Bill Wasylenko

Wyzard of Wyndmoor
Football 2016

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  Bill Wasylenko, a 1969 grad, has done an incredible amount of work to research La Salle High's football history and share it with the school community. Now he's writing game recaps and they'll be posted on this page. Thanks for officially joining us, Bill!
  You may contact Bill at explorerfb@gmail.com.
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The picture in the upper left of Bill's mug shot shows the 2007 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Romans, with his son, Dan (No. 44). No. 3 (off his ear) is none other than Ryan Arcidiacono. The team also featured All-Catholics Joey Monaghan and Colin Thompson from Wood, Luke Hutkin from the Prep, and Sean Coleman from La Salle.


Game 1, August 26, 2016: North Penn 23 – La Salle 14
North Penn Holds Off La Salle, 33-24

  For the 7th consecutive year, the Explorers took on the Knights of North Penn to open the season, and for the first time, North Penn got the best of La Salle in the season lid-lifter, 33-24.
  La Salle deferred to the second half, but North Penn was able to march down the field to score on their first drive. Starting their drive at their own 20, the Knights' RB Nick Dillon swept right for a 17-yard gain. Senior QB Reece Udinski, who kept La Salle's defense off-balance all game, threw a bomb off of play action that was dropped, one of three on the night. Dillon then took a flare pass and avoided tacklers to get to the La Salle 43. A swing pass to WR Justis Henley gained yardage to the 30, and a personal foul on La Salle moved the ball to the 15. After Dillon gained two on a run up the middle, Udinski gunned a low pass to a sliding Henley over the middle in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown. Placekicker Kelly McNamara (yes, folks, Kelly is a girl, and she has a booming right foot!) drove the extra point through the uprights, and the Knights struck first to lead the Explorers, 7-0, at the 10:57 mark of the first period.
  McNamara pooched a kick that was returned by Corbin Melle to the La Salle 30, and the Explorers would start their first drive. RB Syaire Madden, who was a workhorse tonight, gaining 200 yards, ran up the middle on a draw play for 9 yards, and the went off left tackle on a trap for 5 more yards. QB Tom LaMorte, in his first start, rolled right and had a pass dropped after a big North Penn hit. Madden swept the right side but was tackled in the backfield for a 3-yard loss, and a third and 13 pass by LaMorte was intercepted by LB Dan Drop, who broke free and sailed into the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown, and McNamara's kick made the score a shocking 14-0, North Penn, at 8:09 in the initial stanza.
  The Explorers needed to answer this punch in the stomach, and that's just what they did. The pooch kick was fair-caught at the 20, and it was now Sy Madden time. Madden gained just 2 yards on a trap play, but then ran for 15 yards up the middle on a draw for a first down at the 37. With some good blocking by the line, he ran another draw up the middle to midfield for another first down. Madden again motored up the middle for 10 yards and yet another first down at the North Penn 40. A procedure call on the next play set La Salle back 5 yards but Madden got that back plus 5 more to set up a third and five on the 35. Madden gained 13 yards up the middle on another draw to the 22 for a first down. LaMorte changed it up by hitting WR Tom Flavin in the flat for 6 yards, and then swung a pass to Madden for one yard. The Explorers called time out to prepare for the third and three play. Sy Madden went off right tackle and absolutely powered his way through the Knight defense for a first and goal at the 10. Madden then went up right tackle, breaking tackles with great power, and tumbled into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. Kicker Mike Wells drove the extra point true, and La Salle answered the Knight barrage with a touchdown to make it 14-7, Knights, with 3:03 left in the first period.
  North Penn's return was marred by a personal foul that had them start their drive at their own 10-yard line, but Nick Dillon broke several tackles on the first play of the drive for a gain to the 26. Dillon swept the left side and got the edge for a 17-yard gain to their own 43-yard line. Reece Udinski scrambled off the left side to the La Salle 45, but a procedure call negated the gain. Udinski faked into the line and kept the ball around the left side for a first down on La Salle's 47. LB Daniel Kuznetsov made a big play for the Explorers, sacking Udinski for a 6-yard loss. Justis Henley ran a jet sweep for a 4-yard gain to the La Salle 49. On third and 12, Udinski scrambled, but LB Austin Lemke made a great tackle to keep the gain to just 3 yards, and North Penn had to punt. Unfortunately for the Explorers, the punt was downed at the one-yard line, and a procedure penalty on La Salle's first play moved the ball back to the 1/2 yard line.
  Madden moved the ball out to the 3-yard line, but was then stopped for no gain. LaMorte rolled right and hit WR Troy Holland for a 5-yard gain, but the Explorers were forced to punt. Mike Wells' punt was a boomer, and was fair-caught on the North Penn 48. Dillon powered up right tackle to the La Salle 37, and then Udinski took charge. On play action, he fired a post to feature receiver Ricky Johns for a 37-yard touchdown. McNamara's extra point attempt was wide, but North Penn led by 20-7, with 9:02 left in the half.
  The pooched kick was returned by Tom Flavin to the La Salle 31. LaMorte's first-down pass was deflected. Madden, running like a man possessed, broke tackles on a run up the middle for 7 yards. On third and three, Madden swept the left side and was bumped out of bounds, gaining just two yards, and on fourth and one, La Salle punted, and Wells got a good roll to the North Penn 19. La Salle was penalized for a sideline infraction, so the Knights started their drive on their own 24.
  Jake Hubler gained 6 yards on a flanker counter, and then Udinski let loose of another bomb that was dropped, but North Penn was flagged for holding. On second and 14, Udinski scrambled to the 35 for a first down. Dan Drop ran up the middle for 4 yards, and then took a wide open swing pass for an 11-yard gain to midfield for a first down. Udinski ran a keeper on the left side for 10 yards and another first down, and Dillon gained two to the 38. Udinski hit Ricky Johns on a look-in, and Johns broke some tackles for a 13-yard gain. Johns broke deep down the left side, but Udinski's pass was broken up by DB Tre McNeill. Udinski's scramble was read by McNeill, who hit him for a 3-yard loss. On third and 13, Udinski found Jake Hubler on a comeback pattern for a 14-yard gain and a first down. Then Udinski swung a pass to Nick Vasger who darted into the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown, and even though they missed out on a two-point attempt, the Knights now led over La Salle by a 26-7 score with 3 minutes left in the half.
  Manny Quiles returned the kickoff to the 29, and La Salle would try to mount a scoring drive before the end of the half. Madden swept the left side for 5 yards, and LaMorte's pass was low to TE Liam Trainer. Madden rolled up left tackle and showed extraordinary power for a 24-yard gain to the North Penn 42, and a face mask penalty on the Knights took the ball down to the 27. Madden again went off tackle for a gain to the 17, and then again to the 10-yard line for a first and goal. After a two-yard gain by Madden, La Salle called a time out with 19 seconds left in the half. LaMorte rolled left and just overshot a diving Holland in the end zone, and Mike Wells came on to convert a 25-yard field goal to make the score 26-10, Knights, and that's the way the half ended.
  During the 6 previous opening games against North Penn, La Salle would experience some difficulties in the first half, often trailing going into the locker room, but rising to pass and pull away from the Knights in the second half, and the hopes were that it would happen again tonight.
  The kickoff was returned by Holland to the La Salle 29, and they would need to mount a scoring drive to get back into the game. Madden ran up right tackle for 12 yards, and then on play action Tom LaMorte hit Troy Holland deep, who made a great diving catch for a 39-yard gain. Again, the LaMorte-Holland connection clicked for a 9-yard gain to the North Penn 11. Madden got the first down to the 3-yard line, and then went up left tackle to get to the one. LaMorte snuck it in for the touchdown, and Wells' PAT made it 26-17, North Penn, and La Salle had some hope now.
  The kickoff was returned by Justis Henley only to the 15, as Brennan Daly made a great tackle pursuing Henley. Dan Kuznetsov stopped the ballcarrier for a two-yard loss, but then a screen pass from Udinski to Dillon netted 24 yards to the 37-yard line. Dan Drop powered 10 yards for another first down, and Udinski overthrew his next pass. But then he found WR AJ Catanzaro on a comeback pattern, and Catanzaro forced some missed tackles to get down to the La Salle 21. Drop gained another 11 yards for a first and goal on the 10. Udinski tried to hit Johns on a jump ball in the end zone, but McNeill broke that up. But Udinski rolled right and hit Catanzaro at the flag for a touchdown, and McNamara's extra point moved the North Penn lead back out to 33-17, with 7:22 left in the third period.
  McNamara's pooch kick was downed on the 35. Lamorte tried to scramble, but was stopped for a 3-yard loss. Two incompletions followed, and La Salle was forced to punt, eliminating the hope for some early second half momentum. Wells' punt was downed on the Knight 19-yard line. Udinski's rollout deep pass was underthrown, and then he ran a naked bootleg to the 25, but an illegal block set the Knights back to their 10-yard line. Off of a scramble, Reece Udinski fired a bomb to Ricky Johns, which was dropped. On third down, lineman Colin Hirschmann broke through to sack Udinski, and the Knight punt was returned by Tom Flavin 15 yards to the North Penn 30.
  Madden bolted up the middle to the 24, and then he powered up the middle for a first down at the 20. LaMorte's rollout pass was overthrown, and Madden's two-yard gain was negated by a La Salle holding penalty. LaMorte scrambled for 5 yards to the North Penn 24, and Tom then hit Troy Holland in the flat to set up a fourth and three on the 15. LaMorte then rolled right and found Holland on the two-yard line for a first and goal. Madden left no doubt with a run up right tackle for a two-yard score, and Wells' extra point brought La Salle back to a 33-24 deficit at the end of the third quarter.
  North Penn would start another drive, but after advancing to the La Salle 34, Udinski would get intercepted by DB Tre McNeill at the La Salle 26, and the Blue and Gold would have some life. After a first-down pass by La Morte was blocked, Madden ran for 4 yards. La Morte hit Holland on a long buttonhook, and Holland's run took the ball out to midfield. After a 5-yard procedure penalty, Madden gained two yards, but then FB Corbin Melle slipped after receiving a swing pass and lost two yards. on third and 15 at the La Salle 45, Madden caught a swing pass but gained just 4 yards. La Salle would go for it, but a pass to Holland on the left side was incomplete, and North Penn would get the ball back with 6:42 left in the game.
  Ricky Johns would move to running back, and gained 3 yards to the La Salle 46. Drop ran a trap play on the right side for a first down at the La Salle 38, and any hopes La Salle had of a miracle finish were dimmed. After Johns gained three yards, suddenly Udinski dropped the snap, and the recovery was made by La Salle's DT Garrett Zobel (I think!), and the Explorers weren't dead yet.
  LaMorte swung a pass out to Flavin for 5 yards, and then Madden ran with a great cutback for 7 yards and a first down at the La Salle 47. After Madden ran for no gain, a pass by LaMorte was dropped. LaMorte scrambled for three yard to mid-field, setting up a fourth and seven. With time running down, they gambled and won as LaMorte hit WR Brett Mallee for a first down. A swing pass to Madden got the ball down to the 21. A pass in the left flat was bobbled and nearly intercepted, and then LaMorte hit Holland on an out pattern on the right side, as La Salle called time out with 1:37 left, facing a third and two on the North Penn 13. An end zone slant in to Holland was just broken up by Henley, and Coach Steinmetz sent out the field goal team, knowing that he needed two scores to win. North Penn called time out, and La Salle instead tried for the touchdown on this drive, but Madden's sweep on the right side was hemmed in by the North Penn defense, and his desperate dive to get the first down came up just short.with 1:48 left.
  North Penn ran out the clock, defeating La Salle for the first time in an opening season game, 33-24.
  The Explorers will lick their wounds and travel to Fairless Hills next Friday night to take on the Falcons of Pennsbury.
La Salle 7 3 14 0 24
North Penn 14 12 7 0 33
NP: Justis Henley 12 pass from Reece Udinski (Kelly McNamara kick)
NP: Dan Drop 50 interception return (McNamara kick)
LS: Syaire Madden 10 run (Mike Wells kick)
NP: Ricky Johns 36 pass from Udinski (kick failed)
NP: Nick Vasger 14 pass from Udinski (run failed)
LS: FG: Wells 25
LS: Thomas LaMorte 1 run (Wells kick)
NP: A.J. Catanzaro 10 pass from Udinski (McNamara kick)
LS: Madden 2 run (Wells kick)

Game 2, September 2, 2016: La Salle 28 – Pennsbury 0
Explorers Blank Pennsbury, 28-0

  The Explorers were methodical tonight, scoring a touchdown in each quarter, as they whitewashed the Falcons of Pennsbury, 28-0, in a game played at Falcon Field in Fairless Hills.
  Pennsbury deferred to the second half, and the opening kickoff was returned all the way to the Pennsbury 42 by soph Manny Quiles. After a dropped pass, RB Syaire Madden gained three yards. La Salle was offside on the next play, and the 3rd and 12 play saw Madden get a first down on the Falcon 27 on a draw play on the left side. La Salle would collect another penalty for delay of game, and Madden was stopped behind the line for a 2-yard loss. After QB Tom LaMorte scramble for 7 yards to bring up a third and 10 on the Falcon 27, Madden was at it again, running off right tackle and spinning down to the 8-yard line for a first and goal. On first down, LaMorte ran a play action and rolled right, firing a bullet to TE Liam Trainer for a touchdown. Mike Wells' extra point gave La Salle a 7-0 lead with 8:25 left in the first period.
  Daniel Karrash's kickoff sailed into the end zone, and the Falcons would start at their own 20. Pennsbury started a junior quarterback, 5'-9" Zach Demarchis, and their feature back was 160 lb junior Nasan Robbins. Robbins gained two yards on each of two plays, and then Demarchis scrambled, but was tripped up by LB Austin Lemke for just a one-yard gain. Punter Christopher Knop came on for one of his many punts on the night, and Troy Holland returned it a few yards to the La Salle 41. Madden gained a yard on a counter, but then was gang-tackled on a run off right tackle for a loss of one. LaMorte, seeing no one open, scrambled to the right for a 6-yard gain, but on a fourth and four, La Salle would punt out of bounds on Pennsbury's 25.
  Austin Lemke stopped Robbins for a one-yard gain, but then Robbins would gain 6 yards off left tackle, breaking a tackle, to the 32-yard line. WR David Burke ran a jet sweep that was stopped a yard short of the first down, and another Falcon punt was returned for no gain at the La Salle 30. Madden gained 5 yards up the middle on first down, and then another LaMorte pass was dropped. On third down, a slant pass intended for Holland was broken up by DB Gary Minnes, and the punt was covered by Pennsbury on their own 42, despite a fumble. After Robbins gained two yards, Demarchis found WR Jason Cook on a diving catch up the middle for 15 yards to the La Salle 40 and a first down. Lemke stopped Robbins for no gain, and the first quarter ended with La Salle on top, 7-0.
  Another run for no gain by Robbins featured a solid tackle by DL Chris Maloney, and Demarchis' scramble for 6 yards left the Falcons with a fourth and four at the La Salle 34. Demarchis was flushed out of the pocket and had to throw the ball away on fourth down, and the Explorers took over. Madden swept the left side with good blocking to gain 7 yards, and then LaMorte, on play action, hit TE Harry Scanlon up the middle to the Pennsbury 39 and a first down. WR Troy Holland ran a jet sweep to the right, and cut back for a 6-yard gain, and LaMorte found Scanlon again for a first down to the Pennsbury 22. A swing pass to Holland lost a yard, but Sy Madden, carrying tacklers up the middle, gained 8 yards to the 15. On a third and three, the snap went over LaMorte's head and was covered by La Salle, and they now faced a fourth and 14 back at the 26-yard line. Pennsbury would call time out, fearing a 12 men on the field penalty, and La Salle would go for it. LaMorte threw his best pass of the year so far, guiding a deep ball to the left flag, where Troy Holland caught the ball on the run with a great catch, getting one foot down before landing out of bounds, but he was in the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown with 6:20 left in the second period. Wells made it 14-0 La Salle with his PAT.
  Nate Bost returned the kickoff for Pennsbury to his 40-yard line, and Robbins gained one on first down. Demarchis was sacked by a marauding Chris Maloney for a 12-yard loss, and Demarchis completed an 18-yard pass up the middle to David Burke, but it left them 5 yards short of the first down. A punt to the La Salle 30 was returned by Tom Flavin to the La Salle 45. Madden bolted up left guard with great power to the Pennsbury 42, and then swept right to the 28-yard line, but holding on the Explorers set the ball back to their own 43. Soph Manny Quiles entered the game, and he gained 14 yards on a draw to the Falcon 43, and then he swept the right side to the 25, but the ball was punched out by a Falcon defender, and they recovered the fumble at their own 43. With 2:12 left in the half, Robbins gained two yard off the right side, and then two yards off right tackle, as La Salle called time out on third and four at the 27 with 1:32 left in the half. A pass up the middle was broken up by DB Devon Smith, and the punt was caught by Troy Holland, but the official ruled that his knee was on the ground, negating a promising return, at the La Salle 45.
  LaMorte ran a draw up the middle for one yard, and then passed up the left slot to Quiles, but he bobbled the ball when hit, and a Falcon defender intercepted the ball before it would hit the ground at their own 32. Robbins swept right for three yards, and then ran up the middle for 2 yards. Maloney tackled Robbins for a two-yard loss, and the half ended with La Salle on top, 14-0. The game certainly was not out of reach at this point, but Pennsbury's offense was quite anemic in the first half.
  David Burke returned the second-half kickoff for Pennsbury to his own 25, with a nice tackle by DB Tre McNeill. Robbins tested the middle on first down, but DL Colin Hirschmann and LB Austin Lemke stopped him for no gain. Demarchis hit WR Jason Cook up the middle for 13 yards and a first down, and then ran a keeper for 6 yards to the Pennsbury 49. Chris Maloney stepped up again to stop Robbins for no gain, and then Demarchis threw a pass in the flat to RB Tyrone Hodges, who tipped the ball into the waiting arms of La Salle SS Daniel Kuznetsov, who intercepted the ball and returned it to the Falcon 40. A swing pass to Madden gained nothing, and Madden ran a trap up the middle for 14 yards, but another La Salle holding penalty negated the play. An offsetting penalty for a sideline warning somehow allowed the play to be taken over, but a dropped pass and then a sack of LaMorte forced a La Salle punt, which rolled into the end zone for a touchback.
  Robbins gained a yard, and then La Salle jumped offsides. Demarchis kept the ball up the middle, but was tackled by DL Stephen Matchett for no gain. Demarchis went to the air, finding Robbins in the left flat, but LB Brennan Daly was all over Robbins for no gain, and yet another Falcon punt was fair-caught by Holland on the La Salle 45. Madden fumbled on a sweep left, but La Salle recovered for a 5-yard gain. Then Madden went up left guard, powering his way through tacklers to get to the Pennsbury 36 for a first down. Madden gained 4 more yards, and LaMorte's next pass was almost intercepted. LaMorte would then find Holland on an out pattern on the left side for a first down on the Falcon 21. Madden gained two yards, and then a quick out from LaMorte to Holland gave the Explorers a first and goal at the 7-yard line. Madden went off left tackle to the three, and then La Salle shot themselves in the foot again with a procedure penalty. Madden went off right tackle, and fumbled again, but La Salle OL Craig Krug recovered at the 9-yard line. On third and goal, an old favorite Blue and Gold play surfaced, as LaMorte rolled to the right, stopped, and threw across the field to the left to TE Liam Trainer, who made the low catch and sauntered into the end zone for the 9-yard touchdown. Well's extra point made it 21-0 with 1:28 left in the third quarter, effectively putting the game out of reach of the Falcons.
  The kickoff was returned to the Pennsbury 41, and Demarchis' first down pass was dropped. Nate Bost ran off left tackle for 4 yards, but the third down snap went over Demarchis' head for an 18-yard loss, and the third quarter ended with La Salle up 21-0. The punt was downed on La Salle's 36. Manny Quiles ran a jet sweep for two yards, and Madden ran a counter for just one yard. LaMorte sailed the ball out of bounds due to coverage, and La Salle's punt was downed on the Pennsbury 23. On first down, Demarchis' pass in the middle was intercepted by a diving Manny Quiles, and La Salle would start on the Pennsbury 31.
  On first down, Syaire Madden would power up right tackle all the way to the Falcon 4-yard line for a first and goal. LaMorte went to play action on first down, tossing the ball in the right flat to FB Joey Burnham, who waltzed into the end zone for La Salle's fourth score. The PAT made it 28-0, La Salle, with 9:19 left in the game. The kickoff was returned to the 22-yard line, and La Salle DB Seamus Heckard made a fine tackle. Robbins gained five, and then Pennsbury was hit with a procedure penalty. Robbins was hit hard running up the middle by Hirschmann and DL Garrett Zobel, and somehow the Explorers were hit with a personal foul that moved the ball to the Pennsbury 37. Robbins gained 5 yards, and then Nate Bost gained five more for a first down. Bost gained two more up the middle, but then was stopped for a two-yard loss as he was suplexed by Garrett Zobel. Demarchis threw too deep on third down, and the punt, after being snapped over the punter's head with no rush, was fair-caught at the La Salle 21.
  Danny Solecki entered the game at quarterback, and Manny Quiles ran the ball for 6 yards on first down. Quiles gained two more yards up left tackle, and then four more up the same path for a first down. Quiles then ran the jet sweep to the right for 11 yards and another first down on the La Salle 44. Joey Burnham gained two yards up the middle, and then Quiles also went up the middle to the Pennsbury 49. A pitch to Quiles misfired, and La Salle covered the ball on their own 42. The ensuing punt was fair caught at the Pennsbury 25 with less than 2 minutes to play. Pennsbury ran off three plays before the clock ran out. La Salle won a workmanlike 28-0 game with the Falcons to improve their record to 1-1.

