By Matt Diano:
Tim Smith (5th Season At the Helm)
Record: 1-7; Did not Qualify for the AA Playoffs
Top Returning Players:
*Ladon Hicks (Sr; WR/SS): The most dangerous and versatile weapon the Knights have on offense; among returning players he led all rushing and receiving categories (11 carries for 38 yards on the ground; 10 catches for 151 yards and 2 TDs); Is also one of the top defenders for HC, making 54 tackles, earning 1 sack, intercepting one pass, and recovering a pair of fumbles as a junior).
*Kyante Watkins (Sr; OL/DL): Returning starting OG for a line that helped Holy Cross accumulate 2,225 yards and 24 touchdowns (15 on the ground) in 2018; Not listed as a starter on defensive, but will add depth, following a junior year where he recorded 10 tackles and was credited with one QB hurry.
*Jay Brown (Sr. OL): Will start at center for Holy Cross this season; Could see his role on defense increase after making two stops a season ago.
*Chase Duncan (Sr; DT): Incumbent starter in the middle of the defensive line; As a junior, he finished 3rd on the team in total tackles with 44 (3 TFL) and recovered one fumble.
*Octavious Bailey (Sr; DB): One of two potential shutdown corners for HC; Collected 34 tackles as an 11th grader and led all Knights with five successful pass break-ups.
*Jaeden Smith (Sr; DB): The other lockdown defensive back on Holy Cross; Smith made 25 tackles in 2018 and knocked away four passes in his direction.
*Isaia Villiata-Ortiz (Sr; DE): Returning starter at DE; Recorded 11 tackles as a junior.
*Jakari Knolle (Sr; DE): Adds additional senior presence to the defensive end position; logged 9 stops last year.
*Christopher McElhinney (Sr; OLB): Rounds off the list of experienced players on the defensive side of the ball; as a junior, he was credited with 10 tackles (2 for a loss) and one quarterback hurry.
*Kemari Ward (Jr.)—At 5’11, 212-pound, he has good size and excellent speed; should be one of the top new faces on the defense at linebacker.
*Jaedan Alexander (Jr.)—Another very solid linebacking prospect; will make a name for himself in 2019.
*Jaden Bagwell (Jr)—The Springfield Gardens resident will provide the Knights with another trusted WR.
*Xavier Chapman (Jr.)—A young gun that despite the DL being senior-laden, is too talented to keep off the field and will see significant action in his rookie year on varsity.
*Thomas Graham (Jr.)—At 6’1, 260 pounds, the Flushing resident should break into the starting-11 this season along the OL.
*Troy Powell (Jr.)—Like Chapman, Powell is a future difference-maker on the DL; will fight for snaps as a defensive end.
A program that is overjoyed at the embarrassment of riches they will have on defense, the Knights will bring back SIX starters on this side of the line, and are blessed to have several newbies who will be hot on their heels looking for playing time…Back for their senior campaigns will be the young studs who finished 2nd (Ladon Hicks), 3rd (Chase Duncan), and 5th (Octavious Bailey) last season in total tackles with 54, 44, and 34 tackles respectively…With Hicks (who added a sack and 2 fumbles recoveries) at strong safety, Bailey (team-leading 5 PDs as a junior) at one corner, and fellow seasoned vet, Jaeden Smith (25 tackles, 4 pass defenses) at the other CB spot, Holy Cross might have the best secondary in the AA division this season…Duncan (44 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 fumble recovery) will team up with Jakari Knoelle (9 tackles) and Isaia Villiata-Ortiz (11 stops) to present a “steel curtain” on a senior-guided defensive line…Newcomers, Xavier Chapman and Troy Powell, will also make quick contributions on the DL….Christopher McElhinney (10 tackles, 2 TFL) will shepherd a linebacking corps that is excited about the additions of juniors, Kemari Ward and Jaedan Alexander.
