LaSalle’s Strong Second Half Upends Roman
Philadelphia, Pa., After being outplayed in the first half against Roman Catholic in last night’s D12, PCL, AAAA championship game, the LaSalle Explorers settled down and controlled the second half in a 35-16 win at Northeast High’s Charles Martin stadium.
Roman coach Joe McCourt had the Cahillites ready to play football from the outset. In LaSalle’s first offensive play Tim Wade was tackled for a safety. LaSalle answered though on their next series with a LaSalle Junior Quarterback Matt Magarity 58 yard pass completion to Sean Coleman putting the ball on the Roman one. Magarity took the ball in for a touchdown two plays later and giving LaSalle a short lived lead.
Roman took the lead back at the beginning of the second quarter with a quick four play drive highlighted by a 56 yard pass completion from the sophomore connection of QB Michael Keir to William Fuller and punctuated with a Marcus Kelly 14 yard touchdown run. Kelly, Keir and Fuller are all underclassmen and figure to play a major part in their offense next year.
Roman made the game more interesting later in the 2nd when they sacked Magarity on the Explorer 15 causing him to fumble and enabling Jack Gallagher to recover and score another touchdown and a Cahillite 16-7 lead.
Not to be outdone by Roman’s brilliant first half performance, LaSalle mounted their own six play scoring drive engineered by the running and receiving of star Jamal Abdur Rahman. After turning a Magarity completion into 13 yard gain, Rahman had runs of 10, 8 and 25 yards then scoring on a one yard burst pulling LaSalle to within 16-14 at the half.
What makes great teams great are not only winning easily but being able to make adjustments when they are behind. LaSalle head man Drew Gordon and his staff must have put the coals on fire in their locker room at halftime. They came out of the gate in the second half scoring in slightly over a minute on four plays with Rahman runs of 15 and 20 a Magarity 21 yard run then finally Rahman’s nine yard touchdown giving the them the lead that they would not relinquish. Defensively they also bottled up Roman’s Kelly, who torched them for 80 rushing yards in the first half. The Cahillite RB could only muster 10 yards in the second half with the run stuffing scheme LaSalle applied. Ryan Geiger, Joe Nagi, Connor Daly and Kiernan Trainer were sensational in keeping Roman’s running yards limited.
LaSalle extended their lead in the 3rd stanza with another quick four play drive ending with a toss, lateral to WR Coleman that resulted in a 24 yard run and a 28-16 lead. Rahman and Kevin Forster then put an exclamation point on the victory when Forster intercepted two Keir pass attempts and Rahman ran for a 29 yard touchdown.
Rahman (a Villanova recruit) ran for 170 yards and 3 TD’s. One coached quipped “the kid runs so smooth you could put a glass of water on his head while he’s running and it wouldn’t tip”. LaSalle’s offensive line also should get credit for giving Rahman the room he needed to penetrate Roman’s interior line.
LaSalle (the defending AAAA state champion) will battle the winner of today’s matchup of George Washington and Northeast next week to determine the District 12 champion.
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