La Salle power game too much for Fords
ERDENHEIM » La Salle football coach John Steinmetz had the perfect summation of his team’s effort Saturday night.
After a high-octane start, the Explorers weren’t interested into getting into a track meet. Instead they wanted to impose their strength on The Haverford School.
La Salle did just that, tabulating over 500 rushing yards as it topped the Fords 58-28 to pick up its first win of the season at Springfield-Montco.
“It’s a weight room kind of night,” Steinmetz said. “The offense played really well, so I was real happy about that.”
In the preseason, Steinmetz said the Explorers’ offensive line was “coming along” and felt the unit would come along as one of the team’s best in due time.
An injury to right tackle Leland Mersky in the season opener was a setback, but Mersky returned on Saturday and boosted a group that’s only gotten better since the first snap against Imhotep Charter.
Of course, it also helped that the team’s stockpile of running backs has gotten healthier too. Manny Quiles, who missed time with injury, looked in midseason form as he battered his way to 159 rushing yards and required multiple tacklers to bring down pretty much every time he touched the ball.
La Salle rushed 55 times for 505 yards as a team on Saturday.
“At the end of the first half, it looked like we wore them down a little bit,” Steinmetz said. “They had a bunch of two-way players, and it’s tough in these conditions. Our offensive line just played great, they’ve played really well all four weeks and improving each week.”
The start looked good for the Fords, as they clicked on an 80-yard touchdown pass from Ben Gerber to Nate Whitaker on a screen on the first snap of the game. La Salle answered when freshman Sam Brown, on his first varsity touch, went 68 yards for a touchdown to tie it 7-7.
Haverford went up 14-7 on a Gerber pass to Bryce Broadus and the Fords had what looked like a promising start.
“We came over here and were prepared for a tough football game and came out and did some good things early,” Haverford School coach Mike Murphy said. “Physically, that’s a strong football team. Everybody’s going to see they were an 0-3 football team but you look at who they play and how they play, not a lot of guys go both ways up front.”
After three scores in less than six minutes, the game slowed down as La Salle shifted its focus more to its power running. Brown had only just gotten healthy this week, and he adds some serious firepower to a running back stable that includes Quiles, Jalen Devose, freshman Abdul Carter and senior Sean Daly.
Daly has been pressed into service as the Explorers’ quarterback the last two weeks due to an injury, but he rushed for 99 yards on the ground and had a couple of huge runs late in the first half on a drive that ended with him scrambling three yards for a score.
Devose (92 yards) and Carter (45 yards) joined Brown (80 yards), Quiles and Daly with rushing touchdowns.
La Salle took its first and only lead on a second quarter field goal to make it 17-14 and went into the half up 24-12 thanks to a two-minute drill drive engineered by Daly. Quiles had a punishing 51 yard touchdown run early in the third quarter and Devose ran in from nine out to put the Explorers up 38-14.
However, the Fords didn’t go away and got a nine-yard passing TD from Dante Perri to Broadus late in the third quarter and a 63-yard punt return from Jake Spencer on the first play of the fourth to get within 10 points.
“We challenged them at halftime, we felt like it was a critical point for us as a football team,” Murphy said. “The way we responded to that was good, but I felt like they just wore us down as the night went on.
“The effort needs to remain the same. Our defense was probably on the field like three-quarters of the game, so we have to do a better job of sustaining drives and we have to tackle better.”