Upper Darby Sticks To Game Plan And Pulls 25-0 Surprise On Ridley

Posted: October 17, 1994

UPPER DARBY — In the weeks to come, Upper Darby's football players will live by the adage that practice makes perfect.

Each weekday afternoon, the Royals will listen attentively to their coaches, dedicate themselves to a game plan, and put all of their effort into not straying from it.

Why?

Because they have seemed to find success by those means.

On a sun-filled Saturday afternoon, Upper Darby took unbeaten Ridley and turned the Raiders upside down with an eye-popping 25-0 victory that was sure to be heard all around the Central League.

And it came from simple preparation.

"We practiced for this like it was a championship game," said Royals nose tackle Jim Jackominic, who had six tackles, including two sacks, one that produced a safety.

"We practiced like that every day," he added. "We realized that if we don't step it up for every game, we're going to lose. We didn't want to let them think they could walk all over us."

Ridley (5-1 overall, 4-1 league) came into the game with a highly touted offense that averaged 309 yards a game and featured quarterback John Tinney, who had completed 63 percent of his passes without throwing an interception.

The Royals' front defensive line - which included Jackominic, and tackles Chris Kane and Brad Scace - was in his face all afternoon. They pressured

Tinney and sacked him six times, forcing him to throw an interception in the third quarter. In all, Tinney was just 4 of 13 for 20 yards.

"No magic formula, just our 50 defense that we went with the whole game," said Royals coach Rich Gentile, whose team is 4-2 overall, 3-2 in the league. ''We got tremendous pressure on him from up front and had him running for his life most of the game."

Upper Darby's defense - which left the Raiders with minus-9 yards of total offense - also furnished an early lead. In the second quarter, it produced a pair of safeties for a 4-0 lead.

While the defense continued its dominance through the second half, the offense got into the scoring.

Workhorse running back Frank Vern carried the ball 32 times for 126 yards and scored a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter. On the next series, quarterback Kevin Piasecki hit Eric Nemee with a 40-yard scoring pass. The PAT kick put the score at 18-0.

The final score came in the last quarter, when Scace capped a 48-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown run off tackle.

For Ridley coach Joe McNicholas, it was a day in which his team could do little right. But he gave Upper Darby credit.

"I had said that Upper Darby is a good club, and they played the way they could," McNicholas said. "They are big and strong and physical, and today they just controlled everything."

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