Matt Sluka…Matt Sluka…Matt Sluka…Matt Sluka…Matt Sluka….Matt Sluka….We wrote it six times because that is exactly the number of times that the red-headed junior assassin either contributed or single-handily orchestrated a Firebird touchdown in the Marianist school’s 54-19 victory over Fordham Prep to seize the a Catholic football crown for the first time since 1999….The 11th and final “w” of the season for the Uniondale based program holds another special purpose as it puts the finishing touches on the first perfect season in KMHS football history….No matter what happens in the future, these young men are forever immortalized by their immaculate journey to the throne !!!
Already leading 7-0 following a 47-yard run by super sophomore, Jordan DeLucia, Sluka would explode for the first of his five running TDs on the evening when a Danny Wilson block sprung him for a 63-yard scramble down the sidelines to double the lead to 14-0.
After a Rams’ 21-yard TD pass from Boston College bound Matt Valecce to Liam McHale cut the lead to 14-6, Sluka would demonstrate that he is more than just a pair of legs as he lofted a perfect pass into the arms of DeLucia for a 67-yard touchdown strike to make the score 21-6 with 9:54 remaining in the half.
Valecce would toss his second and third TD passes of the evening to end the half, hitting Tommy Walsh on a 58-yarder with 8:26 remaining, and then connecting with Will Loffredo from 19-yards out on the final play of the opening 24 minutes to draw his team within two points at the break, 21-19.
Unfortunately, for the Pete Gorynski guided squad from the Bronx, this is as close as it would get, as Sluka, who has not been a stranger to big gainers throughout the year, would find an unearthly gear in the second half, scoring touchdowns on four consecutive drives to blow open the game, 47-19.
Commencing with an 11-yard keeper with 10:12 remaining in the third quarter, the Roslyn native, who was a unanimous selection as the game’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player, would add runs from 16 (4:02 to go in the 3rd), 32 (3:09; after Kellenberg forced a fumble on the kickoff), and 52 yards (on the first play of the 4th quarter) out to solidify his living legend status….All in all, he finished the game with 227 yards on 17 carries….He wraps up his junior campaign with over 1,600 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns, both unheard of quantities for the QB position.
With the victor long decided and the matter now rendered academic, junior Frankie Roder would bring the KMHS faithful to their feet one last time in 2017 when he exploded on a 45-yard rusher in the last 5:00 of the game to account for the final score….Roder ended the evening with a 154 yards on the ground, and DeLucia emerged with a 114 yard of his own….Collectively, the Firebirds rushed for 506 yards.
Shawn Hughes, [Danny]Wilson, Elijah Eddy, and Brendan all had banner days on the D-Line, and Aidan Fitzgerald, in his swan song wearing the Firebird colors had an interception (on the 1st series of the game) to hold Fordham Prep to their lowest output of the 2017…Hughes, the leader in tackles on the evening with nine, was your Defensive MVP recipient.
In his next to last high school appearance (will play on Thanksgiving in the Annual Turkey Bowl against Xavier), Valecce may not have gone out as a Double-A champion, but he still did himself, his family, and especially his school proud, throwing for 375 yards and the previously cited trio of TD hurls…He will need to toss for just seven yards in his scholastic finale to move into 2nd place All-time for career passing yards.