La Salle's Coleman not just a lacrosse superstar

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER La Salle's Sean Coleman scores on first-quarter reception in 28-7 playoff win over Parkland.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER La Salle's Sean Coleman scores on first-quarter reception in 28-7 playoff win over Parkland.
Posted: December 03, 2012

THERE MIGHT be some light at the end of the Sean Coleman football tunnel.

Ah, that's why the pulse rates of all members of Harvard's coaching staff are rising.

This is hard to believe, considering how well Coleman, a 5-9, 170-pound senior, plays football, but his top sport is lacrosse and in that one, as a midfielder, he boasts a national profile.

Along the way, Coleman has indicated his football days will end at La Salle. But after enjoying yet another sterling performance Saturday as the Explorers bested Parkland, 28-7, in a PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinal at Northeast's Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium, he opened the also-stick-with-the-grid-thing door just a sliver.

"I have thought a little about trying to play," he said. "I don't even know if I'm good enough."

Gotta love the humility, though it's vastly misplaced.

Coleman serves coach Drew Gordon as a wideout, safety and return man. His contributions to this one included five catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns, along with seven solos among eight tackles. Also, with bodies flying at him from all around, he made six fair catches to help his team again and again in the field-position battle . . . And drive himself a little crazy.

"I hate fair catches. Absolutely hate them," Coleman said with a chuckle. "I want to catch the ball and make something happen. But I realize, sometimes you have to swallow your pride and make the smart play.

"It's really important to get to the ball, so you have that choice. If you have to make the fair catch, at least you're saving the 10 yards or whatever they might get with a roll. I did drop that one [early in the second quarter] and that was scary, but it worked out OK [the ball went out of bounds and La Salle got possession]."

Coleman's touchdown receptions covered 29 and 33 yards. On each, like almost always, he was able to create a significant amount of space.

"Positioning and running precise routes are just as important as speed and hands," he said. "No. 7 [Parkland's Jarel Elder] is probably faster than me, which was why it was so important to run the right route. And you can use positioning to the better of [d-backs].

"The coaches have done an awesome job of helping me develop those skills."

Coleman this season has made 63 catches for 909 yards and 13 TDs. The respective city records are 80, 1,208 and 16 and the Explorers could be playing two more games; their semifinal bout with Coatesville will be played 7 p.m. Friday at Downingtown West.

His career has produced 142 snags for 2,202 yards and 25 scores and the owners of those city standards - 152, 2,276 and 28 - are also rumored to be sweating.

The best thing about Coleman is, his output increases at money time. Though he's averaging 69.9 receiving yards per game overall this season, his norm in four playoffs is 85. Eight of his 13 scores have also come in the postseason.

"That definitely means a lot to me," he said. "It's important to play big in big games. But it's gotta be mentioned, this happens because the coaches are putting me in perfect positions and the line's doing a great job with blocking and [Chris] Kane is hitting me with perfect passes. Really, my job's pretty easy."

Kane is La Salle's first senior-year-only QB starter since 1998.

"People like to ask me if I'm surprised Chris has done this well," Coleman said. "I always tell them, 'Not at all.' Though he played tight end and fullback these past couple years, he was also the backup quarterback and he always looked great in practice."

In this one, La Salle's defense played outrageously well as Parkland suffered 11 sacks and six other tackles for losses. Coleman set the tone there, as well, posting the first loss on a 10-yard TFL. (Oh, and in the late going, he recovered an onside kick.) Jon Naji recorded five sacks for 24 yards. The other end, Ryan Coonahan, notched two apiece of sacks and TFLs for 22 yards. Down lineman David Losier likewise racked up 22 yards, thanks to three sacks.

The defense even hustled to the very end. On the last play, Dad Poquie made a tackle at the 5 to prevent a 79-yard TD.

Coleman, who lives in Doylestown, is mulling an economics major at Harvard. What he's not thinking about is how his football days could be numbered.

"I don't think it's going to hit me until the season is over," he said. "It would be so hard to not play football any longer. It'd be horrible."

Well, Harvard does offer the flag version . . .

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