Key Departing Players: Kyle Shurmur (Vanderbilt), Jimmy Herron ( Duke - baseball),
Jordan Meachum (Sacred Heart), Keith Wagner (Stetson), Ryan Brady (Holy Cross), Aidan Kerrigan (Drexel- lacrosse).
The Explorers are down a little bit after losing key seniors last season along with head coach Drew Gordon. Taking the helm this year is previous defensive coordinator and longtime assistant, John Steinmetz. Coach Steinmetz has a quite a bit of experience to say the least. He brings his knowledge and energy to the defensive side of the ball and will try to get the team back on top come November. Likewise, the Explorers are down after losing arguably one of the best Quarterback - Wide Receiver duo's in the state. Quarterback Kyle Shurmur is off to play at Vanderbilt while Jimmy Herron, one of the best receivers in school history, is at Duke playing baseball. Lastly, who can forget the role Keith Wagner and Aidan Kerrigan played in a core defense last year? It will be tough to fill the void left by a great 2015 class, but the strong and well talented team this year will be geared up to make a run for the PCL title.
Key Returning Players: Matt McDermott, Jimmy Morrissey, TJ Garvin, Ryan Schutta,
Conor McCracken, Nick Rinella, Jared Walls, Charles Headen, Winston Eubanks, Chris Ferguson, Matt Savage, Mike Raczak, Anthony Piscopo, and Tom Walton.
Returning to the field this season are seven starters on offense and five on defense. Filling the hole at quarterback is Sr. Chris Ferguson. Ferguson transferred into La Salle two years ago from Upper Dublin and had the opportunity to shadow Shurmur . He will bring plenty of experience and will definitely be a leader on and off the field. Also returning are the "Core Five." Sr. Matt McDermott, Sr. Jimmy Morrissey, Sr. TJ Garvin, Sr. Ryan Schutta, and Sr. Conor McCracken will make up one of the biggest and best offensive lines in the league, probably the Explorers greatest strength. Likewise, Sr. Nick Rinella will most likely share the time with Jr. Syaire Madden (transfer) at running back. Madden is a top-notch running back from Chestnut Hill Academy who along with Rinella, Eubanks, and Headen will give Ferguson plenty of options on the ground and through the air. Lastly, both Mike Raczak (Punter) and Matt Savage (Kicker) return as starters on special teams. All in all, the team is shaped well and will have no shortage of talent at any position.
Key Games to Watch
North Penn High School ( @ North Penn; Sept. 4th 7:30)
The Explorer's will open up the season on September 4th away against North Penn. This will be the 6th year in a row that they open up against the Knights. It will be a very good game as the Explorers look to start off with a win and get the season going. The Knights finished with a respectable 7-4 record in 2014. La Salle will have to watch out for 230 lb Sr. defensive end and tight end Keith Earle, who recently verbally committed to play at Lafayette. All in all, it will be a fun and exciting game to watch.
Dematha High School (@ Dematha; Sept. 18th 7:30)
La Salle will be taking on Dematha Catholic High School for the second year in a row, but this time in Maryland. Dematha is one of the top teams in Maryland and will be a tough test for the Explorers. Last week, they took down nationally ranked Florida powerhouse Miami Central on ESPN and cruised to a 38-14 victory. Although wide receiver Darryl Turner Jr. (committed to play at Maryland) suffered a most likely season ending ankle injury in that game, the Explorer defense will still have to deal with quarterback Beau English. English will provide a tough test both on the ground and in the air for the talented La Salle defensive line but it shouldn't be anything that they can't handle.
Archbishop Wood ( @ Plymouth Whitemarsh; Oct. 10th 7:30)
Who can forget the stellar 17 - point 4th quarter comeback over Archbishop Wood last year? This year the Explorers will have the chance to face newly rivaled Wood team at home on Plymouth Whitemarsh's turf. Wood just cruised to their second consecutive state championship last fall. The Explorers will have to look out for Rutgers - bound Anthony Russo as he will be after the La Salle defense.
St. Joseph's Prep ( @ Plymouth Whitemarsh; Oct. 17th 1:00)
The La Salle - St. Joe's Prep rivalry is always exciting. In recent years the Explorers haven't been able to handle the well - talented St. Joes team, losing to them the last two years in the PCL championship game. It will definitely be a game packed with energy and excitement as the Explorers look to over take St. Joe's both in the regular season and possibly again in the PCL playoffs. Note: game time is changed to 1:00pm.
La Salle football is primed for another shot at the Catholic League title in 2015. They will count on the leadership of the seniors to help pave the way for the younger guys to fill in important slots throughout the year. The season kicks against North Penn on September 4th at North Penn High School. Be sure to follow @LaSalle_Sports on twitter throughout the season for live game feeds, team updates and follow the site for game previews and post games!
- Christopher Sanders
Follow Chris on Twitter @sandman285
Follow Whiz Wit @WhizWitSports
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