Oct 252017



By Matt Diano:

Jack Rooney (Jr.); QB – St. Dominic’s Bayhawks

If we have said it once, we had uttered it 100s of times, “the test of the true leader is when the chips are stacked against you, you still find a way to prevail”….For the Bayhawks and their junior signal caller, the situation was not looking particularly good last Saturday, as they trailed Nazareth Regional 6-0 late in the 4th quarter….In desperate need of a spark, the Oyster Bay based program would put their fate in the proverbial hands and the literal arm of the Syosset resident.  Coach Robert Ploth and his staff would be rewarded for the confidence they showed in their “Jack of All Trades” quarterback as Rooney would orchestrate the game-tying drive when he dropped back and hit senior, Robby Rossiter, on an 82-yard strike in the final 6:00 of regulation to even the score at six apiece.  This touchdown throw snapped a streak of three consecutive 3-and-outs and provided precisely the spark and momentum shift needed when the game was extended into overtime.

Following a clutch effort by the St. Dominic’s defense, holding the Kingmen scoreless on their only possession of the extra frame, the “w” was now up for the seizing and Rooney was not about to allow that opportunity to slip away…Demonstrating his dual-threat capabilities, the 5’11, 165-pounder put his running prowess on display, as he capped off the come-from-behind triumph when he took the keeper from the four-yard line and dashed into the end zone to account for the final 12-6 tally.

A day of personal bests for Rooney across the board, the Dom’s field general tied his 2017 high for completions on 9-for-15 passing en route to accumulating a new top mark of 180 yards in the air.   In addition, after not rushing for more than 45 yards in any previous game this season, Rooney nearly doubled it, racking up 80 yards 13 touches (6.2).   He also posted just his second multiple score game of the year (both against Nazareth).

Not only responsible for single-handedly putting all 12 points on the board himself, Rooney was so in control of everything that the Bayhawks were doing during week #7 that when the total numbers were crunched, it was discovered that his 260 yards of total output represented just under 89 percent of the 293 yards earned collectively by the entire Dom’s squad.

For the season, Rooney is completing 52.3 percent of his passes (34-for-65) in hurling for 522 yards and three TDs.   On the ground, he has equaled his touchdown production, running for 224 yards and a trio of scores on 54 carries.

With the #2 seed in the Single-A playoffs remaining on the table, Rooney will have the chance to add to his growing legacy when St. Dominic’s squares off with Cardinal Spellman on October 27th.  When the teams last met, it was Spellman emerging with the 7-0 victory


Thomas Force (Sr.); TE/SS – St. John the Baptist Cougars

The sleeping giant has officially awoken and Carusillo’s Cougars will head into the last week of the regular season on fire, as their 19-12 victory at home over Moore Catholic was the third in a row for St. John the Baptist….What once was shaping up to be a forgettable, rebuilding season is now more closely resembling what we have come to expect from the Red and White in West Islip, a serious postseason contender.

Following back-to-back weeks of honoring one two-way senior superstar [Michael Palermo], it is another SJB 12th grader making the cut this week in the person of the 6’1, 180-pounder, Force.

A leader and exceptional performer on both the gridiron and the baseball diamond, Force is committed to pulling off the rare feat of competing in both sports at the next level.

One of those unsung heroes that we love to chronicle, while Force’s contributions may have slipped the eye of the occasional/moderate fan, his efforts have been fully recognized by his coaches and teammates…That is why, on a day where he did get to assume the role of the star, it was fitting and completely deserved that he receive the respect and press reserved for those game-changing caliber of student-athletes.

A one-man show during the first quarter, Baptist’s first score of the game had Force’s imprint all over it, as it was his 35-yard interception return that gave the Cougars prime real estate on the Maverick side of the field…There could be no better conclusion to the drive than for the young man who dealt the hand to also be the one afforded the luxury of cashing in the chips, as Force made his only catch of the game on the lone pass attempt from quarterback, Nick Delcore, for a 17-yard TD to give SJB the early 6-0 advantage…Only the second grab of the season for Suffolk County resident, both have resulted in touchdowns as Force previously had a 25-yard scoring snatch in a hard fought loss to St. Francis Prep on October 1st.

