Marple Newtown quarterback Anthony Paoletti remembers nearly every detail leading into his first varsity start behind center. The bus rides, the practices, and the upperclassmen who helped him prepare months in advance.
His coach, Chris Gicking, a Marple Newtown graduate and former quarterback who went on to play at Shippensburg, could tell Paoletti had the talent coming in, but perhaps didn't foresee the University of Delaware recruit snapping several of his school records. Paoletti now holds several school records.
His go-to receiver, Dash Dulgerian, is one of the highest producers in the area for passing yards and catches.
Below are six plays — along with commentary from Paoletti, Gicking, and Dulgerian — illustrating Paoletti's growth from sophomore to senior year, and the chemistry he has built with Dulgerian the last two seasons.
Play 1 | 2015 vs. Cardinal O’Hara
Gicking: "Sophomore year against Cardinal O'Hara, smash concept, stays inside the kick out block, Anthony sets and throws it to the back corner, made a pass that only his receiver could get it."
Paoletti immediately had a feel for letting the outside pass protection "kick out" the outside rusher but stepping up and setting his feet instead of making a contested throw on a rollout.
Paoletti: "This was actually my first varsity touchdown. … I'm rolling out left and we had a five-yard in and a corner, [2017 MN graduate Carmen Christiana] obviously got to the area where it was going to be open and I lobbed it and he made a great play."
Play 2 | 2017 vs. Haverford High
Gicking: "[We] motioned across and Dash actually messed the route up. He should've taken the out route based on his read, but Anthony bought time, side-stepped and found Dash."
Paoletti: "We had a tough start to this game and this is our choice route. … I extended the play a little bit and had great protection all game. I knew Dash could beat the safety covering him. I put enough air on it for him to run under it. … He's got great eye-coordination and ball skills. He has a knack for finding the ball. I know exactly where to throw it to him. I know how his body works more than he does; that's just the chemistry that we've built."
Dulgerian: "I actually ran the wrong route here. It's supposed to be a choice between a 10-yard out or a 10-yard flat, but I decided to just keep going. The out would've been really open, but I decided to take a chance."
Play 3 | 2016 vs. Academy Park in PIAA Class 5A playoffs
Gicking: "This is a fake screen [to No. 16] and the other option is to find the wheel route. He finds the 10-yard out because the corner played back and the outside backer came up to cover the screen. He made a good read. Going through a progression, first read for the deep ball, second read to the out route."
Paoletti: "We practice this combo a lot. We hit the screen, which we do pretty often. The corner started to get a little eager and jump the screen. When they jump the route, we have a combo where one guy goes deep and one runs a 10-yard out. … Going through the progression, I found the open man. When I was younger, I would pat the ball when our first receiver wasn't ready, but I'm much more comfortable going through the reads now."
Play 4 | 2017 vs. Garnet Valley
Gicking: " [Paoletti] sees man coverage and Dash beats the man on the wheel.
Paoletti: "So the whole game we ran just the out with Dash. This is actually a snake route; he fakes the out and turns upfield. The corner has been sleeping on the deep route all game, so he didn't see it coming. I put enough air under it and let him do the rest."
Dulgerian: "They thought I was running the regular out route, and when I cut up and the corner fell. I knew I was gone."
Paoletti and Dulgerian worked on their timing and chemistry extensively after their sophomore year.
Dulgerian: "We started playing together in weighted ball a little. Every practice year and then junior and senior year, we lifted together, we stayed and threw."
Gicking: "They put a lot of extra time beyond the regular hours throwing together, lifting together, to build that chemistry."
Play 5 | 2017 vs. Garnet Valley
Paoletti: "I've matured a lot since here; when I was younger, I wouldn't wait and take the routes they gave me. They have about six or seven guys in the box. A younger me would wait and see if I could get the ball a little deeper, but instead, I hit Dash and he turned it into a big play."
Dulgerian: "Saw the SS was lined up close and I knew Ant would find me. I thought I was out that play, but I don't really know how the bobbling happened."
Play 6 | 2017 vs. Garnet Valley
Gicking: "We motion into trips and roll the protection. Same read, curl, wheel, and flat route combos. He stays inside the kick out block to make the guy miss, steps up in the pocket and finds Dash again."
Paoletti: "We're rolling to the right. Edge rusher comes upfield and the tackle does a good job washing him down. This is a stop route so Dash is going 15 yards and he finds a place to get open. I stepped up and found him. There was no one around him, and he made a great catch."
Dulgerian: "I just found the soft spot. I cut the route short and sat and waited for Ant."
Gicking: "From both of their standpoints. Two years ago, they would've probably run the full route, but they've figured out how to sit down and find the soft spot in the zone and they kinda know each other enough to find each other there."