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Football: Marple Newtown rallies to give Chris Gicking record-setting win

For a while Wednesday night, it appeared that Chris Gicking would have to wait until next season to become the winningest football coach in Marple Newtown history.

The Tigers’ defense had trouble stopping Penncrest’s veer offense while the MN offense was slow to get on track, and the Tigers found themselves in a 21-point hole early in the second quarter.

Then the defense stiffened, the offense came to life and Marple Newtown rallied for a 32-28 victory to give Gicking his 66th career victory. It breaks the mark he had shared with Ray Gionta, who went 65-55 from 2003-2013.

Gicking is 66-37 in nine seasons as the head coach. The win over the Lions was the third in their young Thanksgiving series.

It wasn’t easy. Quarterback Sean O’Donnell had the Penncrest offense humming as he ran for two scores, threw for one and directed four touchdown drives to help the Lions (1-10) build a 28-7 lead early in the second quarter.

O’Donnell scored on runs of 1 and 7 yards. He found Kolby Poole for a 45-yard score to put the Lions up 21-7 heading into the second quarter. Nico Tozzi raced 36 yards less than three minutes into the period to up the advantage to 28-7.

That’s when the Marple Newtown defense buckled down.

Lou DiLucio scored on a 2-yard run and Brian Box found paydirt twice, on a 34-yard pass from David Bertoline and a 6-yard run as time expired to get the Tigers within 28-26 at halftime.

From that point, the defenses took over until the Tigers broke through early in the fourth quarter. Box sprinted 26 yards for his third touchdown of the game to cap an 11-play, 96-yard drive that gave Marple its first lead with 9:32 to play in the game.

The Lions drove to the Marple Newtown six-yard line with less that two minutes to play but turned the ball over on downs, and Marple ran the clock out from there.

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