Football coaches almost universally use the same phrase to help backup position players ward off complacency.
Before this season began, La Salle senior Danny Solecki knew well the sermon preached to many backup quarterbacks: “One play away.”
Fortunately for the Explorers (2-1), Solecki heeded the advice. Plus, what might be considered a genetic predisposition certainly didn’t hurt.
All of that is why Solecki is my city player of the week for Week 3 (Catholic, Public and Inter-Ac Leagues).
Far more important, however, the performance made Solecki even closer with his grandfather, Al.
“I can probably count on one hand the amount of games he’s missed throughout my career,” Solecki said. “He’s been special to me throughout my life, throughout my athletic career. He’s been a great mentor and given me the confidence that I need. So, yeah, he’s special.”
With starting quarterback Isaiah Jones recovering from a knee injury, Solecki made his first start last week and finished 24 for 33 for 327 yards and four touchdowns in La Salle’s 45-21 win against a strong Malvern Prep squad.
Sixty years ago — and also in game No. 3 — Al, also a backup quarterback, started and led the Explorers to a 27-12 victory against Cardinal Dougherty, according to Bill Wasylenko of TedSilary.com.
“He came out and got the ‘W,’ so I’m following in the footsteps a little bit,” Solecki said.
He added: “He’s been by my side throughout my whole life, so it’s special to share that with him.”
La Salle coach John Steinmetz said Jones was set to have surgery Wednesday and will be reevaluated in 4-6 weeks.
Moving forward, Solecki wants to work on his vocal leadership in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage. With repetitions and confidence, that should improve.
“I’ve definitely had to work on it over the year,” he said. “But that’s something that La Salle teaches you, especially in a sport like football. My teammates, my coaches have been great with my confidence and keeping my nerves down.”
He already has strong chemistry with senior wideout Troy Holland, who caught seven passes for 126 yards and two scores. The two met at a La Salle basketball camp before freshman year and developed chemistry as the starting QB and No. 1 wide receiver on the freshman team.
“I’ve known him for a long time now,” Solecki said. “This is our fourth year playing together, so we’ve known each other [on the field] for quite some time.”
Five other top performances:
Episcopal Academy’s DeeWil Barlee punished Conwell-Egan for 259 yards and five touchdowns on 26 carries in the Churchmen’s victory.
Neumann-Goretti QB Charles Britt went 8 of 11 for 244 yards and four touchdowns in the Saints’ win against Interboro.
Imhotep wide receiver Yusuf Terry was dynamic against Northeast and finished with five catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers’ triumph.
Jon-Luke Peaker, a freshman for McDevitt, went for 138 yards and two scores on 13 carries in the Lancers’ rout of Valley Forge Military Academy. The 100-yard performance was Peaker’s third straight to start the season.
La Salle senior wideout Troy Holland flummoxed the Malvern secondary with seven catches, 126 yards and two scores in the Explorers’ win.
*Coaches, want to nominate a player? Email email@example.com by the end of Sunday each week with your player’s name, height, weight, grade and stats from that week or why they should be considered. Coaches’ submissions only.