La Salle 7 7 7 7 28
Pennsbury 0 0 0 0 0
L: Liam Trainer 8 pass from Tom LaMorte (Mike Wells kick)
L: Troy Holland 26 pass from LaMorte (Wells kick)
L: Trainer 8 pass from LaMorte (Wells kick)
L: Joey Burnham pass from LaMorte (Wells kick)

Game 3, September 9, 2016: Malvern Prep 21 – La Salle 12
Penalties, Missed Opportunities, Friar Big Plays Doom Explorers

  It's been almost 56 years since La Salle played football at Franklin Field. It would have been nice to say that the ghosts of victories past helped the Explorers to victory last night, but Malvern Prep apparently does not believe in ghosts, as they defeated the Explorers, 21-12, in a flawed, exciting contest at the hallowed grounds on Penn's campus.
  The Friars seemed to have an edge on the Blue and Gold all night, but some key plays helped to keep the Explorers in the game almost to the end. Here's how it unfolded.
  La Salle won the toss, and deferred to the second half, and gained instant dividends on that decision. Daniel Karrash pooch-kicked a changeup that dropped on the ground at about the Malvern 25-yard line, and senior DB Seamus Heckard dove on the ball at that spot to give La Salle an excellent opportunity to score. Senior RB Syaire Madden went up left guard for three, and then gained only a yard on a draw where the hole filled in a hurry. WR Octavious Carter ran a jet sweep to the left and got to the 16, where a fourth and one awaited La Salle. Madden's run up right tackle was smeared for no gain, and the Friars escaped their gaffe without a score.
  But, on their first play from scrimmage, the snap went over QB Quinn McCahon's head and bounded into the end zone. McCahon frantically scrambled after it, and instead of taking a safety, he scrambled to his left and got rid of the ball to escape real trouble. On the next play, McCahon ran an option keeper and got out to the 22 before being tackled surely by DB Tom Flavin. After the Friars burned a time out, the third and four play was a run by RB Zac Fernandez, which was stuffed by LB Colin Hirschmann for a two-yard loss. Malvern was called for a procedure penalty before their punt, which was captured by Tom Flavin at the Malvern 48-yard line, but La Salle was called for a block in the back. Now, from their own 40, Madden gained three yards up the middle. LaMorte scrambled on the right side for four yards, but on third down he overthrew FB Joey Burnham in the flat, and La Salle had to punt. The wobbler got to the Malvern 22, where WR Mike Fay returned it to the 29-yard line.
  Alternate WB Kevin Doyle went under center for the Friars, and paid dividends immediately as he found WR Dan Garrity on a play action pass over the middle to the La Salle 40. Mike Fay ran a jet sweep to the left for 3 yards, tackled by DL Chris Maloney, who played a strong game. Doyle then hit QR Matt Daller on a quick out, and Duller carted it to the La Salle 22. McCahon returned at quarterback, and ran an option up the middle for 6 yards. But then another break for the Explorers, as the ensuing snap again went over McCahon's head. This time, Chris Maloney snuggled the ball on the 26, and La Salle escaped the Malvern drive.
  Madden made a good cut off right tackle to garner a first down on the 36. Sy then went up left tackle for two yards, and then Tom LaMorte scrambled for 4 yards. But Malvern was flagged for a helmet hit on LaMorte, and the 15-yard penalty gave the Explorers a first down on Malvern's 43. Sy Madden then found ample daylight as he swept the left side for 18 yards down to the Friar 25. After LaMorte's pass fell incomplete after a scramble, Madden was stopped for a 4-yard loss on a slow-developing counter. With a third and 14 at the Friar 29, LaMorte, on play action, hit soph WR Brett Mallee up the left slot in stride, and Mallee sauntered into the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown reception. Mike Wells' extra point was missed, but La Salle drew first blood, leading 6-0 with 58 seconds left in the first quarter.
  Malvern would return the kickoff to the 25, and Fernandez gained 6 yards on first down. Fernandez took a pitchout, but cut back into the waiting arms of Maloney for a one-yard gain, and the first quarter ended. The Friars opened up the second quarter in style. On a third-and-three, Fernandez ran up the middle, and broke free, heading up the left side and gaining 50 yards to the La Salle 18. Doyle re-entered the game as QB, rolled right, and then scrambled back to the left to the La Salle 7 for a first and goal. On play action, Doyle was sacked for a five-yard loss by DL Colin Hirschmann and SS Jason Kessler. But Doyle found Fernandez in the middle of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown. Brandon Chiazza's extra point gave Malvern a 7-6 lead with 10:10 left in the half.
  Chiazza's kickoff sailed into the end zone, and on first down, LaMorte hit TE Harry Scanlon for a first down at the La Salle 36. Madden was at it again, breaking tackles off the left side to get out to the La Salle 39. He was then stacked up for a one-yard gain, but made a good surge on third down for an 8-yard gain to get the first down at the La Salle 48. On play action LaMorte threw deep but overshot his target. A quick pass to WR Troy Holland was dropped, and then LaMorte was sacked by LB Jerry Curran, and Karrash would be forced to punt. The punt was muffed, but Malvern fortuitously recovered, because the next play would find paydirt. Doyle hit Zac Fernandez on an innocuous swing pass, but a missed tackle allowed Fernandez to bolt 70 yards into the end zone. Chiazza's extra point sent the Friars up by eight, 14-6, with 6:21 left in the half.
  Malvern was offsides on the kickoff, but La Salle returned the ball just to their own 20. Madden gained two, and LaMorte ran an option keeper for five more. On third and three, LaMorte threw a quick slant to Holland, who navigated his way to the La Salle 40 for a first down. Octavious Carter ran another jet sweep for 4 yards, and then Madden ran fiercely off left tackle to get to the Malvern 37 for another first down. Then, a flea flicker went awry, and LaMorte was sacked for an 11-yard loss. Madden got that yardage back on a draw, and then gained just one yard on another draw. With fourth and nine on the Friar 36, La Salle called time, with 40 seconds left in the half. But LaMorte's pass was incomplete, and Malvern would take over, and would run out the clock to end the half.
  Or maybe not! QB McCahon kept the ball up the middle, but was stripped of the ball by LB Brendan Daly, and a La Salle lineman (couldn't verify who) rumbled to the Malvern 30. LaMorte hit Holland on the right side to the 24, and La Salle called a time out with 15 seconds left in the half. A deep pass by LaMorte into the end zone sailed untouched, and with 9 seconds, LaMorte's pass to Carter in the right flat was dropped. Mike Wells calmly came on to nail a 41-yard field goal to end the first half with Malvern leading, 14-9.
  The half ended with some controversy, as the Malvern bench was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to be assessed on the second half kickoff. With the Friars kicking off from their own 20, Tom Flavin grabbed the boot on his own 40, and returned it to the Malvern 40. La Salle was in Malvern territory for most of the game, it seemed, and they needed to cash in. Madden was stopped in the backfield for a 4-yard loss, and then a bubble screen from LaMorte to Holland gained three. LaMorte threw deep to Holland, but the pass sailed. Karrash's punt rolled dead inside the Malvern one-yard line. A running into the kicker penalty was declined due to the position of the ball after the punt.
  Doyle snuck the ball out to the three, and then RB Keith Maguire nudged it out to the six. After Malvern was set back to the three on a delay of game penalty, Doyle went for the home run, but overthrew WR Tim Lynch. The low punt was returned by Flavin from the Malvern 38 to the 23, and La Salle was set up again with a chance. Madden fired off left tackle to the 11 for a first down, and then went up right guard for two. Madden then swept the left side, but the Friars stopped him for a three-yard loss. However, La Salle was called for holding, and the Friar acceptance of the penalty set the ball back to the 25. Madden's draw got down to the 19, and on third down he got just a yard on a swing pass from LaMorte. On fourth down at the 18, Wells again came on and he boomed a 35-yard field goal at the 5:19 mark of the third period to narrow the Friar lead to 14-12.
  Karrash's kick went into the end zone, and the ball came out to the 20, where it didn't stay for long. Doyle ran an option keeper up the middle, and broke wide open. He sailed down the left side, and no La Salle defender would catch him. The 80-yard touchdown, and Chiazza's PAT sent the Friar lead out to 21-12, with 5:05 left in the third.
  Manny Quiles returned the kickoff to the La Salle 27. Lamorte rolled right and hit WR Brett Mallee at the 40 for a first down. Sy Madden swept the left side, and used a stiff arm to get to the Malvern 39. He then went up right guard for five yards to the 34. On play action, LaMorte rolled out and hit FB Joey Burnham for 4 yards, setting up a third-and-one at the 30. But the next snap sailed over LaMorte's head, and the 15-yard loss forced La Salle to punt. Yet again, Karrash pinned the Friars back to the one-yard line with his punt.
  Inside his own one-yard line, QB Doyle gambled, and threw a bomb down the sideline, but La Salle was flagged for interference. Maguire was tackled by Maloney up the middle for no gain, and then Fernandez went off right tackle for 6 yards. On third and four, Fernandez was stopped for just a one-yard gain by Maloney, and the Friars had to punt. Fernandez executed a rugby-style punt which went out of bounds at the Malvern 46. Again, La Salle would start in enemy territory.
  Madden gained one yard as the third quarter ended. LaMorte then threw a comeback pattern to Brett Mallee for a first down at the Malvern 33. Madden gained four yards on a sweep, and then LaMorte found TE Liam Trainer on a buttonhook for a first down at the Malvern 23. A pass from LaMorte to Peter Nelson was incomplete. Madden showed his power, slamming up left tackle to the 16. On third and three, Madden swept the right side, avoiding tacklers, and getting the first down at the 12-yard line. LaMorte missed Holland on a slant-in. Madden went up the middle, and cut outside to score a touchdown, but La Salle was flagged for a procedure penalty. LaMorte's pass to Madden in the end zone was overthrown, and then LaMorte hit Holland on a post pattern for a touchdown. But again, La Salle was called for a procedure penalty. The best guess is that only 6 Explorers were on the line of scrimmage. Then, a delay of game penalty set them back another 5 yards to the 27. Madden gained two, and Wells trotted out for another field goal attempt. His kick slammed into the right upright, and the score remained at 21-12, Malvern, with 8:29 left in the fourth quarter.
  Fernandez gained two yard, and then Doyle hit Fernandez on a bubble screen, but DL Tyler Whitehead showed good pursuit to limit the gain to 3 yards. On third and five, a quick out was broken up by DB Tre McNeill. The punt to the La Salle 33 was returned by Troy Holland, who made some great moves to get the ball to the Malvern 45. Madden burst through a hole up the middle for 15 yards to the Friar 30. Madden then went off right tackle and fought down the sideline and out of bounds for 4 yards, with 6:07 left. LaMorte missed his target on play action, and Madden, on a delay, was tripped, gaining just a yard. Again, La Salle was called on a procedure penalty, and it was fourth and 10 on the Malvern 30. LaMorte's scramble under heavy pressure forced him to throw the ball along the sideline, and Malvern took over on downs.
  Fernandez lost three yards, but then gained 16 for a first down. He went off tackle for a yard, and then got to midfield before DB Devon Smith put a sure tackle on him. Fernandez gained two, and La Salle called time out with 2:57 left. On fourth and one at the 48, Doyle snuck up the middle for 2 yards and the first down, and the game was all but over. Fernandez ran the ball three times, and Doyle was stopped on fourth down, but only 5 seconds remained. LaMorte knelt with the snap, and Malvern Prep defeated La Salle at Franklin Field, 21-12.

La Salle 6 3 3 0 12
Malvern Prep 0 14 7 0 21
L: Brett Mallee 25 pass from Thomas LaMorte (kick failed)
M: Zac Fernandez 11 pass from Kevin Doyle (Brandon Chiazza kick)
M: Quincy Watson 70 pass from Doyle (Chiazza kick)
L: Mike Wells 41 FG
L: Wells 35 FG
M: Doyle 80 run (Chiazza kick)

Game 4, September 16, 2016: La Salle 46 – Archbishop Carroll 18
Third Quarter Explosion Boosts Explorers Past Feisty Patriots, 46-18

