Looking At The Explorers
Senior Quarterback Kyle Shurmur led the team while going 23-36 on passing attempts for 334 yards and 4 touchdowns to 4 different receivers. The question going into this week's game is will the Explorers be able to duplicate their dominant offensive and defensive performances? While Bergen's defense was less than stellar last year, they return many defensive players which could make a big impact. The Explorers will most likely look to approach this game the same way they did against North Penn with a balanced offensive attack and a stonewall defense. Shurmer will have all of his offensive weapons available to him which allows the Explorers to diversify their play calls. One person to look towards to have a break out game is senior running back Jordan Meachum. Last year Bergen let up 169 rushing yards per game. Unless they have drastically changed their play style, there is no reason Meachum should not run for over 100 yards. Especially considering he has the explosiveness and speed to make a break out run at any moment.
The Explorers' defense will remain a strong point. Their inexperienced line proved to be capable of shutting down any runner which will prove helpful against the duo running backs of Bergen. Look for the La Salle secondary, seniors Jimmy Herron, AJ Greseszak, and Ryan Brady, to really show off their talent against a very good quarterback in Jarret Guarantano. La Salle should be able to provide a competitive game for the Bergen Catholic Crusaders especially with the momentum from last week's victory.
Looking At The Crusaders
On offense, Bergen Catholic features a very talented junior quarterback in Jarret Guarantano. Though he only threw 80 passes last year for 39 completions for 449 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions, he has the potential and ability to be a star coming into his first starting season. His current top four school offers consist of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. If that doesn't scream potential, I don't know what does. Along with Guarantano, Bergen returns another offensive weapon in senior running back Corey Russo who rushed for 717 yards on 135 carries for 10 touchdowns. Bergen graduated its top three receivers, so they look towards senior Corey Gaarn and junior Gene Coleman who both played very small roles in play last year. Bergen returns only two starters from the offensive line, so experience may be lacking. Bergen has the offensive power to be able to put up multiple points on any team.
On defense, Bergen returns senior Defensive End Connor O'Brien who was second on the team last year with 7 sacks. This is one part of the team that should be looked towards improvement. Last year the Bergen Catholic defense let up 33 points per game and 383.6 total yards per game. The Crusaders graduated most of their defensive seniors which may or may not be a benefit for them. They certainly return two leaders in O'Brien and senior Kyle Cook who was third on the team in tackles with 72. The bright side of this defense is it returns a good amount of experience as well. Senior cornerbacks Jelani Garvin and Tyson Stamper both return after contributing last season. The question will be the rest of the secondary as defensive leader JP Garcia has graduated. While Bergen seemed to struggle last season on the defensive side, they return enough experience to make a vast improvement.
If you can't make it up to Bergen Catholic in New Jersey be sure to follow @LaSalle_Sports for updates or you should be able to catch it live-streamed here starting at 4:30pm.
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