La Salle Explorers will take on North Penn. La Salle has won all five opening game starters and have averaged just over 30 points a game while doing so. This year will be a different test for La Salle though, going up against a high energized North Penn team. Both teams will be looking to start the season off right with a win.
Looking at the Explorers
Returning for the Explorers is Sr. quarterback Chris Ferguson. Ferguson had to sit back and watch Kyle Shurmur the last two years learning the ins and outs of the offense. Chris has taken in a wealth of knowledge and leadership and will get the opportunity to put it on display. He will get the start Friday night and will have to use all of his offensive options if he wants to prevail over North Penn. Retuning with him are senior wide outs Winston Eubanks and Charles Headen. Like Ferguson, Winston and Charles were behind Jimmy Herron and Charlie Hemcher last season, who have both since graduated. Eubanks did have a solid season in 2014 and shows a promising 2015 season ahead. Furthermore, Syaire Madden, a transfer student from Chestnut Hill Academy, will be a pivotal part on the ground. He rushed for 1259 yards last season and averaged 125 yards a game for SCH. He will share the time with Sr. Nick Rinella, who has been a large part of the rush game since his sophomore year. Ferguson will have no shortage of options through the air and on the ground. Unlike last year, the offensive line will not be a question whatsoever. Five explorer linemen return as some of the biggest in the Catholic League. They will have to provide Ferguson protection from an aggressive North Penn rush. All in all, the young and fresh Explorer offensive seems to have all the tools this year and will have the chance to prove themselves for the first time against the Knights.
After losing key pieces in the defense the last two years, the Explorer defense will be in question Friday night. La Salle will no longer have Aidan Kerrigan (DL/MLB) and defensive lineman Keith Wagner, who were both leaders in the defense last season. Now, they will look to senior leadership from Kohler Setley (SS) to be the vocal leader on the field. To name a few, Sr. Nick Piscopo, Sr. Kevin Lajuenesse, and Jr. Tre McNeill will also be talent to look after.
Looking at the Knights
The Knights are coming off a 7-4 season and a division title in the Suburban One league. Their season had an unusual ending with a loss early on in the District One playoffs. They return as a high energized team with some top-notch players.
Returning to the quarterback position is Sr. Jake Bevan. Bevan will in fact provide a tough test for the young Explorer defense as he will often throw off the play action and is never afraid to tuck it and run. Along with Bevan, is Sr. running back Nyfease West. West, who has committed to play at Delaware State next year, will be a potent threat on the ground. He proved himself last season in a run- heavy offense. Likewise, Sr. tight end Keith Earle is back and bigger than ever. The 6-2, 230lb senior will provide a large target for Bevan through the air in the multi-schemed North Penn offense. "He is like a swiss army knife" says head coach Dick Beck as Earle also plays as a defensive end on the other side of the ball. West and Earle will most likely be the Explorers biggest head ache come Friday. Lastly, Jr. wide out Ricky Johns will also give Bevan another target in the air. In all, the Knights offense is very widespread with talent in every area. The Explorer defense will have their hands full.
Like the offense, the North Penn defense is also returning many key players. As mentioned before, Keith Earle is a big part of the d-line. He will be coming at Chris Ferguson all game and led the team in sacks in 2014. Earle will be interesting to watch going up against the big Explorer line. Moreover, Jr. Nick Vasger will fill the void left at line backer and will have to handle the dual treat on the ground from La Salle. To end, look for the Knights to be scrambling to cover La Salle's multi threat offense.
After watching the Explorer's practice this week, they are ready to go. They are hungry to prove themselves and go after the Catholic League title. In my opinion, I think the wide offense for La Salle will just out perform the North Penn defense. The Knights have the talent at the line, but most likely won't be much to handle for the Explorer offensive line. While West and Earle will be large threats for La Salle, the athletic talent from the Explorers will just overpower them.
Come out to North Penn High School Friday night at 7:30 for the opener. It will be a BLUE OUT for all La Salle Students. If you can't catch the game, tune into Bob Long Sports for a broadcast starting at 7:00! Be sure to follow @LaSalle_Sports for game updates and continue to follow the site for game previews and post games!
- Christopher Sanders
Follow Chris on twitter: @sandman285
Follow Whiz Wit on twitter: @whizwitsports