Last year, the Prep took the regular-season matchup. La Salle turned the tables with an overtime triumph in the league final.
"We just viewed this as another game," Hawks senior quarterback Chris Martin said. "It's always big when it's La Salle, but the fans probably get more into the hype than the players."
In the first half, while building a 28-7 advantage, the Prep netted 333 yards of offense and 13 first downs. The Hawks are ranked No. 1 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer.
Before the break, Martin (19 for 27 passing, 242 yards, three TDs) completed 13 of 18 tosses for 183 yards and two touchdowns. His 1-yard keeper was the night's first tally.
"Our tempo was where we wanted it to be," Martin said. "Our line was getting it done, our receivers were making big catches, and our running backs were finding the holes."
Martin delivered a 14-yard, first-quarter TD pass to wideout Jawan McAllister. In the second quarter, Olamide Zaccheaus went 66 yards on a direct snap from center to put the Prep (5-1 overall, 2-0 Catholic League AAAA) comfortably in front, 21-0.
After the Explorers' Nick Rinella scored on a 19-yard run, rising Prep freshman De'Andre Swift turned a dump pass from Martin into a 31-yard score that made it 28-7.
"It's amazing watching him with the ball," Martin said of the aptly named Swift. "He breaks tackles, hurdles people. He really can make things happen with his quickness."
No. 6-ranked La Salle (5-2, 2-1) climbed back in after intermission, first with a 16-play, 80-yard drive capped by Kyle Shurmur's 9-yard TD toss to Levi Hardy.
Down by 35-14 at the start of the fourth quarter, Shurmur (14-for-24 passing, 182 yards, two TDs) connected with Rinella for another score, a 20-yarder, and Ryan Brady trimmed the gap to seven with a 2-yard dive.
In the final minute, after La Salle reached the 50, Moffett made a clinching interception on a pass over the middle intended for Hardy.
St. Joseph's Prep 14 14 7 0 – 35
La Salle 0 7 7 14 – 28
SJP: Chris Martin 1 run (Pat Walsh kick)
SJP: Jawan McAllister 14 pass from Martin (Walsh kick)
SJP: Olamide Zaccheaus 66 run (Walsh kick)
LS: Nick Rinella 19 run (Matt Raczak kick)
SJP: De'Andre Swift 31 pass from Martin (Walsh kick)
LS: Levi Hardy 9 pass from Kyle Shurmur (Raczak kick)
SJP: Swift 22 pass from Martin (Walsh kick)
LS: Rinella 20 pass from Shurmur (Raczak kick)
LS: Ryan Brady 2 run (Raczak kick)