Oct 252018
 

By Matt Diano:

Myles Proctor (Sr.); RB – Kennedy Catholic Gaels

Batman and Robin; Abbot and Costello; Peanut butter & Jelly; and for you “Maneaters” out there, Hall and Oates….Throughout time and in every walk of life, we have been blessed by the greatness of many dynamic duos…And in 2018, the NYCHSFL gave birth to another terrific tandem in the persons of Kennedy Catholic running backs, Myles Proctor and Seth Surrett.

The #1 and #2 ranked men in every rushing category this season in the “A” division, Proctor (823 yards, 5 TDs) and Surrett (573 yards and 8 touchdowns) have taken a Kennedy Catholic program that had never advanced to championship weekend and turned them into a program that is now not only a heavy favorite to hoist hardware next month, but also a team that is so good it can now challenge and defeat opponents from the higher divisions….Last Friday, history would be achieved when the Gaels upended St. Joseph’s by the Sea in overtime, 37-34.  It marked the first time in school history that KC had bested a double-A foe.  And, as they have been every step of the way during this remarkable 6-1 season in Somers, NY, this unstoppable tag team would again be the difference makers, combining to trek for 220 yards and score three touchdowns.

Proctor (previously selected during week #3) joins Surrett (weeks 1 and 4) as one of the rare multiple-time honorees thus far in 2018.  However, in a year where he was been incredibly consistent and electrifying, to say that week #7 was his finest showing of the season is to say that he reached the peak of Mount St. Elias after already touching upon Mount Whitney, Mount Herard, and the Rio Grande Pyramid….And the only reason we did not say Denali is that we think he might have it in him to reach even higher heights before he hangs up the pads.

Running for 100+ yards for the fifth time this season (his lowest total came during the first week of the season when he “settled” for 96), Proctor would carry the ball 27 times, gaining 165 yards and setting a new career-high with two rushing touchdowns in the “w” over the Vikings…His first TD came on the Gaels’ initial possession of the game, when after his team recovered an onside kick, he punched the ball in from short distance to give them the early lead.

Finishing the night with a personal best 225 yards of total offensive output, the 6’1, 205-pounder also showcased his potential as a receiver out of the backfield.  Not utilized much in the past in this regard, the Yorktown Heights resident caught a pair of balls for 60 yards, including a 20-yarder off of a screen pass that gave him three TDs overall and tied the game with 1:50 remaining…His second reception, a 40-yarder, would not result in a TD, but was the key play in a subsequent drive that would again even the score with 50 ticks still on the clock.

Making the Energizer bunny look lazy, Proctor would also contribute mightily on the defensive side of the ball.  Rotating between linebacker and cornerback, he was credited with his second straight double-digit tackle effort, making a career-high 12 stops (3 solo; 2 TFL) and also having a successful pass break-up.

Note: At the time of publication, Proctor was also vying for LoHud Player of the Week honors.

 

Daniel Vittiburga (Sr.); RB/KR – Xavier Knights

Speaking of special individuals who are no longer strangers to this list, the Xavier senior running back is now 2-for-2 in being named as Xavier’s representative this season.

First recognized during the second week of the regular season when he had a 24 carry, 160-yard, two touchdown game in a victory over St. John the Baptist, the 5’8, 165-pound 12th grader makes his return to the POTW scrolls this week after shattering all of the records he set in that aforementioned triumph over the Cougars.

Needing only a matter of seconds before getting the Knights on the board, Vittiburga would field the opening kickoff and run it back 91 yards to the house to quickly put Xavier ahead 7-0 over Mount St. Michael Academy.

A definite sign/foreshadow of what the rest of the evening would deliver, special teams was not the only element of the game in which the Brooklyn boy would look invincible.  To put it bluntly, every time he touched the ball, something amazing seemed to happen.   Three of his 21 total carries would yield touchdowns and a fourth big gainer (that went for 61 yards) would be the catalyst for an additional Xavier score en route to the 48-27 win on the road.

Finding himself in the midst of a touchdown tear the past three weeks, with all respect to former Yankee icon, Reggie Jackson, it is the young Mr. Vittiburga who is the new “Mr. October.”…Since the start of the month, he has posted no fewer than two TDs in any game, and has combined for seven total touchdowns in the past two weeks alone.  His eight rushing TDs during this stretch gives him 12 on the year, which ranks ties him for 2nd in both “AA” and the NYCHFL as a whole…The career-high 230 yards he racked up during week #7 gives him 444 during the month and 832 for the year (3rd best in Double-A; 4th best among all Catholic ball carriers).

His team already leading 7-0 thanks to his KO heroics, Vittiburga would double their lead in the 1st quarter when he exploded for 48 yards on the first of his three cited TD dashes…He later added touchdown runs of 10 and 38 yards in the 2nd and 3rd quarters to account for the final 12 of his 24-point showing.

