LOWER MERION >> All week long the key word the Marple Newtown coaching staff used was containment — referring to keeping Harriton quarterback Patrick Stewart in the pocket and not let him get free.
Knowing the havoc Stewart created last year with the Rams tallying 35 points, senior defensive lineman Matt Trainor heeded the coaching staff’s advice and made sure his teammates followed his lead.
With Trainor leading the defensive charge, Marple Newtown made sure a repeat performance against Harriton would not happen again and that is exactly what he helped deliver with the visitors posting a convincing 37-0 win Friday night at Harriton High School.
“Our focus all week was making sure we contained Harriton quarterback Patrick Stewart,” said Trainor, who left the game with a lower body injury early in the third quarter. “We knew the kid could move and we know he can make plays.”
“Matt (Trainor) went hard all week,” said sophomore Kevin Hahn. “He made sure the entire team went 100% and they knew we had to go hard and contain the quarterback.”
“Patrick Stewart is a very good quarterback with amazing pocket presence,” said Marple head coach Chris Gicking. “We knew we had our work cut out for us. We worked hard all week and tried to do the best job we could to be ready.”
The Tigers defense came out strong with Trainor and Turner leading the way in the trenches and not allowing Stewart to gain any kind of momentum.
Starting their second drive in Harriton territory, Marple marched down the field with sophomore quarterback Anthony Paoletti hitting Marcus Weathers for a modest gain before finding Abel Hoff deep down field setting the visitors up at the five-yard line.
Two plays later Marcus Weathers found his way into the end zone with a two-yard run to give Marple the early 6-0 lead.
On the next drive, it was Marple’s defense once again holding Harriton to negative yardage and forcing another punt. This time it only took one offensive play for Marple to find the back of the end zone as Paoletti hit Hoff to push the lead to 12-0.
Midway through the second quarter, Harriton seemed to gain some momentum, but Marple’s defense came up big again.
The Tigers took control of the game on their next possession, going 42 yards in seven plays, capped by an eight-yard scoring pass from sophomore quarterback Bobby Siderio to Marcus Weathers to give Marple a 20-0 lead that would grow to 23-0 right before the halftime break.
“Tonight was a great team effort especially from our defense,” said Gicking. “Our line consisting of Trainor, Turner, Justin McKeown and a rotation including Kyle (Kelly), Luke (Lozowicki) and Kevin (Hahn) were outstanding. Anytime you can hold a team with a talented quarterback and offense that can score at will is important and gives this team confidence moving forward.”