By Matt Diano:
In a preview of an upcoming AAA quarterfinal match-up, the 6’0, 185-pound senior from Yonkers was, as his coach phrased it, “all over the field” last Saturday, recording a team-leading total of nine tackles in ensuring that the two-time defending League Champion Crusaders earned a top-3 seed behind a 41-17 victory on the road over Chaminade.
One of the centerpieces on a defensive unit that held the host Flyers to their lowest point total since week #3 and their second lowest production of the 2016 season, Myles not only did a banner job in controlling the opposing offense, he also provided a few points of his own when he picked up a fumble and raced 25-yards untouched for the second defensive touchdown of the season for the Crusaders (Trill Williams had a pick-6 against Iona Prep during week #2).
A student-athlete whose athleticism allows him to successfully transition between the linebacking corps and the defensive backfield, Myles is the next in an ever growing line of Mike O’Donnell mentored players who will without question take his skills to the next level…Presently, he holds scholarship offers from both Wagner College and the Central Connecticut State University.
The first Dom’s student-athlete honored this season, Rooney made himself a “must include” this past weekend when he was involved in just about every significant play in the Bayhawks 12-6 double overtime victory over Nazareth Regional…The “w” upped St. Dominic’s season record to 2-6 overall and completed the sweep over their Single-A rivals from the Brooklyn.
Trailing 6-0 with a single second remaining on the clock, it would be an All-Rooney transaction that extended the contest when the elder [Tommy] found sophomore WR, Jack, on a 15-yard strike off of a halfback option for the equalizing touchdown…This was the first and only pass play called by Head Coach Robert Ploth, and it certainly delivered the desired result.
After exchanging scoreless overtime drives, the visiting Kingsmen were driving and appeared well positioned to regain the lead at the onset of the second OT period, as a 10-yard run would set up 1st & Goal from the Dom’s 10…Hunting for the go-ahead score, NR made the mistake of challenging the 5’9, 180-pound junior, as he read the play perfectly from his safety spot, stepping in front for a potentially game-saving interception on the goal line.
Having now put his school in the driver’s seat, Rooney would be rewarded for his remarkable clutchness, as Ploth and staff called his number on all four plays during the drive, which culminated with him breaking away and finding the end zone from nine yards out for the winning TD…As depicted by his coach, “Rooney was met at the 1-yard line by four defenders but lowered his shoulders and barreled over them; he refused to be denied.”
On the afternoon, Rooney compiled 45 yards on 15 touches on offense and finished fourth on the team in tackles with seven stops…Two of his four touchdowns this season have been scored against Nazareth as he was equally outstanding and instrumental in the Bayhawks’ 20-18 win during week #3, posting highs in yards (108) and YPC (12.0/touch)…For the season, he is averaging 4+ yards per carry, rushing 66 times for 285 yards…On defense, both of his INTS in 2016 came against the Kingsmen.
For the third week in a row, a two-way lineman commanded our attention and earned the privilege of being held in the company of his more popular skill position brethren….An anchor on both sides of the ball who played every snap in his school’s 7-0 victory last Friday night over crosstown nemesis, St. Peter’s, Lancia ability and willingness to go above and beyond and always do what the Lion coaching staff asks of him is what makes him that diamond in the rough intangible type student-athlete of which you must always take into account.
A two-year starter in the pivot for the Farrell offensive, the 6’1, 265-pound 12th-grader is accustomed to being the consummate road grader/track layer…With him captaining the O-line, 100+ yard games on the ground have been second nature for the Staten Island school. In fact, between Stephen Viegas in 2015 and Gavin Monreale this season, 13 times in the past two years, the primary ball carrier for the Lions have surpassed the century mark, combing to rush for 2,547 yards and 23 touchdowns….With Lancia leading the way, 151 (100 in the second half) of this yardage come on October 28th, as Monreale averaged 4.3/carry on his 35 touches.
Lancia’s toughness and durability was especially valuable on defense as an injury to superstar/week #1 POTW honoree, Adley Raboy, left Farrell short on depth, forcing the him to assume a much larger role on “D”….As stated above, when called upon to do more, the senior playing in the final regular season game of his scholastic career had no trouble responding with conviction, as he tallied five tackles as a nose guard and was a part of a collective defensive effort that held St. Peter’s renowned tailback, Bobby Wing, to only 40 yards in the second half (106 yards total)….Last Friday was also the first time since the 2014 season that the Eagles were goose-egged.