Owners of a 2-2 league record (4-3 overall), the Knights will look to lock down the #3 spot in the Eastern Conference when they face St. Francis Prep in what will be last regular season game that Vittiburga will play in front of the home crowd…The Terriers are fresh off of a game where they allowed 347 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.  Hence, Vittiburga and the Knights could be licking their chops at the prospects of what could materialize on October 27th.

 

Christian Maisel (So.); WR/DB – St. John the Baptist Cougars

If friendship truly consists of a million little things, then the art of winning on the gridiron must be comprised of one million and one…And, if we had to take a guess of where that one extra entity can be found, the answer would likely be in the mind and/or heart of Cougar Head Coach, Ralph Carusillo….A mentor who preaches the mentality that every role has value and that no assignment is too small, when you don the SJB red and black, you quickly learn that you can and will be asked to be a wearer of many hats.

For the 6’1, 185-pound 10th grader [Maisel], those one million little things that differentiate victory from defeat would assume a variety of different identities in his team’s 17-14 win over Holy Cross during week #7.

Actively involved in one way or another in all 17 of the team’s points last Saturday, the Amityville resident’s name may only briefly appear in the box score, but that does not mean he was not a major factor in helping the Cougars improve their record to 3-4 this season (2-3 in league competition).

Making his initial contribution in the most understated of manners, Maisel became something of a pioneer in terms of how much emphasis should get placed on the subtleties and nuances of the sport…The first student-athlete in the history of the POTW list to be commended for his cool and steady hands as a holder on PAT and FG attempts, Maisel would be called into duty to fill-in for the usual starter and to his credit, the kicking game did not skip a beat, as Anthony Bossone went 2-for-2 on extra point attempts and drilled a 31-yard field goal (despite a high snap) that gave SJB the early 3-0 advantage.

Utilized as a primary blocker (while lined up at TE) during the run game, it would be his willingness to throw his body in the way or would-be tacklers that ultimately sprung teammates, Sebastian Lebron and David Amelemah on their respective 10-yard TD runs in the 2nd and 4th quarters…The Amelemah score occurred in the last 2:00 of regulation and proved to be the eventual game-winner for St. John the Baptist….And while the touchdown will get all the press, what needs to be mentioned and treated with equal reverence is the notion that had it not been for a 25-yard reception on an earlier possession, followed by a fumble recovery after an untimely SJB turnover, both of which came courtesy of Maisel, the ball never would have been buried that deep in Holy Cross territory.

Conjuring up that last adrenaline rush on the final defensive series of the contest, Maisel would again have a nose for the ball, as it was his interception with 58 seconds left in the game that put the “w” on ice…He was also credited with a season-high six stops (1 TFL) as a member of the defensive backfield.

Not short on praise for his budding superstar, Coach Carusillo was adamant in expressing that he has all the confidence in the world that Maisel “can and will develop into one of the top players in the entire NYCHSFL.”

 

Elijah Tobin (So.); OL/DL – Holy Trinity Titans

A testament to the depth and strength possessed by the Hicksville based school along the line of scrimmage, the 6’2, 240-pounder out of Amityville is the second two-way lineman from the Titans to be featured this season in the POTW article.   He joins week #2 selection, John Stroughn in being honored for his selfless and consistent toughness in the trenches.

Only a sophomore, it goes without saying that during the next two years, Tobin is sure to inherit the leadership role on both sides of the line.  An individual who has already had repeated flashes of brilliance throughout the 2018 season, if he is this good as a 10th grader, just imagine the carnage he will lay out as he continues to add size and perfect his technique.

Enjoying a breakout performance in Holy Trinity’s week #7 35-14 conquest of St. Francis Prep, Tobin would rewrite his personal record book, tying for top honors on the team [alongside Stroughn] with nine total stops (5 solo), while also adding career-highs in sacks (3 for a cumulative loss of 12 yards) and tackles for a loss (3)…Checking off even more boxes, he would both force and recover a fumble.

An immovable beast in the center of the DL, with Tobin plugging all potential holes, the HT defense would limit the Terriers to a tie for their lowest quantity of rushing yards this season with 132 (38 below their 2018 average)…His body of work as a pass rusher would not go unnoticed either, as the pressure he applied to St. Francis signal callers was so fierce that it yielded a sub-50% completion percentage (6-for-13) and helped to create an interception.  The registered 36.1 QB rating was a -15.6 from the SFP’s 2018 average.

