Looking at the Explorers
The Explorers have not gotten past St. Joe's since the 2013 Philadelphia Catholic League championship game. This year they are looking for revenge both in the regular season in in the PCL finale, and I am sure they would like to recreate 2013 ending. Last week, the Explorers had a very tough loss the Archbishop Wood. The Explorers were down 21-0 at the half but had a string of great drive to tie the game at 24-24. The 2nd half started with a field goal followed by a Ferguson TD, a fumble recovery, and a Rinella TD. They ultimately tied the game at 24 but lost on a last second Wood field goal. Quarterback Chris Ferguson went 8-15 with 156 yards, with 2 touchdowns (1 rushing, 1 passing). The first half, Ferguson and the offense did not do anything. They only had 2 or 3 first downs with a missed field goal. This week, they will need to start off hot. Start with a few first downs on their opening drive and put points up on the board in the 1st quarter. Furthermore, the defense did not have much break in between drives. The offense would go out, and be off in no-time. Ferguson needs to extend the drives and keep the offense moving down field as much as possible. They also need to attack in the air. Jr. Troy Holland, and Seniors Charles Headen and Nick Rinella are fantastic recievers. Rinella had a nice 25 yard touchdown reception Friday night against Wood along with a huge gain on a few screen passes. The screen worked very well and they will need to use it this week. In the ground, Syaire Madden once again had a very solid performance. He ran for 134 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown. Madden once again will need to remain hot this week to counter the SJP ground game. In other news, Sr. Matt McDermott (OL) will return to the lineup after bring out last week with a leg injury. He was expected to play last week but had to sit out due to a leg wound opening up. To conclude, La Salle will need to utilize both their weapons on the ground and through the air if they want to walk away with a victory.
On the defensive side of the ball, La Salle will need to handle the rush this week. Last week, the Explorer D handled the rush fantastically. Oh wait, Wood didn't have a rushing game. Anyway, Jr. tailback D'Andre Swift is a fantastic back and will be tough to corral. They will also need to protect through the air for the few times SJP does go over the top. La Salle is going to need a lockdown performance at the line and in the secondary.
Looking at the Hawks
The Hawks are coming into Saturday sitting at 3-2. The season got off to a solid start before hitting an all time low in their loss to Malvern Prep, 33-21 a few weeks ago. The Explorers beat MP 21-14. The offense is lead by a relatively young squad. At quarterback, St. Joe's has Sr. Kevin Shaw. Shaw has been quite quiet throughout the course of the year. The main spotlight has been Jr. tailback D'andre Swift. Swift has been the entire offense thus far for the Prep and will likely play a big part this week. Last week, he ran for 220 yards and three touchdowns against St. Joe's Montvale. He also has offers from Alabama, Penn St, LSU, MSU, Michigan, ASU, and many other top tier football schools. In the receiving core, the Hawks will try to utilize seniors Mike Slawson and Zach Gross. The two have been pretty reliable throughout the year so far. Furthermore, they will most likely be using the screen or read option with Swift. To conclude, look for the Hawks to run the ball ALOT and look for a bunch of big plays.
On defense, SJP has been solid. Last week, they held nationally ranked St. Joe's Montvale to only 60 yards rushing. The linebackers and defenseive line will need to play a big role this week if they want to stop Syaire Madden. The main components on this SJP defense are senior Nick Vandevere (MLB) and junior Richard Carr (CB, SB). They have stepped up this season to keep the defensive side together and will need to protect both on the ground and in the air this week.
Both La Salle and St. Joesph's Prep are two very good football programs and they have been for years. This week, I think the La Salle offense will turn on and both out- run and out - throw the Prep. The defense will remain solid and shutdown D'andre Swift. La Salle is hungry for some revenge and will stomp the Prep this week. I have La Salle over the Prep 28-21.
Can't make the game? The SFBN will be broadcasting the game live, here. Along with the SFBN, Bob Long Sports will be doing a live audio feed from the game as well. Be sure to follow @LaSalle_Sports on twitter for live game updates and be sure to check back to the site for pre-game's every week.
- Christopher Sanders
Follow Chris on twitter @sandman285
Follow Whiz Wit on twitter @whizwitsports