On a night where the 1991 NYC Championship squad was honored at halftime, it was Lancia who received the spoils during the postgame celebration as he awarded a game ball by Coach Tony Garofalo in recognition of ALL he did to help the Lions lock up the #2 seed in the AAA playoffs.
The last time the Mavericks played against Cardinal Spellman, the contested ended in heartbreak for the freshly reinstated program from Staten Island, as they dropped a 30-24 double overtime war to the returning Class-A runners-up….The rematch this past Saturday afternoon was every bit as epic, nerve-wracking, and memorable as Moore Catholic would clinch the top-seed in the Single-A playoff by avenging their week #3 loss by a score of 20-18…The victory to close out the regular season raised the Nick Giannatasio guided Mavs’ record to 6-2 overall and 5-1 in league competition (note: the previous loss to CS was considered a non-league game).
In a game highlighted by a 75-yard third quarter punt return [by freshman, Ian Brown] for the winning TD and a goal line stand in the closing seconds of the 4th quarter [lead by junior, John Ford], our selection of the diaper dandy tailback, Lacks, was one of the many directions in which we could have gone to commemorate the biggest win in five years for MC.
The provider of the team’s only two offensive touchdowns of the afternoon, the fab frosh from South Plainsfield, NJ had a coronation of sorts in only his eighth career varsity game, establishing a new career high in ground gains with 170 (his third 100+ yard game; went over 100 in both games versus Spellman) on 23 carries and matching his previous best with the aforementioned pair of TD runs (which he has now accomplished three times this season, including both games against the rival Pilots).
A Staten Island Superman for Moore Catholic in their two games against Spellman (as referenced above), should these two teams meet in a few weeks for the “A” crown, the Pilots are going to need to find some way to contain the 6’0, 185-pound rookie, as his two-game totals were 307 yards and four TDs on 58 carries.
Lacks first touchdown run over the weekend came on a 55-yard dash that gave the visiting Mavs a 6-0 lead….However, while much shorter in distance, it would be his 1-yard plunge in the third quarter (trailing 16-6) that might have been more important as it got the school back in the game by cutting the deficit to four points (16-12).
As he enters the home stretch on what has been a brilliant inaugural campaign, Lacks finds himself on the cusp of a 1,000 yard, double digit touchdown season as he will need to average 121 yards and one TD per game (if they advance to the finals) to hit the two main milestones….Currently he sits at 757 yards and eight running TDs to lead MC in both categories.
Siddiq Muhammad (Sr.); RB – Christ the King Royals
As the immensely gifted halfback [Lacks] preceding him is just beginning his legendary scholastic career, Royals senior, Siddiq Muhammad, is beginning to take sight of the finish line and he is sprinting towards it as fast as he can….And in his case, we emphasize FAST !!!!
Exceeding 100-yards only once as a junior, the 5’10, 215-pound Adonis has accomplished the feat five times in seven games in his swan song….Included in this scrapbook of dynamic senior performances was his effort last Saturday night when he ran for 143 yards (second best single game total in his career) and two first half touchdowns to lead the returning AA silver medalists to a 41-7 win over Fordham Prep.
Like Lacks, if Muhammad (673 yards and seven rushing TDs) and the Royals are able to go the distance (which as the #2 seed, they are expected to do), he should have little trouble reaching 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns for an offensive unit that when things are clicking, can be borderline invincible.
Even though the final tally suggests a one-sided game, it is worth noting that at the time that Muhammad did the majority of his damage, the outcome was still very much in question…In fact, it could be argued that his two scores in the final 2:00 of the half were the proverbial straws that broke the camel (or in this case, the Rams’) back…..Seeing the Royal leading 13-7 at the time, Muhammad found a hole and ran 60-yards undeterred to increase the advantage to 20-7…Then, on the last play of the opening 24 minutes, Muhammad punched the ball in from the 2-yard-line to open up a three score game, 27-7.
Muhammad and the Royals commence with their quest for the program’s first Catholic Football title since 2003 when they square off with Xavier in a rematch of the 2015 AA game…When the two team met in the first week of the 2016 season, Muhammad was out of the line-up; thus, he will be looking to get his own personal revenge on November 6th.
Good luck to all teams competing in the playoffs this weekend and check back next week for the top performers in the Quarterfinals of the AAA & AA Playoffs.