PHILADELPHIA >> There aren’t many teams across the country that feature the type of offensive talent that this year’s St. Joseph’s Prep team does.
Saturday, as La Salle College High school took on the Hawks in the Philadelphia Catholic League 6A final at the Germantown Supersite, the Explorers saw that explosive offensive talent firsthand as Prep cruised to a 52-7 win.
“They’re just really good, what can I tell ya?” La Salle head coach John Steinmetz said. “They had a couple throws today that were just awesome. They throw the ball really well and It’s just really hard to defend.”
Leading the way for the Hawks (8-2) was quarterback Kyle McCord and his No. 1 target, Marvin Harrison Jr.
McCord, a 2021 Ohio State commit, played just one half of football, getting the hook at halftime when the score became out of reach. He completed 14-of-23 passes for 361 yards and five touchdowns.
“I felt good, I thought we came out and really executed our game plan,” McCord said. “During the week we kind of knew what we were going to get today, coaches did a great job getting us prepared and everyone just came to play.”
Harrison Jr., who is also committed to Ohio State in 2021, used his big-play ability to separate from La Salle cornerbacks on his way to six catches for 222 yards and four touchdowns, all of which came in the first half.
“We (McCord and Harrison Jr.) have a great connection,” Harrison Jr. said. “We go to practice every day and just try to get better. We work on getting our timing down and making sure we have a good connection like tonight.”
With Prep’s offense finding its rhythm early, La Salle needed a fast start from quarterback Jack Machita and the rest of its offense. Unfortunately for the Explorers, it took too long to get much going on that side of the ball.
La Salle (8-3) punted five times in the first half, and the Explorers’ passing game started the night with eight straight incompletions.
“I don’t think there is really one thing to pinpoint,” Machita said. “We’re a unit, when one person messes up its on everyone, but we all had a lot of mistakes, especially early on. We just weren’t able to get back into it after that start.”
Machita finished 7-for-22 through the air for 58 yards and rushed for 26. Sam Brown led the way for the Explorers’ ground attack with 74 yards on 12 carries.
“Their defense is big, physical and fast and I just think they were a little too big for us I guess,” Steinmetz said.
The Hawks’ offense started the game with a two-yard touchdown run by Kolbe Burrell, followed by a 27-yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead.
From that point on McCord threw five straight touchdowns, starting with a 25 yarder to Maurice Clark and following it up with touchdown passes of 48, 64, 10 and 81 yards to Harrison Jr.
“We didn’t execute and they killed us on third down conversions,” La Salle defensive lineman Ryan Savage said. “We could get them where we wanted to sometimes and they’d just capitalize. They’re a hell of a good team, almost every single player is going Division I. I wish them the best, we played hard regardless of the score.”
The loss brings the season to a close for La Salle, marking the fourth straight season the Explorers have fallen to the Hawks in postseason play, but Steinmetz acknowledged after the game how much he enjoyed coaching this year’s team.
“This was a great group and I enjoyed every minute of working with these guys,” he said. “I feel bad for them, ending it this way, but it was a really great group.”
St. Joe’s Prep takes on Philadelphia Public School champion Northeast in the District 12-6A title game.
St. Joseph’s Prep 52, La Salle 7
St. Joseph’s Prep 31 14 7 0— 52
La Salle 0 0 0 7— 7
SJP — 2 yard run by Kolbe Burrell; 9:42
SJP — 27 yard field goal by AntonioChada; 7:45
SJP — 25 yard pass from Kyle McCord to Maurice Clark; 6:18
SJP — 48 yard pass from Kyle McCord to Marvin Harrison Jr.; 4:43
SJP — 64 yard pass from Kyle McCord to Marvin Harrison Jr.; 2:42
SJP — 10 yard pass from Kyle McCord to Marvin Harrison Jr.; 8:13
SJP —81 yard pass from Kyle McCord to Marvin Harrison Jr.; 3:50
SJP — 5 yard run by Malik Cooper; 6:22
L — 2 yard run by Gavin Daly; 3:55
First Downs 16 8
Rushing yards 118 114
Passing yards 371 108
Total yards 489 222
Passing 15-25 9-26
Penalties 6-50 2-10
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Punts-Avg 2-29.5 5-28.8
L: Brad Vespe 3-9; Sam Brown 12-74; Jack Machita 5-26; Jalen DeVose 1-2; Gavin Daly 3-3 1 TD
SJP: Bryheem Barr 5-12; Kyle McCrod 1-7; Kolbe Burrell 9-66 1 TD; Joshua Barlow 4-21; Malik Cooper 1-5 1 TD; Bryce Goodman 1-12; Andrew Mernold 1-0; Dane Piccariello 1-(-5).
L: Jack Machita 7-22 58 Yards; Gavin Daly 2-4 50 Yards
SJP: Kyle McCord 14-23 361 Yards 5 TD; Malik Cooper 1-2 10 Yards
L: Abdul Carter 3-22; Jalen DeVose 1-13; Timothy Mehlmann 2-14; Justin Machita 1-9; Grant Hughes 1-6; Sam Brown 1-44
SJP: Marvin Harrison Jr. 6-222 4 TD; Malik Cooper 2-54; Sahmir Hagans 3-18; Noble House 2-30; Maurice Clark 1-25 1 TD; Kolbe Burrell 1-22
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