La Salle makes statement, rolls past Malvern Prep
firstname.lastname@example.org Before each week’s game, La Salle High football coach Drew Gordon and his staff attach a theme to the upcoming contest.
In the week prior to Saturday afternoon’s meeting with highly regarded Malvern Prep, the coaches’ theme was, “Make a statement.”
“We asked them, ‘Are you guys good?’” Gordon said. “‘And if so, then play that way.’”
The Explorers made a statement all right. And when their 38-6 romp over the Friars was completed with a running clock, no one was asking questions about La Salle.
Led by a defense that continually handed the Explorers’ RIIHnVH JRRG fiHOG SRVLWLRn DnG limited the Friars to 158 total yards (including a 67-yard touchdown pass in a meaningless fourth period), La Salle streaked to its fourth straight win to open the season.
“lffensively, we didn’t get going at all,” said Friars head coach hevin Pellegrini, “and we had to start scrambling with our game plans.
“But a lot of that was caused by a great football team. And that’s La Salle.”
La Salle’s offense did not produce points with the JDPH’V firVW SRVVHVVLRn. BuW Ryan Winslow knocked his punt out at the Malvern 9-yard line. And from there, the Explorers defense took over.
After the Friars were unDEOH WR JDLn D firVW GRZn, LD Salle’s offense got the ball back at the host’s 35. A 24yard pass play from quarterback Chris hane to Sean Coleman got the Explorers close enough for Winslow’s 33-yDrG fiHOG JRDO, DnG WKH visitors were on the board.
Winslow, as he would do for the majority of the day, then drilled the ensuing kickoff through the end zone. Again, Malvern was unable to move, the Explorers took over at the Malvern 40 DnG fiYH SODyV ODWHr .DnH snuck into the end zone to put La Salle up 10.
“,W GHfinLWHOy KHOSV ZKHn you don’t have to go very far when you get the ball,” hane said. “You’re able to take some shots and do some things.
“lur defense gave us good fiHOG SRVLWLRn DOO GDy.”
“lur defense gave us the wind, and the ball early,” Gordon said. “We were able WR finLVK VRPH GrLYHV, DnG from then on it was our ballgame.”
By the time the Friars got WKHLr firVW firVW GRZn, IRur minutes into the second quarter, La Salle was up, 170, and taking no prisoners.
Then, at the tail end of the half, the defense began taking the ball away.
With 4:30 left in the half, Andrew Eidenshink pounced on a Friars fumble at the Malvern 16. It took .DnH WKrHH SODyV WR finG WLJKW HnG -Rn 1DML Ln WKH flDW IRr D 4-yard touchdown, and the lead was 24 points.
Two snaps later, La Salle’s Patrick Hoffman forced another fumble which Chris Rocco scooped at the 30 and sashayed home untouched to give La Salle a 31-0 bulge at the break.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of Wing-T teams lately,” said Explorers linebacker waire Franklin, part of a linebacking corps that was effectively active throughout the day. “We’re kind of used to them by now, and we were able to stop it.”
“We were able to get them out of the Wing-T early, and they had to throw the ball,” Gordon said. “(Defensive coordinator John) Steinmetz has seen a few Wing-T offenses in his time, and he got the defense ready.”
A fake punt, which resulted in a 21-yard gain by Joseph Carlini, gave Malvern some life at the outset of the second half. But a sack by La Salle’s Ryan Coonahan helped spike that drive. And late in the quarter, when hane rolled out and hit Levi Hardy for a 13-yard score, the running clock kicked in.
And a question or two got answered.
“We feel, sometimes, we don’t get the respect we deserve in the area,” Franklin said. “We’re trying to show people we’re the real deal.”