  At halftime of last night's game, Coach Steinmetz took his team and placed them against the stucco of the east wall of the "A" field in Conshohocken. And though there weren't any old bullet holes in that stucco, there may have been some soon if La Salle didn't correct its self-destructive first-half ways that led to an 18-14 Archbishop Carroll lead.
  The Explorers received a stay of execution and a pardon from the governor with a 25-point third quarter to win going away 46-18, in the lid-lifter of the Catholic League Red Division season. Here's how this tale of two halves unfolded:
  The Blue and Gold won the toss and deferred to the second half, and received instant dividends, as the Patriots went three and out, and their punt was fielded on the run by Troy Holland at the Carroll 49, and the fleet junior receiver raced to the 20. On the first play from scrimmage for the Explorers, RB Syaire Madden broke through an attempted tackle in the backfield, swerved to the left, and motored down the sideline and into the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown. Mike Wells' extra point made it 7-0 La Salle with 10:17 left in the opening stanza.
  After La Salle jumped offsides on the ensuing kickoff, Patriot speedster Jay Smiley raced out to the 45-yard line to start Carroll on their next possession. Senior QB Stephen Honick hit TE Rick Groce for 12 yards and a first down to the La Salle 43. After a fumbled handoff lost 9 yards, Honick pitched out to RB Josh Bowman, and LB Corbin Melle hit him for a 4-yard loss. A bomb from Honick to WR Dahmir Ruffin was dropped, and Carroll's punt went out of bounds at the La Salle 30.
  On play action, senior QB Tom LaMorte drilled the ball on the left side to Troy Holland for a first down at Carroll's 46-yard line. Madden gained 4 yards up left tackle, and then went off tackle for a yard. On third and five, LaMorte's pass to Holland was good for a first down, but La Salle was flagged for holding, which would start an epidemic of penalties, interceptions, and fumbles for the Explorer offense. LaMorte's deep pass after a rollout was intercepted by Dahmir Ruffin, and Carroll was in business on their own 30.
  Honick swung a pass to Bowman for 5 yards, and a screen pass netted a first down at the Carroll 48. LB Austin Lemke tackled Bowman for a two-yard loss, and DL Chris Maloney then stopped Smiley for a 3-yard gain on a jet sweep. La Salle declined a holding penalty, and on third down, Honick almost made them pay, but a bomb was dropped by a Patriot wide receiver. The punt was shanked out of bounds at the La Salle 44.
  Madden was motoring again with a 15-yard gain off left tackle to the Carroll 41, but he came off the field with a game-ending injury, that later was evaluated as a leg contusion. On play action, LaMorte overthrew his receiver on a bomb, but the Patriots were whistled for a roughing the passer penalty. Electric sophomore RB Manny Quiles was stopped for no gain, but then went off the left side for a first down at the Carroll 15. LaMorte, on a broken play, hit TE Liam Trainer to the 7-yard line. Quiles then went off left tackle, made a good cut, and sauntered into paydirt for a 7-yard touchdown. Wells' kick made it 14-0, with 2:41 left in the first quarter, and it felt like La Salle was gaining control of this game. Wrong feeling!
  Daniel Karrash's kickoff got into the end zone, and then Bowman lost 5 yards on a great tackle by soph DL Gavin Moretski. Honick swung a pass to Ruffin gained yardage to the 24, but then the same swing pass on the right side was blown up by LB Daniel Kuznetsov. The Carroll punt into the wind rolled back to stop at their own 38, and La Salle was back in business. Or so it seemed.
  Two consecutive plays from scrimmage resulted in holding calls against the Explorers, and LaMorte hit Holland on a bubble screen for 4 yards to the La Salle 43 as the quarter ended with La Salle on top, 14-0. LaMorte flared a pass to Quiles for 10 yards to the Carroll 33, and it was now third and six. LaMorte's pass overthrew Holland in the flat, and then his fourth down pass was intercepted by safety Matt Martolotti, and returned to Carroll's 25.
  Bowman recovered a pitch for a one-yard loss, and then Honick swung a pass to Smiley to get to the 29. On third and six, Honick was sacked by senior DL Alex Delpo, and the Patriots would punt yet again, with the ball stopping on the La Salle 45. After an incomplete pass and a 4-yard run by Quiles, LaMorte was intercepted again, this time by safety Greg Natale, and he brought it all the way back to the La Salle 40, as the tide in the game was turning with the rise of a harvest moon.
  Immediately, Honick went for the downs, hitting WR Ruffin down the left sideline on a perfect pass to the La Salle 2-yard line. On first and goal, Honick went to play action and hit RB Ryan Graham for a touchdown. After a procedure call negated the wonderfully-named Finn McNulty's extra point, his subsequent attempt was wide, and La Salle's lead was cut to 14-6, with 7:46 left in the half.
  Manny Quiles returned the kickoff to La Salle's 35, and Danny Solecki entered the game at quarterback. Solecki recovered a fumbled snap on the first play, and then RB Octavious Carter gained 5 yards with a rush on the left side. On third and seven, Solecki's short pass was picked off, and Carroll was in business again on La Salle's 30. Josh Bowman was tackled in the backfield by Daniel Kuznetsov on a counter for a one-yard loss, and Kuznetsov then provided great coverage down the sideline on an incomplete pass from Honick. On third and nine at the 29, Honick's pass up the middle was broken up by Tom Flavin. On fourth down, Honick was flushed out of the pocket, and his long pass was overthrown, and the Explorers survived this turnover.
  With LaMorte back in at quarterback, Quiles went off right tackle for 5 yards, and then Quiles was stopped for no gain. A pass from LaMorte to Holland was low, and Wells' wobbly punt was downed at the Carroll 44. Immediately, Honick went deep down the left side to Dahmir Ruffin, and the completion brought the Pats into the red zone at the La Salle 12-yard line. Bowman shot up the middle to the 5, but was then dropped for a 5-yard loss by DL Chris Maloney, who was just warming up for an extraordinary second half on defense. After a La Salle timeout, Honick hit WR Roman Davis on a slant in the end zone, but Davis dropped the ball. On fourth down, Honick had good protection, and was patient enough to find WR Dan Morgan on a crossing pattern to the left flag, and Morgan made a diving catch for a 10-yard touchdown. The two-point try by Honick was incomplete, but Carroll was breathing down La Salle's collective necks, trailing just 14-12, with 1:49 left in the half. Plenty of time for La Salle to score, and the Explorers would get the second half kickoff as well.
  Well, it didn't work out just that way. Manny Quiles took the short kickoff out to La Salle's 45, and then went off left tackle for two yards. LaMorte rolled right and hit his favorite target Troy Holland, who went out of bounds at the Carroll 30 with 1:06 left. LaMorte scrambled out of bounds for a two-yard loss, and then Quiles was hit immediately in the backfield for a loss of another two yards, as La Salle called time out. On third and fourteen at the Patriot 34, LaMorte hit Holland on a quick out on the right side to the 27 to bring up a fourth and 7. On fourth down, LaMorte threw a strike down the middle to Liam Trainer for a first down at the 18-yard line.
  Then the unthinkable happened. While scrambling, LaMorte was hit, and fumbled, and the ball was scooped up by safety Greg Natale, who outraced frantic La Salle pursuers all the way into the end zone for an 85-yard return. The Patriot PAT was missed, but Carroll was shocking La Salle, 18-14. The kickoff was returned to the La Salle 40, but the Explorers took a knee to end the half, and headed east to that stucco wall.
  The third quarter saw a different La Salle team on the field. Quiles returned the kickoff to the La Salle 40, and left the game temporarily with a limp. Troy Holland ran an end-around to the right, and cut back to the left side on a long run to the Carroll 15. Carter was then stopped for a two-yard loss, and then for no gain up the middle. On third down, a flag pattern from Tom LaMorte to Troy Holland was incomplete. On fourth and 12 at the 17, Mike Wells came on and boomed a 34-yard field goal to bring La Salle within one at 18-17, with 9:55 left in the third quarter.
  Carroll returned the kickoff to their own 22. On play action, Stephen Honick's pass down the middle to Dahmir Ruffin was incomplete. Honick's deep pass down the left side was incomplete, and he then overthrew Rick Groce down the middle. Troy Holland returned the punt to midfield, and La Salle's offense would strike immediately. Manny Quiles swept the left side with a good seal block by FB Joey Burnham, and cut to the middle of the field, streaking past Patriot defenders for a 50-yard touchdown. LaMorte converted the two-point play on his own with a scramble, and the Explorers were back on top, 25-18, with 9:05 left in the third stanza.
  Jay Smiley set Carroll up in good field position with a return to his own 40-yard line, but a block in the back penalty brought the ball back to the 30. RB Christian Smith gained 4 yards, and then Carroll was called for illegal procedure. Honick threw a swing pass that was incomplete, as he felt pressure by DL Chris Maloney. Honick was then sacked by Maloney on an outside rush, and Carroll was forced to punt. But Carroll's punter dropped the snap, and fell on the ball at the Patriot 10, giving La Salle a golden opportunity to stretch their lead.
  Quiles went up left tackle for 3 yards, and then La Salle was flagged for their own illegal procedure penalty. Quiles then took a pitch off the left side, and behind good blocking, scored from 12 yards out. Carroll was assessed a personal foul that would be applied on the kickoff. Wells sent yet another one of his extra points into the yard of the defunct Moore Oldsmobile facility, and the Explorers led 32-18, with 6:10 remaining in the third. Wells got to kick off at the Carroll 45, and boomed the ball into the end zone for a touchback.
  Honick tried to find Smiley with a pass, but it was overthrown, and a swing pass from Honick to Bowman was bobbled. Honick's pocket collapsed on third down, and Maloney sacked him for a 5-yard loss. Holland fair-caught the punt on the Carroll 40-yard line. On first down, a pitch to Carter was fumbled, and Carroll recovered the ball at midfield. Maloney smeared Bowman for no gain, and Christian Smith gained five up the middle to set up a third and five. Bowman was again stopped by a rampaging Maloney for no gain. On fourth down, Honick's pass was intercepted by DB Tre McNeill at the La Salle 40, and he raced to the Carroll 35, but a holding call brought the ball back to the La Salle 40, as the Explorers took over.
  LaMorte rolled left and hit Holland on an out pattern to the 46, and then Manny Quiles went up the middle for a first down to the Carroll 48. LaMorte, in charge now, rolled right and found TE Liam Trainer down to the Carroll 20. On play action, LaMorte and Trainer hooked up again, as Trainer made a fingertip, bobbling, diving catch at the Patriot 3-yard line. Quiles went up right tackle to the one. Joey Burnham, the up back, plunged in for a one-yard touchdown, Wells sent the PAT into the Oldsmobile yard, and La Salle had a lot of breathing room at 39-18, with 1:22 left in an explosive third quarter.
  Smiley returned the Blue and Gold kickoff to his own 37. Smith powered his way up the middle for a first down at La Salle's 45. Bowman was stopped for no gain on a counter by Chris Maloney and LB Austin Lemke. On another counter, Bowman was struck down on a 4-yard loss by the ubiquitous Maloney, a play which ended the third quarter. Honick's third down deep pass to Ruffin was overthrown, and Holland fair-caught the punt on La Salle's 20-yard line.
  Quiles, stepping in nobly for Madden, went up left tackle for 6 yards. Carroll then jumped offsides to give La Salle a first down. LaMorte found Joey Burnham in the left flat, and Burnham rumbled to the La Salle 49 for another first down. Quiles went right and then cut up the middle to the Carroll 40 for another chain-mover, but the Explorers were hit for an unsportsmanlike conduct after the play to set them back to their own 45. LaMorte evaded pressure and threw the ball out of bounds. Sophomore RB William Tatlonghari entered the game and ran the pumpkin up left tackle for 7 yards, and then right tackle for two yards, setting up a fourth and one at the Carroll 46. Quiles then took a pitch on the right side, and powered his way to the Carroll 36 for a first down. Quiles raced up right tackle through a big hole to go 36 yards into the end zone for his fourth touchdown on the night. Wells banged the extra point over that east stucco wall, and with 7:36 left in the game, the Explorers increased their commanding lead to 46-18.
  Smiley got the kickoff out to his own 38. Bowman was thrown for a one-yard loss by LB Brennan Daly, and Carroll was also hit for a personal foul. Bowman gained 5 yards to the 25, and WR Khadir Roberts gained 6 yards on a jet sweep. Holland made another fair catch on the punt at the La Salle 40, and Dan Solecki would come in at quarterback. Octavious Carter went off left tackle for nine yards, but La Salle was flagged for holding. Carter ran a jet sweep for two yards, and the Tatlonghari gained 6 yards off left tackle. Solecki overthrew Tatlonghari on a swing pass, and Wells' punt was downed on the Carroll 27.
  After La Salle jumped offsides, Honick was sacked by senior DL Alex Delpo for a seven-yard loss. Honick hit Dahmir Ruffin for a first down to the 38, and then found Rick Groce for another first down at the Carroll 49. Groce dropped a wide open pass on the left side, and Honick's next pass was dropped by Ruffin, who was hurt on the play. Honick wasn't giving up, though, finding Smiley down the middle for a big gain at the La Salle 22. His next pass to Groce was overthrown, but he hit Smiley again for a first and goal at the La Salle 9-yard line. But then he was nearly intercepted by senior DB Seamus Heckard in the end zone. On the next play, junior strong safety Jason Kessler recovered a Patriot fumble, and brought the ball out to the La Salle 35. Solecki knelt down in victory formation, and the Explorers survived a first-half scare to defeat Archbishop Carroll, 46-18.
  Notes: at the "A" Field last night was a veritable infestation of La Salle-affiliated quarterbacks, starting with Joe Winning '03 and John Dean '79 as coaches on the field. There were no less than three father-son quarterback combinations in Brett Gordon '98 and former head coach Drew Gordon, Bill Loughery '70 and State Champ Drew Loughery '10, and Carroll's inaugural coach Joe McNichol '59 and his son Joe '91. And there was a grandfather-grandson combination in Al Solecki '58 and Danny Solecki '18. There may have been others hiding in the corners as well.

La Salle 14 0 25 7 46
Archbishop Carroll 0 18 0 0 18

Game 5, September 24, 2016: La Salle 48 – Archbishop Ryan 6
Explorers Manhandle Raiders, 48-6

  La Salle overwhelmed an outmanned Archbishop Ryan team 48-6, to increase their record to 3-2, and 2-0 in the Catholic League Red Division.
  Here's how the Blue and Gold went about their business on Saturday night:
  La Salle again won the coin toss, and again deferred to put the start of the game in the hands of their defense. Daniel Karrash's pooch kick was returned by RB Mike Minniti to the Raider 35. Minniti ran up right tackle for 2 yards, and Ryan had to call a time out to avoid a delay of game penalty before the next play. A swing pass from QB Matt Romano to Minniti was dropped. Romano rolled right on third down, and gained just two yards before being tackled by DL Garrett Zobel. On fourth down, the Ryan punt was downed at the La Salle 34, where Tom LaMorte and the offense would take over.
  Syaire Madden, the undisputed workhorse of the La Salle offense, did not start, and Brett Gordon had Tre McNeill line up in a Wildcat formation to surprise the Raiders, but La Salle was called for a procedure penalty, probably for not having 7 men on the line of scrimmage. McNeill, out of the Wildcat, went two yards up the middle. Then LaMorte, back at the helm, found TE Liam Trainer on a buttonhook on the right side for 10 yards to bring up a third and three. Sophomore Brett Mallee, debuting at tailback, ran for a first down to the La Salle 47 on a draw play. Mallee then took a pitch for three yards to midfield. LaMorte rolled out and tossed to FB Joey Burnham, but the pass was dropped. On third and 7, LaMorte rolled out and fired a sharp pass to Mallee on the right sideline for a first down at the Ryan 38. The Raiders then took their second time out, at just the 7:38 mark of the first period. Burnham went up the middle for two yards, and then Malle was stopped for no gain off the right side. McNeill, out of the Wildcat formation, ran up right tackle for no gain, and La Salle faced a fourth and nine on the Ryan 36. Tom LaMorte scrambled for a first down at the Ryan 27. Mallee then went through a nice hole on the right side for a first and goal at the Raider 8-yard line. LaMorte's rollout pass was incomplete to Burnham. Mallee went up left tackle to the 5-yard line. On third and goal, LaMorte rolled right and found WR Troy Holland at the right flag for a five-yard touchdown. Mike Wells booted the extra point, and La Salle was on top of Ryan, 7-0, with 4:35 left in the first period.
  Wells booted the kickoff to the 5, and Minniti returned it to the Ryan 36, with tackles by Dillon Trainer and Jason Kessler. Minniti ran up left tackle, but Liam Trainer and Mario Varani throttled him for a loss of a yard. Minniti then gained two yards, and was stopped by a blitzing LB Brennan Daly. On third down, QB Matt Romano was sacked by storming LB Austin Lemke for a 6-yard loss, and Ryan would punt again. Tom Flavin returned the punt 14 yards to the Raider 40.
  LaMorte, with good protection, decided to scramble and got a first down at the Ryan 25. On the next play, LaMorte was sacked by DL Drew Obuchowicz for a 5-yard loss. Mallee took a pitchout on the right side and gained 7 yards to the 23. On third and 8, LaMorte dropped back and hit Brett Mallee in stride over the middle for a 23-yard touchdown, and the kick by Wells increased the La Salle lead to 14-0, with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
  Taking advantage of a running into the kicker penalty after the extra point, Karrash boomed the kickoff into the end zone. Mike Minniti was nailed in the backfield by LB Austin Lemke for a two-yard loss as the first period ended. QB Romano was then sacked by a rampaging Garrett Zobel for a 9-yard loss. On third and 21 at the 9-yard line, it got worse for the Raiders, as Minniti dropped the ball after a handoff, and was tackled by LB Corbin Melle back at the 1-yard line. The punt was nearly blocked, but was fair caught by Flavin at the Ryan 30, and La Salle would seek their third score. And Sy Madden entered the game for the first time.
  On play action, LaMorte used Madden as a decoy; and hit FB Burnham on the left side for a first down at the 19. It was now Madden time, and Madden took a pitch left and rumbled to the 14, but he fumbled the ball and Ryan recovered the pigskin to thwart the threat. Tommy Santiago entered the game at tailback for Ryan, and showed some much-need energy in gaining 4 yards on first down. He gained five more to set up a third and one, and Romano ran a sneak for two yards and a first down at the Ryan 25. Romano ran a keeper on the left side for 10 yards and a first down before being stopped by Jason Kessler. But, on play action, Romano was sacked again on a blitz by DB Tre McNeill for a nine-yard loss. Minniti went up left guard for five. On third and 15, Romano did not connect with WR Dylan Cariss up the deep middle, and another punt was on order, fair caught again by Flavin on La Salle's 42-yard line.
  Madden, now incensed at his fumble, ran for 4 hard yards to the 46. Mallee ran a jet sweep to the right and gained 14 yards and a first down to the Ryan 40. LaMorte, under a rush, threw the ball into the left flat, but was ruled for intentional grounding. On second and 24 at the La Salle 46, LaMorte swung a pass to Mallee for a 14-yard gain to the Ryan 40. A bad snap was corraled by LaMorte, but he wa sacked again by Obuchowicz for a 13-yard loss. Wells' punt was downed on the Ryan 22, as a running into the kicker penalty was declined, since it was not an automatic first down.
  With 2:54 left, Minniti was stopped on first down for a one-yard loss by DL Chris Maloney. But Romano found WR Cameron Gontek up the left slot for a first down at the Ryan 36. Romano then tossed a long pass to WR Shamar Edwards, who ran a slant to the right down to La Salle's 18-yard line. Maloney stopped Minniti for no gain up the middle, and then Romano threw an incomplete pass, as the La Salle rush forced him to hurry his throw. On third and 10, Corbin Melle blitzed and tossed Romano for a 5-yard loss. Ryan let the clock wind down to 5 seconds in the half, called their last time out, and kicker Ryan Stock tried a 40-yard field goal, but a high snap forced Stock to collect the ball and run out of bounds for a two-yard loss to end the half, with La Salle in charge by a 14-0 score.
  Much like the Archbishop Carroll game a week ago, the third quarter was all Explorers. Ryan's kickoff was pooched to McNeill at the 25, and he ran it out to the 32. Madden started the second half in the backfield, and would put on an incredible show over the next 8 minutes. He swept the left side for 8 yards to the 40-yard line, and then went up left tackle, showing some great power, and broke out to the right side and into the clear. His 60-yard touchdown run and Wells' extra point moved the lead out to 21-0, but the Explorers weren't done yet.
  Karrash's kickoff went into the end zone. Minniti was stopped for just a yard by Maloney and Zobel. Romano swung a pass to Gontek, but his knee was down for a two-yard loss. Romano then scrambled up the middle to the 26, but Ryan would punt again, out to the 50-yard line. Mallee ran out of the Wildcat, and swept right end for a yard. With LaMorte under center, Madden ran a draw up the middle for 23 yards and a first down to the Ryan 26. LaMorte then swung a pass to Brett Mallee on the right side for 11 yards and another first down. Sy Madden, following a great block by Garrett Zobel, swept left, cut back, and dashed into the end zone for his second touchdown, this time from 15 yards. Wells made it 28-0, with 7:22 left in the third quarter.
  Karrash's kickoff was returned by Minniti down the right side and all the way down to the La Salle 35, and Chris Reed entered at quarterback. Santiago, running with a passion, gained two yards up the middle, made it to the La Salle 25 for a first down. Santiago went for 2 yards up the middle, and then was stopped for no gain by LB Brennan Daly. After Ryan was flagged for procedure, QB Reed was nailed down on a coverage sack by LB Liam Trainer for a 7-yard loss. On fourth and 20, Reed's bomb was broken up, and the Explorers would take over.
  Madden swept the right side for 12 yards and a first down at the La Salle 47, and then went up left tackle, breaking into the open again, and sailed 53 yards into the end zone for his third touchdown of the period. An extra point would start the mercy clock, but Karrash's extra point try was missed. With 3:11 left in the third quarter, La Salle led, 34-0. Then a bizarre play occurred, one that this ancient scribe had never seen before.
  Karrash's kick was fumbled by the Ryan return man, who went down on his knee to try to pick up the ball. He rose off the ground to collect the ball for good, but one of the officials blew their whistle, and the play stopped. After a conference among the officials, they concluded that the whistle was inadvertent, and they chose to "take the play over". So Karrash and the kicking team went back out to send away another kickoff.
  Karrash's kickoff went down to the Ryan 18, where WR Xavier King grabbed it and started to run. He was hit by a La Salle tackler, and burped the ball up into the air, where LB Brennan Daly picked it off like low-hanging fruit from a tree, and he sauntered into the end zone from about 23 yards out. Karrash's extra point try was good this time, and the 41-0 lead with 2:51 left in the third quarter would start the running clock.
  Karrash's squib kick was downed on the Ryan 22. Santiago went off right tackle for 15 yards and a first down. He then rumbled for 5 yards, but fumbled, and junior Stephen Matchett was at the bottom of the pile with the recovery. QB Danny Solecki entered the game, and handed off to RB Octavious Carter for no gain. Carter ran a jet sweep to the right for a 7-yard gain to the Ryan 35, as the third quarter ended. Solecki used a hard count to get the Raiders to jump offside for a La Salle first down. Carter ran into the line, bounced off, and raced to the Ryan 9-yard line for a first and goal. Carter was stopped for no gain, and then ran a delay off left tackle, breaking tackles down to the 1-yard line. Solecki snuck over for a 1-yard score, and Karrash's PAT made it 48-0 with 9:03 left.
  WR Bill Palmer returned the kickoff to the Ryan 37. Cameron Gontek went up the middle for five yards, and was tackled by LB Gavin Moretski. RB Colin Boyd gained four more yards, as soph Owen Lawn made the tackle. Santiago then was hit immediately by a crushing tackle by frosh Dillon Trainer for no gain. On fourth and one, Reed snuck for 4 yards and a first down. Santiago ran hard for another first down at the La Salle 44, and then gained 5 yards before being tackled by Kessler. Boyd gained just a yard as LB Brendan Frusco made the hit. Santiago, never giving up, ran the ball down to the La Salle 18. Santiago gained three more up the middle and then off right tackle with a power run down to the La Salle 1-yard line. Santiago finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run. The Ryan extra point was blocked by a host of Explorers, and the score remained at 48-6, with 2:08 left in the contest.
  Ryan's kickoff was downed by La Salle on their own 20. Soph Michael Shragher raced down the right side for a 25-yard gain to the La Salle 45, and then Danny Solecki took a knee to end the game. La Salle defeated Archbishop Ryan, 48-6, highlighted by a 27-point third quarter, exhibiting some offensive explosions by Syaire Madden, scoring three times in that stanza.
  Note: La Salle's great defensive back, John Butler '91, was inducted on Saturday into the La Salle Hall of Athletics. John was honored at halftime of the game as well. John Butler is the defensive backs coach of the Houston Texans, working alongside teammate and classmate Craig Fitzgerald '91, who is the Texans' strength and conditioning coach.

