Sports Columnist

John Knebels

Three-quarters full.

That describes the proverbial glass that summarizes La Salle College High School’s football season.

After winning the Class AAAA Catholic League championship with an exciting victory over Father Judge, the only major glitch of such an esteemed accomplishment was not having any significant time to celebrate.

Next up for La Salle was George Washington High, the winner of the Public League title and La Salle’s opponent in the PIAA Class AAAA District 12 championship. The game, played Nov. 22, was also known as the city championship, rekindling memories of past lore before the annual event was scrapped in 1979.

Despite predictions to the contrary, La Salle was upended by GW, 23-14, thus ending its season with a 9-3 record. According to testimony from most of La Salle’s players, the defeat detracted about one fourth of the euphoria that remained after capturing the Catholic League title for the second time in three years.

“When you compare how we felt last week to this week, it’s a big difference,” said senior defensive end Ryan Eidenshink. “We’re disappointed because we wanted to keep going. We’re still happy with what we accomplished, but I think we underestimated what George Washington could do.”

The Explorers fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter before La Salle junior quarterback Drew Loughery connected with Connor Hoffman for a 48-yard completion to the three-yard line, followed by a three-yard scoring strike to Mike Donohoe, to cut their deficit in half.

But Washington (10-1) answered with another touchdown, and La Salle, despite a beautiful 81-yard touchdown throw from Loughery to junior Sam Feleccia late in the third quarter, was unable to muster the type of comeback it seemed to have mastered in recent weeks.

“Bottom line is that we should have won,” said senior linebacker Joe Radaszewski. “We got behind early and settled down, but we lost as a team. We can’t blame the wind, or any particular player or position. We did some good things, and we fell short on some other things.”

When taking into account how he felt before the first game of the season, Radaszewski admitted that he was pleasantly surprised at how well La Salle performed on a weekly basis.

“I knew we’d be a threat to win the Catholic League, but I never saw us coming this far,” he said. “When the games started and we played consistent football, I thought we had a chance to do some great things. I think we did that.”

Although the Explorers were unable to win their last game against an underdog foe, Radaszewski said he and his teammates emerged unspanided.

“This year, we came together as brothers,” he said.

Neither Radaszewski nor Eidenshink paid much attention to some post-game rumblings that questioned whether or not there was a hangover effect from the win over Father Judge that presented an obstacle against Washington.

That said, Eidenshink conceded that another week of preparation probably would have been beneficial before taking on another huge challenge just seven days removed from defeating Father Judge.

“Winning the Catholic League championship was by far the best highlight of the season, no matter what we may have done after that,” he said. “Getting emotionally ready for the Prep (in the league semifinals) and Judge definitely took a toll.

“But we lost and that’s the way it goes. We’re a little upset, but we’ll get over it. When we look back, we’ll have a lot to be happy about.”

John Knebels can be reached at