La Salle rushes for 500+ yards, wears down Haver­ford School

The Review - - SPORTS - By An­drew Robin­son arobin­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com

SPRING­FIELD » La Salle foot­ball coach John Stein­metz had the per­fect sum­ma­tion of his team’s ef­fort Satur­day night.

Af­ter a high-oc­tane start, the Ex­plor­ers weren’t in­ter­ested into get­ting into a track meet. In­stead they wanted to use their strength, both lit­eral and phys­i­cal, to im­pose their will against Haver­ford School.

La Salle did just that, tab­u­lat­ing over 500 rush­ing yards as it topped the Fords 58-28 to pick up its first win of the sea­son at Spring­field Town­ship.

“It’s a weight room kind of night,” Stein­metz said. “The of­fense played re­ally well, so I was real happy about that.”

In the pre­sea­son, Stein­metz said the Ex­plor­ers’ of­fen­sive line was “com­ing along” and felt the unit would come along as one of the team’s best in due time. An in­jury to right tackle Le­land Mer­sky in the sea­son opener was a set­back, but Mer­sky re­turned on Satur­day and boosted a group that’s only got­ten bet­ter since the first snap against Imhotep Char­ter.

Of course, it also helped that the team’s stock­pile of run­ning backs has got­ten health­ier too. Manny Quiles, who missed time with in­jury, looked in mid­sea­son form as he bat­tered his way to 159 rush­ing yards and re­quir­ing mul­ti­ple tack­lers to bring down pretty much ev­ery time he touched the ball.

La Salle rushed 55 times for 505 yards as a team on Satur­day.

“At the end of the first half, it looked like we wore them down a lit­tle bit,” Stein­metz said. “They had a bunch of two-way play­ers, and it’s tough in these con­di­tions. Our of­fen­sive line just played great, they’ve played re­ally well all four weeks and im­prov­ing each week.”

The start of the game was blink-and-miss-it. Haver­ford got an 80-yard touch­down on a Ben Ger­ber to Nate Whi­taker screen pass on the first snap of the game. La Salle an­swered when fresh­man Sam Brown, on his first var­sity touch, went 68 yards for a touch­down to tie it 7-7.

Haver­ford went up 14-7 on a Ger­ber pass to Bryce Broadus and the Fords had what looked like a promis­ing start.

“We came over here and were pre­pared for a tough foot­ball game and came out and did some good things early,” Haver­ford School coach Mike Mur­phy said. “Phys­i­cally, that’s a strong foot­ball team. Ev­ery­body’s go­ing to see they were an 0-3 foot­ball team but you look at who they play and how they play, not a lot of guys go both ways up front.”

Af­ter three scores in less than six min­utes, the game slowed down as La Salle shifted its fo­cus more to its power run­ning. Brown had only just got­ten healthy this week, and he adds some se­ri­ous firepower to a run­ning back sta­ble that in­cludes Quiles, Jalen Devose, fresh­man Ab­dul Carter and se­nior Sean Daly.

Daly has been pressed into ser­vice as the Ex­plor­ers’ quar­ter­back the last two weeks due to an in­jury, but he rushed for 99 yards on the ground and had a cou­ple huge runs late in the first half on a drive that ended with him scram­bling three yards for a score.

The one guy in the back­field that Stein­metz sin­gled out how­ever, had just one rush for five yards.

“They were block­ing, that was the big­gest thing,” Stein­metz said. “Our run­ning backs blocked hard for each other, es­pe­cially Liam Tat­long­hari. He did a great job tonight.”

Tat­long­hari also had a piv­otal role on the play of the game, throw­ing a 24yard touch­down to Daly on the Ex­plor­ers’ ver­sion of the “Philly Spe­cial” in the fourth quar­ter.

Devose (92 yards) and Carter (45 yards) joined Brown (80 yards), Quiles and Daly with rush­ing touch­downs. The line, which is an­chored by se­nior co-cap­tain Ron­nie Ross along with se­niors Mer­sky and De­clan Tuffy, pro­vided

am­ple holes and their backs re­fused to go down on first con­tact.

La Salle took its first and only lead on a sec­ond quar­ter field goal to make it 1714 and went into the half up 24-12 thanks to a two-minute drill drive engi­neered by Daly. Quiles had a pun­ish­ing 51 yard touch­down run early in the third quar­ter and Devose ran in from nine out to put the Ex­plor­ers up 38-14.

How­ever, the Fords didn’t go away and got a nine-yard pass­ing TD from Dante Perri to Broadus late in the third quar­ter and a 63yard punt re­turn from Jake Spencer on the first play of the fourth to get within 10 points.

“We chal­lenged them at half­time, we felt like it was a crit­i­cal point for us as a foot­ball team,” Mur­phy said. “The way we re­sponded to that was good, but I felt like they just wore us down as the night went on.

“The ef­fort needs to re­main the same. Our de­fense was prob­a­bly on the field like three-quar­ters of the game, so we have to do a bet­ter job of sus­tain­ing drives and we have to tackle bet­ter.”

La Salle heads into the big­gest game on its sched­ule next when it meets St. Joe’s Prep at Wi­dener on Sept. 28 af­ter a bye week. An 0-4 start wouldn’t have de­railed what the Ex­plor­ers hope to do this sea­son, but there was an ex­tra bit of en­ergy from the play­ers as they left the sta­dium on Satur­day.

“Our kids are re­silient, they’ve been hang­ing in there and work­ing hard even at 0-3,” Stein­metz said. “We’ve been work­ing re­ally hard at prac­tice and I’m re­ally happy for them to get re­warded with a ‘W’ as a re­sult of that.”

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

LaSalle’s Manny Quiles ran for 159 yards on Satur­day night against Haver­ford School.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

LaSalle’s Manny Quiles ran for 159 yards on Satur­day night against Haver­ford School.

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