Game 6, October 1, 2016: La Salle 35 – Father Judge 7
Explorers Top Crusaders For Third In Row, 35-7

  Recent pitch-catch combinations just roll off the tongue. Harrison-to-Migliarese, Loughery-to-Feleccia, Magarity-to-Buckley, Kane-to-Coleman, Shurmur-to-Herron, and Ferguson-to-Rinella. Well, the LaMorte-to-Holland combination is making its case to join that hallowed list. Let's get to the game to find out how:
  La Salle won yet another coin flip (PS: take the captains to the roulette table), and they chose to defer to the second half. Daniel Karrash's kickoff was returned to the Judge 30 by RB Katob Joseph. RB Tim Weldon ran twice for first down at the Crusader 40. He then took a pitch left that was strung out, and was tackled by LB Liam Trainer on the back side with good pursuit. QB Rob King, on a scramble, threw deep to TE Ed Fahey, but the pass was overthrown, a recurring problem for King all night. He then overthrew WR Steve Arrington on a slant in, and Judge had to punt, and the ball was downed on La Salle's 34.
  RB Syaire Madden tested the Judge line for no gain, as the Judge lineman were Northeast-Philly strong all game long. Soph WR Brett Mallee ran a jet sweep to the right, and Judge pursued him intensely for a 6-yard loss on a tackle by Alex Schaeffler. QB Tom LaMorte scrambled on third and long, and gained just a yard before going out of bounds. Mike Wells' wobbly punt went out of bounds at the Judge 41, at 8:35 of the first period.
  Weldon swept off right tackle, but was cut down by DL Stephen Matchett for no gain. QB King then hit WR Justin Gies down the left sideline, and Gies made a leaping catch, but landed out of bounds. King then overthrew WR Jeremy Smith down the right slot, and Judge would have to punt again, as the ball rolled to a stop at the La Salle 14-yard line.
  Madden, on a draw, cut to the right side and gained yardage up to La Salle's 34, and then he went off right tackle and was upended, but not before he gained 5 yards. Mallee rushed up right tackle for three yards to set up a third and two at the Explorer 42. Madden got the first down with a 4 yard burst off left tackle, and it looked like La Salle was mounting a drive. LaMorte found junior WR Troy Holland for a quick pass on the right side for 5 yards, but Sy Madden was stuffed for a two-yard loss. Then the Judge rush blitzed QB LaMorte, and he was sacked for a 4-yard loss, forcing another Mike Wells' punt. Wells boomed a punt that was fair caught at the Crusader 15, with 3:35 left in the first period.
  QB Rob King ran an option keeper, but was tackled for a one-yard loss by LB Brennan Daly. King then ran a delay himself on the right side, and Daly stopped him, but not before he gained 9 yards. On third-and-two, King rolled left and hooked up with Justin Gies up the left sideline to the Judge 47 for a first down. King ran another option keeper, but soph DB Devon Smith came up to stop him for a 5 yard loss. King then scrambled to the right, and inexplicably just ran out of bounds for a 13-yard loss, instead of throwing the ball away, and Brennan Daly and DL Chris Maloney were in hot pursuit. King then sent a bomb down the field to WR Jeremy Smith, but the pass was again overthrown. The Judge punt was fair caught by DB Tom Flavin at the La Salle 41, with 1:17 left in the first stanza.
  Madden found the road through the Judge line a bumpy ride, and he was stopped for a one-yard loss, but the Crusaders were flagged for a personal foul, and La Salle would have a first down at the Judge 44. LaMorte hit Holland on a quick out for 2 yards, as the scoreless first quarter ended. LaMorte pitched out to RB Manny Quiles for two yards, and then LaMorte, on play action found soph WR Brett Mallee up the right slot for a first down on the Blue and Red 31. LaMorte then hit Holland on a pretty deep post to the Judge 5-yard line for a first and goal. Sy Madden then bolted off left tackle, following some good blocks, and he scored on a 5-yard touchdown run. Mike Wells kicked the extra point, and La Salle broke on top, 7-0, with 9:59 left in the second quarter.
  Katob Joseph returned the kickoff to the Judge 30, but their drive was short-lived. King, on play action threw deep down the middle, but the pass was underthrown this time, and DB Tre McNeill intercepted the ball and returned it to the La Salle 41. Madden, with good power, bashed up the middle for 8 yards. On LaMorte's hard count, the Crusaders jumped offsides, and La Salle had a first down in Judge territory at the 47. Madden went off left tackle, and broke some tackles on the way to an 8-yard gain. He then went off left tackle again for a first down at the Judge 33. The Crusaders keyed on Madden, and he was thrown for an 8-yard loss as he tried left tackle again. Quiles' jet sweep to the right was pursued by the Crusaders, and he lost two yards. LaMorte's flare pass to FB Joey Burnham got some yards back to the Judge 41, but Wells would have to punt, and he pinned the Crusaders back at their own 5-yard line, with 5:42 left in the half.
  RB Tim Weldon ran twice to set up a third and three on the Judge 12. Then RB Katob Joseph gained 6 yards for a first down, but then was hit immediately by LB Corbin Melle for a one-yard loss. King found Gies again, this time down the left side, for a first down at the Judge 32. King ran the option keeper again, and gained two yards before being stopped by Liam Trainer. King threw deep to Gies, but again overthrew his receiver. On third and eight, King tried to find WR Steve Arrington up the left slot, but the pass was incomplete. Tom Flavin fair-caught the punt at the La Salle 42, with just 1:14 left in the half.
  LaMorte connected with Holland again on a quick out for three yards. Then Holland ran a deep look-in, and LaMorte put the throw on the money, as Holland ran down to the Judge 35. Again, the two hooked up on a quick out to the left for five yards, and Holland ran out of bounds, with 42 seconds left in the half. LaMorte the sent a deep pass down the middle to Brett Mallee, who made a diving catch at the Judge 12, and La Salle called time out, with 35 seconds left in the half. On play action, the LaMorte-to-Holland connection worked again, on an out pattern for seven yards, as Holland went out of bounds. Sy Madden took over, and swept the right side, cutting back and waltzing into the end zone for a five-yard touchdown. Wells' extra point made it 14-0, La Salle, with just 23 seconds left in the half.
  The ground ball kickoff was returned by Jeremy Smith to the Judge 44. King threw a bomb down the middle of the field that was intercepted by free safety Manny Quiles on the Judge 20, and Quiles weaved his way about 55 yards to the Judge 25 before he was tackled, as the half ended with the Explorers on top, 14-0.
  Holland took the second half kickoff back to the Explorer 23. LaMorte tried to hit Madden deep up the middle to start the second half, but the ball was deflected; Madden was wide open on a favorite Brett Gordon play. Madden was hit deep in the backfield on a pitch for an 8-yard loss, as the Judge defense was still in a fighting mood. Again, LaMorte sent a ball deep down the middle to Madden, who dropped the ball. Wells sent a high punt that was signaled for a fair catch by the Judge return man, but his own teammate crashed into him, causing a muff, and Tre McNeill recovered the muff, but was unable to advance the ball based on muff rules. But the Explorers had a fresh set of downs on the Judge 46. Madden was stopped for no gain, and then a Quiles sweep was snuffed out by a feisty Crusader defense for a 9-yard loss. LaMorte's out to Holland gained 12 yards back, but Wells would have to punt, and it was fair-caught at the Judge 18, with 9:20 left in the third quarter.
  Joseph went ouff left tackle for about 5 yards, but he fumbled the ball, and Devon Smith recovered it at the Judge 25. LaMorte and Holland worked again, for 12 yards, but Holland fumbled the ball back to Judge, as DB Shane Dooley recovered for the Crusaders on the Judge 12. King ran a keeper for a yard before being stopped by DL Chris Maloney, and then Judge was hit for a procedure penalty. Weldon went off left tackle with some power for an 8-yard gain, and on third and six, a slant-in pass was ruled as interference on La Salle, and Judge had new life on their own 32. Joseph went up the middle for 6 yards, and the Weldon went up left tackle for two yards, stopped by LB Daniel Kuznetsov and DL Tyler Whitehead. On third and two, King fumbled the snap, and Whitehead recovered for La Salle, as yet another Judge fumble stopped them in their tracks.
  With first and 10 on the Judge 41, La Salle was called for procedure. Madden bulled up left guard for three yards, and LaMorte hit Holland on another out pattern on the left side for a first down at the Judge 30. The next play saw Holland take the pattern up the field, and LaMorte's pinpoint pass and Holland's fine catch put the ball at the Judge 1-yard line for a first and goal. Madden had no room to run, and lost two yards. Then, on play action, LaMorte found Liam Trainer on the back line of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown pass. Wells made it 21-0, La Salle, with 3:29 to play in the third period.
  Joseph took the kickoff back to the Judge 24. King hit Jeremy Smith on an out pattern for 6 yards. Weldon was then hit immediately in the backfield by LB's Austin Lemke and Daniel Kuznetsov for a 3-yard loss. King missed Arrington in the left flat, and Judge would punt again. But the snap went over the punter's head and into the end zone, but he valiantly ran the ball back out to the 20-yard line, where La Salle would take over. Again, the Explorers were called for procedure. Madden went up the middle for two yards, and then, on a delay, he raced for 9 yards, but offsetting fouls (personal foul on Judge, holding on La Salle) would take that play over. LaMorte then made a rare overthrow of Holland as the quarter ended, with La Salle up, 21-0. On third and eight at the Judge 23, a down, out, and up by Holland was wide open, and LaMorte calmly tossed the ball to Holland in the end zone for a 23-yard score, and Wells' extra point gave La Salle a 28-0 lead, with 11:51 left in the fourth frame.
  La Salle's kickoff was returned to the Crusader 32, and King then overthrew TE Sean Coyle. King did hit Gies for a 9-yard gain, and the Weldon ran for two yards and a first down. King overthrew Gies up the left slot, but the two hooked up the next play, as King, on a scramble, fired a deep pass down the middle to Gies, who outran the Explores into the end zone for a 57-yard touchdown, and Judge was on the board. Kicker Colton Lieggi made the extra point, and La Salle's lead was cut to 28-7.
  La Salle was penalized on the kickoff for a personal foul on the touchdown, and Judge took advantage of the penalty, executing a successful onsides kick. At the La Salle 31, King overthrew Jeremy Smith in the end zone. King then scrambled out of bounds for 6 yards, and on third and four, he overthrew Gies again on a flag pattern. On fourth down, King scrambled to the right, and fired into the end zone, but again the pass was overthrown., with 9:20 left in the fourth.
  Madden went up right guard for 4 yards, but was throttled by the rugged Judge line for a two-yard loss. On third and eight, LaMorte sent a pass to Holland on the right sideline, and Holland made a diving catch for a first down on the Explorer 35. Then, on play action, LaMorte threw a bomb down the deep right slot to Holland in full sprint, and he raced into the end zone for a 65-yard score. Wells made it 35-7 La Salle, with 7:14 left.
  Joseph took the kickoff out to the 32. King found WR Frank Conway for a 3-yard gain, where he was hit hard by safety Manny Quiles. King threw deep down the middle to Steve Arrington, who caught the ball and was tackled at the La Salle 12, but Arrington was called for a face mask penalty, and Judge was moved back to the 27-yard line. King threw to Weldon in the right flat, but the ball was dropped. On play action, King again overthrew his receiver deep down the middle. King then scrambled to the La Salle 20, but he fumbled the ball away to the Explorers, and La Salle would take over.
  The Explorers started their drive with a delay of game penalty. Madden took a pitchout for 9 yards, and then went powerfully up left guard for 4 yards. On third and two, Madden gained the first down to the 30. Brett Mallee took the handoff, broke some tackles, and ran down to the Judge 8, but La Salle was called downfield for a holding penalty, and would have a first down on their own 40. Madden gained 6 yards, and then was stopped for a one-yard loss. Out of the Wildcat, Mallee got a first down at the 50. LaMorte came back in to kneel in the Victory formation, and La Salle won their 3rd straight, now 3-0 in the league, with a convincing 35-7 victory over Father Judge.

La Salle 0 14 7 14 35
Judge 0 0 0 7 7
L: Syaire Madden 5 run (Mike Wells kick)
L: Madden 4 run (Wells kick)
L: Liam Trainer 5 pass from Tom LaMorte (Wells kick)
L: Troy Holland 25 pass from LaMorte (Wells kick)
J: Justin Gies 57 pass from Rob King (Colton Lieggi kick)
L: Holland 64 pass from LaMorte (Wells kick)

Game 7, October 15, 2016: La Salle 17 – Roman Catholic 16
Explorers Somehow Edge Cahillites, 17-16

