Looking At The Explorers
Against Roman Catholic, everything on offense clicked. Senior QB Kyle Shurmur threw for 173 yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-22 passing through three quarters. The running game had another stellar game. Both backs combined for 283 yards rushing and six touchdowns. Senior back Jordan Meachum ran for 138 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns, while junior back Nick Rinella rushed for 145 yards on eight carries and four total touchdowns. While the credit is usually given to the backs in general, a ton of credit should be placed on the offensive line. They opened up huge holes and allowed big plays to happen. On the receiving end of things, senior Jimmy Herron led the way with 53 yards on five catches, while junior Winston Eubanks trailed close behind with 44 yards on three catches and a touchdown. Throughout the season, Shurmur has completed a pass to ten different players, showing how much depth and potential the Explorers have. If they are able to play like they have since the first loss to the Hawks, everything should roll in the right direction towards to the Explorers.
The defense had arguably one of its best games of the season against Roman. A shutout is really nothing to scoff at, and against a team like Roman, will come with a huge confidence boost. The big plays that plagued the defense early in the season have slowly transitioned to quick three and outs. Turnovers and interceptions are being forced more often, while pressure on the opposing QB is at an all time high. The Explorers' defense is a scary thing. They limited the high potential Cahillites to 182 total yards and of course zero points. Seniors Ryan Brady, Aidan Kerrigan, Jimmy Herron, Sean Collins, Fletcher Grady, Keith Wagner, Mike Crone, Jordan Meachum, and AJ Grezeszak have stepped up their games in the best time possible. AJ and junior Nick Rinella had big interceptions against Roman. The team has a total of 12 interceptions on the season, showing that they have a dangerous pass defense. If the defense plays like it has, the threat of a Hawk's offense should be nothing to be feared.
Looking At The Hawks
The Hawks offense is as athletic and quick as it can get. It features the top sophomore running back in the state, D'Andre Swift along with Virginia bound senior Olamide Zaccheaus. On the season, Swift has rushed for 543 yards on 75 carries for four rushing touchdowns. Zaccheaus has rushed for 361 yards on 65 carries for five rushes. Behind them is junior Benny Walls and senior James Bell. Both add quickness and strength to the potent Hawks' run game. Senior Jack Clements is under center and has been very consistent throughout the season. Clements has thrown for 1454 yards on 96-of-162 passing for 18 touchdowns. St. Joe's doesn't pass very often, but when they do, it will usually be tossed to leading receiver and Penn State commit John Reid. Reid has 613 yards on only 31 catches for 10 touchdowns. If Reid is covered, Clements has weapons in his two athletic backs Zaccheaus and Swift. The Hawk's will try to run over the Explorers with their athletic backs.
The Hawk's defense will be hopefully the next victim of the Explorers' offense. Hoping to stop that will be senior DB John Reid. Reid, signed with Penn State University, is the top DB in his class and the number four player in the state. Reid was stuck on La Salle wideout Jimmy Herron and limited him to only 41 yards on four catches. The Prep defense has been solid at stopping the pass, only allowing an average of 154.1 pass yards/game. This can be contributed to the very experienced secondary. The Hawk line has been great at putting continuous pressure and getting in the backfield throughout the season. Compared to the beginning of the season, St. Joe's is a very different team.
One thing I think will help the Explorers in this game is an experienced QB. Shurmur has been on the ropes before, while Clements has yet to have that pressure. It will be interesting to see how the first year QB will adjust to the tone. Explorers will go on to win this game and bring back the PCL Championship to La Salle by a score of 31-24.
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