La Salle College High School:
La Salle enters the contest having won four straight games, including a come-from-behind 17-16 win against Father Judge Saturday at Springfield High School. The Explorers seem to be on a mission to avenge their 40-28 loss to Imhotep back on September 7th.
The Explorers are going to force the Hawk defense to spread out as La Salle's passing offense is as potent as they come. Led by junior Kyle Shurmur, the Explorers have been monsters on offense scoring 23 or more points in five of their six games this season.
The Division-I recruit Shurmur is completing 56% of his passes while throwing for 1,378 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first season at the helm for the Explorers. His favorite target is fellow junior Jimmy Herron (6'1", 175 lbs.) who has 19 catches for a team-high 301 yards and five touchdowns while senior receiver (and track star) Levi Hardy isn't far behind with 15 receptions for 296 yards and two touchdowns.
La Salle's jack-of-all-trades is junior running back Jordan Meachum who is lighting up the stat sheets weekly. The 5'8", 180 lbs. back has rushed 93 times for 443 yards (4.76 yards-per-carry) and four touchdowns but he is a dual-threat. Meachum also has 13 catches for 247 yards and five touchdowns through the air. If the Explorers are putting up touchdowns, chances are good Meachum is fueling them.
The defense is anchored by senior linebacker Zaire Franklin. The 6'1", 220 lbs. Syracuse commit is a walking nightmare for opposing offensive coordinators as he is as disruptive a player as you will find at this level. Franklin anchored a strong Explorer squad last year and this year the Patrick Willis-type player (seriously, No. 4 is every where on the field) seems to be getting back after an early-season hand injury.
Take a look at the La Salle View of the Rivalry with Saint Joseph's Prep.
Saint Joseph's Preparatory School:
Look no further than last Saturday's match-up against state-power Archbishop Wood at William Tennent High School. It was truly a treat for all football fans. St. Joe's Prep showed their elite status against the strong Wood offense. They were determined to force Wood to beat them through the air as they stacked the box against Wood's rushing attack.
It is hard to argue with the results as St. Joe's forced two interceptions and a fumble. The defense kept Wood off the board in the second half allowing just three first downs and 59 yards after halftime.
St. Joe's has won four straight games following their 42-0 loss to New Jersey football powerhouse Don Bosco Prep. In the two wins leading up to the Wood game, the Hawks held their opponents to six and seven points, respectively. Their defense has certainly been a bright spot this year.
The Hawks weapon is junior running back Olamide Zaccheaus. The lightning quick running back leads St. Joe's with 251 rushing yards on 39 carries (6.4 yards-per-carry) including 83 yards Saturday against Wood. Zaccheaus is the weapon but the offense runs through quarterback Chris Martin. Martin is completing 66% of his passes for 698 yards and seven touchdowns. But he does it with his feet as well as Martin has rushed 41 times for 225 yards (5.5 YPC). Martin leads the Hawks up-tempo, no-huddle offense which has been tough to stop all season.
Take a look at the Saint Joseph's Prep View of the Rivalry with La Salle College High School.
From 1920-43, Saint Joe's Prep went 13-0-3. La Salle put together their own impressive streak going 14-3 between 1976 and 1992. The Hawks reeled off 16 consecutive wins from 1999 to 2005. But, on Thanksgiving Day 2005, La Salle took down St. Joe's in an instant-classic which shifted the rivalry. The Explorers have won six of their last seven matchups and eight of the last 12, including last year's PCL Championship. (Thanks to Ted Silary for the heads up on the stats).
Friday night is shaping up to be a classic. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 pm at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School in Plymouth Meeting. The game can be seen live on The Comcast Network, streaming on CSNPhilly.com, and follow along @WhizWitSports on Twitter for live in-game updates.
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