Offensively, Holy Cross will be introducing a lot of new personnel…However, if history has taught us anything, it is that when attempting to rebuild a unit on the scholastic level, the best place to have stability is the offensive line; and Coach Smith absolutely has that in the persons of seniors, Kyante Watkins (OG) and Jay Brown. At 247 and 233 pounds apiece, the 12th grade tandem may not blow you away with their measurements, but they are quite adept at blowing you off the ball…260-pound junior, Thomas Graham, will infuse that mass into the OL…Whether it be in the backfield or out wide, in terms of the skill positions, the previously referenced Hicks will be the person that Coach Smith and company will be turning to for explosion…Dealt a crucial blow when All-Catholic recipient, John Beaubrun (334 yards rushing/3 TDs; team-leading 25 catches for 419 yards and 5 touchdowns) decided to transfer prior to his senior year, the onus of being the primary playmaker was inherited by the 5’10, 170-pounder from Williamsburg [Hicks]…As a junior, Hicks rushed for 38 yards and 11 carries, while also making 10 grabs for 151 yards and a pair of scores. No matter where they line him up in 2019, Hicks will make noise…Junior WR, Jaden Bagwell, received (no pun intended) the praises of the HC coaching staff and should also be regarded as an essential spoke in the wheel.
Kahmal Roy (1st Season As HC)
Record: 8-2; Lost in the AA semifinals, 7-0, to Xavier
Top Returning Players:
*Emilio Ramirez (Jr; QB/CB): Replaces All-Catholic signal caller, Ryan Razanno; moves under center after being used in a limited role as a receiver last year (1 catch for 13 yards); His importance on defense also increases as he is penciled in to be one of the starting cornerbacks; made 7 tackles and notched one pass break-up in 2018.
*Elijah Tobin (Jr; OG/DT): Consummate two-way player; Returning starter on the OL that helped the Titans put up 2,814 yards and 38 touchdowns; 9 of his 19 tackles on defense resulted in a loss of yardage; his 4 sacks a sophomore ranked 2nd on the team.
*Jonathan Morales (Jr; C/DL): Resumes his role as the starting center; not identified as an expected starter on defense, but should see some action as a reserve; Made 7 stops and logged one successful pass break-up as a 10th grader.
*Jaden Sinclair (Jr; WR/DB): Speedster that will both eat up opposing defensive backs and then transform into an elite D-Back; ended his sophomore season ranked 2nd in both catches (8) and receiving yards (95) on the HT stat sheet; As a defender, he recorded 33 tackles and 4 PDs; One of the top KO/PR specialists, racking up 303 yards in this capacity.
*Stephen Collica (Sr; TE/OLB): After spending his junior season focused on “D”, he will embrace a dual role this season, starting at tight end and outside linebacker; As an 11th grader, he registered 23 tackles (2 TFL) and caused one fumble.
*Brian Holder (Sr; ILB): Probably the best overall returning player on defense; finished his junior year ranked 2nd in tackles (67), tied for 2nd in TFL (9), and 3rd in sacks (3rd); also logged one PD and one fumble recovery.
*Dylan Lewis (Jr; RB/SS): Immense improved player who is expected to start on both sides; as a reserve tailback last year, he displayed solid skill, rushing for 70 yards and 1 TD on 4 carries; from the secondary, he made 19 tackles (3 TFL) and earned one sack as a 10th grader.
*Kameron Robbins (Sophomore)—Transfer from Baldwin HS; will split carries with Lewis at tailback; Anticipated starter at Outside linebacker.
*Otega Uwode (Sophomore)—Full-service lineman who will move immediately into the starting-11s at OT and DE.
*Andre Wilkes (Sophomore)—Will fight for playing time in the secondary; could ultimately emerge as a starter at strong safety,
After 28 years of glorious service by Tony Mascia, the Titans will begin to write a new chapter in their history this season and in our opinion, they could not have landed on a better individual. Tapping class of ‘97 alumnus turned NCAA All-American wide-out (on behalf of Hofstra University), Kahmal Roy, as their new maestro, the Hicksville-based school will be determined to build off of the momentum they created when they bounced back from a 1-7 year in 2017 to go 8-2 and advance to the double-A semis last season.
