Solecki answers bell for Explorers
WHITEMARSH» All week long, Danny Solecki held his head high, confident he would answer the bell when it rang.
And when it rang Saturday night, Solecki’s self- confidence turned out to be warranted.
Pressed into service following the injury to starter Isaiah Jones in last week’s loss at McDonogh, Maryland, the senior quarter- back threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns as he and La Salle blew out Malvern Prep, 45-21, to push its season’s mark to 2-1.
But beyond the record, Solecki was thrilled he answered his critics, and more importantly lifted his teammates to the win.
“I was 100 percent confident all week,” Solecki said after the Explorers. “My teammates have been behind me all week. They felt I could do it, and I went out and did it.”
After stopping Malvern on the game’s initial series, the Explorers and Solecki went to work, takng the lead on a 9-play, 50yard drive keyed by Solecki completions of 24 yards to Troy Holland and 15 yards to Brett Mallee before Manny Quiles bucked in from the 1-yard line to give the Explorers a 7-0 lead.
The Friars came storming back, using a 57-yard strike from Drew Gunther to Quincy Watson to tie it.
But the Explorers and Solecki weren’t done either, and the senior signal-caller found Holland again, this time fromthe 16 to put LaSalle up, 14-7, with 1:41 left in the first quarter.
“Nerves are normal,” Solecki said, “but I knew it was my turn to step up.
But Gunther wasn’t through either, and his 19-yard pass to Keith Maguire enabled the Friars to tie the game again, this time at 14, with 8:26 left in the half.
“Their quarterback really hadn’t played before, but he was very impressive,” said Friars head coach Joe Basiura. “His ability was something we hadn’t figured on when we were preparing for them.”
The Explorers answered that salvo with one of their own – a 24-yard pass – on fourth down— from Solecki to Liam Trainer that gave La Salle a 21-14 lead at halftime.
The second half, however, belonged to Solecki and the Explorers.
Passes of 55 yards to Octavious Carter and 29 yards to Holland keyed the opening drive of the second half, an 88-yard-on-five-plays excursion that ended with Quiles’ second 1-yard scoring plunge of the night before the half was two minutes old.
After Malvern’s next drive ended via an Austin Lemke interception, Solecki went right back to work, taking the Explorers 32 yards on five plays with Holland’s second TD grab of the game pushed the Explorers lead to 35-14.
His third touchdown pass of the night and second in the quarter came minutes later when he found Joey Burnham for a 12-yard score that put the contest out of reach.
Malvern responded with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Gunther to Tyler Leach, but by then the celebration was already on full boil.
For good measure, Dan Karrash blasted a 39-yard field goal with 6:32 left to forge the final score.
But on this night, the hero was the Explorers new quarterback.
“We have a tough schedule ahead,” Solecki said, “but I’m confident.”