By PETER DiGIOVANNI
MALVERN -- As advertised.
That about sums up what the La Salle High School football team displayed Saturday afternoon at the Pellegrini Athletic Complex against host Malvern Prep. La Salle is widely regarded as a favorite to claim the Class AAAA PIAA crown and if Saturday’s performance is any indication, plan on seeing the Explorers in Hershey.
La Salle dominated Malvern in all phases of the game, blocking, tackling, special teams and anything else that happens on a football field en route to a 38-6 triumph over the Friars. La Salle (4-0) took advantage of two short fields, garnering great field position to jet out to a early 10-0 lead.
“It is always great to have to not go the length of the field,” La Salle quarterback Chris Kane said. “And we wanted to jump on them early and get them back on their heels a bit. Our offensive line was missing two guys, but the guys who came in really stepped up and did a great job.
“That is what we are going to need, everybody helping out as we go into the Catholic League schedule. Roman Catholic, St.Joseph’s Prep and other teams are very good, so we feel good about how we are playing rigght now, but we know there is a long way to go.”
Kane was a stellar 13 for 20 for 146 yards on the day and La Salle head coach Drew Gordon said that his signal caller is a very hard worker.
“Chris played tight end and fullback for us the last two years,” Gordon said. “He played a little quarterback as a junior but this season he has done a tremendous job for us. He makes good decisions and he is very accurate with his passing. The short fields early in the game helped us get our confidence and we just went from there.”
Malvern (2-2) did not have a first down in the first quarter, and being down 10, things seemd to snowball from there. A 30-yard strike from Kane to Sean Coleman put the ball at the Malvern 5-yard line early in the second.
It took just two more plays for Kane to sneak in from the one and La Salle had a 17-0 lead. From there, Malvern imploded, as the Friars, who managed just 31 yards rushing on the game, turned the ball over twice via fumbles less than four minutes apart.
Both turnovers were turned into touchdowns. The first was a six-yard pass from Kane to Taj Naji and the other was a 31-yard fumble recovery return by Chris Rocco to make it a 31-0 game at halftime.
Malvern averted the shutout when Ryan Ammermann scored on a 67-yard pass from quarterback Bill Ford with a little over five minutes left.
“We gave them short fields to work with early and they turned it into 10 points,” Malvern head coach Kevin Pellegrini said. “And we could not get anything going offensively and things started to go downhill for us.
“I don’t know if there are many better football teams around than they are and you have to bring your best game to play them and we did not do that. They are so fundamentally sound, they don’t miss tackles, they block well. They are a very well coached team.”
Malvern now has a bye week before they travel to Upper Darby and Pellegrini said it may be good to have a week off to get this loss out of the kids minds.
“The bye week will seem longer after this loss but we go back to work on Monday and we have a lot of time to fix some things,” he said.
La Salle 38, Malvern Prep 6
La Salle 10 21 7 0-38
Malvern 0 0 0 6-6
L-Winslow 33 FG
L-Kane 1 run (Winslow kick)
L-Kane 1 run (Winslow kick)
L-Naji 6 pass from Kane (Winslow kick)
L-Rocco 31 fumble recovery (Winslow kick)
L-Hardy 12 pass from Kane (Winslow kick)
M-Ammermann 67 pass from Ford (kick failed)
First downs 16 6
Yards rushing 139 31
Yards passing 192 115
Total yards 331 146
Passing 14-21-0 8-18-0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-2
Punts.avg 3-41.0 8-27.5
Penalties-yds 2-20 1-5
Rushing: LAS: Herrmann 9-55; Brady 8-40; Eife 2-25; Buckley 4-16; Kane 4-0, 2TD’s; Herron 1-3. MAL: Gallen 4-21; Purnell 6-4; Bohs 3-11; Ford 4 (-5).
Passing: LAS: Kane 13-20-0, 146 yards 2TD’s; Herron 1-1-0, 46 yards. MAL: Ford 8-18-0, 115 yards TD.
Receiving: LAS: Coleman 6-82; Naji 3-25 TD; Herron 3-27; Herrmann 1-46; Hardy 1-12, TD. MAL: Ammermann 3-83 TD; Purnell 2-14; Carlini 2-12; Gallen 1-6.
Sacks: LAS: Eife, Naji, Coolahan. MAL: Andrews.
Interceptions: LAS: None. MAL: None.
Follow Peter DiGiovanni at twitter.com/dlnsports