Marple Newtown, PA – With less than two minutes left to play in the football game, Marple Newtown High School was down 21 to 20 to Upper Moreland High School. With the ball on their own 20-yard line, Marple Newtown kicker George Lambritsios looked on from the sidelines with anticipation, and thought one more kick. If made, that kick would give his school the victory in the semifinals and they could advance to the AAA District 1 championship.
Lambritsios was four for four on this day – perfect. He kicked two field goals and two extra points. His two field goal kicks carried the lead for Marple Newtown for nearly the entire game, and arguably were the difference that gave his team the chance to take home the win this night. But the kick never came. Marple Newtown couldn’t march the ball close enough for Lambritsios to have a try and the dream kick faded away.
Lambritsios’ journey as a football kicker is a remarkable one which should be celebrated. As a first generation Greek-American, Lambritsios grew up on the soccer field from the age of four. The same game his father and family knew coming from Greece. Lambritsios was an All Delaware County and All Central League 1st Team standout soccer player for Marple Newtown.
George never even played football until two years ago when friends on the football team asked him to try out. Coach Dodds, Lambritsios’ soccer coach, needed to give his consent and as Marple Newtown’s top soccer player, and a focus of many media news features, there were serious reservations about Lambritsios making the transition from soccer to football or, more importantly, getting hurt and ending his promising soccer career. But after witnessing Lambritsios’ football tryout, Coach Dodds agreed and gave his consent and the Marple Newtown football program gained their secret weapon.
Since his junior year, Lambritsios has been an outstanding athlete at both sports, kicking, scoring and leading his teams with his foot and attitude. Newspapers and high school sports television broadcasts have featured Lambritsios as a promising star of both soccer and football. George has since been named 1st Team All Central and Honorable Mention All-Delco as a football kicker. The accolades have added up and colleges have taken notice.
College scouts have attended his games and kept a careful eye on the young Greek-American. He has attended kicking camps at Villanova and Delaware and continues to develop his technique. Lambritsios credits Dave Burtollini, a former football kicker at Marple Newtown, who took the young man under his wing and taught him the art of kicking. Lambritsios now holds the Marple Newtown record for the second longest field goal, at 45-yards, made by a kicker. “My coach said it would have been good from 50-yards. Either way, I’m in the books and I will have something to reflect on in future years,” Lambritsios said with a slight laugh.
When it’s time to go in for a field goal attempt, it’s a Greek moment between Lambritsios and his coach. “If we’re in good field position I begin to warm up. On third down I stand by my coach and wait to see if we convert. If we don’t, my coach screams for the field goal unit to go in. Then he calls my name, and as I turn around, yells. ‘Souvlaki!’” He laughs and adds, “It’s a special and fun bond we share.”
Now as a senior, George prepares to enter college as a criminal justice major and hopes to find an avenue to use his talent as a kicker. His grades will easily secure an opportunity and likely bring him many invitations to try out for a position on the football team. Although the football season has ended, the aspiration of being a college kicker is still his ultimate goal. On any given day of the week, when school let’s out, you can find Lambritsios on the football field. There, you will see him rehearsing 45-yard kicks and dreaming about one more opportunity to put one through the uprights.