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High School Football: La Salle Looking To Build On Comeback Victory

Matt McGarrity1

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Top 10

Week of Sept. 5, 2011

1. La Salle (Record: 1-0. Previous Week: 4. Weeks Rated: 2.)

2. Downingtown East (Record: 1-0. Previous Week: 6. Weeks Rated: 2.)

3. Archbishop Wood (Record: 0-1. Previous Week: 1. Weeks Rated: 2.)

4. Council Rock South (Record: 1-0. Previous Week: 5. Weeks Rated: 2.)

5. Neshaminy (Record: 1-0. Previous Week: 7. Weeks Rated: 2.)

6. North Penn (Record: 0-1. Previous Week: 3. Weeks Rated: 2.)

7. Roman Catholic (Record: 1-0. Previous Week: 10. Weeks Rated: 2.)

8. Ridley (Record: 1-0. Previous Week: NR. Weeks Rated: 1.)

9. Cardinal O’Hara (Record: 1-0. Previous Week: 9. Weeks Rated: 1.)

10. Coatesville (Record: 1-0. Previous Week: NR. Weeks Rated: 1.)

Matt Magarity was never pulled from a game before. The La Salle 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior quarterback has left the field with injuries, but never had a coach yank him.

He experienced that for the first time last Saturday. Magarity could have done one of two things, seep into a depressive state and stop caring, or get back up if
the chance occurred to re-enter the game and prove something.

In this case, it was the latter—emphatically. After being pulled by La Salle coach Drew Gordon in the second quarter of the Explorers’ game with North Penn in
last year’s state semifinal rematch, Magarity came back to finish by completing 13-of-21 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns.

What’s more is Magarity turned a 21-10 halftime deficit into a 44-27 La Salle victory, propelling the Explorers to the top of the area’s best 10 teams.

It’s a personal a team comeback for Magarity, who was plagued by three interceptions, two thrown in the first half. It’s the second interception that stirred the drama Magarity fought back from.

“I checked on something I shouldn’t have checked on; I was told after throwing my first interception, I was told not to check anymore,” said Magarity, who led the Explorers to the state title game last year after beating North Penn 38-35 in the PIAA Class AAAA state semifinals. “I saw something and it was a common check, and I made it, and I shouldn’t have.

“I was absolutely beating myself, not so much or being pulled, but I was a little angry at coach for pulling me out, and I understand why he did it. I’m really hard on myself. I can’t argue with the result, and it’s Coach Gordon’s decision and I accept why he does things. I was real angry about getting pulled; I always want to be in the thick of things. My teammates really brought me back.”

Especially one in particular, senior receiver Colin Buckley, who caught four touchdowns—all in the second half of La Salle’s scoring barrage. The Explorers put up 28 unanswered points and outscored a very physical, fast North Penn team, 34-6, in second half. Buckley caught a career-best nine passes for 164 yards.

“We never had any doubts in Matt,” Buckley said. “For the first half, a lot of guys were nervous. I didn’t know what was going on. Matt came back and he did awesome. This built confidence for the next game. Matt is one of our key leaders and he’s always the most talkative guy on the field. We all knew Matt was ready for this game and everyone could tell he wanted to return to that game. He would be the one that would bring us back.”

Magarity settled down and did just that, behind a revamped offensive line that recuperated and adjusted. It appears La Salle is rising again as one of the large-school teams that bear watching in the state title picture.

“I think I gained something from it,” Magarity said. “My foot work was bad, and I was losing my grip on the ball. I learned that I have to keep my fundamentals in check, and if I do that, I’ll be okay. I’m always hard on myself, and that hasn’t changed since I started playing. On the bus ride home after games we won, I used to sit by myself and go over things I did wrong. I think I understand how to enjoy a win now. That was one of my most memorable victories I’ve ever had, but I know there is a lot more intense games down the line.”

Game of the Week

West Catholic (0-1) vs. Archbishop Wood (0-1), Saturday 7 p.m. at William Tennent High School

Someone is going to sink to 0-2 this season. Both teams, predicted to do big things this year, lost their season openers. Wood did it on a grander stage, losing to Pittsburgh Central Catholic, 20-17, stung by two big first-half plays. Wood also gave up over 400 yards of total offense.

The Vikings did pound out close to 350 yards in total offense themselves, buoyed by cousins Brandon and Desmon Peoples, who combined to rush for close to 200 yards.

Expect a big offensive surge this week by an angry Wood team looking get into the victory column.

If West Catholic had trouble with Roman Catholic, the Burrs could really have some serious problems with the larger, more mobile Vikings. West Catholic struggled offensively in a 19-7 loss to Roman Catholic last weekend down the shore, held for less than 50 yards of total offense in the first half.

Burrs’ junior star tailback David Williams still finished with 127 yards on 19 carries, but was held out of the end zone until the fourth quarter. By then, Roman held a decisive lead.

“Give Roman Catholic credit, they did what they had to do to win the game, but we didn’t play well at all,” West Catholic coach Brian Fluck said. “Wood played well [against Central Catholic] and had a chance to win their game and now they’re coming off a loss. We are, too. We need to cut down on all of our mistakes. You can’t make major mistakes against Wood. To win, we’ll need to control the ball and pile the first downs up. We get a couple of turnovers from them, who knows. The message to the kids this week is we know it’s a tough game and a tough task. We need to play much better than we did last week.”

The strong leaning here is that Wood notches its first victory of the season very big against the smaller Burrs, who with defending Catholic League Class AAAA champion LaSalle next could begin its PIAA Class AA state title defense in a 0-3 hole.

Reported by: Joseph Santoliquito