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La Salle powers its way past Imhotep Charter

La Salle topped Imhotep Charter 13-8 on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

SPRINGFIELD >> Sam Brown got loose, the La Salle defense surrounded Imhotep Charter in a heart-pounding second half, and the Explorers went thumping along to 3-0.

Said La Salle coach John Steinmetz, shortly after his team’s 13-8 victory over Imhotep Charter: “That’s a really good football team with a lot of good football players so I’m really happy with the win. I have to be honest with you — I’m ecstatic.”

The Explorers pushed and powered their way to 158 yards on the ground — 107 from a healthy Brown — and shut out the Panthers in a decisive second half.

“Defensively, I thought we played pretty solid the whole day,” said Steinmetz, who has guided his team to a 3-0 start. “The offense, when we needed it to, was able to pick it up. I think we wore (Imhotep) down a little bit. We kind of let them out of the bag in the beginning. We got the ball on their 20 and then they had another short punt after that, and we still didn’t score in the first quarter. We have to clean that up a little bit.”

The second half would be different.

“We made some adjustments and we knew what we had to do,” said Brown, a major catalyst for the offense as a runner and receiver. “They’re a really fast-paced team. I would say they game-planned well for us so we had to make some changes and that’s what we did. We executed in the second half.”

Trailing 8-7 early in the fourth quarter, La Salle set out on a 10-play, 79-yard drive that forever tilted the contest in its favor.

Luke Shissler, Ryan Carr, Lukas Donahue and Brendan Krug helped open holes and running lanes, as the Panthers (2-1) began to tire.

Five-foot-6 sophomore Stevie Davis squirted free for gains of 17 and 22, and bursts by Brown of seven and 10 yards put La Salle in prime scoring position.

On 3rd-and-7 at the 12, quarterback Alan Paturzo found a wide open Ryan Moore for a touchdown and a 13-8 advantage. The extra point was partially blocked and hit the crossbar, but the Explorers had the lead and the momentum with just 7:28 to play on a sunny, breezy afternoon at packed Springfield Montco.

Next up was one more big stop by the defense.

“We changed two things at halftime,” Steinmetz said. “We cleaned up where we were angling and we played a little bit of 30 defense so we could cover everybody inside and let our linebackers run free. That seemed to work.

“We had planned for that full-house backfield. They have some big dudes and that was a big stop.”

Quarterback Mikal Davis was smothered on a 4th-and-9 around midfield, and the Explorers took over.

Sam Brown rushed for 107 yards and also caught two passes for 42 yards and a touchdown in La Salle’s win over Imhotep on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

Brown had gains of 10 and 41 to help push this one into the win column.

“It felt good to get it going,” he said. “I had some decent runs last week (in the win over Malvern Prep). But it was my first game back from injury and I was a little rusty. So it felt good to get loose today.”

Brown also opened the scoring in the second quarter when he streaked down the seam and hauled in a 33-yard scoring strike from Paturzo to make it 7-0 La Salle.

The Panthers took the lead just before the half.

Imhotep Charter huddles after its loss to La Salle on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

Stanley Tre McLeod (63 yards) barrelled for 21 yards, setting up his three-yard score and twisting, turning, two-point conversion run that made it 8-7.

But the second half belonged to La Salle.

“It means a lot. We played a really good team but we have a really good schedule and we play many more good teams so we just have to continue what we’re doing and get better each and every week at practice,” Brown said.

La Salle 13, Imhotep Charter 8
Imhotep 0 8 0 0 – 8
La Salle 0 7 0 6 – 13
Second Quarter
L-Sam Brown 33 pass from Alan Paturzo (Santiago Sturla kick), 10:03.
I-Stanley Tre McLeod 5 run (McLeod run), 1:57.
Fourth Quarter
L-Ryan Moore 12 pass from Paturzo (kick failed), 7:28.
I L
First Downs 10 12
Rushes-yards 43-167 36-158
Passing (c-a-int) 2-7-0 6-11-2
Passing yards 22 81
Total yards 189 239
Punts 4 3
Penalties-yards 6-65 8-95
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Turnovers 0 2
Rushing
I: Mikal Davis 12-(-12); Stanley Tre McLeod 7-63, TD; Will Robinson 10-51; Rahmir Stewart 8-39; Corey Downing 1-2; Jabree Wallace-Coleman 5-24.
L: Sam Brown 16-107; Alan Paturzo 3-(-18); Stevie Davis 7-51; Ryan Moore 4-22; Gavin Damon 1-0; E.J. Wentz 5-(-4).
Passing
I: Davis 2-6-22-0-0; Stewart 0-1-0-0-0.
L: Paturzo 6-11-81-2-2.
Receiving
I: R.J. Atkinson 2-22.
L: Wentz 2-24; Brown 2-42, TD; Moore 2-15, TD.
Interceptions
I: Rashaan Wright; Maurice Beverly.

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