Living up to his name, Force proved himself to be quite “the force” as a blocker too, consistently getting out in front of his backs and paving the way for a unified effort that produced 220 yards and two touchdowns on the ground for SJB.

Reflecting on his impact on offense alone, Force was a strong candidate for selection to the POTW list.  However, his catching and road grading skills are only half the story of his tremendous afternoon…. Complementing his 1st quarter interception would be a full 48 minutes of consistent play as both a run-stopper and an excellent coverage man…Opposed by one of the most imposing tailbacks in the league [Justin Lacks], Force finished the game with 13 total tackles (2 TFL) and was a part of a defensive secondary to held Mavs’ QB, Vincenzo Scarola, to a modest 39 yards in the air on 2-for-9.   Scarola’s 22.2 percent completion rate was his lowest of 2017 and his yardage was the second fewest tossed by him this season.


Isaiah Amazon (JR.); WR/DE – Xaverian Clippers

An individual who unquestionably was born to play the game of football, when you look at the build, athleticism, and dynamic play-making ability of the 11th grader from Brooklyn, the last thought that would enter your mind is that this young man is a rookie!!!

Suiting up for just the seventh time in his 1st-year playing the sport, the 6’2, 2010 pound two-way player is wasting little time in showing that as nice as beginner’s luck may be, nothing replaces God-given talent…The more that Amazon plays, the easier it becomes to see that this is a special talent who is going to be a household name, both during the remainder of 2017 and all throughout his senior campaign next season.   You simply cannot teach the explosiveness that this stud possesses on both sides of the ball…His meteoric rise from newcomer to “can’t take your eyes off of him” status is just another reason why Coach Jioia and his staff should feel encouraged as we rapidly approach the postseason….Unblemished in their “A” league games, if opponents did not already have enough to worry about trying to game plan against star running back, Roberto Auguste, the expedient coming of age of Amazon is sure to cause them some sleepless nights.

Last Friday, in a game that was perhaps closer than many would have anticipated (Xaverian won the first meeting 48-0), Amazon would monopolize the field on sides of the line, compiling eight total tackles, 1 sack, and a huge fumble recovery on “D”….On offense, his ability to go up and get the ball proved essential as it was a leaping 40-yard catch that saw him shed multiple tacklers on his way to the end zone that put the Clippers in front on the scoreboard in the third quarter and provided them with the jolt they needed to finish off the 25-19 victory over the Gaels of Kennedy Catholic…The TD grab was one of three made by Amazon under the lights, as he concluded the game with 71 yards as receiving to either tie for or hold the outright team lead in all major categories in the win.

Xaverian will have a bye turning week #7, meaning that the NYCHSFL aficionados will need to wait till the calendar changes to November before we see the next of what is sure to be an endless highlight reel put forth by this budding phenom.


Omarion Jones (So.); QB – St. Francis Prep Terriers

Honored as a player of the week for the second time in the Terriers’ last three games, the sophomore sensation under center was literally the definition of perfection in St. Francis Prep’s 14-7 victory over Xavier last Saturday.

The owner of an often talked about but rarely achieved immaculate quarterback rating (by National Football League standards) of 158.3, Jones would complete all eight of his attempts in the air, averaging just under 22 yards per connection to toss for 174 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

With the game scoreless after the opening quarter, the 5’9 10th grader took it upon himself to break the ice, as he launched a 58-yard bomb to senior Patrick Mcardle, to send Francis Prep into the locker room with a 6-0 advantage.

Following the break, Jones again would show off his “on the money” passing precision, giving the Terriers some additional breathing room when, as described by the school’s football twitter page, he “threw a 57 yard dart to Marc Anthony Dalce” to more than double the lead to 14-0….This was all the cushion that the school from Queens would need as they surrendered a touchdown in the final quarter but still emerged with the win to improve their 2017 record to 4-3.

