La Salle makes state­ment, rolls past Malvern Prep

Public Spirit - - OPINION - By Den­nis C. Way

dway@timesher­ald.com 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.”

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