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Rick O'Brien: He has big numbers, few nibbles

La Salle quarterback Drew Loughery is waiting for a college to call.

After scorching defenses for 2,600 yards and 25 touchdowns in his junior year, La Salle quarterback Drew Loughery understandably expected to receive a fair amount of recruiting interest in the months leading up to his final high school season.

A number of schools, including the likes of Division I-AA Richmond and Villanova, made preliminary contact over the summer. But the interest in the prolific passer never resulted in anything concrete.

So, as Loughery prepares to lead the Explorers into Saturday's 7 p.m. PIAA Class AAAA state championship game against State College at HersheyPark Stadium, he does so with an uncertain future.

"Yeah, it's been kind of frustrating," the 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior said. "But it's not something I can control. A school either likes me or it doesn't. I just hope things work out in the end."

Richmond is no longer in the picture. And Villanova recently landed the heir apparent to Chris Whitney when St. Augustine quarterback Dustin Thomas, who threw for 1,620 yards and 23 touchdowns in the recently completed season and finished with 5,916 career passing yards, committed to the Wildcats.

"He's very fast and can run the option," La Salle coach Drew Gordon said of the 6-2, 190-pound Thomas. "I guess Villanova is saying, 'We need our QB to be a good runner.' "

While Loughery has passed for 4,900 yards and 28 touchdowns over the last two seasons, most upper-echelon colleges want their quarterback to be at least 6-4 or, like Thomas, have the athleticism and quickness needed to steer an option or run-oriented attack.

As Gordon pointed out, fewer colleges have pro-style offenses in which the "quarterback drops back in the pocket and stays there the entire game."

A Massachusetts assistant was in late last week to take an up-close look at Loughery and talk with the two-time captain. Towson, another I-AA program, has called. Gordon said Division II West Chester, guided by Bill Zwaan, could also wind up in the postseason picture.

While Loughery was not blessed with threatening speed or a 6-4 build, clearly he is a winner. In his two seasons as a starter, he has directed the Explorers to a 22-4 record and a pair of Catholic League championships at the highest classification.

Remember, too, that Gordon and his son, Brett, La Salle's offensive coordinator, were both undersize quarterbacks at Villanova.

Brett Gordon, at 5-10 and 170, passed for 6,837 yards and 84 touchdowns at La Salle, and went on to throw for 9,639 yards and 83 scores at 'Nova. In his final season with the Wildcats, he passed 386 for 579 (66.7 percent) for 4,290 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Quotable I

In a conference call with statewide media yesterday, Drew Gordon was asked about the possible draining effect a longer-than-usual season - this is only the Catholic League's second year in the PIAA - has had on his players.

"I think the bigger issue is keeping the coaches fresh," he joked. "I think they're more worn out than anybody."

TV alert

For those who can't make it to Hershey, Saturday's finale between La Salle and State College will be televised live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN.).

It will be replayed on the following dates: Saturday at 9:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.; Monday at 9 p.m.; Dec. 25 at 9 p.m.; and Jan. 1 at 12 p.m.

Of course, you can also catch the action on Matt Gelb's Rally blog at

Quotable II

Of watching the replay scheduled for Dec. 25 at 9 p.m., Gordon sarcastically said, "My family would love that on Christmas night."