Offensively, he, along with the rest of his line mates, did so much “road grading” that the town of Oyster Bay’s Highway Department might as well have sent them the cones and vests to complete the look…Executing the often under-appreciated grunt work, the Holy Trinity offensive line made it possible for their rotation of running backs to combine for a season-high 347 yards (led by Spencer Nixon’s 155 yards on 24 carries) on the ground and four (two by Jason Brown) rushing TDs….On the year, the Titans are now averaging 259.6 yards running and are scoring 3.7 TDs on the ground per outing.

Winners of six games in a row after dropping their season-opener to defending AA titlists, Kellenberg Memorial, Tony Mascia’s Titans have locked up 2nd place in the Double-A Eastern Conference and have their eyes on raising some hardware.

 

Brian Langan (Sr.); QB/LB – Xaverian Clippers

One of the most cliched phrases in the English language is, “It’s like riding a bike.” Time and time again, this expression has been used to hint that certain skill sets remain with you no matter how much time has passed…And on October 20th, the 6’1, 170-pound Brooklynite [Langan] more than provided enough evidence to confirm that playing the quarterback position is a talent that never deserts you.

Starting under center for the first time since his sophomore campaign in 2016, Langan may have only successfully completed two of his seven attempts.  But, when he did connect, he made sure that those strikes did maximum damage, throwing for a pair of touchdowns in the Clippers’ 12-9 win on the road over Moore Catholic.

Entering last weekend having thrown just two touchdown passes (both last season as a reserve) in his three-year varsity career at Xaverian, Langan would rally the troops from a 9-0 deficit at the break by tossing one touchdown apiece in each of the two remaining quarters.

The Clippers would get on the board on the opening drive of the third quarter when Langan found junior, Shane Greene, from six yards out to make the score 9-6 in favor of Moore Catholic….The scoreboard would remain unchanged until the last two minutes of regulation when Langan would make the Mavericks pay for a turnover deep in their own zone by playing pitch-and-catch with Justin Wolf on a 9-yard dart for the game-winner.

Langan, whose career-best 38 yards rushing joined his 17 yards passing to give him 55 yards of total offensive production, earned the praise of Head Coach, Mike Jioia, as much for what he did not do as he did for what he was able to accomplish during the seventh week of the NYCHSFL season…Running the offense in an intelligent, flawless, turnover-free manner, he was everything his mentor could have asked of him.

Langan’s five tackles from the linebacker position aided the Clipper D-unit in holding Moore Catholic to their lowest point total of the season (averaged 35 points per game thru week #6), as well as completely smothered a running attack that was averaging 245 yards to the tune of allowing just 79.

Competing in their first season as a Double-A school, the win over Moore Catholic, which raised their league record to 4-1 (4-3 overall), officially clinched the Western Conference title for Xaverian.

 

CJ Wise (Sr.); RB – Archbishop Stepinac Crusaders

Don’t look now but all of a sudden, this Crusader squad is starting to look like the title contenders that we predicted they would be at the onset of the season…Victorious in their last two triple-A division contests, the Mike O’Donnell mentored program has gone from #7 seed in the postseason status all the way into the conversation for a potential top-3 bid…Acting as a constant during this mini, late-season surge has been the 5’8, 175-pound senior tailback [Wise].

A week removed from posting the first 100-yard rushing game (16 carries, 120 yards) of his scholastic career in Stepinac’s 35-17 win over Monsignor Farrell, the Harlem resident would find an even higher gear this past Saturday, setting new personal bests in both yardage and touchdowns scored in the last regular season home game of his high school journey.  The end result for the Crusaders would be a dominant 52-26 triumph over Christ the King to improve Stepinac’s league record to 2-3 and their overall record to 3-4.

Called upon to accept a much greater role in the ground attack while starting running back, Malik Grant attempts to get fully healthy for the playoffs, Wise would be the only Stepinac student-athlete during week #7 to log double digit carries, as he took the hand-off on 15 different occasions…A 200-meter specialist during the Outdoor Track & Field season, #3 in your media guide would certainly have the pistons firing on all cylinders last weekend, as he averaged 11 yards per touch to finish the afternoon with 165 yards on the ground.  In addition, he would notch the first multiple rushing TD effort of his time in the red, white, and blue, scoring on a 2-yard run in the last minute of the 1st quarter to give Stepinac a 14-0 lead, before breaking off a 67-yarder approximately six minutes later to make the score 21-7.

Equally as effective a playmaker out of the backfield as a pass catcher, Wise would also establish a new high for receiving yards, gaining 55 on two grabs.

Rounding out his 280-yard all-purpose showing, Wise added a 60-yard kickoff return.

The very definition of a renaissance man, wise heads into the regular season finale ranked 2nd on the team in rushing yards (376), receptions (20), receiving yardage (229), and total touchdowns scored (4).

“Back-up”? We don’t think so.  The way he is playing down the stretch, he is more accurately labeled as the “backbone” of Stepinac’s rebirth on the gridiron.

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