NEWTOWN TWP. — Mike Ricci wasn’t in need of options for carrying the ball Friday night.
But this week in practice, after watching Danny Bradley excel as an outside linebacker the last couple of years and show enough of the explosiveness required for a Garnet Valley back, he wanted to give the senior a shot to carry the rock.
Bradley fits the profile for Garnet Valley’s running-back hydra, with his athleticism, physicality and football sense to read the option attack and exploit holes the Jaguars’ line blasts open.
Friday night against Marple Newtown, Bradley rewarded that faith, carrying nine times for 91 yards and a touchdown in the Jags’ 42-14 Central League victory over the Tigers.
The commonality with Garnet Valley’s running attack, as always, is the big guys up front. They pushed around the Marple Newtown line to the tune of 367 yards on 58 carries. Those carries were accumulated by nine individuals, and only three of the 57 non-kneel-downs went for negative yardage.
Bradley was the leader but by no means the only one moving in a positive direction. Cole Palis ran nine times for 83 yards, Colin Robinson picked up 52 yards, Dominic LaBricciosa 46 on a day where no individual was heavily taxed. Palis (before limping off with a leg issue), Robinson, Greg Reynolds and Sam Morin joined Bradley in the end zone.
Among the first things Bradley picked up was the offense’s prime post-game talking point, praising those that pave the way for success.
“My o-line made it really easy for me just to jump out there,” Bradley said. “It was awesome being able to run the ball for the first time.”
With that much wealth to spread, it’s about the guys in front. No matter who happens to be behind the line, perennially one of the best in Southeastern Pa. and certainly the premier unit in Delaware County year-in and year-out for the last decade, the assignments in the trenches remains the same. As much as the backs complement each other in style, the bigs up front are singular in their aims.