  A Homecoming game on a mid-October evening with a full harvest moon and blue and gold goblins floating over the gridiron doomed Roman Catholic's eleven, as La Salle's Mike Wells drilled a 33-yard field goal with 25 seconds to go to help his squad notch their 4th straight victory, 17-16. But the story of this bizarre game, as befitting the Halloween season, should be told by someone like Vincent Price or Boris Karloff, not yours truly, but I'll try to live up to the talents of those horror movie stars in my rendition:
  La Salle yet again won the coin toss, and again deferred to the second half. A short kick to the 15-yard line was picked up by Roman's AJ Gaymon, who shot out to the 45-yard line before being tackled by LB Austin Lemke. Gaymon swept the left side on the first play from scrimmage, and gained three yards before being stopped by DB Tom Flavin. QB Anthony Butler then swung a pass to WR Jordan Haynes, who broke through several La Salle arm-tackles to gain a first and goal at the La Salle 8-yard line. Gaymon went off left tackle for 4 yards, and then went off the left side, beating the defenders to the edge, and scored from 4 yards out. Freshman kicker Ryan Flaherty line-drived his extra point through, and Roman was on the board in a hurry, leading 7-0, with just 67 seconds having elapsed in the game.
  A pooch kick was downed by Tom Flavin at the La Salle 34, and the offense would get their chance to match the Cahillite strike. RB Syaire Madden, who runs as hard as any La Salle running back this ancient scribe has seen, ran off the right side with great power through the defense to gain 11 yards and a first down to the La Salle 45. Madden was swarmed on the next play, but strained through for three hard-fought yards. WR Brett Mallee ran a jet sweep to the right side, got some great seal blocks, and nabbed a first down at the Roman 42, and La Salle's offense was on the move. QB Tom LaMorte fired a pass over the middle to TE Liam Trainer that was just a little too long. Madden then gained 5 yards on a quick hitter up the middle. On third and five, Madden could only gain two yards on a draw play. On fourth and three at the Purple and Gold 35, LaMorte found FB Joey Burnham in the left flat, and Burnham motored for a first down on the 21. Madden gained some good yardage on a first-down sweep, but a holding penalty set La Salle back to the 29. Then an offside penalty on La Salle moved the ball back another 5 yards. A swing pass to Madden, who was hit by a swarm of Cahillites, lost another three. Then Madden's draw play lost even another 3 yards. On third and 29 at the Roman 40, LaMorte found Burnham for a gain to the 26, setting up a field goal attempt by Mike Wells. Wells' kick had the distance, but was off to the right, and Roman took over on their own 20, with 5:32 left in the first quarter.
  Haynes ran a jet sweep to the right for three yards, as Lemke made one of his many tackles on the night. Gaymon tried the middle, but was stuffed by DL Tyler Whitehead for just a one-yard gain. On third and six, QB Butler hit Haynes on a nice out pattern for a first down on their own 34. Gaymon tried the left side, but was stopped for no gain by DL Colin Hirschmann. Haynes caught a look-in pass from Butler for 4 yards, and Roman took a time out prior to a third and six. Butler's pass to Haynes was rushed, and Roman would punt. Flavin returned the kick 7 yards to the La Salle 33.
  On first down, LaMorte rolled right and hit WR Brent Mallee on the right side for a first down at the Roman 48. On a counter, Madden gained just two yards, and LaMorte picked up two more on a scramble up the middle. LaMorte threw an out pattern to Mallee that was broken up, but back judge Ernie Gallagher, of "Invincible" fame, fired a flag out for interference, giving La Salle's drive new life. With first down on the 29, Madden went off the right side for 3 yards, and LaMorte hit TE Harry Scanlon, who made a great low catch and got down to the Roman 18. A screen to Troy Holland was dropped, but then Madden swept the right side, and behind some good blocks, he powered into the end zone from 18 yards out for a touchdown. Wells' extra point was true, and the Explorers tied the score at 7-7, on the last play of the first quarter.
  Gaymon returned Daniel Karrash's kick to the 35-yard line, and Roman would get to work. Gaymon rushed up the middle for 7 yards, tackled by DL Chris Maloney. The Cahillites were now using sophomore DL Harrison Frazier-Gibson, number 54, at 5'-9" and 255 pounds, as a blocking back, sort of a Mini-Fridge, for those of you who remember William "The Refrigerator" Perry of the Chicago Bears. The plan was working, as Gaymon went up the middle again to the La Salle 48 for a first down. RB Elijah Bolden took his turn, and rumbled up the middle for another first down to the La Salle 37. Butler then changed things up by tossing a deep throw down the left side, and WR Joey Bristow pulled it in for a first down at the La Salle 14. Gaymon then bulled his way to the three-yard line for a first and goal. Gaymon scored on the next play, but the goblins came out, and Roman was called for holding. From the 11, Butler, on play action, threw a pass on the right side to TE Matthew Galasso, but the pass was dropped. A swing pass from Butler to Gaymon misfired, and then Butler's pass to the deep left corner of the end zone was overthrown, setting up a field goal attempt. Flaherty booted a 28-yard field goal to give the Cahillites a 10-7 lead, with 9:20 left in the half.
  The pooch kick was downed on the La Salle 33. Out of the Wildcat, Brett Mallee gained just a yard. Mallee then tested the left side for two yards. On third down, LaMorte's pass was blocked, and the ensuing punt was fair-caught at the Roman 27.
  Again, the power running attack with the Mini-Fridge was utilized, and Gaymon bulled to the 35. Gaymon went to the left, but was hit immediately by soph DB Devon Smith for a two-yard loss. QB Anthony Butler fired an out pass to Jordan Haynes for a first down on the Roman 41. Gaymon gained just a yard up the middle, as DL Stephen Matchett made the stop. Then, a swing pass from to Gaymon was smothered by Colin Hirschmann and Liam Trainer for a 10-yard loss. A screen pass from Butler to Haynes was stopped for just a two-yard gain by DB Mario Varani and LB Brennan Daly, and the punt was returned to La Salle's 33, with about 4 minutes to go in the second stanza.
  Madden bolted up right tackle for 5 yards, and LaMorte, on play action, rolled right and hit FB Corbin Melle to the 44-yard line for a first down. Madden went up the middle for 7 yards, but LaMorte was sacked on a blitz by Roman's defense for an 11-yard loss. La Salle was then called for a delay of game penalty to set up a third and 19 on their own 35. LaMorte passed to Madden up the middle for 10 yards, and the Cahillites called time out, with 1:20 left to play in the half. Wells' punt was downed at the Roman 15.
  Haynes ran a jet sweep, avoided tacklers, and got out of bounds at the Roman 38. Haynes then took an inside handoff that was smelled out by Maloney for a two-yard loss. After a Roman time out, Butler ran a keeper for a loss of a yard, and the half ended, with Roman on top, 10-7, but it could have been a lot worse.
  Previous games saw La Salle come out of the locker room in a fired-up mood, and this game was no different. The kickoff was covered on the 35-yard line, and it was Madden time. Sy powered up the middle for 5 yards, and then went up left guard to midfield for a first down. Sy went up left tackle for 4 yards, and then broke tackles off the left side to the 34-yard line of Roman for a first down. Madden gained two up the middle, and then LaMorte threw a bomb down the left side to Mallee, but the pass was slightly underthrown. Madden ran a draw to the left side to the 28, and a fourth and four loomed. LaMorte rolled right, and fired a pass that was intercepted and returned to the Roman 20.
  Gaymon got the edge on the left side for a 12-yard gain and a first down. Elijah Bolden burst through a big hole in the middle for a first down at the Roman 47. Bolden went up the middle again, and gained two yards before being stopped by Whitehead. Butler hit Bristow on a slant to set up a third and one on the La Salle 44. With third and one, Butler sneaked, but didn't get a good spot, losing a yard. With fourth and two on the 45, the goblins came out in force. In shotgun formation, the center snap sailed way over the head of the 6'-4" Butler, and Gaymon tracked the ball down back on the Roman 25, where he was tackled by DB Tre McNeill. La Salle dodged a bullet, and now had the ball in great position to take the lead.
  Madden went up left guard for two. On a delay, Madden rumbled to the 18-yard line, but La Salle was again called for holding, with the penalty being enforced back to the Roman 37. Madden broke a tackle to get to the 32, but then LaMorte was hit on a blitz as he unleashed the ball. On fourth and 17, LaMorte threw a deep flag pattern to Brett Mallee, who caught the ball, but was ruled out of bounds, and the ball went over to Roman, with 4:30 left in the third period.
  Butler was banged up on the last set of downs, and Jordan Haynes came in to operate out of the Wildcat. He gained three yards on the left side, and then Roman was called for illegal procedure. Haynes then ran right, and lateraled to AJ Gaymon, but the play lost three yards. On third and 15, Butler came back in and threw a bubble screen to Bristow, who gained yardage out to the 40, two yards short of a first down. The punt was fair-caught on the La Salle 30 by Manny Quiles, with 1:53 left in the third.
  Madden's number was called on the next four plays. First, he broke tackles on the left side to gain 9 yards, and then went up the middle for a first down at the La Salle 42. He then swept the left side for another first down at the Roman 45, and then lost a yard as the Purple and Gold swarmed him. Manny Quiles lined up in the backfield, and swept the left side, but then made a great cutback, and burst free into the secondary, and he outraced the Cahillites to score on a 46-yard touchdown to shock Roman and to energize the Explorers. Wells' extra point gave La Salle their first lead, 14-10, as the third quarter ended.
  Gaymon ran the kickoff out to the 26. Gaymon gained just a yard, stopped by Trainer. But Gaymon bolted up the middle to the 42-yard line for a first down, stopped by Devon Smith. Butler, while rushed, got the ball off to Matthew Galasso, who made a twisting catch to midfield. Here, the spirits arose again. Another bad snap sailed over Butler, and Gaymon corralled the ball back at his own 30, tackled by SS Daniel Kuznetsov. On third and 22, Butler's pass misfired, and the rugby punt went off to the right and out of bounds at midfield. La Salle would be in a good position for an insurance score, with 9:10 left in regulation.
  Madden went up left guard for two, and then LaMorte rolled right and hit Mallee on his favorite pattern for a first down at Roman's 40. Madden tried right guard for two yards, but then a fumbled exchange between LaMorte and Madden was recovered by Roman on their own 45, and they now had a chance to mount a drive to take the lead, with 7:20 left in the fourth.
  Butler fired to Haynes for a 7-yard gain, with the tackle by Devon Smith. Butler then swung a screen to Haynes on the right, who broke a tackle, and then bolted into the clear, down the left sideline for a 48-yard touchdown, and Roman had the lead back. But Flaherty's line-drive extra point attempt was off to the left, and left the Cahillites with a scant 16-14 lead, with 6:33 left in the final stanza.
  This time, the pooch kick was returned, as Corbin Melle barreled his way from the 36 to midfield. Madden gained yardage on a pitch, but La Salle was in motion. On first and 15, a delayed handoff to Madden gained 6 yards. LaMorte hooked up with TE Trainer for 6 more yards, setting up a third and three on the Roman 43-yard line. On a hard count, the Cahillites jumped offsides, resulting in a first down. A deep post from LaMorte to Mallee was overthrown, and then Manny Quiles ran a jet sweep to the right with a cutback that gained 4 yards. On third and six, LaMorte flared a pass to Burnham for a three-yard gain, and a fourth and three loomed at the Roman 31. It was indeed Madden time, and Sy, with brute force, powered his way to a first down on the Roman 26. On play action, LaMorte again used Joey Burnham as an option, and Burnham motored to the 15-yard line for another first down. The clock had wound down to 2:03.
  Madden was hit immediately in the backfield for a three-yard loss, and then swept left end for two yards. With third and 11 on the 16, La Salle took a time out, with 38 seconds left. Certainly, a sack would jeopardize a field goal attempt, and they would want to get a little closer if they could. Wells showed he had a strong leg, but this was now a pressure-packed situation. La Salle took a gamble, and LaMorte's pass down to about the 5-yard line eluded Mallee, bringing up a fourth down.
  And now, all of the goblins, gremlins, and October spirits made their way onto the field.
  With 34 seconds left, Mike Wells lined up for a 33-yard field goal attempt. After a Cahillite time out to freeze Wells, the snap and hold were good, and Wells hit the ball firmly, but the ball was off to the right, and La Salle would lose for the first time to the Cahillites since 2007.
  But there was a flag on the play. Roman was called for running into the kicker, a more minor penalty than roughing the kicker. They were penalized 5 yards, and Wells would get another chance, this time from 28 yards out. Now, things would get even weirder, if you could believe it. While the head referee was heading toward the La Salle sideline to communicate with the Explorer coaches, the game was continuing behind him, as the La Salle kicking team got into formation, the ball was snapped, and Wells again nailed a strong kick. But again, the attempt was wide, the officials under the goal post signaled the kick was not good, and now Roman Catholic would get their much-anticipated win.
  No, not yet. The referee ruled that there was no play, because he didn't authorize La Salle that the ball was ready for play, and he hit La Salle for a delay of game penalty for kicking the ball!! The ball went back to the 16-yard line, and again, the Explorers would try to win the game. Well, the third time was the charm, and for the third time, the snap by Cole Lerch, and the hold, by Daniel Karrash, were perfect. And this time, Mike Wells struck the ball well, sending it down the middle of the uprights, and Ernie Gallagher and his fellow official raised their hands, followed by about a thousand pairs of hands on the La Salle side of the field. With 25 seconds to go, La Salle was now ahead, 17-16.
  The goblins now left the field, their job done. La Salle would bottle up the Cahillites in their own end, and the game ended with a most unusual La Salle victory, 17-16.

La Salle 7 0 7 3 17
Roman Catholic 7 3 0 6 16
RC: AJ Gaymon 4 run (Ryan Flaherty kick)
LS: Syaire Madden 18 run (Mike Wells kick)
RC: Flaherty 28 field goal
LS: Manny Quiles 46 run (Wells kick)
RC: Jordan Haynes 48 pass from Anthony Butler (kick failed)

