned to Anthony Paoletti, the junior quarterback started rolling his eyes. His head cocked back. Yup, he was being talked about again.
Paoletti might not like it, but when he throws for a school-record 375 yards and five touchdowns, there’s little he can do to stop it. That performance led Marple Newtown to a 37-12 beatdown of Upper Darby in Central League action Friday.
Marple Newtown coach Chris Gicking had the school record for passing yards in a game with 360, set back in 1995. He called the plays for the guy who broke it. He didn’t seem to mind.
“I don’t think words can really describe Anthony — he’s awesome,” Gicking said. “He’s just everything you’d want in a quarterback. Leadership, throwing — you name it. You could go on and on. It’s just great to have him leading the team.”
The Tigers, now 5-0 overall and 4-0 in league play, also received five receptions, 180 yards and two scores from Dash Dulgerian. Marple Newtown had 446 yards of total offense while the Royals (1-4, 1-3) didn’t score on the Tigers’ first-team defense. Midway through the season, they’re undefeated… again.
The stats may be impressive offensively (Paoletti’s output was 10th-best in Delaware County history), but these Tigers are the complete package.
“The defense has been playing great,” Gicking said. “The kids are just playing really hard and listening to everything we’re saying. I’m just proud, proud of the whole team. Total team win, and that’s a good football team there.”
But it all came back to Paoletti. His first touchdown pass, a 22-yard lob to Dulgerian, was perfectly placed near the right pylon. His fourth, a 60-yard bomb to Cameron Mathes, hit the receiver in stride up the sideline. But it was the third one, to Dulgerian for 77 yards, that stole the show.
Fending off a blitz, Paoletti stepped up in the pocket and fired a strike 25 yards downfield, right in the hands to a covered Dulgerian. He turned and raced the rest of the way to make it 21-0.
“All I had to do was put it out there for Dash,” Paoletti explained. “They were playing man coverage, so I had to just put air on it, he ran under it.”
Dulgerian countered: “It’s hard to miss a ball that’s perfectly thrown.”
Paoletti, who threw for 319 yards in the first half, also had a 31-yard swing pass to Marlon Weathers in the first quarter and a 31-yard strike to Carmen Christiana in the third quarter.
Gicking credited the work Paoletti has put in and his ability to respond to challenges the coaching staff sends his way. His vision, throws, pre-snap reads and game preparation have all improved, Gicking explained.
Paoletti, though, gave it right back to his coach.
“This guy (Gicking) is the one that did it for me,” he said. “He’s the one that calls the plays, he’s the one that keeps me going. Tells me the reads I gotta go through, my progressions. It’s all him, all my (receivers), linemen.”
Luke Ciavardelli hit a 43-yard field goal for the Tigers, making it 37-0 in the fourth quarter before the Royals tacked on two late touchdowns — Nasir Greer’s 29-yard receptiofrom Nate Rimel and Justin O’Donnell’s eight-yard run.