The fact that La Salle High franchise
almost never left the football field yesterday led
one to ask coach Joe
Does this kid
ever get nicked?
said. "Not playing football. "
5-11, 190-pound senior, was the quarterback for the
playoff- bound Explorers, who used a 7-6 victory
over host Archbishop Wood to secure third place in
the Catholic League Northern Division.
played safety, did the punting and fielded punts as
a single return man. Until two weeks ago, he
"Now," he said,
"they want me to come off for a quick word with our
offensive coordinator. "
Catholic League coaches are extremely reluctant to
allow their quarterbacks to start on defense and,
even more dangerously, return punts.
"So am I,"
admitted. "Some of the other coaches probably laugh
at me. I've done some laughing myself (at coaches
who have given quarterbacks multiple duties). But
you have to be around this kid every day . . . And
it's not the first time we've done this. "
referring to 1988, when he coached a sensational
quarterback/ safety named Jack Stanczak, who wore
In the Explorers'
first game this season, McDermott's original jersey,
No. 28, was ripped off his back. But after Sean
performed a Stanczak-like stunt - returning a
late-game punt 53 yards to the 3, then running in
for the winning touchdown - the equipment man
suggested a switch to No. 10.
"It had kind of
been retired since Jack Stanczak played," McDermott
said. ''He's a legend at La Salle. I'm proud to wear
it. I don't know much about his career (Stanczak now
plays baseball at Villanova), but I met him once.
He's a nice guy. "
So is McDermott -
away from competition.
But when football
games or wrestling matches are on the line, there's
fire in the red-haired McDermott's stomach and eyes.
As a junior,
McDermott, who maintains a 3.3 grade-point average
and has scored 1,000 on the Scholastic Aptitude
Test, went 34-0 at 171 pounds while winning Catholic
League and National Prep School championships.
Overall, he has won 80 varsity matches counting his
freshman and sophomore seasons at North Penn High.
wrestling suitors include Virginia, George Mason,
Army and Bucknell. For football it's Nebraska, Ohio
State, Rutgers and Penn State.
"Sean is always
saying how hard wrestling is and how easy football
"It's an oddity to go both ways at La Salle. But
wrestling is a big help. It helps me be rugged and
aggressive, so I can stick it out for all four
quarters. The things I get from wrestling carry over
into football. I'm not sure which sport I'll play in
college. I'm hoping to get offers for both.
Wrestling is strenuous, though. You have to suck a
lot of weight to wrestle in college. "
quarters yesterday, La Salle was outplayed by the
undersized Vikings. But Wood's lead was precarious
in that John Finerghty's 1-yard, second-quarter
touchdown run had been followed by an unsuccessful
scoring drive covered 79 yards in 11 plays. The
largest was McDermott's 23-yard bootleg keeper on
fourth-and-inches from the La Salle 44. On
third-and-5 from the 28, he ran the same play to the
right and picked up 10. After Bill Tatar (14
carries, 73 yards) ran 4 yards to the 14, McDermott
took a couple of quick steps to his left, faked a
handoff to Tatar, turned upfield and scampered into
the end zone with 3:03 left in the game. Joel Klock
kicked the extra point.
finished with 10 carries for 38 yards. He went
0-for-5 passing (can't have everything), punted
three times for 93 yards, returned four punts for 22
yards, made four tackles (linemen Joe McKenzie and
Kevin Conlin had 13 and 11, respectively) and broke
up two passes.
The fact that
McDermott has performed in similar fashion (or even
better) all season led someone to ask
who's the MVP of the Northern Division?
"It can't be
anybody but Sean