NEWTOWN SQUARE–Marple Newtown will be playing in the PIAA District 1 Class AAA playoffs for the third time in school history. But the Tigers have never won a postseason game.
They’ll get the chance to win a district playoff game as the No. 4 seed against a familiar foe, hosting Central League rival and No. 5 seed Strath Haven this Friday at 7 p.m.
Tigers’ star tailback Cimirrow Moat is nursing a tender ankle. He’s day-to-day, according to Tigers’ Coach Ray Gionta. Still, Moat appeared and made an impact in Springfield’s 17-12 win over Marple Newtown on Friday.
Marple Newtown dominated Strath Haven 24-7 on Sept. 16. But since then, the Panthers have won five of their next seven games. “Considering we were banged up a little bit, I thought we played well under some adverse conditions against Springfield,” Gionta said.
He continued, “We got beat in the kicking game and made some mistakes we need to take care of. We botched an extra point and the mistake we made near the goal line. You don’t win playoff football games like that, so we need to square away a few things."
The team isn't letting go and is going hard even at practice.
“The kids are playing hard and we have been physical. But obviously, this time of year, you need the intensity and focus. Everyone will have it, and Strath Haven knows that better than most because they’re in the playoffs every year," said Gionta.
But despite Strath Haven being a good team and this season marking Marple Newtown's third time in history to make it to the playoffs, Gionta is keeping the team focused, week by week.
"We really did focus one week at a time, and I didn’t mention playoffs until a few weeks ago. This is the third time we made it, but we’re kind of the new kids on the block, I guess," shared Gionta. "Beating a team twice is tough to do. We’re happy to be in and we’ll make the best of it. This looks like a balanced playoff. All of these teams, I feel, we’re all pretty equal.”