Game 8, October 22, 2016: St. Joseph’s Prep 63 – La Salle 35

Hawks Make Swift Work of Explorers, 63-35

  Well, it really wasn't swift work, but it was sure work by Swift. And if I told you that La Salle would score 28 points in the second half, you may have had some hope. But D'Andre Swift was a one-man wrecking crew, as his 7 touchdowns led St. Joseph's to a 63-35 victory over the injury-riddled Explorers.
  The 63 points scored by St. Joseph's was the most ever scored against La Salle. The 1951 squad lost to the Cahillites of Roman Catholic, 60-6, for the previous record.
Also, the 98 points scored by both teams eclipsed the previous record of 80 points set two years ago when La Salle outslugged DeMatha, 41-39.
  The game conditions were cold, rainy, and very windy to start, and the first few minutes of play seemed to succumb to the weather, but after that, the teams overcame any weather issues, and kept the scoreboard lighting up like a old pinball machine. Here's how it unfolded:
  Again, for the 8th straight game, La Salle won the toss, and elected to defer to the second half.
  La Salle took the wind, which was more cross-wind, to kick off, and Mike Wells' kick to the 5-yard line was returned by Richard Carr all the way to the Prep 49 yard stripe. Faking off the jet sweep, QB Marquez McCray fired a pass to TE Jack Crossed, who dropped the ball. Using a no-huddle offense all game, McCray then handed the ball to D'Andre Swift, but the ball popped loose, and LB Liam Trainer recovered for La Salle at their own 49. A great break to start the game, but short-lived, as on the first play from scrimmage, QB Tom LaMorte handed off to WR Manny Quiles on a jet sweep, but Quiles thought it was an option-read that LaMorte would keep, and the ball came loose, and was scooped up by Prep DB Rayshad Wallace, who waltzed into the end zone from 42 yards out. The extra point was made by Prep K Anthony Tigano, and with only 22 seconds gone in the game, after two recovered fumbles, St. Joseph's burst on top with a 7-0 lead.
  The Prep kickoff was a liner that went out of bounds, and La Salle, instead of taking the ball at their 35-yard line, chose to have the Hawks kick again with a 5-yard penalty. It was worth the gamble, but the ensuing pooch kick was returned by DB Tre McNeill from the 25 to the 33-yard line. Out of the pistol, LaMorte handed off on a jet sweep to the left to WR Brett Mallee, who gained 3 yards. On second down, RB Syaire Madden went up right tackle for no gain. On third down, the Hawks encroached, and would present La Salle with a third and two at the Explorer 41. With an empty backfield, LaMorte sailed a deep pass down the left side, and soph WR Brett Mallee made an extraordinary leaping finger-tip catch down to the Prep 30. A quick bubble screen on the left side was almost intercepted. Under center, LaMorte handed off to Madden, who was hit immediately, but broke loose for 6 yards up the middle. On third down, the jet sweep to Quiles gained a first down, but La Salle was called for holding. Now it was third and 12. Quiles swept the left side, and found a lane down the left side with some great seal blocking for a first and goal at the Prep 8-yard line. Madden went up left guard to the 6-yard line. Again, Madden chose left guard to get down to the 1-yard line. On third down, Madden took the ball one more time, and was stopped short of the goal line to set up a fourth down. La Salle was going for it, but Madden was stuffed up the middle at the ½-yard line, and the Hawk defense held. But their offense was 99 1/2 yards from the La Salle end zone.
  McCray snuck up the middle for about 4 yards. With no huddle, McCray handed off to RB Christian Waller, who broke outside to the 25-yard line for a first down. Swift went off right tackle to the 33-yard line, as Trainer and DL Garrett Zobel combined for the tackle. McCray found a wide-open TE Jack Crossed on play action, and the Prep notched a first down at the La Salle 33-yard line. On the next play, Swift took the ball, moved to the outside, and bolted down the field for a 33-yard touchdown. The extra point made it 14-0 Prep, with 4:32 left in the first. As has happened in many recent years, La Salle would have an uphill battle against the Hawks.
  Quiles returned the kickoff to his own 23-yard line. Quiles went wide left and cut back, but was stopped for no gain. With an empty backfield, LaMorte avoided a rush but his flare pass to Madden was short. On third down, LaMorte made a quick throw to Madden, who was bumped out of bounds on a 2-yard gain. Wells' punt with the wind was a high spiral, and the punt rolled down to the Prep 19-yard line where it was downed.
  McCray handed off to Waller for a two-yard gain, with tackles by Trainer and DL Stephen Matchett. LB Austin Lemke stopped the next run for no gain. McCray started to scramble up the middle, then spotted WR Khari Jones down the right side, who ran the ball inside the La Salle 40-yard line. From the 39, Waller raced up the middle to the 21-yard line. Swift went up the middle, broke to the left side, and scored from 21 yards out. The kick was good, and the Hawks held a commanding 21-0 lead with 1:51 left in the first.
  Quiles had a nice return to the La Salle 39. A quick out to Mallee was complete, and Mallee avoided the first tackler to gain a first down at the La Salle 49. Madden went up the middle for about 3 yards. Madden went off the right side, broke a tackle, looked like he was down, but kept going to the Prep 34-yard line for a first down. A delay to Madden had him break to the outside and go out of bounds for a 6-yard gain. A crossing pattern over the middle from LaMorte to Liam Trainer got the Explorers a first down at the Hawk 21-yard line on the last play of the first quarter, with the Prep leading, 21-0.
  Madden went up the middle and was hit hard, but he powered his way to the 13. Madden went off left tackle, went outside, was hit, but bolted into the end zone for a La Salle touchdown. Mike Wells hit the extra point, and with 11:21 left in the half, the Prep lead was cut to 21-7.
  La Salle's Wells kicked a low line drive kick, and Terrance Greene picked it up on the right side. He tried to sweep to the left, but LB Brennan Daly nailed him on the 5-yard line with a good tackle. McCray ran a QB draw for 7 yards up the middle, with tackle by SS Jason Kessler. Waller was stopped for no gain up the middle. La Salle was then called for offsides to set up a third and one at the 18. Swift gained a first down off left tackle to the 21. Waller went up left tackle to the 26, as DL Tyler Whitehead made the hit. On an option read, McCray was stopped for no gain by DL Chris Maloney. With third and 6, McCray was stopped on a scramble short of a first down, but La Salle was called for a horse-collar tackle, and St. Joseph's gained a first down to their own 44-yard line. A fake handoff to Swift and a bomb to WR Darryle Simmons from McCray was too long. A fake screen to the right and a screen to the left was incomplete. McCray scrambled up the middle, but was stopped a yard short of the first down at the La Salle 47. No doubt the Prep would go for it, and McCray's sneak gained two yards and a first down at the La Salle 45. A double reverse featuring Swift, followed by a flea flicker, got the ball back to Swift, who gained just two yards on the "Harry High School" play. An option read up the middle by McCray was stopped by Zobel and Maloney for a 3-yard gain. A quick out to Greene was broken up by DB Mario Varani. Richard Carr dropped back in punt formation, but he instead swept the right side, was boxed in, but somehow got through for a first down to the La Salle 27. An end around to Carr gained nothing, as LB Corbin Melle made the stop. Swift went up right guard to the La Salle 19, as LB Daniel Kuznetsov stopped the great back. Swift went up the middle for just a yard or so, but it was just enough for a first down on the 17. On first down, McCray's QB draw got to the 11, as Whitehead made the tackle. Swift took the handoff, got off to the left side, and followed a clear path into the end zone for his third TD. The extra point made it 28-7 with 4:34 left in the half.
  The kickoff sailed into the end zone. A draw to Madden was stuffed for no gain. Madden went off the left side through a big hole, and ran over a defender to get out to the La Salle 42. Madden swept the left side, using a stiff-arm, and got another first down to the Prep 44. A fake screen to the right, and screen left was passed right to Prep DL Ryan Bryce, who returned the interception to the Prep 48.
  On play action, McCray's deep pass was overthrown. Swift was hit immediately in the backfield by a blitzing Tom Flavin and Chris Maloney for a 2-yard loss. A bomb down the right side to Darryle Simmons resulted in pass interference on La Salle, resulting in a Prep first down at the La Salle 29. With 3:02 left in the half, Swift went off left tackle to the 25, as Whitehead made another tackle. McCray threw a deep flag pattern to the left, but the pass was overthrown. With an empty backfield, McCray was bootlegging left, but Maloney and DL Colin Hirschmann tossed him for a 6-yard loss. On fourth and 12, McCray threw behind Swift across the middle, and La Salle would take over on downs.
  LaMorte scrambled up the middle for 4 yards to the La Salle 35. LaMorte threw the ball away on a rollout right, but he was flagged for intentional grounding. The penalty was back to the La Salle 23, as a third and 18 loomed. A quick out to Mallee resulted in a short gain of 4 yards, and La Salle would have to punt. Wells' punt was a wobbler, picked up by Greene, and was tackled by long-snapper Cole Lerch.
  With 1:16 left at their own 35, McCray threw a screen to Khari Jones, and LB Austin Lemke stopped him for a 3-yard gain. A quick out to Swift got a first down at the 45, with about a minute to go. McCray avoided a blitz and threw the ball out of bounds beyond Swift. A draw to Swift was stopped for a short gain of four. With third and 6 at the Prep 49, a deep pass from McCray hit Terrance Greene on the run for a 51-yard TD. The extra point was good, and the Prep held a 35-7 lead with just 21 seconds to go in the half.
  A nubbing kick was covered by Seamus Heckard at the La Salle 45. A draw to Madden gained 8 yards, but that was the last play of the half, and the Hawks enjoyed a 35-7 lead going into the locker room.
  La Salle received the second half kickoff, and Quiles got through a lane up the middle to the La Salle 37. Mallee took a jet sweep to the right, made a nice cutback, and got a first down to the Prep 49. Madden was hit immediately for a three-yard loss by DE Chris Lowndes. Madden went up the middle and gained 6 yards to the Prep 46. On third down, LaMorte underthrew WR Tom Flavin as he was blitzed hard. On fourth down, La Salle would go for it. LaMorte's pass up the middle was intercepted by DB Ricky Goodson, but the Prep was flagged for holding, and La Salle's drive had new life with a first down at the Hawk 36. La Salle had a little better tempo this half. LaMorte hit FB Joey Burnham on a flare pass on the right side for a first down to the 24, and then the Prep was hit for a personal foul to move the ball to the 12. Madden had made a great block on a blitzer. Madden then swept left, turned it up the field, and plowed into the end zone for a touchdown. Wells' extra point made it 35-14, Prep, with 9:26 left in the third.
  La Salle's onsides kick was muffed by the Prep, and DB Luke Sabia recovered the ball on the Prep 38. On a draw, Madden broke a tackle, veered to the right, and gained 9 yards to the 29. Madden was hit immediately by Ryan Bryce for a loss of two. On third down, a quick out was dropped. Fourth and three, and LaMorte made a fine pass on a slant in to Mallee, who moved up the field just short of the goal line for a first and goal. The Prep jumped offsides on first down for a short penalty. LaMorte handed off to up back Joey Burnham for a touchdown up the middle. Wells' boot was true, and with 8:14 left in the third, La Salle closed to within 35-21.
  With everyone on Prep up for another onsides kick, Wells' booted the ball into the end zone. McCray rolled right and completed a short pass to Khari Jones, who was stopped by Devon Smith. But Swift took the ball up the middle on the next play, going through a big hole, and breezed down the field and into the end zone from 76 yards out for his fourth TD. The extra point made it 42-21, with 7:41 left in the third.
  Quiles returned the kickoff to the La Salle 30. A LaMorte pass over the middle to Quiles was complete to the 40 for a first down. Madden went up left tackle to the 49 for a 9-yard gain. Mallee's jet sweep this time got a first down at midfield. With an empty backfield, LaMorte threw over the middle just out of the reach of Quiles. Madden went left, cut back, but backside help stopped him for no gain. On third down, LaMorte was sacked by a Prep blitz, but a flag was thrown. St. Joseph's was called just for a sideline warning, and La Salle would have to punt from their own 41. Wells' wobbler was returned by Terrance Greene, but Joey Burnham made a sure tackle. The Prep was called for holding on the play, and they would start their drive on their own 20, with 4:42 left in the third.
  On an option read, McCray raced for a first down on the 31. Khari Jones went off left tackle to the 38. Swift went off the left side, broke free, and beat the La Salle defenders down the field for a 62-yard TD, his fifth of the game. Tigano's seventh extra point attempt was good again, and the Hawks led, 49-21, with 3:47 still left in the interminable third period.
  Quiles and Mallee both went for the kickoff, and Mallee returned the ball just to the 20. A play action pass from LaMorte to Mallee did not connect. Quiles lost a yard off the right side. On third down, LaMorte hit Quiles over the middle on a crossing pattern to the 28; Quiles was hurt on the play and did not return. On fourth and two, La Salle would again go for it. Out of an I-formation, LaMorte faked a handoff to Madden and hit Burnham for a first down, and St. Joseph's was hit for yet another personal foul on a late hit. With a first down on the La Salle 48, Madden went up left guard, broke to the right, and was hit from behind; the ball popped out but rolled out of bounds at the Prep 40. A quick slant in to Mallee gained to the 30 and another first down. A draw to Madden was stuffed by a blitz, losing 4 yards. Mallee ran a jet sweep again to the left, and gained 6 yards to the 28. On third down, LaMorte threw a pass over the middle that did not connect with WR Tre McNeill. On fourth and eight, LaMorte threw a flare pass in the middle to FB Corbin Melle, who fought for a first down to the 15. A fade pattern from LaMorte to Mallee resulted in a touchdown, as Mallee reached up with one hand to corral the ball as the Prep defender interfered with him. Wells' kick was good, and with 6 seconds left in the third, La Salle was now trailing 49-28.
  A pooch kick was fair caught by Prep, but the receiver was tackled by a La Salle special-teamer, and the penalty brought the ball out to the Prep 40. The third quarter ended on a Swift run for a short gain, with a tackle by LB Austin Lemke. McCray passed to Greene on a quick out for a short gain. On a third and one, McCray snuck for another first down to the La Salle 48. McCray was stopped in the backfield on an option read. The Prep was now running down the clock to 5 seconds on the play clock, and would rush to the line and quickly snap the ball. Jones ran right up the middle to La Salle's 25. McCray hit Greene for another first down. McCray scrambled up the middle on a play action and got a first and goal at the three. With Swift in the backfield, he took the ball and went right over left tackle for his sixth TD. The point after was good, and Prep led 56-28, with 9:47 left.
  Mike Shragher returned the kickoff out to the La Salle 21. Mallee's jet sweep left gained three yards. Out of the I-formation, Madden ran the left side, made a nice cutback, broke some tackles, and got out to the 40 for a first down. An inside counter to Madden off a fake jet sweep to Mallee gained two yards. A play action was complete to TE Harry Scanlon for a good gain to the Prep 30 and a first down. Madden swept the right side, cut back, and gained to the 25. A roll left and a pass to Tre McNeill gained another first down to the 13. Madden swept the right side, stiff-armed a would-be tackler, and scored from 13 yards out for his third touchdown. A great day for the great La Salle back, but overshadowed by the mega-day of the Hawks' Swift. Wells' kick brought the score to 56-35, Prep, with 6:33 left.
  La Salle's pooch kick was caught on the run by Greene, and returned to the Prep 33. Swift went up left guard for three yards, with tackles by Whitehead and Kuznetsov. Swift bounced out to the right, and gained good yardage, but was stopped from behind by LB Brennan Daly to the La Salle 33. Swift gained 4 yards before being tackled by Liam Trainer. Jones went up left tackle for 4 yards, with Daly making another stop. McCray threw a deep pass to Darryle Simmons that was overthrown, but La Salle was flagged for a holding call, and the Prep would have a first down at the Explorer 15. Jone was stopped at the line of scrimmage by Trainer. Jones found some room up the middle for 3. On third down, a pass to Simmons on a slant-in was blocked by Kuznetsov. On a fourth and 7, Swift re-entered the game into an inside position on a trips right. McCray would find Swift on a slant-in over the middle for a 12-yard touchdown. It was Swift's seventh touchdown of the game. The point after was good, and the Prep's lead was now 63-35, with 2:56 left.
  The Prep received another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and would kick from their own 25. The kickoff was returned by Mallee from the 12 out to the 40. Madden swept the left side, followed Burnham's good block, and got to the Prep 35. Madden swept way out right, and got inside the 30, but La Salle was caught for holding.    Madden came out of the game at this point. The ball was set back to the Prep 47. Burnham went up the middle for a short gain of two, but a flag in the secondary was yet another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Prep. From the 29, Burnham was hit for a one-yard loss. Danny Solecki was now in at quarterback. Solecki was sacked on an option-read back to the 33. On third down, Solecki rolled left and ran out of bounds for an 8-yard gain. On fourth down and six, Solecki hit Scanlon to the 15 for a first down. On the last play of the game, Solecki hit WR Peter Nelson over the middle for a 9-yard game to the six.
  St. Joseph's Prep, behind their Georgia-bound star D'Andre Swift's 7 touchdowns, defeated La Salle, 56-35, despite Syaire Madden's 3 scores.

Game 9, October 29, 2016: Archbishop Wood 31 – La Salle 8

by the Ghost of Paul Prep

Wood Burns La Salle On Big Plays, 31-8

  In a battle for second place in the Catholic League Red Division, the Vikings capitalized on some big plays to handle the injury-plagued Explorers, 31-8, in the regular season finale for both teams.

  Here's how it went down:

  Wood won the coin toss, and elected to receive. Leroy Pendleton returned the kickoff to the 18-yard line, tackled by Luke Sabia. Jack Colyar was at quarterback, a soph transfer from La Salle. He threw a quick out to the right side to WR Raheem Blackshear for a first down at the 29. Out of a pistol all night, Colyar threw another quick out to Blackshear, but the pass did not connect. A jet sweep by Nasir Peoples was stopped for a one-yard gain by DL Garrett Zobel. On third and nine, Colyar rolled right, threw deep, but the ball was thrown out of bounds, and Wood would have to punt. Shawn Thompson of the Vikings punted a floater that rolled out of bounds at the La Salle 38.

  The Explorers, depleted with key injuries to offensive threats Troy Holland and Manny Quiles, would turn to their workhorse, RB Syaire Madden. Madden swept right but was hemmed in for just a yard gain. In the pistol, QB Tom LaMorte handed off to Madden up left tackle, but gang tackling by the Vikings limited Sy to 4 yards. Out of an I-formation, LaMorte, on play action, threw low to the right side to FB Joey Burnham, and the Blue and Gold would punt. Mike Wells sent a wobbler down field, and the ball would be downed at the Wood 29, where the Viking lightning would strike immediately.

  Colyar took the pistol snap and immediately floated a deep pass down the right sideline. The Viking star receiver, 6'-3" Mark Webb, caught the ball in stride for a 71-yard touchdown. Dan Zanine's extra point made it 7-0, Wood, with 9:45 left in the first period.

  Zanine's kickoff was a pooch kick that was returned to the 33 by Tre McNeill. Madden ran up the middle for a two-yard gain, testing the formidable Viking defensive interior. A quick out to the left from LaMorte to WR Brett Mallee gained four. On third and four, LaMorte rolled right and overthrew Mallee, but Wood was called for defensive holding, giving La Salle a first down at La Salle's 49. Madden swept the right side and found a lane, getting to the Wood 40 for another first down. The Explorers were increasing the tempo. LaMorte threw a deep pass to an open Brett Mallee down the middle which was just out of the soph's reach. Out of an I-formation, Madden went up the middle, gaining just a yard. On third and nine, LaMorte hit TE Harry Scanlon over the middle, and Scanlon fought to the 25-yard line for another Blue and Gold first down. Madden swept left tackle and gained to the 20-yard line for a 5-yard gain. Madden went up the middle but was hit from behind on a shoestring tackle, gaining two yards. On third and three, Madden turned up the left sideline, being an initial tackler, and got a first down inside the ten, but then the Explorers were called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play, setting them back to the Wood 28. On first and ten, Madden swept off right tackle for three yards. LaMorte threw out to the left beyond Scanlon. On third and three, a bubbled screen to the right to Mallee was smelled out by the Vike defense for a three-yard loss. On fourth down and ten, LaMorte threw out to the right to Mallee, but Mark Webb jumped the route and intercepted the ball at the Wood 19, and the Vikings took over. La Salle's long drive did not result in points.

  Colyar pitched right to Shawn Thompson, who gained 7 yards before being stopped by DL Colin Hirschmann. Colyar, with 4 receivers on the left side, threw Webb on the right, who got up the sideline to the Wood 38 for a first down. In the same formation, a quick out to Raheem Blackshear gained 10 more yards and a first down, but could have been a much longer gain if not stopped by DB Seamus Heckard. Thompson ran up the middle for 5, as Daniel Kuznetsov made the hit. Again, four receivers on the left, and another quick pass on the left to Blackshear, following his flanker/blockers, got down to the La Salle 37 with a stop by DB Sean Daly. Thompson was hit by LB Austin Lemke on another run up the middle for two yards. On third and five, Colyar, rolling right, was sacked by DL Chris Maloney for a ten-yard loss, ending the first quarter, with Wood leading, 7-0.

  On fourth and 14, the Viking punt was a wobbler that rolled into the end zone for a touchback. La Salle, missing several of their weapons, would start again on hopefully a long drive. Madden, deep in the backfield behind LaMorte, went up the left side, and had to lunge forward to get three tough yards. On a fake jet sweep, and a screen back to the other side, LaMorte's pass was deflected and almost intercepted. On third and seven, a pass over the middle to FB Corbin Melle on a quick crossing pattern got a first down at the 30. Out of the I, on play action, LaMorte threw deep left, but Melle couldn't get out to that spot. Madden ran up the middle but was hit immediately, lunging ahead for two. On third and eight, LaMorte, scooping up a low snap, couldn't connect with TE Liam Trainer over the middle, forcing a punt. Mike Wells' punt rolled down to the Wood 22-yard line, with 9:53 left in the half.

  With a full backfield that shifted out to an I, a pitch to Blackshear gained a first down out to the 33. Colyar passed to TE Bill Shaeffer on a crossing route that misfired. Wood was called for procedure before the snap of the next play. Thompson rumbled up the middle for three, stopped by Lemke. On third and twelve, Colyar threw out to the left, but the pass was deflected by Hirschmann, forcing a punt. The low line drive punt was allowed to roll down to the Explorer 12, pinning them back in the shadows of their end zone.

  Madden tried the left side, fighting for a tough 4 yards through the Wood tacklers. Again, Madden took the ball, and got 4 yards up the middle. On third and two, Wood was looking for Madden again, and he was gang-tackled up the middle for a two-yard loss. Wells' punt was fair-caught by Blackshear at the La Salle 46-yard line, with 6:20 left in the second quarter.

  With good field position, Colyar, under center, pitched left to Blackshear, who was boxed in by LB Brennan Daly for a short gain, but La Salle would accept a chop block penalty against the Vikings, sending them back to their own 39-yard line. A quick out to TE Kyle Pitts gained 9 yards, as Pitts fell down after cutting to the middle of the field. A quick out right to Blackshear was wide and low. On third and 16, Colyar faked the jet sweep, and he threw deep to Webb down near the goal line, but the pass was overthrown. Wood's punt was a knuckler that was fair-caught by Tre McNeill on the 7. Another long way to go for the Explorers.

  Madden ran left, cut back right, and nudged forward to the ten. Madden ran left and was hemmed in again for just three yards. On third and four, LaMorte threw a quick pass to Mallee on the left side, but the pass fell short. Wells' punt had a great turn on it, but the bounce was favorable to the Vikes, and was downed at the La Salle 49, with 3:42 left in the half.

  Colyar handed the ball to Blackshear, who swept the left side, broke an early tackle, and broke free to score from 49 yards out. Zanine's extra point was good, and Wood was in command at 14-0, with 3:30 left in the half. The Vikings were like a time bomb waiting to go off.

  A low kick was picked up by Liam Tatlonghari, who brought the ball out to the La Salle 23. Mallee ran a jet sweep to the left, but Wood was stringing that play out, and Mallee just gained a yard. LaMorte, on play action, threw over the middle to Mallee for a 4-yard gain. On third and five, LaMorte was blitzed, but he made a good pass to Corbin Melle in the right flat, and Melle fought for a first down to the 37. With under 1:40 left, Madden swept the left side, and cut up to the 42 for a 5-yard gain. On play action, LaMorte scrambled up the middle for a first down at the 47. LaMorte hit Scanlon over the middle for a 5-yard gain, and with 41 seconds to go, the Explorers took their last time out. LaMorte threw out to the left wide of Mallee. On third and five, LaMorte passed over the middle to Melle on a drag pattern, and the senior fought for a first down at the Wood 43. LaMorte then spiked the ball with 29 seconds to go. LaMorte's out pass to Mallee was wide. On third and 10, a quick pass to Scanlon was complete, but he was hit immediately for a three-yard gain. With the clock running out, LaMorte threw a Hail Mary that was intercepted by Nasir Peoples, who was tackled to end the half. La Salle was facing an uphill battle to get back in this game, led by Wood at half, 14-0.

  La Salle would start the second half on their own 20 as Wood's kickoff went into the end zone.

  (NOTE: at this point, I dropped my recorder from the top of the stands down through an opening to the ground under the stands. I went right to the top, and got Bob "Sinatra" Moran, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of La Salle, and a classmate, to race down under the stands and retrieve the recorder. I went to pen and paper for a few plays until I got the recorder back. Thanks, Frank, uh, Bob!)

  Madden was thrown back for a six-yard loss, and then LaMorte was sacked for a five-yard loss. On third and 19, Madden ran a delay for 12 yards to the 23-yard line, where La Salle would punt. Wells' kick was downed at the 40-yard line.