Having already guaranteed that his school will do no worse than finish at .500 during the regular season, motivation will not be an issue during week #8 for Jones and company as the team goes in pursuit of a winning record when they play host to Fordham Prep on Sunday afternoon….With the Rams featuring record book passing king, Matt Valecce, and Jones taking to the field fresh off of the best game of his scholastic career, expect for an epic battle of signal callers…..While the 6-1 Rams do represent a mighty challenge, Jones and his dual-threat skillset (626 yards passing, 7 TDs in the air; 357 yards rushing, 1 ground TD) might be the most multi-faceted quarterback FP has faced since losing to a Matt Sluka-led Kellenberg team in week #5.


Makhai Murphy (Jr.); CB – St. Anthony’s Friars

Never one to back down from a challenge, the Friar junior cornerback has routinely drawn the responsibility of covering the opposing team’s best receiving option….Such was the case again last weekend in the Friar’s 29-3 victory at home over rival (in everything) Chaminade.

We will have to wait until after the New Year to find out if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow; however, we know that Flyer senior WR, Chris Nicholas, definitely saw quite a bit of his during week #7, as the 5’10, 170-pounder [Murphy] was everywhere his elder opponent seemed to go…..Incorporating a strategy that allowed for the short yardage gain, but completely negated the big play potential, Murphy limited Nicholas to only 78 yards on nine catches.  The 8.7 yards per grab is the only time this season that the touted Flyer wide-out has not at least averaged at least 16.5/catch.  He was also held without a receiving touchdown for just the second time in 2017.

As encumbering as the task of shutting a receiver of Nicholas’s caliber is by itself, Murphy’s overall performance was not just about stopping the opposition; he also found ample opportunities to make plays of his own, recording three tackles and a trio of pass breakouts….He would save his most thrilling contribution for the 4th quarter though, when, with STA already leading 22-3, he stepped in front of a Thomas Rogan pass attempt and took the pigskin to the promised land for a 35-yard pick-6 to account for the final score….This was his second defensive score of the year, as he previously returned a fumble for a TD in St. Anthony’s week #5 win over Cardinal Hayes.

In the regular season finale, when the Friars go on the road to face the Eagles of St. Peter’s, look for Murphy to again be thrown into the deep end as he likely will be lined up opposite another of the NYCHSFL’s most coveted WRs, Chris Ledlum…In the five games he has played this season, Ledlum has surpassed 100-yards receiving in four of them.  In addition, he has caught an average of two TD passes in each of the past two weeks.  Hence, if Murphy can put a lid on him, it will solidify the Friar as an emerging shutdown defensive back.


Ryan Scelzi (Sr.); RB – St. Joe’s by the Sea Vikings

It is not very often that a player on a losing team is bestowed POTW honors.   However, in the case of Scelzi, he was so unbelievably great last week, that regardless of outcome, we could not deny him his moment in the spotlight.

Back in the line-up after losing his entire junior campaign to injury, the 5’8, 165-pound tailback was a key reason why Mount St. Michael had to sweat out every second of their 36-28 victory over the Vikings of St. Joseph’s by the Sea.

Playing like a man on a mission, Scelzi did not just surpass his previous career highs, he completely shattered them….Entering the game without a 100-yard performance on his resume this year, the Viking RB responded but cracking the 200-yard milestone and scoring two touchdowns (his first multiple score game of the season) on 24 carries…From the 272 yards earned on the ground by SJS, 221 of them belonged to Scelzi.

A person who is willing to do anything asked of him, when he was not busy chewing up large chunks of yards out of the backfield, the 12th grader from Staten Island had enough in the tank to average nearly 13 yards on six kickoff returns.

As the Viking approach the final week of the regular season locked in a three-way tie for the #7 spot in the standings, it needs not be said that a victory this weekend over Holy Trinity could very well determin whether or not they will be postseason bound…For this reason, with the stakes so high, we are predicting that for the second time in as many weeks, the senior leader will put on a show and give his school every possible chance in the world to obtain the much needed and desired “w”.

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