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St. Joseph’s Prep puts it all together in win over rival La Salle

St. Joseph's Prep Cole Nilles (45) is congratulated by teammates after making a key stop on third down against La Salle. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

PHILADELPHIA >> After a sluggish first quarter that rained penalty flags, St. Joseph’s Prep found its groove and never got out of it, rolling to a 40-11 victory over rival La Salle at Franklin Field.

The Hawks offense produced two 100-yard rushers in quarterback Samaj Jones and running back Taj Dyches, reached the end zone five times, and put together a 24-point second quarter that put the game out of reach by the break.

St. Joe’s won its fifth in a row and raised its record to 5-1 on the season, a perfect 2-0 in the Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division.

“We had a great week of practice and were ready to come out here and get a win,” said Dyches, who racked up three touchdowns in the victory. “The line did a great job today — I wouldn’t be here without them.”

St. Joe’s quarterback Samaj Jones (2) throws to David Washington (3) during the battle with La Salle. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

Dyches was awarded the game ball after leading a robust running attack that gained 249 yards on the Franklin Field turf.

“It’s a great atmosphere,” Dyches said after the contest, which packed in plenty of student body and fans from both sides. “We worked really hard for this so it’s a blessing to be out here.”

The Hawks opened the scoring just over a minute into the contest, when — on a 4th-and-inches — Jones took the snap, found a crease and was gone, racing away to an 83-yard touchdown that quickly made it 6-0.

La Salle quarterback Gavin Damon (7) is hit as he throws during the contest with St. Joe’s Prep. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

La Salle (2-4, 0-1 PCL Red) put together a 14-play, 65-yard drive that culminated with a 24-yard field goal by Andrew Park that brought the Explorers within 6-3.

St. Joe’s was slowed by seven penalties in the first quarter for 60 yards.

But in the second quarter, the Hawks settled down and found their way, scoring on all four of their possessions to break the game open.

La Salle’s offense comes to the sideline during its battle with St. Joe’s Prep. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

Dyches scored on a five-yard burst to provide more breathing room at 13-3.

Jones then lofted a pretty pass to Alijah Turner, whose over-the-shoulder grab of the 33-yard strike made it 20-3.

Kicker Skyler Sholder contributed in a big way, booting a 48-yard field goal to widen the gap to 23-3 with just 2:28 left in the first half.

La Salle’s Matt Mitchell returns a punt during the game with St. Joe’s Prep on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

The Hawks then converted a La Salle fumble into points, with Dyches dashing into the end zone from 11 yards out to provide a 30-3 cushion at intermission.

Another field goal by Sholder (31 yards) and a 10-yard TD run by Dyches enforced a running clock in the third quarter.

St. Joe’s Prep fans celebrate the win over La Salle at Franklin Field. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

La Salle completed the scoring with a two-yard surge by John Patrick Oates, who also caught the two-point conversion pass from Tim Smith.

“They were the better team today, and we’ll come back next week (against Archbishop Wood) more prepared,” Explorer running back Chris Fileppo said. “(St. Joe’s) brought a lot of pressure and they were successful with it.

“It’s definitely not over for La Salle. We’re gonna have a really strong second half of the season.”

St. Joseph’s Prep 40, La Salle 11

St. Joseph’s Prep 6 24 10 0 – 40

La Salle 3 0 0 8 – 11

First Quarter

SJ-Samaj Jones 83 run (kick failed), 10:45.

L-Andrew Park 24 field goal, 1:46.

Second Quarter

SJ-Taj Dyches 5 run (Skyler Sholder kick), 9:45.

SJ-Alijah Turner 33 pass from Jones (Sholder kick), 7:40.

SJ-Sholder 48 field goal, 2:28.

SJ-Dyches 11 run (Sholder kick), 1:38.

Third Quarter

SJ-Sholder 31 field goal, 6:09.

SJ-Dyches 10 run (Sholder kick), 2:09.

Fourth Quarter

L-John Patrick Oates (Oates pass from Tim Smith), 1:40.

SJ                       L

First Downs                         15              10

Rushes-yards                      30-249        28-77

Passing (c-a-i)                     6-17-0         4-11-1

Passing yards                      78               23

Total yards                           327             100

Punts                                   0                 3

Fumbles-lost                        0-0              3-1

Penalties-yards                    13-127         6-38


SJ: Taj Dyches 9-102, 3 TD; Jones 11-106, TD; Patrick Murtagh 1-8; David Washington 1-4; Jamir Rowe 5-23; Brandon Rehmann 1-2; Will Vokolos 2-4.

L: Chris Fileppo 7-12; Gavin Damon 7-5; Nole Henry 6-39; Desmond Ortiz 4-21; Gavin Sidwar 1-(-12); Eddie Sutter 2-10; John Patrick Oates 1-2, TD.


SJ: Jones 6-17-78-1-0.

L: Gavin Sidwar 0-2-0-0-0; Damon 4-9-23-0-1; Tim Smith 0-0-0-0-0.


SJ: Owen Garwood 2-15; Alijah Turner 1-33; Washington 1-14; Rehmann 1-9; Michael DiTrulio 1-7.

L: Jack Koch 1-1; Henry 2-20; Gavin Muller 1-2.


SJ: Andrew Bachman.



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