One of the marquee area football playoff games in Week 12 is Friday night's Catholic League Class 6A final between La Salle and St. Joseph's Prep.
Unfortunately for La Salle, it will likely have to take on its archrival without senior quarterback Danny Solecki.
Solecki was sidelined with a knee injury in the early going of a 45-0 semifinal romp over Roman Catholic on Friday and did not return.
"His knee got jammed into the turf on a tackle," Explorers coach John Steinmetz said. "He goes to the doctor [Monday]. We'll learn how serious it is then."
After taking over for injured starter Isaiah Jones in Week 2, Solecki performed at a high level. The 6-foot, 165-pound senior completed 124 of 196 passes for nearly 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The first-team all-Catholic League Red Division selection also rushed for a pair of scores. "What are you going to do?" Steinmetz said. "I feel bad for Danny. He was having a heck of a season."
Jones, a dual-threat QB who sat out five weeks with a knee injury, took over against Roman and rushed 11 times for 74 yards and a second-quarter score.
The Explorers and Hawks are slated to meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Northeast. Last year, St. Joe's Prep beat La Salle, 35-14, in the league final en route to its third PIAA state title in four seasons.
In the teams' regular-season meeting last month, the Hawks rebounded from a sluggish start and left Widener with a 28-14 victory.
In that game, La Salle was threatening to go ahead by 14-0 early in the second quarter. But DeJuan Dandridge picked off a Solecki pass across the middle at the St. Joe's Prep 2 and returned it 70 yards to set up the first of four unanswered TDs.
"Defensively, we have to eliminate the big plays," Steinmetz said. "Offensively, we have to be patient and take what they give us."
There is pair of intriguing rematches between league foes in Friday's quarterfinal round of the District 1 Class 6A tournament.
No. 5 seed Downingtown East will visit No. 4 Coatesville and No. 8 Pennsbury travels to No. 1 Neshaminy.
Coatesville escaped host Downingtown East, 38-27, in a Ches-Mont League National Division game on Oct. 20. Matt Ortega's 20-yard TD pass to Dapree Bryant with three seconds to go was the difference.
In the final week of the regular season, visiting Neshaminy rallied with two late scores to shock Pennsbury, 21-20, and clinch the Suburban One League National Conference title.
Neshaminy, which trailed by 20-7 with 9 1/2 minutes remaining, won on a trick play with 36 seconds to play. On an end-around, wideout Cory Joyce took a pitch from tight end Oleh Manzyk and passed to QB Brody McAndrew for a 2-yard TD.
No. 6 seed North Penn, riding a nine-game winning streak, visits No. 3 Garnet Valley in a 6A district quarterfinal at Moe DeFrank Stadium on Friday.
North Penn and Garnet Valley met in last year's district final, with the host Knights turning back the Jaguars, 48-38, at Crawford Stadium.
Archbishop Ryan edged Archbishop Carroll, 21-20, in Saturday's Catholic League Class 5A semifinal. Ryan end Julian Jones and linebackers Colin Boyd and Nathan Kinnish each registered nine tackles. Safety Justin Collier and Kyron Long added eight and seven tackles, respectively. For Carroll, linebacker Richard Kimmel and lineman Anthony Warnick notched 10 and eight tackles, respectively. … With one game remaining, Lincoln's Sammy Karr has carried 224 times for 1,805 yards and 23 TDs. … Pennsbury QB Zach DeMarchis has rushed 161 times for 1,303 yards and 16 scores.
Here is the tentative schedule for next weekend's playoffs.
No. 8 Pennsbury at No. 1 Neshaminy, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Downingtown East at No. 4 Coatesville, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Pennridge at No. 2 Perkiomen Valley, 7 p.m
No. 6 North Penn at No. 3 Garnet Valley, 7 p.m.
No. 9 West Chester Rustin at No. 1 Springfield (Delco), 7 p.m.
No. 5 Upper Dublin at No. 4 Academy Park, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Marple Newtown at No. 2 Upper Moreland, 7 p.m.
No. 11 Strath Haven at No. 3 Unionville, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Upper Perkiomen at No. 1 Pottsgrove, 7 p.m. Friday.
Lansdale Catholic vs. High School of the Future, 1 p.m. Saturday at South Philly Super Site
Conwell-Egan at New Hope-Solebury, 7 p.m. Friday.
No. 3 West Catholic vs. No. 1 Neumann-Goretti, 6 p.m. Saturday at South Philly Super Site.
Old Forge vs. Delco Christian, 7 p.m. Friday at Marple Newtown.
La Salle vs. St. Joseph's Prep, 7 p.m. Friday at Northeast.
Catholic League Class 5A
Archbishop Ryan vs. Archbishop Wood, 7 p.m. Friday at William Tennent.
Central at Northeast, 6 p.m. Saturday.
Mastery North vs. Simon Gratz, 1 p.m. Saturday at Northeast.
Public League Class 4A