Marvin Harrison Jr. torches former team
Prep sophomore posts 123 yards and 2 TDs in blowout win over La Salle
CHESTER >> Marvin Harrison Jr. was on the wrong side of both St. Joseph’s Prep vs. La Salle games last year.
The wide receiver lined up for the Explorers when they lost by two touchdowns in the regular season and again when they lost by two touchdowns in the District 12 Class-6A semifinals.
Now with the Prep, Harrison was on the winning side Friday night. The sophomore caught five passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the Hawks 4912 Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division win over La Salle on Widener University’s Hirschmann Field.
“It’s just another game,” he said. “We focus and prepare for every team just the same, nothing really special.”
Harrison was involved right from the jump. The Prep gameplanned to hit him down the field on the first offensive play from scrimmage. Sophomore quarterback Kyle McCord targeted his classmate with a deep pass, but just overthrew him.
The 6-foot-3 175-pound receiver was thrown to three more times on the opening drive. He caught a six-yard pass, drew a pass interference penalty on fourth down and reeled in a 14-yard touchdown.
“All the hard work paying off in practice every day,” Harrison credited for his big game. “Getting better and that’s just that.”
On the score, he ran a crossing route from left to right. McCord rolled right and found Harrison, who initially bobbled the ball short of the endzone but secured it and avoided tacklers for six points.
On the third play of the second quarter Harrison caught another touchdown — this one from 32 yards out.
His biggest play of the game came late in the first half. After a false start penalty backed the Hawks up to their own 15-yard line, Harrison had a 63-yard catch and run to flip field position and set up a St. Joe’s score.
There appeared to be no hard feelings between former teammates. After the teams shook hands at the end of the game and players finished meeting with their positional coaches, Harrison jogged over to La Salle’s side of the 50 and talked with some players and coaches.
“I still have feelings for coach Steinmetz, he was a good coach for me while I was there,” Harrison said. “Everything is good.”
“If you don’t want to be at La Salle — you don’t want to be at La Salle,” Explorers coach John Steinmetz said. “That’s as simple as that. If he didn’t want to be here that’s fine. It’s his decision.”
St. Joe’s (3-0, 1-0), the No. 1 team in PA Prep Live’s Top 20, didn’t waste much time getting ahead of No. 9 La Salle (1-4, 0-1).
Senior Marques Mason returned the game’s opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
“We emphasize special teams so much on this team,” Harrison said. “It’s good to see it pay off.”
After forcing an Explorers three-and-out, the Hawks went on a nine-play, 60-yard scoring drive — capped by a touchdown pass from McCord to Harrison — to take a 14-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
They added seven more points in the first quarter on a Kolbe Burrell twoyard run with 2:19 remaining in the first.
“It certainly deflates us a little bit,” Steinmetz said of falling behind right away. “Here we come all fired up, (the kickoff return) just deflates us.
“They scored every possession. They didn’t punt. I don’t think we stopped them. They scored every time they had the ball. We’ve got to fix our defense. We’ve got to get
something going here.”
It was more of the same in the second quarter. St. Joe’s scored on all its possessions except when McCord kneeled the ball two times with a 42-6 advantage.
La Salle wasn’t able to do much offensively until the game was already decided.
The offensive play of the day was an eight-yard touchdown pass from Sean Daly to Kahlil Diarrah. Diarrah, a 6-foot-6 receiver, out-muscled his defender to bring down a jump ball in the front corner of the endzone.
La Salle will look to improve after suffering a lopsided loss to its archrival and falling to 1-4 midway through the season.
“They’re one of the best teams and we did a lot wrong,” Steinmetz said. “That’s why it’s a 49-point game. I thought it could have been a little bit closer. They’re a really good football team — we don’t want to take anything away from that — but we made a lot of mistakes and that didn’t help anything.”
Marvin Harrison Jr.