Solecki an­swers bell for Ex­plor­ers

The Review - - Sports - By Den­nis C. Way dway@21st-cen­tu­ry­

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.”

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