  Out of the I, Blackshear ran for 7 yards to the left. Blackshear gained two yards, stopped by Zobel and Maloney. On third down and a short one to go, Colyar sneaked for the first down at the La Salle 48. Out of the I again, FB George Mazzacano went up the middle for three, with Maloney on the tackle. A pitch left was pinched off by LB Brennan Daly, and Kuznetsov made the tackle for no gain. On third and seven, a swing pass to the left in a trips formation to Webb was stuffed for a two-yard loss, and Wood punted again. Tre McNeill was tackled at his own 8-yard line, and a block in the back penalty sent La Salle back to their own 4-yard line.

  On first down deep in their own end, La Salle would open up, and LaMorte threw deep down the left side, and Brett Mallee adjusted to make a great back-shoulder catch all the way out to the La Salle 44 for the first big play for the Blue and Gold. Madden gained three up the middle. On play action, a bubble screen attempt was batted down again. On third and seven, Melle caught a pass from LaMorte, but gained just a yard. Wells' punt was fair-caught at the Wood 22.

  The first down play was a disaster for Wood, as the snap went over Colyar's head, and was covered by the Vikings on the 6. Thompson skirted the left end and got all the way out to the 30, but Wood was flagged for holding, bringing the ball back to the 5. Mazzacano ran up the middle and was stopped by Lemke and Zobel at the 9. On third and 23, a draw was stopped at the 11 by Tre McNeill, forcing another Wood punt. A nice high punt was fair-caught at the La Salle 46, with 2:08 left in the third stanza.

  A quick out to Mallee gained good yardage after the catch, out to the Wood 43 for a first down. Upping the tempo, FB Melle went up the middle, battering his way to the 38. A pass over the middle to Melle was broken up. On third and five, LaMorte handed off to Madden, who was hit immediately, and he fumbled. LB Tyler Smith scooped the ball up and returned it to the La Salle 37 to put Wood in great shape. Colyar threw a slant over the middle to TE Kyle Pitts, and Lemke made the tackle at the La Salle 21 for a first down. Out of the I, a pitch to Blackshear got down to the 13, as the third quarter ended, with Wood maintaining their 14-0 lead, but driving.

  Out of the I, Blackshear was hit immediately in the backfield by Kuznetsov. On third and seven after the 5-yard loss, Colyar rolled right but pitched to Nasir Peoples on an end around to the left, and he got down to the 13-yard line. On a fourth and two, Coach Devlin went for a field goal, and Zanine split the uprights from 30 yards out to give the Vikings a three-score, 17-0 lead with 10:48 left in the fourth period.

  Another pooch kick by Zanine to the 18-yard line, and Melle returned the ball to the 27. LaMorte rolled right, and threw over the middle to Mallee, but the pass was a little low. LaMorte passed to Trainer on a slant pattern, but the pass sailed wide as Trainer was tied up with his defender. On third and 10, LaMorte rolled right, and was hit as he threw to Mallee, and the pass was incomplete. Wells' punt was fielded by Blackshear on the Wood 35, and he got out to the 41 before being tackled by Lemke and Trainer.

  Out of the I, Thompson rumbled out for 6 yards to the 47, stopped by Kuznetsov. Thompson went off the right side, and was hit immediately by Thompson and Maloney for a loss of two. On third and six, Colyar pitched to Blackshear, who bobbled the pitch, but was able to control the ball and turn the left corner, gaining a first down at the La Salle 45. Mazzacano plunged up the middle for 3 yards, as Brennan Daly stopped the Viking fullback. Thompson got outside of left tackle, broke to the outside, and went down the sideline for a 42-yard TD, and Zanine's extra point made it 24-0, Wood, with 7:41 left.

  Melle returned the pooch kick to the 30. LaMorte rolled right and threw to Melle on a drag route, and Melle moved the ball out to the La Salle 49 for a first down. On play action, LaMorte threw outside on a big rush to avoid the sack. Madden swept right, got a good seal block, and he scampered to the Viking 30 for a first down. LaMorte threw deep to Mallee, who again caught the ball on the back shoulder for a great reception to the 6-yard line for a first and goal. LaMorte missed Mallee inside the 5-yard line with a first down pass. Madden swept left, cut back, but could only get to the line of scrimmage for no gain. On third and goal at the 6, on play action, LaMorte's pass was nearly intercepted, as the Wood defender dropped the ball upon collision with Harry Scanlon. On fourth and goal, LaMorte found Tre McNeill on a quick skinny post in the end zone for a touchdown to get La Salle on the board. On the two-point try, LaMorte rolled right, and threw back left into the end zone to Liam Trainer to make the score 24-8, with 6:09 left.

  La Salle tried an onsides kick, but Wood recovered at their own 46. Trainer and Kuznetsov held the Wood runner for a one-yard gain on first down. Colyar rolled right and completed a pass to Kyle Pitts on a crisp throw for a first down to the Explorer 38. Thompson, as the up back, went up the middle for 7 yards. After a delay of game penalty against the Vikings, Blackshear went up the middle, broke out to the left, and scored from 36 yards out. Zanine made it 31-8 with his extra point, with 3:53 left.

  Another pooch kick was returned by Melle with more success, as he returned it out to the 38. Danny Solecki took over at quarterback, and his first pass was dropped by Joe Ciccimaro. On second down, Solecki rolled right, was sacked, and fumbled, but the Explorers recovered back at their own 27. On third and 21, a draw play to Tatlonghari got out to the 31. Wells' punt was fair caught at the Wood 34.

  Jake Ross took over for the Vikes at QB. RB Eric Bauer was hit immediately for a one-yard gain. Bauer again ran the ball up the middle and got to the 42. On third down, Bauer went up the middle again, and got a first down, as the game ended.

  Archbishop Wood, behind four big plays, defeated La Salle, 31-8, on Senior Night at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School.

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Game 10, November 4, 2016: La Salle 34 – Father Judge 21 (PIAA 1st round)

Judge Goes Toe-To-Toe With Explorers Before Succumbing, 34-21

In a first-round PIAA playoff game at Plymouth-Whitemarsh, the Father Judge Crusaders gave La Salle a scare, before the Explorers finally pulled away in the fourth quarter, 34-21. Here’s how the game went:

Father Judge deferred to the second half, and La Salle would receive the ball to start. The kickoff was returned by WR Brett Mallee to the 25. QB Tom LaMorte faked a handoff to RB Syaire Madden, and completed a short pass in the left flat to Malle for a 5-yard gain. Madden then went off right tackle for a yard. On third and four, LaMorte, on play action, rolled right and found TE Liam Trainer up to midfield for a first down. Madden swept left end for a yard, and on the next play, Judge jumped offsides on a hard count. LaMorte, out of the pistol, handed off to Madden, who cut to the left for a first down at the Judge 38. Madden again tested the left side, and got 7 yards. LaMorte gave the ball to Madden on a draw, which lost a yard. On third-and-six, LaMorte scrambled up the middle, broke to the left, and found open field all the way into the end zone. The 32-yard scamper, along with Mike Wells’ PAT, allowed the Explorers to draw first blood, 7-0, with 7:13 left in the opening quarter.

Daniel Karrash’s kickoff sailed into the end zone, and the Crusaders would start from their 20. QB Robert King handed off to RB Tim Weldon, who tested the left side of the Explorer defense, and DL Garrett Zobel, along with others, stopped the Judge runner for a yard. La Salle then lined up offsides before the next play. King, on an option read, ran outside right tackle, but DL Chris Maloney was waiting for him for a short gain. On third and three, King, scrambling to buy some time, found WR Justin Gies over the middle on a short crossing pattern, and Gies raced over to the left and down the sideline into La Salle territory at the 40-yard line for a first down. LB Liam Trainer tackled Weldon for a two-yard gain. King dropped back into the pocket, and was hit by Chris Maloney just as he released the ball, and the play was ruled an incompletion. On third and eight, King passed deep down the left sideline for WR Jeremy Smith, but DB Sean Daly broke up the pass at the goal line. On fourth down, Judge would punt, and the punt bounced into WR Tre McNeill’s hands at the 12 where he was tackled.

LaMorte’s pass over the middle to Mallee did not connect. Madden swept the right side, and gained nine yards, helped out by a great seal block by FB Joey Burnham. On third and one, LaMorte would try a sneak, but before the snap La Salle was called for procedure. LaMorte’s third down pass to Mallee sailed just too high, and La Salle would have to punt. Wells’ punt was fair-caught at the Explorer 46, where Judge would start a drive to paydirt.

Tim Weldon went through a good hole off left tackle for a nine-yard gain before being stopped by Trainer. Weldon got the first down, testing the right side, to the 35. King, making a great decision on an option read, kept the ball to the 26. Weldon found running room off the right side to the 16 for another Judge first down. King looked like he had running room on the left side on another option read, but LB Brennan Daly caught him from behind at the 13. King threw out into the right flat to WR Steve Arrington, who got down to the six for a first and goal. Weldon was stopped for a yard gain by SS Daniel Kuznetsov on the last play of the first quarter. King then kept the ball, looked like he was jammed up by the La Salle line, but somehow snaked through and into the end zone for a touchdown. K Colton Lieggi sent a knuckler over the crossbar to tie the game at 7-7, with 11:53 left in the half.

Tre McNeill made a nice return out to the 31, where La Salle would start. Madden, on a nice little counter, gained 7 yards. A draw by Madden netted only a yard. On third and two, LaMorte’s draw out of the pistol just made the first down at the 41. A quick look-in from LaMorte to McNeill got the ball into Judge territory at the 47 for another first down. On a wonderfully designed play, Madden, out of the left slot, ran across LaMorte’s fake handoff on a jet sweep, and then LaMorte handed off on an end around to the left to WR Octavious Carter, who bolted down the left side to the Judge 12, but to no avail. La Salle was called for holding downfield, sending the ball back to the Crusader 49. Madden was hemmed in on the left side, and gained three on second effort. He then swept the right side for a yard. On third and eight, LaMorte rolled left, but was sacked for a two-yard loss. Wells’ punt was fair-caught at the Judge 12, and a holding call would have the Crusaders start their drive at their own 6.

Out of the I, King handed off to Weldon up the middle, but Zobel stuffed the play for no gain. King, now out of the pistol, handed again to Weldon, where he was stopped immediately on a high-low tackle by DL Tyler Whitehead and Trainer. On third and ten, King threw a deep pass down the left side, and WR Steve Arrington made a spectacular leaping catch, but Arrington was flagged for offensive interference. Now on third and thirteen at the Judge 3, King’s handoff to Weldon was stopped again for no gain, this time by Kuznetsov. Judge’s fourth down punt was downed at their own 47, with 5:36 left in the half.

La Salle’s defense would provide their offense with a chance to take the lead, and LaMorte wasted no time by firing a skinny post deep to WR Tre McNeill, who took the ball down to the Judge 13. On another cleverly designed play, LaMorte faked a handoff to Madden to the right, rolled slightly left, and hit FB Joey Burnham with a flare pass. Burnham followed his blockers down the left side and into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown to retake the lead. Wells’ extra point made it 14-7 La Salle at the 5:12 mark. A quick strike, but the Crusaders had plenty of time to even things up.

Wells’ kickoff went out of bounds, and Judge would mount a drive from their own 35 to try to tie the score. WR Arrington ran a jet sweep to the left, avoiding a backfield tackle, and gained 11 to the 46. Weldon went up the middle for five, tackled by DL Colin Hirschmann. Weldon powered his way to another first down to the La Salle 44. King’s keeper, showing speed around the right side, was for another 10 yards and a first down to the 34. Judge was on the move. But, on an option read, King was hemmed in and thrown for a big loss of 11 yards by Hirschmann. King’s deep pass was broken up by DB’s Devon Smith and Sean Daly. On third and 21, King’s deep pass to Gies was underthrown, and Judge would have to punt after incurring a procedure penalty. The punt would roll down to the 15, but somehow a La Salle player touched the ball, getting too close, and Judge would recover at the 15 with a golden gift opportunity to tie the game near the end of the half.

And that’s what they did. King passed deep into the end zone, but Jeremy Smith couldn’t come up with a diving catch. On an option read, Robert King made some good moves to get outside, and some additional moves to get into the end zone for a touchdown from 15 yards out. But there was laundry on the field, and the Crusader touchdown was negated by a holding penalty. With the ball set at the 27, King went deep on a post to Jeremy Smith, who leaped above the La Salle defenders in the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown. The extra point tied the score at 14-14, with 2:18 left in the half.

Judge’s kick also went out of bounds. LaMorte, from his own 35, could not hook up with TE Trainer on play action. A wide-open screen pass to Madden on the left side penetrated Judge territory at the Crusader 47. Madden swept the left side and got out of bounds at the 45. A quickout to McNeill garnered five more. On third and three, Madden was stuffed up the middle for no gain. On fourth and three, with 56 seconds left in the half, La Salle would go for it. A fake to Madden, and LaMorte would drop back. Madden was open on the left side for a first down, but he dropped the ball, and Judge would take over.

Weldon was stopped for no gain, and fumbled the ball, recovered by Maloney, but the referees ruled him down. Father Judge decided to have King take a knee, and head into half with a 14-14 tie. The Crusaders would not be rolling over in this game, and La Salle was in a fight for their playoff lives.

Karrash’s line drive kick made the end zone, and Judge would start at their own 20. King, out of the pistol most of the game, handed off to RB Katob Joseph, who was hit in the backfield for a loss by LB Austin Lemke for a 3-yard loss. King arced a deep pass on the left sideline to Jeremy Smith, but DB Seamus Heckard was in good position to break it up. On third and 13, a deep pass to Gies misfired, and La Salle would hold the Crusaders to a three and out. The punt rolled to a stop at midfield.

Out of the I, LaMorte handed off to Madden up the middle for two yards. Back in the pistol, LaMorte gave the ball to Madden again, and he found an opening down to the Judge 36 for a first down. LaMorte salvaged a yard up the middle on a broken play. Out of the I again, deep back Madden hit the middle, looked like he was down, but kept his feet and charged down to the Judge 20 for another first down, and the Explorers were threatening to take the lead. A run to Madden again gained one. LaMorte on a play action roll right, found Burnham open in the right flat, and the fullback banged his way down to the Crusader 3 for a first and goal. From deep in the I, Madden’s second effort got him into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown. Wells’ extra point was true, and La Salle led, 21-14, with 7:48 left in the third quarter. It was now Judge’s turn to try to even the score.

The Crusaders returned the kickoff to the 30. Weldon took the ball up the middle for 5 yards. King kept the ball on an option read, but Garrett Zobel stopped him for just a yard. On third and four, King fired to Jeremy Smith on a slant-in, but Smith dropped the hard pass. Judge would be forced to punt, but a freak play would benefit the Crusaders. The punter, Blaise Arnold, dropped the snap, and just got off a hurried punt that was a hump-back liner downfield, where it hit a La Salle player on the bounce, and WR Frank Conway recovered for Judge at the La Salle 46 for a first down. With new life, King rolled right and hit Jeremy Smith for a first down at the La Salle 35. King, on another clever option keeper, got down the right sideline for a first and goal at the Explorer 9-yard line. Weldon went over right tackle to the two. Then, out of the pistol, King ran up the middle and nosed into the end zone for a TD. Lieggi’s kick tied the game again, this time at 21-21, with 5:11 left in the third stanza.

A short kick was corralled by Corbin Melle and returned to the La Salle 38 where the offense, efficient all night, would try to get the lead back. LaMorte, with good time, but no one open, fired a pass incomplete to McNeill. Madden took a handoff, stepped left, but came back quickly to the right side, and followed a Chris Maloney block down the right to the Judge 38 for a first down. Madden went off left tackle for three. LaMorte, on play action, rolled right and hit TE Harry Scanlon in the right flat, and Scanlon motored to the Crusader 21, and the Explorers were rolling. Madden’s sweep left was smelled out by Judge for a four-yard loss. Madden went off right tackle for just a two-yard gain. On third and 12, LaMorte moved up in the pocket to buy some time, and found Harry Scanlon down at the 11 for a key first down. Then, LaMorte, on his favorite play on play action, rolled right and hit Joey Burnham in the right flat, and Burnham trucked into the end zone to regain the lead for La Salle. But Wells’ extra point was wide, and with 1:33 left in the third, the Blue and Gold led by a vulnerable 27-21 score.

Katob Joseph returned Karrash’s kick out to the 25 where he was stopped by Brennan Daly. Weldon gained four yards, with tackle by Kuznetsov and Lemke. A quick pass from King to the right to Frank Conway got out to the Judge 41 for a first down. On a blitz, King hurried his throw over Steve Arrington on the right side. King, with good protection, threw to Arrington in the left flat, but Arrington dropped the ball. On third and ten, King’s deep pass sailed over two receivers, and the Crusaders would punt; hopefully, no Blue and Gold special-teamer would collide with the ball this time. The punt was assuredly fair-caught by Tre McNeill at the La Salle 31-yard line, as the third quarter ended with a 27-21 La Salle lead.

The Explorers would seek an insurance tally. LaMorte’s deep pass on play action to TE Liam Trainer was overthrown. Madden, deep in the backfield, ran off right tackle for 8 yards. On third and two, LaMorte, on play action, rolled left and found the reliable Burnham for a first down to the Judge 47. Play action again, but this time LaMorte was sacked back at his own 46 on a big Crusader rush. Madden gained three up right guard to the 49. On third and fourteen, LaMorte, on a key play in the game, scrambled up the middle, veered left, and slid for a first down at the Judge 36, keeping the drive alive. Then, Sy Madden, finding the middle clogged up, bounced outside to the left, and found daylight all the way to the end zone for a 36-yard jaunt. This time, after a procedure call on a two-point attempt changed their strategy, Wells’ booted extra point was good, and La Salle had some insurance at 34-21, with 8:33 left in the fourth.

The kickoff return by Katob Joseph got the ball across the 20, but Corbin Melle popped the ball loose, and Tre McNeill swooped down for the recovery. It was time to put away the Crusaders. From the Judge 27, Madden was stopped for no gain. He then gained three yards off left tackle. On third and seven, LaMorte, finding no one open, scrambled up the middle for 3 yards. On fourth down, Wells’ 38-yard field goal attempt was wide, and the Crusaders were still alive.

From his own 20, King kept the ball on an option, and ran up the left side to the 36, where he was stopped by Devon Smith. King threw out in the right flat to Justin Gies, but the pass was batted down by Daniel Kuznetsov. On play action, King threw deep to Gies, but it was overthrown. On third and 10, King was rolling right, but was cut off by Kuznetsov. He went back left, chased by Zobel, and then was forced out of bounds by Melle for a 6-yard sack. Judge’s punt was fair-caught by Melle on the La Salle 47, with 5:24 left in the fourth.

