Exploring History

  On 9/20/08, at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High, La Salle defeated SJ Prep, 31-17, to terminate the Hawks' 55-game winning
streak in Catholic League regular season play. In the picture above, coach Drew Gordon addresses his team shortly after
game's end. Look below for the boxscore and Ted's DN story, along with the website report; the names of the main
participants on offense and defense; and two more photos. Complete photo set is here.

 

OFFENSE

   

DEFENSE

C Sean Abbott   T Steve Szostak
C Floyd Shaffer   T Bob Siess
G Matt DiGiacomo   T Matt DiGiacomo
G Steve Szostak   T Ryan Geiger
G Ryan Geiger   E Ryan Eidenshink
T Dylan Gavin   E Steve Sinnott
T Jake Hostrander   LB Mike Donohoe
T Bob Siess   LB Anthony Cognetti
TE Steve Jones   LB John Kerrigan
TE Steve Sinnott   LB Joe Radaszewski
WR Sam Feleccia   CB Kevin Forster
WR Connor Hoffman   CB Jamal Abdur-Rahman
QB Drew Loughery   CB Vinny Migliarese
TB Jamal Abdur-Rahman   FS Kevin Farrington
FB Mike Donohoe   FS Sam Feleccia
FB George Giovinazzo   SS George Giovinazzo
K Mike Bennett   SS *Shane Brady
P Mike Donohoe   SS Ryan Saracini
    SS

Andrew D'Addona

      *also played LB

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La Salle starts its own winning streak against St. Joseph's Prep

 You're a football team with dreams of making history.

  Among the worst ways to start: A fumble to end your first possession, then an interception to wreck the second.

  Next stop: Calamityville? Not for La Salle High.

  All aboard for Euphoriaville.

  Time for the past tense, folks. St. Joseph's Prep owned a streak of 55 consecutive wins in Catholic League regular-season play, compiled during the 1999 through 2007 seasons.

  With an overflow crowd witnessing, the end came Saturday in beautiful weather at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High as La Salle prevailed over Prep, 31-17, in a AAAA opener.

  As the final seconds melted away, La Salle students chanted several times, "The Hawk is dead!" There was no response from across the way. Many Prep students were already headed for the parking lot.

  "We came in here thinking we could win," said Drew Gordon, La Salle's coach. "As the game progressed, those thoughts became more constant."

  Heroes were here, there and everywhere, but claiming a special place of prominence was Drew Loughery, the 6-1, 195-pound junior quarterback.

  Shaking off the early pilfer, he finished 17-for-31 for 318 yards and three touchdowns.

  Six more yards and he would have surpassed the school record belonging to '08 grad John Harrison, already the starter at Franklin & Marshall, and Brett Gordon, an all-timer at La Salle ('98) and Villanova, and now his father's offensive coordinator.

  Most of the time.

  Brett was missing Saturday with a five-star excuse. He and his bride, Tanya, were honeymooning in Hawaii.

  "Yeah, while we're sweatin' things out, he's on a helicopter tour," Drew said, laughing. "I finally talked to him [Saturday] night. I'm picking them up at the airport at 6 o'clock Wednesday morning. He said, 'Make sure you bring a copy of the film.' ''

  It will show Loughery's presence and strong arm, and what was mostly wonderful blocking by the grunts (Sean Abbott, Floyd Shaffer, Matt DiGiacomo, Steve Szostak, Ryan Geiger, Bob Siess, Jake Hostrander, Dylan Gavin) and tight ends (Steve Jones, Steve Sinnott).

  Brett might pass out, however, when he sees a series with four consecutive running plays. Don't worry. The screaming of fans will revive him: Play No. 4 was a 64-yard scoring run by soph Jamal Abdur-Rahman, extending the lead to 21-10.

  Drew Gordon said those plays were called by his offensive line coach, Dom D'Addona.

  "I don't know what he saw, but he was right," Loughery said. "Definitely a switch for us."

  Sam Feleccia (3-97) scored La Salle's first two TDs on pass plays covering 23 and 55 yards. Abdur-Rahman tallied No. 4 on a 25-yard flip; he finished with 159 yards of rushing-receiving.

  "He's a lot of fun. Adds a completely different dimension," Loughery said. "Having a breakaway threat makes things so much easier.

  "You can't really game-plan against a weakness in Prep's defense. But over the course of the game, we felt they'd have trouble matching up with all of our guys. If they shut something down, we went with something else."

  Loughery said the early pick did not shake his confidence.

  "There was miscommunication and it was my fault," he noted. "When I throw one, I always think, 'I know I can bounce back.' ''

  As the day went on . . .

  "Every time we got the ball, it seemed like there was a boost in our momentum," he added.

  The defense also thrived, though the Hawks did generate 372 yards. Defensive backs Kevin Farrington, Kevin Forster and Shane Brady were especially busy, and effective, and Szostak made two stops behind the line.

  "Our kids were having a good time. There was so much camaraderie," Drew Gordon said.

