La Salle cruises past Roman Catholic, 49-0

WHITEMARSH — The ground and pound attack from La Salle set the tempo early as the Explorers cruised to a 49-0 victory over Roman Catholic in the Philadelphia Catholic League semifinals at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.

Wasting no time getting on the board, the Explorers needed just three plays to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Jordan Meachum went 66-yards for his first touchdown of the game.

“I was looking forward to this game, it’s Saturday night and I was really excited to get out here and play,’ Meachum said.

Between Meachum and Nick Rinella, who put up 140 total yards in the first half with three touchdowns — two rushing and one receiving — the two Explorer backs did the lion’s share of the work for La Salle.

Roman Catholic struggled to contain their run, with the two finding their share of space up the middle, and it was almost guaranteed that a sweeping hook around the outside would gain yardage.

“The offensive line were opening up holes everywhere,’ Meachum said. “Without them we wouldn’t be able to run like that.’

La Salle scored on four of their six possessions — one cut short when Shurmur threw an interception deep in the Explorer’s zone, the other ended with the conclusion of the half with La Salle at first and goal. That interception was quarterback Kyle Shurmur’s only glaring mistake.

“We felt like we had a pretty good game plan coming into tonight and the run just opened up for us, so we just stuck with it,’ Rinella said.

The Cahillites’ kickoff to La Salle at the start of the second half was the only time their special times lined up to kick all night. However, the onside kick only served to help the Explorers in the onslaught.

Wasting no time in the second half, La Salle had put another touchdown on the board in just a minute-and-a-half’s time. Roman started with an onside kick that gave the Explorers good field position, taking six plays to move 54 yards, punctuated by two big gains on receptions by Brendan Meeks — a 19-yarder to begin the drive and then a 21-yard touchdown catch to cap it.

Two minutes into the second half did La Salle put the mercy rule on Roman Catholic, and with ease tacked on two more scores while keeping the Cahillites well away from any scoring opportunities.

Rinella essentially sealed the game with a leaping interception late in the fourth quarter that enabled the Explorers to run the clock dry.

“I shaded over to cover a good receiver and I saw their quarterback look that way and I just broke for it,’ Rinella said.

With the victory, the Explorers set up their PCL championship rematch against St. Joe’s Prep, set to be played next Saturday. Both Rinella and Meachum expressed their excitement to both get the job done against Roman and gain some momentum heading towards the league final.

“We want to come out here, relax and have fun and get the win, but this week we’re going to have to practice hard to get ready,’ Meachum said.

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