Ex­plor­ers peak­ing at right time

La Salle makes quick work out of Arch­bishop Car­roll

The Review - - Sports - By Tyler Sablich

It was pick your poi­son for Arch­bishop Car­roll on Fri­day night against La Salle.

If the Pa­tri­ots weren’t get­ting beaten by one of­fen­sive play­maker wear­ing navy blue and gold, they were get­ting beaten by an­other in the Ex­plor­ers 42-6 blowout win.

Quar­ter­back Danny Solecki? Check. He threw for 142 yards and two touch­downs. He did so with a calm, com­mand­ing pres­ence in the pocket courtesy of sound pro­tec­tion from his of­fen­sive line.

Wide re­ceiver Brett Mallee? Check. Solecki’s tar­get of choice on the night, he se­cured 5 catches for 75 yards, in­clud­ing a 37-yard touch­down.

Run­ning backs Oc­tavi­ous Carter and Manny Quiles? Dou­ble check. They com­bined for 167 yards on the ground on 37 car­ries. They scam­pered for big play af­ter big play. Carter had three touch­downs, one of them go­ing for 51 yards. Quiles added a 41yard touch­down him­self.

“It’s nice when you can hand the ball off four straight times and get good yards,” Solecki said.

As for the La Salle de­fense? Sure, why not. They gave up some big plays but Arch­bishop Car­roll didn’t have much at all to show for it when the clock struck zero on the fourth quar­ter. It was the old “bend but don’t break” adage come true. The only score they al­lowed came fol­low­ing a muffed punt re­turn, one of two Ex­plorer turnovers in the game.

“I thought (the de­fense) played well, “La Salle head coach John Stein­metz said. “I thought we lost our form there at the end of the sec­ond quar­ter, but other than that I think our de­fen­sive front con­tin­ues to drive and they’re play­ing re­ally well. As long as we keep get­ting that kind of per­for­mance out of them, I think we’ll con­tinue to play well.”

De­spite a con­vinc­ing win in front of a sat­is­fied home crowd, it wasn’t all pos­i­tive for Solecki and Stein­metz.

Not ev­ery­thing shows up on a stat sheet.

“There are def­i­nitely a lot of things to work on,” Solecki said. “Just small things, like get­ting lined up cor­rectly, es­pe­cially me with my me­chan­ics. I have to keep my feet, set my base bet­ter and ex­tend my wrist a lit­tle bit bet­ter. That’s part of the process. It’s just some­thing that’s un­ac­cept­able in our pro­gram. We can’t af­ford to have those mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions.”

Per­haps Solecki’s most ob­vi­ous me­chan­i­cal break­down came in the sec­ond quar­ter when he un­der­threw a wide open Marvin Har­ri­son Jr. in the end zone. But he did­what se­nior quar­ter­backs so of­ten do against bad de­fenses: he got the next one, this time com­ing in the form of a 15-yard touch­down. The re­cip­i­ent was Har­ri­son Jr., of course.

Har­ri­son Jr. cer­tainly has the phys­i­cal re­sem­blance of his father, an NFL Hall of Famer and Pey­ton Man- ning’s all-time fa­vorite tar­get. He’s not nec­es­sar­ily big in stature but is lengthy and the ath­leti­cism is ap­par­ent. But from a foot­ball stand­point the fresh­man still has plenty of room to grow.

“I think (Solecki) un­der­threw it a lit­tle bit but (Har­ri­son Jr.) prob­a­bly needed to ad­just to it too,” Stein­metz said. “He was pretty wide open. I don’t know if it was mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion, I just think that he needed to ad­just. He was wide open and needs to make that catch.”

Both Stein­metz and Solecki noted that Har­ri­son Jr. has shown no signs of per­form­ing un­der any pres­sure given his father’s fame and no­to­ri­ety on both a na­tional scale and within the Philadel­phia re­gion. Stein­metz called him “very busi­ness-like” while Solecki said he is adapt­ing well to his new role as a var­sity fresh­man.

Har­ri­son Jr.’s touch­down re­cep­tion was his only catch of the night, and he also lost a fum­ble on his only carry. Surely the Ex­plor­ers have big plans in mind for him as play­ers like Mallee, a ju­nior, and se­nior wide­out Troy Hol­land pre­pare to move on.

As for Solecki, he’s as rest­less and dif­fi­cult to please as any vet­eran quar­ter­back should be.

“We’ll get af­ter (the mis­takes) on Mon­day,” Solecki said. “We’ll get back and work on things in prac­tice and move onto the next op­po­nent.”

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

La Salle quar­ter­back Danny Solecki finds run­ning room against Arch­bishop Car­roll Fri­day night.

Arch­bishop Car­roll quar­ter­back Ka­mal Gray finds some run­ning room against La Salle Fri­day night.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

La Salle’s Oc­tavi­ous Carter is tack­led near the end zone against Arch­bishop Car­roll Fri­day night.

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