The final scoreboard said it all. Ryan dominated from start to finish. It appeared that the Raiders could have scored more but ran the ball off-tackle time and time again just to run out the clock.
The Explorers' play reflected the awful weather. In a rain-filled and very chilly two hours of football, La Salle (3-5 overall, 3-3 league) managed to fall behind by 14-0 after one quarter and 27-0 at halftime.
La Salle was just as futile in the second half. The Explorers ran six plays for minus-2 yards in the third quarter. In the fourth, the Explorers could not get past their own 10-yard line, botched a fake punt attempt and fumbled twice.
"Nothing went right for them," said Ryan quarterback Adrian Dumchas. ''After we went ahead by two touchdowns real quick, it took a lot out of them. You can't blame them, really. It was too wet to throw, and getting two scores against our defense is not easy to do."
Ryan (7-1, 6-0), which clinched the regular-season division title for the fourth consecutive year, did throw early in the first quarter. Ryan's first drive was culminated by a 15-yard scoring strike from Dumchas to Ron Norbury less than five minutes into the game. Two minutes later came what Ryan coach Glen Galeone labeled "a major setback for La Salle." Explorers punter Frank Grosso's attempted kick was blocked and rolled into the end zone, where Ryan's Santi Juarez pounced on it for a gift touchdown.
"That was the game right there," said Dumchas. "Everything was going great for us. We were playing well on defense, and they, well, they just had an off day.
"La Salle usually plays us tough, especially the last couple of years. Sometimes a team has an off day and the other team plays well. That's what happened today."
Ryan added second-quarter touchdowns on runs by Ray McFall (1 yard) and Curt Gallagher (6 yards) to go up 27-0. The Raiders' final tally, thanks to a La Salle fumble, came courtesy of junior back-up Mike Micucci's 4-yard run with 4:29 left in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Galeone tried to subdue the Raiders' boisterous midfield celebration by reminding them that they may have to beat La Salle again in two weeks when the Catholic League playoffs commence. Ryan will play the fourth- place finisher, which will be determined by Sunday's 1 p.m. battle between La Salle and visiting Archbishop Wood.
"I told them that today, everything went right for us and nothing went right for them," Galeone said. "I hope they understood."