La Salle Academy @ Bishop Hendricken: What You Need to Know

2018 High School Super Bowl – Thomas Comella (ball carrier) – Photo Credit: Paul Danesi

Catch the La Salle @ Bishop Hendricken football game on YurView LIVE this Friday evening October 4 at 7:00pm on Cox Channel 4 and streaming on YurView.com.

Turn on the lights for what’s expected to be a big-time crowd on hand to see two longtime rivals on the gridiron.

In terms of R.I. high school football showdowns, it doesn’t get much bigger or better than when you look at the schedule and see Bishop Hendricken playing against La Salle. The Hawks and Rams have locked horns eight times over the past nine seasons with the state championship hanging in the balance. There’s still plenty of season left, yet it wouldn’t register as a shock to see the same two schools cross paths again come November with the 2019 title on the line.yurview

That brings us to Friday night and an early October matchup of programs with grand aspirations and the means to reach them. The Rams will visit the Hawks’ Ferrick Field at Hayden Stadium for a 7 o’clock kickoff. Both teams are putting identical undefeated records on the line – 3-0 overall, 2-0 in Division I. The similarities also extend to the respect factor that each side has for its opponent.

“We’re in the glory days of this rivalry. Our kids and coaches understand that so we’re going to enjoy it as best we can,” said La Salle head coach Geoff Marcone. “It’s a game that’s very special and one we look forward to. I’m sure they do too. Not only for the crowd but the whole ambiance. It’s pretty awesome.”

Hendricken vs. La Salle 2018 – Cole Peterson (kicker), Ethan Wurster (holder) – Photo Credit: Paul Danesi

Added Hendricken head coach Keith Croft, “We share a lot of things … two private schools with huge expectations. Any time you play them, it’s a special game. To be honest, sometimes the regular-season games can feature a different atmosphere than the championship games at the end of the year. At that point, you’re sometimes dealing with new players and injuries. We’re still at the point of the year where it’s still relatively early. Both teams are still trying to establish themselves a little bit.”

Who should fans (and Yurview viewers) keep an eye on? Ask and you shall receive. Below is a checklist to help you get game ready. Let’s begin with the away team.

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When La Salle Passes:

Senior quarterback Nathan Lussier is the straw that stirs the Rams’ attack. A three-year starter at the game’s most scrutinized position, Marcone noted that Lussier has taken an even bigger jump this year – heady praise for someone who as a sophomore guided La Salle to the state title.

“He basically has the keys to the offense and does what needs to be done,” said Marcone. “If he plays well, we’re putting ourselves in a pretty good position.”

To date, Lussier has thrown six touchdown passes. Three have been hauled in by junior Alfino Davis. Also stepping up at wide receiver has been senior Michael Jordan and sophomore Dimetri Iafrate. Davis and Iafrate will operate out of the slot while Jordan splits out wide.

“Collectively as a group, they’re pretty good,” said Marcone.

When La Salle Runs:

In senior Alex Nuahn and sophomore Jacob Gibbons, the Rams feature a 1-2 punch that includes best of both worlds.

“Jacob is shifty while Alex is more of a power guy,” said Marcone. “Both will see time on Friday, depending on the situation and what’s being called.”

Opponents shouldn’t sleep on Lussier, who is more than capable of making something happen with his feet. Last week against Moses Brown, he rushed for 85 yards.

“That’s the beauty of him. He’s a duel threat,” said Marcone.

When La Salle is on Defense:

The Rams will flash a 3-4 alignment, which is a new look this season. The front three features senior Owen Lallier, senior Liam Wholey, and junior Christian Olasanoye. Marcone has been pleased with the development of two of his primary linebackers: junior Nate Lathrobe and senior Alex Nuahn.

In the secondary, the key contributors are Davis, Jordan and Iafrate along with junior Steven Doss. La Salle has allowed just one touchdown through the first two weeks of league play.

When La Salle is on Special Teams:

Handling the kickoff duties is senior Will Bartel while senior Dan Cantanzaro will be out there when the Rams line up in punt formation. Depending on the situation, one will be kicking extra points, while the other trots out there on field-goal attempts.

Don’t fall asleep on La Salle’s return game. Already this season, sophomore Peter Habchi has run back a kickoff for a touchdown, while Jordan has returned a punt for a score.

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When Hendricken Passes:

Like La Salle, the Hawks also feature a three-year starter at quarterback. Once again, senior Tom Comella is the conductor behind Hendricken’s spread attack. Similar to La Salle’s Lussier, Comella is a threat to take off and run.

“He’s been a great asset and just a great kid,” said Croft.

Angel Sanchez wears No. 1 and is also the Hawks’ top pass-catching threat. The senior lines up in the slot and “is someone you want to get the ball to,” per Croft. In two games against La Salle last year, Sanchez scored four touchdowns and threw for one.

2018 High School Super Bowl – Angel Sanchez (ball carrier) – Photo Credit: Paul Danesi

Comella’s other targets include senior Jordan Robbins and senior Helio Sousa. His brother/fellow senior Nicholas Comella is also in the mix when he’s not taking handoffs.

“After Angel, it’s pretty even. We like to spread it around,” said Croft.

When Hendricken Runs:

Senior James Gobewole and Nicholas Comella are the two primary ballcarriers. Occasionally, the Hawks will have Sanchez stand in the backfield.

“We have a few guys who can carry the ball. There’s not a clear-cut leader, but they’re all multi-faceted,” said Croft. “They can run, they can catch, and they all have very good speed.”

When Hendricken is on Defense:

Croft coined the entire unit as young and inexperienced “that hopefully gets better as the year goes on.” The Hawks will flash a 3-4 alignment.

Tasked with getting to the quarterback are senior Jake Picard, junior Jason Onye, and junior John Fay. Junior Nathan Reid teams up with Nicholas Comella at linebacker, while Sanchez anchors the secondary.

When Hendricken is on Special Teams:

Senior Cole Peterson returns as the punter/kickoff specialist/extra-point kicker. He could also be out there on field-goal tries. On punt and kick returns, the Hawks count on a group where the options include Sanchez, senior Jordan Robbins, and junior Noah Dogon.

Catch the La Salle @ Bishop Hendricken football game on YurView LIVE this Friday evening October 4 at 7:00pm on Cox Channel 4 and streaming on YurView.com.