WEST CHESTER TWP., Ohio – The La Salle football team answered a serious wake-up call this postseason.
The Lancers were plenty alert in a 34-3 win over Turpin in a Division II regional semifinal Friday night.
PHOTO GALLERY: La Salle 34, Turpin 3
La Salle (10-2), the reigning two-time Division II state champion, advances to play Miamisburg (10-2) in the regional final Nov. 18 at a location to be announced Sunday. Next week will mark the third consecutive regional final for the Lancers.
— Mike Dyer (@MikeDyer) November 12, 2016
The Lancers defeated visiting Edgewood 23-21 in the first round of Region 8 on Nov. 4, and the Lancers answered the challenge from the coaching staff this week.
“Our kids had a chip on their shoulder,” La Salle coach Jim Hilvert said. “Obviously last week people were talking about how Edgewood came close and this and that. I think our kids woke up and had an unbelievable game tonight.”
The La Salle defense played physical all night and held the previously undefeated Spartans to a first-half field goal. La Salle gained 316 yards of offense compared to Turpin’s 105 yards. The Spartans had just 16 rushing yards.
“We ran into a perennial power, a very special football team,” Turpin coach Rob Stoll said. “I felt like our kids gave it their all.”
Turpin (11-1), the No. 2 seed in Region 8, was ranked No. 2 in the season’s final Associated Press Division II state poll. La Salle, the No. 3 seed, was ranked No. 5.
The 11 wins for Turpin was in the top three for victories in a season in program history, according to athletic director Eric Fry.
Turpin was also outright Eastern Cincinnati Conference champion.
“They played with so much passion,” Stoll said. “They never gave up.”
La Salle had too much on both sides of the ball Friday night in a game that was highly anticipated around the city.
Senior running back Jarell White hasn’t played much offense this season, but when he did Friday night, he made an impact. White rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
“Tonight we played our hearts out tonight,” said White, a key member of the Lancers’ two state titles. “I felt like we played so down to (Edgewood’s) level and we actually are better. It was kind of a chip on the shoulder for me. I didn’t want to go out this early. I am chasing a three-peat.”
La Salle scored on its second drive when senior TreSean Smith (Louisville commit) took a direct snap and scored on a 1-yard carry to make it 7-0 at 6:11. That came one play after the Lancers converted a fourth down on the Turpin 6.
Turpin went three-and-out and the Lancers received good field position at their own 40. Senior Paul Young made a 29-yard field goal at the 11:17 mark of the second quarter to give the Lancers a 10-0 lead.
The La Salle defense forced Turpin to a three-and-out after the Spartans had a solid kickoff return.
La Salle went to the run game and it paid off as senior White went for 53 yards on third down during the drive. Two plays later, White had a 34-yard touchdown run to help give La Salle a 17-0 lead with 7:35 left in the second quarter.
Turpin junior Harry Sand kicked a 29-yard field goal with 2:55 left in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 20-3.
Young added another field goal – a 33-yarder – as time expired in the first half to give La Salle a 20-3 lead.
White added a 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
“For me, you could see it in his eyes,” Hilvert said. “He’s feeling it and you want to give him the ball.”
Junior quarterback Griffin Merritt connected with senior Christian Turner on an 11-yard pass for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make it 34-3 with 10:56 left.
It was the 11th time in 12 playoff games that La Salle has had the running clock - meaning it led by 30 or more points.
The game was riddled with penalties with 14 overall. Hilvert couldn’t recall coaching in a similar game with so many flags. There were 10 penalties in the first half alone.
Hilvert said he was proud of the way his team responded throughout the game despite the penalties. The Lancers are ready for the regional final.
“Our kids have stepped up,” Hilvert said. “To get to this point again says a lot about the guys and not having that complacency.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
La Salle 7-13-7-7--34
L-Smith 1 run (Young kick)
L-Young 29 FG
L-White 34 run (Young kick)
T-Sand 25 FG
L-Young 33 FG
L-White 12 run (Young kick)
L-Turner 11 pass from Merritt (Young kick)
Records: L 10-2, T 11-1
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