Following in the footsteps of his brothers, Cedric and Sameir, Syaire Madden was making a big mark in football at Springside Chestnut Hill. But the standout running back opted to transfer to La Salle before this school year.
Continuing to give his new squad a major boost, Madden carried 19 times for 174 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns as the Explorers blasted Simon Gratz, 42-15, Saturday afternoon in the PIAA District 12 Class AAAA final at Northeast.
"When I was in eighth grade, La Salle was one of the schools I considered," the 5-foot-8, 190-pound junior said. "It has a strong sports program and is a highly regarded school as far as academics go."
In the first quarter, when La Salle built a 28-0 advantage, Madden's 60-yard jaunt set up Nick Rinella's 7-yard touchdown run. Madden rushed 10 times for 91 yards before intermission.
Cedric Madden was a top-notch running back at Springside Chestnut Hill. "People say I run like him," Syaire said. "Like he did, I have a gritty, downhill style."
Madden and the Explorers (8-3) will take on District 11 winner Parkland in a state quarterfinal at 1 p.m. Saturday at Northeast.
Ahead by 28-7 at the break, the Catholic League champs opened the second half with a nine-play, 72-yard series that was capped by Madden's 24-yard touchdown burst. He carried seven times for 54 yards - and made a 4-yard catch - on the drive.
"He runs real hard," La Salle coach John Steinmetz said. "And, I'll tell you what, he's a hard worker. You see it each week in practice."
Rinella, as usual the definition of a multipurpose threat, played a key role. His second touchdown of the afternoon, a 17-yard reception over the middle, put the Bulldogs (10-3) in a 28-0 hole.
Early on, Rinella chased down Gratz quarterback Amir Gillis at the end of a 61-yard run and forced a fumble inside the 5 that resulted in a touchback. His third-quarter fumble recovery at the Bulldogs' 29 led to Madden's first tally.
La Salle's imposing offensive line was made up of center Jim Morrissey, guards Matt McDermott and Conor McCracken, tackles T.J. Garvin and Ryan Schutta, and tight end Liam Trainer.
"I was getting 5 yards every time without getting touched," Madden said. "I put my trust in my linemen and they came through."
Gratz, the Public League champ, lost rock-solid linebacker Shawn Jenkins to an apparent leg injury late in the first half. He left the field on a stretcher and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
Simon Gratz 0 7 0 8 - 15
La Salle 21 7 14 0 - 42
LS: Winston Eubanks 80 pass from Chris Ferguson (Matt Savage kick)
LS: Corbin Melle recovered fumble in end zone (Savage kick)
LS: Nick Rinella 7 run (Savage kick)
LS: Rinella 17 pass from Ferguson (Savage kick)
SG: Luke White 13 run (Amir Gillis kick)
LS: Syaire Madden 24 run (Savage kick)
LS: Madden 4 run (Savage kick)
SG: Javon Whitfield 16 pass from Gillis (White run)