Madden’s sweep left was boxed in by Judge for no gain. Madden’s draw up the middle got to the Judge 49. On third and six, LaMorte’s rollout pass to Burnham was covered well, and the Explorers would have to punt. Wells’ punt would roll out of bounds at the Judge 20, where the Crusaders would take over, with 4:18 left.

King scrambled right, pursued by Kuznetsov, and fired deep but incomplete to a well-covered Gies. King again threw deep on a scramble, and this time found Jeremy Smith, who snagged the ball and rumbled down to the La Salle 26. The game was certainly not over yet. King rolled left, and threw high to Arrington, who was belted by McNeill for an incompletion. After a Judge procedure penalty, King rolled left, and threw deep into the end zone for Gies, but DB Seamus Heckard stepped in front of Gies and intercepted the ball for a touchback, and the Judge threat was quelled.

Madden broke through a tackle attempt in the backfield to gain three, but actually three more, as his knee never touched down. He was then hit for a one-yard loss. On third and 5, Octavious Carter sped on an end-around off of a jet sweep, and gained a first down, but La Salle was called for a block in the back. Now, with third and nine at his 21, LaMorte, under a fierce rush, threw the ball away safely. Wells’ punt was returned to the La Salle 49, and, with 1:55 left, Judge had a glimmer of hope.

But King threw a slant-in to Jeremy Smith, and LB Brennan Daly jumped the route, intercepting the ball and putting Judge away for good. From his own 49, Madden ran up the middle for 8 yards. Another Madden run up the middle, and the 5-yard gain would ice the game, along with an unsportsmanlike call on the Crusaders. In the victory formation, LaMorte would kneel down twice, and La Salle would go on to a second-round game against St. Joseph’s Prep by defeating a feisty Father Judge squad, 34-21.

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Game 11, Nov 11, 2016: St. Joseph’s Prep 35 – La Salle 14 (PIAA 2nd round, Class 6A final)

St. Joseph’s Prep Pulls Away From La Salle, 35-14

On a blustery, cold day at Charlie Martin Stadium in Northeast Philadelphia, the Explorers hung in with the undefeated Hawks for three quarters before succumbing, 35-14, as the duo of QB Marquez McCray and RB D’Andre Swift played “lights out” under the 32 missing lights at Cottman and Algon Avenues.

Here’s how the game unfolded:

The Blue and Gold won the toss, and deferred to the second half, and would kick to the Hawks, behind a strong westerly wind. Daniel Karrash’s kickoff sailed through the end zone, and the Prep would start at their own 20. McCray went to the air immediately despite the wind, and a quick out to the right to WR Terrance Greene gained 6 yards. McCray dropped back again, but scrambled up the middle and out to the right for a 12-yard gain to the 38 and a first down. With an empty backfield, McCray ran a delay off left tackle for 7 more yards. McCray looked again to the air, scrambled to the left, but was tracked down by DL Garrett Zobel for a 7-yard sack. On third and ten, with trips right, McCray, with plenty of time, found WR Darryle Simmons into La Salle territory, and Simmons ran down to the La Salle 32 before being stopped. The Hawks were driving for an opening score, something they’ve done regularly to the Explorers over the last several years. But McCray’s screen pass to the left got caught in the strong wind, and the ball skittered out of bounds, and was ruled a lateral, losing 11 yards. A handoff to RB Khari Jones gained 5 yards. On third and 16 from the La Salle 38, McCray’s flare pass to Jones was stopped for a short gain by aggressive LB Brennan Daly for no gain, and the Hawks would have to punt. Or would they? Richard Carr, a defensive back, lined up in punting position, but took off with the snap to the right, veered back to the left, but was ridden down by DB Devon Smith for a loss of nine yards, and the Explorers would take over on downs on their own 47.

QB Tom LaMorte, faked to RB Syaire Madden, and fired a slant to TE Liam Trainer, but the wind-aided pass sailed past the receiver. Out of the pistol, LaMorte called signals, and suddenly went up to the line to change the play. LaMorte went back into the pistol, and handed off to Madden, who took one step forward, and then broke out to the right and down the sideline, untouched, for a 53-yard touchdown, shocking the Hawks. Mike Wells’ extra point made it 7-0, Explorers, with 7:43 left in the first quarter.

Again, Karrash’s kickoff resulted in a touchback. McCray’s first down pass to TE Jack Crossed in the left flat was wind-blown and wide. An out to Terrance Greene was played well by DB Tre McNeill, who stopped Greene after a 5-yard gain. On third and five, McCray kept the ball on an option read, but he was stopped for just a 2-yard pickup by the diving tackle of DL Colin Hirschmann. With fourth and three on their own 27, the Hawks would surely punt. But, combining supreme confidence with a Barry Switzer-like audacity, St. Joe’s would have Richard Carr run to the right out of the punt formation, break through a tackle, and land on the 33-yard line for a first down. McCray again ran a great option read, taking the ball to the right sideline for a gain to the Prep 45 and another first down. Finally, the great Swift would touch the ball, sweeping left end, and avoiding the pursuit, gaining 6 yards before being tackled by LB Austin Lemke. A quick out to the left side to Terrance Greene gained another first down at the La Salle 40. A handoff to Khari Jones was smelled out by DL Chris Maloney for no gain. Another quick out to Greene gained 7. On third and three, the quick out to Greene worked again for a first down at the La Salle 26. The short passes into the wind were quite successful for the Hawks. D’Andre Swift ran up the middle for three. Swift took the ball again, bounced outside, but was stymied by Tre McNeill for a short gain. On third and 6, McCray’s QB draw found a seam, and he ran the ball to the La Salle 8 for a first and goal. McCray threw a slant to Swift in the end zone, but it was just out of his reach. McCray ran the draw again, and looked to be stopped for a loss, but he broke through the tackles and got down to the 3 before being brought down by Devon Smith and Chris Maloney. On third and goal at the 3, in a jumbo package with lineman Ryan Foy and TE Jack Crossed as the up backs in a full-house backfield, McCray handed the ball to Crossed, but the exchange was faulty. Down in the pile was Tre McNeill, who came up with the pigskin as the jubilant Explorer defense raced off the field. The Hawk drive was turned away.

Under center, LaMorte handed off to Madden over left guard for three yards, out to their own 6. Madden bulled ahead up right tackle to the 11. On third and two, La Salle was called for illegal procedure before the ball was snapped. Now back at the 6, Madden fought off several tacklers in trying to sweep the left side, and got out just to the 10, and La Salle would have to punt. Mike Wells boomed a high punt that went out of bounds on the Hawk 42, with just under a minute left in the first quarter.

McCray handed off to Swift, who swept right, but Dan Kuznetsov muscled down the great runner for a one-yard loss. On play action, McCray fired an out pass to Darryle Simmons for a 6-yard gain. On third and five, McCray, searching for an open receiver, was sacked by Colin Hirschmann for a six-yard loss, and the Hawks would “maybe” have to punt. With the clock ticking to under 10 seconds in the period, Coach John Steinmetz called time out to force the Hawks, if they indeed did kick, to do so into the wind. Richard Carr again dropped back into punting formation, but he had yet to punt in the game. And he wouldn’t punt here either: the low snap bounded past Carr, and skittered all the way to the 5-yard line, where Carr retrieved the ball, and was engulfed by a horde of Explorers at the Prep 12-yard line, where La Salle would take over on downs, in excellent condition to expand their lead. The quarter ended with La Salle surprisingly on top, 7-0, and in the red zone to start the second quarter.

Now heading into the wind, LaMorte gave Madden the ball, but a swarm of Hawks stopped him for a loss of one. WR Manny Quiles got the ball on a jet sweep, but stumbled on the turf, losing two. On third and thirteen, LaMorte, under a heavy rush, fired over WR Troy Holland on a post pattern in the end zone. The Explorers would try a field goal; this would become a turning point in the game. Mike Wells’ kick was blocked by a ferocious St. Joe’s rush, and the ball would squirt back toward La Salle territory, behaving like a greased pig, until finally it was covered at the La Salle 45, and the Prep had the momentum now turn their way.

But a procedure call would set them back five yards to start their drive. Swift, deep behind McCray, swept the right side for three. McCray then went deep down the right sideline for Swift, but good coverage and an overthrown pass set up a third and seven. La Salle blitzed, and McCray tried to throw a screen pass, and Chris Maloney had an excellent chance at an interception, but he dropped the ball. Fourth down again for the Prep – what would happen? Believe it or not, a punt, but Jack Sutton, listed as a wide receiver. La Salle could breathe a sigh of relief, but the return man Holland tried to cover the ball as it was rolling, and the ball got loose; fortunately, La Salle recovered the ball at their own 12. Madden rumbled off the left side for five. A high snap affected the timing of the next play, and LaMorte handed off to Madden, who was stopped for a one-yard loss. On third and six, LaMorte’s look-in to WR Brett Mallee was just a little long, bouncing off Mallee’s fingertips, and almost intercepted by SS Dawson DeIuliis. On fourth down, Wells’ punt into the wind was a rugby-style roller that was downed on the Explorer 38.

McCray overthrew Simmons on a deep skinny post. Swift followed his blockers up left tackle for six. On third and four, a curl-in from McCray to Khari Jones was slightly high, and another fourth down would present itself for the Prep. Swift would flank out wide right. The snap was low to McCray, who made a good pickup and floated a deep pass to Terrance Greene, running a skinny post on the left, and Greene would catch the ball in stride for a touchdown. The extra point by K Anthony Tigano was good, and the Prep drew even with La Salle, 7-7, at the 7:41 mark of the second quarter.

The kickoff sailed into the end zone, and La Salle would try to mount a drive into the wind to stifle the Prep momentum. Madden gained 4 yards off right tackle. He was then hit immediately by DE Rayshad Wallace for a three-yard loss. On third and nine, LaMorte was hit as he threw a pass over the middle to Holland. The ball fell harmlessly to the turf, and La Salle would have to punt into the wind again. This time, Wells shanked the ball off his foot, and the Prep would be in great field position at the La Salle 30.

McCray, on play action, overthrew Greene in the left corner of the end zone. Swift, deep in the backfield, took the handoff, veered right, and then cut back up the middle for seven yards. On third and three, the Prep was flagged for procedure. From the 28, McCray hit Swift with a beautiful pass at the right flag, and Swift went out of bounds at the one for a first and goal. The Hawks, running a no-huddle all game long, caught the Explorers with 12 men on the field. From the half-yard line, in a jumbo formation, Swift dove over left guard for the tie-breaking touchdown. Tigano’s extra point made it 14-7, Prep, with 5:03 left in the half.

Again, the kickoff, aided by the strong wind, sailed into the end zone. Madden bolted up the middle and was free, veering to the right side before being tackled at the La Salle 49. He then gained just a yard off right tackle. Madden tried to sweep left end, but DeIuliis kept him from turning the corner, and the play lost 4 yards. On third and thirteen, LaMorte scrambled up the middle, but was stopped at midfield, and La Salle would have to punt again. Wells’ rugby-style punt got caught in the stiff wind, and was downed at the Hawk 33, with 2:10 left in the half.

Out of an empty backfield, with 4 receivers to the right, Marquez, in the pistol, ran a quarterback draw out to the Hawk 49. The exact play then went for 6 yards to the Explorer 45. McCray ran it again, gaining 5 yards, but St. Joe’s was called for holding. Back at their own 47, same formation, but this time McCray overshot Swift on a bomb down the right side. On third and twelve, McCray, avoiding a rush, scrambled to the La Salle 45, setting up another of those unpredictable fourth downs, with just 4 yards to go this time. There were 21 seconds left in the half as St. Joe’s finally called time out with the clock running down. McCray was flushed out of the pocket, rolled right, but his pass to Greene was broken up by Devon Smith.

La Salle tried a bubble screen to WR Brett Mallee, but the pass was batted down. Again, a bubble screen to Mallee, who gained just two yards as the half ended with the Hawks on top, but by just a 14-7 score, and the Explorers would get the ball to start the third period.

St. Joe’s chose to kick into the wind, and Joey Burnham ran the short kick back to the La Salle 40. Syaire Madden swept the right side, and got the edge for a 10-yard gain and a first down at midfield. Madden was then hit immediately for a 4-yard loss by DE Chris Lowndes. A fake jet sweep to Quiles with the ball kept by Tom LaMorte lost a yard. On third and fifteen, out of an empty backfield, LaMorte fired a strike to a diving Troy Holland over the middle for a first down at the Prep 38. Again, an empty backfield and again a strike up the middle from LaMorte to Holland, this time for nine yards. Now out of an I formation, Madden, the deep back, took the handoff, and skirted left end. Madden was in the clear most of the way, but was hit at the 10-yard line and fumbled the ball. The recovery was by Prep’s DL Jake Ballard, squelching the game-tying drive.

From their 10-yard line, McCray handed off to Swift, who bounced outside to the 25-yard line. Then, play action, and a pass from McCray to Greene was nearly intercepted by Tre McNeill. Swfit was smothered in the backfield by a blitzing LB Austin Lemke for a 4-yard loss. On third and fourteen, McCray found Swift streaking across the middle for a first down, but Swift dropped the ball. On fourth down and 14 at their own 21, would there be a Hawk punt? Incredibly, no. Richard Carr would run right, and Daniel Kuznetsov lassoed him to the ground for a 4-yard loss at the Hawk 17, and La Salle was back in business.

Madden gained 4 off the left side. LaMorte rolled right but threw behind Brett Mallee inside the five. On third and six, LaMorte rolled right, and threw back left to TE Liam Trainer on a screen. Trainer was hit at the 13-yard line, and fumbled the ball, again recovered by Lowndes. La Salle would not get this close to tying the game again.

From the fourteen, and into the wind, Marquez McCray threw deep to Darryle Simmons, and La Salle was called for interference. From the 29, McCray ran an option keeper for two yards, tackled by Trainer. A look in to Simmons gained a first down at the Prep 43. D’Andre Swift then took the handoff, ran north-south through the La Salle line, and veered down the left sideline, finally stopped at the La Salle 13 by Devon Smith. Swift was tackled for a tw0-yard gain by Brennan Daly and others, and then lost a yard, as Trainer and Lemke broke through the line. On third and nine, McCray floated a perfect pass to the left corner of the end zone, caught by Greene for a touchdown. The extra point was missed, and St. Joe’s now led, 20-7, with 4:56 left in the third period.

The short kickoff was returned by Corbin Melle to the La Salle 40. LaMorte threw a swing pass to Madden on the left side for 7 yards. Madden gained two up the middle. On third and one, out of the I, Madden fought up the middle for two yards and a first down. LaMorte missed Mallee over the middle. Madden circled right end, broke some tackles, ran over a Prep defender, and made good yardage to the Hawk 30 for a first down. A fake jet sweep, followed by a fake end around, and then LaMorte swung a pass beyond Quiles. Madden ran up the middle to the 27. On third and seven, a quick slant-in to Trainer gained a first down at the Hawk 13. Madden was gang-tackled for a three-yard loss. He then gained 7 yards up right tackle, as the third quarter ended, with Prep on top, 20-7. On third and 6 at the Hawk 9, LaMorte, under pressure scrambled up the middle to the 10, but La Salle was called for holding. Back at the 22, with third and 19, a deep pass to Trainer in the end zone was overthrown, but the Hawks were called for interference. The half the distance penalty moved the ball to the 11, but it was not an automatic first down. On third down and 8, Madden was stopped for a two-yard loss. On fourth and 10, LaMorte, with good protection, found FB Joey Burnham at the two-yard line for a first down, or was it? The mark was put back near the three, and the measurement resulted in a first down by the length of the ball. LaMorte threw wide of Burnham in the flat, but again the Hawks were called for interference. From the 1 ½, Madden bulled his way into the end zone off right tackle for a touchdown. Wells’ extra point made it 20-14, Prep, with 10:17 left in the fourth. The Explorers were hanging tough.

The kickoff to Richard Carr was returned from the 19 out to the Prep 44, where the Hawks would try to start an insurance drive. Swift took a handoff, veered through the La Salle line, and broke down the sidelines and out of bounds on the La Salle 20. McCray’s option keeper was smelled out by Kuznetsov and Trainer for a 3-yard loss (an aside – amazing how every play in this game ended up right on a yard marker!). McCray fired to Greene across the middle, and Greene fought down to the La Salle 10-yard line for a first and goal. Swift cut up right tackle, and moved the pile down to the 1-yard line. McCray’s sneak failed to dent the goal line, and it would be third down, inside the one. This time, McCray handed to Swift, who stepped forward but broke outside left tackle and waltzed into the end zone for a TD. On the two-point try, McCray rolled right and threw back left to an open Phil O’Connor, and St. Joseph’s increased their lead to 28-14 with 8 minutes to play.

Brett Mallee returned the kickoff from the 7 out to the 26. Manny Quiles got the handoff on a jet sweep, looked like he was considering a pass, but then Quiles’ feet slipped, and he went down for a loss of seven, a victim of the weathered stadium turf. Madden swept the left side and got those seven yards back. On third and ten, LaMorte hit Mallee on the right side for a gain of six. It was fourth and four on their own 32; forget the punt. LaMorte, showing a lot of grit, hit a leaping Trainer for a first down on the 37, as Trainer held on despite a big hit. LaMorte, on a slight rollout, found Troy Holland for eight yards. Madden was stuffed up the middle for no gain. On third and two, Madden grabbed the ball on what looked like it was to be an option keeper, and the Hawks knocked him down for a three-yard loss. Fourth and five: LaMorte scrambled left under pressure, and threw low across the middle to Mallee, who couldn’t make the diving catch. The Prep would take over at 4:46, up two touchdowns, and in command.

Swift broke through two or three tackles, and outran the La Salle defense into the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown, with a back flip as an exclamation point, earning him a 15-yard penalty on the upcoming kickoff. The extra point was good, and the Hawks had put the game away, leading 35-14, with 4:36 left in the game.

Sy Madden returned the kickoff to the La Salle 41. LaMorte hit Holland for a 7-yard gain. LaMorte kept the ball and was thrown for a two-yard loss. On third and five, LaMorte hit Holland over the middle for a first down to the Hawk 47. Madden was gang-tackled for a one-yard gain. LaMorte scrambled out of bounds, losing three. On third and twelve, LaMorte’s pass over the middle was intercepted by Dawson DeIuliis, who slid down to end the play at the Prep 35.

Khari Jones ran up the middle for 5 yards. The Hawks would use their delay huddle, running up to the line to snap it within 5 seconds of a delay penalty. Kuznetsov tackled Jones after a four-yard gain. On third and one, RB Marques Mason got out to midfield and a first down. McCray knelt in the victory formation, and St. Joseph’s Prep defeated a game La Salle team, 35-14, going on to meet Northeast High School next week for the “City Title”, also known as the Region XII Championship.