  And, at the end, such cause for celebration. *

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WEBSITE REPORT . . .
SEPT. 20
CATHOLIC AAAA
La Salle 31, SJ Prep 17
  Let's see here. The last time SJ Prep lost a CL regular season game, Jamal Abdur-Rahman was learning his ABC's and that two plus two equals four and that teachers like coloring to be done between the lines. It was the fall of 1999 and Jamal, now a soph at La Salle, was making his way through the first grade. Now he plays with the big boys, and very much holds his own. As do many of his Explorer teammates, though most of prominence are juniors and seniors. The streak is over, folks, and La Salle had the pleasure of ending it this afternoon before an overflow crowd in beautiful weather at Plymouth-Whitemarsh. "Fifty-five and one" was the theme all week at La Salle, kids kept repeating on the sideline, and the Prep fell short in its bid to extend the wonderful accomplishment to not only 56 games, but also into a 10th season; this was the league opener. Abdur-Rahman was a hero, thanks to one TD on the ground (64 yards) and another via the air (25 yards). But he was harrrrrrrrdly alone. Pretty much everyone who stepped on the field did something of a positive nature and coach Drew Gordon commented afterward that he was impressed game-long with his squad's camaraderie. "It just seemed like everyone was having a good time," he said. Not in the very beginning, admittedly. On La Salle's second play, A-R dropped a pitchout and sr. DB Mike Yeager recovered on the Prep 40. Yeager (23-143) then pulled on his RB hat and zoomed for gains of 12, 15 and 14 yards in a four-play sequence. Uh, oh. The Explorers stiffened and sr. Kurt Skalamera wound up wide-lefting a 26-yard field goal. One crisis survived. Next series: On play No. 8, jr. QB Drew Loughery tossed an interception to sr. LB Mike Pereira, who returned the ball 46 yards to the La Salle 9. UH, OH in capital letters. This time, the Prep did get onto the scoreboard, but only in the form of a 21-yard field goal. Thereafter? Little by little, the Explorers got moving on offense and their defense bought a subscription to Bend But Don't Break Magazine and by about 3:30, the celebration was on. The students stormed onto the track as the final moments evaporated, and then joined the players as La Salle's band played the school song. A short time before that, the students had yelled over toward Prep's, "The Hawk is dead! The Hawk is dead!" There was no response. None. By then, most members of the student section were headed for the parking lot. Or already there. So, how did this happen? The 6-1, 195-pound Loughery, who's mobile and rugged in addition to strong-armed, was borderline sensational. Yes, he was victimized for two picks and the occasional throw was otherwise offline. But overall, man, what a performance. He went 17-for-31 for 318 yards (five short of the school record shared by offensive coordinator Brett Gordon and '08 grad John Harrison, already the starter at Franklin & Marshall) and, like La Salle QBs always do, spread the ball around. His first two TD tosses went to jr. WR Sam Feleccia (6-3, 210). The first was a jump-ball in the right corner that covered 23 yards. The next was a simple right-to-middle slant that covered 55 yards. Midway through the third quarter, La Salle slapped together a four-play drive for a score. All four plays were runs! I kiddingly said to Gordon, someone I've known for four decades, "All runs in a series? Is that allowed at La Salle?" He shot back with a laugh, "Don't tell Brett." Brett, you see, is in Hawaii on his honeymoon, and was not involved in preparation for this one. Drew said the suggestions for the series came from line coach Dom D'Addona. The sequence went: two runs worth 12 total yards for A-R, then a 17-yarder for sr. FB Mike Donohoe, then a 64-yard burst for A-R. Along the sideline shortly thereafter, I heard a La Salle lineman bellow, "'Let 'em defend the pass. We'll run it down their throats!!!" Actually, not that it mattered, the 'Splorers did very little on the ground thereafter. But A-R had his TD catch and later added a 53-yard snag to set up an 18-yard field goal by jr. Mike Bennett. All day, the protection was excellent. Few of Loughery's throws, delivered off sprintouts, had to be made under duress. The line guys: sr. C Sean Abbott, jr Gs Matt DiGiacomo and Steve Szostak, soph G Ryan Geiger, sr. Ts Bob Siess and Jake Hostrander, sr. T Dylan Gavin (Siess' playing time was limited by sickness) and jr. TEs Steve Jones and Steve Sinnott. When Abbott had to sit down briefly with a shoulder ding, jr. C Floyd Shaffer took his place. (Notice all of the underclassmen? How dangerous will this group be NEXT year?) Prep was not exactly unproductive. Giubilato (Temple) passed 8-for-23 for 109 yards and had one of his own catches for minus-10. (The ball was batted back to him by jr. DL Steve Szostak, who then dumped him.) D-backs such as sr. Kevin Farrington, jr. Shane Brady and soph Kevin Forster (yes, another headliner in THAT family) were frisky all game long and Farrington, in particular, came up hard on the corners to make play-for-keeps hits. Farrington also recovered a fumble on the La Salle 7, giving birth to the all-runs series mentioned above. Strategywise, there was one adjustment I expected to see from Prep, but it never happened. La Salle's defensive coordinator, John Steinmetz, often switched two-three defenders per play and I thought Prep would ultimately go no-huddle in an attempt to catch La Salle with the wrong personnel on the field for specific plays. Didn't happen. It will be interesting, of course, to see what happens from here. Will La Salle storm forward? Will Prep regroup and be even better down the road? Does the fact that La Salle is so good and so young mean we're about to experience a changing of the private-CL-schools football guard? Hmmmmmmmmmm. Meanwhile, one thing about Prep must be remembered. The Hawks returned almost no one who touched the ball last season. Thus, we can probably be a little surprised that the streak came to an end, but not shocked beyond belief. Sound fair?

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TD twins -- two apiece for Jamal Abdur-Rahman and Sam Feleccia.

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Three TD passes for Drew Loughery.