Taking a bit of a hit at the skill positions on offense due to commencement, HT will need to replace the 2,200+ yards of production delivered last season by All-Catholic QB, Ryan Razanno (599 yards in the air, 667 on the ground), and running backs, Spencer Nixon (583 yards) and Jalen Rivers (269), and Chris Porcaro (142)…Announcing themselves as the prime candidates to fill these holes will be junior field general, Emilio Ramirez, and a running back combo consisting of Dylan Lewis (Jr.) and Kameron Robbins (So.)…Seeing the grass on occasion at WR and defensive back last season, Ramirez’s overall athleticism should make him a natural when it comes to running a scheme that has always been predicated on dual-threat proficiencies…Lewis, only carried the ball four times as a sophomore, but displayed tremendous burst, averaging 17.5 yard per touch, including one TD dash…Robbins, a transfer from Baldwin High School, brings a little added size to the backfield, as his 6’0, 175-pound frame, coupled with quickness, makes him the perfect hybrid back…Juniors, Jaden Sinclair and Bryce Ettrick, as well as senior TE, Stephen Collica, will be the main targets in the passing game. Among this trio, only the Westbury resident [Sinclair] made a catch last season (8 for 95)…Acting as the bedrock for the offensive line will be returning starters, Elijah Tobin (6’1, 250) at guard, and Jon Morales (5’10, 235) in the middle…Otega Uwode (6’3, 206) and John Escobar (5’10, 210) will be at the tackle positions, with Anthony Green (5’11, 200) completing the OL at the remaining guard position. Not a single senior among this group (four juniors + the 10th grader, Uwode), as solid as the offensive line will be in 2019, just envision the agony they will inflict next season…
A case of déjà vu, the majority of the gentlemen profiled above also fit in prominently on the other side of the ball…Inserting 12th grade ILB, Brian Holder (3rd on the team in tackles with 55, 2nd with 9 TFL, 3rd with 3 sacks), LB should be an especially strong position, with Robbins and Collica (23 stops, 2 TFL) on the outside…Tobin (19 tackles, 9 TFL, 4 sacks) and Uwode are expected to be quite the duo at DT…The starters at defensive end remain to be determined, but after making 7 stops last year, it only makes sense that a player the caliber of Morales has to be part of the game plan…Cornerback, Sinclair (33 tackles, 4 pass break-ups), and strong-safety, Lewis, (19 stops, 3 TFL, 1 Sack) are the most refined members of the last line of defense, but the staff is said to be very impressed with Ramirez (7 tackles, 1 pick), Ettrick, and another high-ceiling prospect, Andre Wilkes.
Nick Giannatasio (4th Season as Head Coach)
Record: 6-3; Lost in the AA” quarterfinals to Holy Trinity, 27-26
Top Returning Players:
*Justin Lacks (Sr; RB): 2x All-State/3x All-Catholic Selection; Rushed for 1,161 yards and 19 touchdowns on 145 carries (8yrd/per)
*Cameron Holmes (Sr; WR/FS): Entering his third year as a starter for the Mavs; His speed will be a tremendous asset on both sides of the ball; Finished 2018 with 19 catches for 326 yards and a team-best seven TDs receiving; ran the ball 7 times for 83 yards; Defensively ended his junior campaign having made 48 tackles, earned 3 sacks, and picked off a pair of passes.
*Nick Heinemann (Sr; QB): After patiently waiting his turn, assumes starting QB duties in his swan song; Completed both of his pass attempts for 96 yards and one touchdown last season; Not listed as a defensive starter, but did contribute last year, making 27 tackles and being credited with 1 successful pass break-up.
*A.J. Curran (Sr; C/LB): One of three returning starting OLs who enabled MC to accumulate 3,139 yards of total production and record 41 touchdowns; Will be doing double duty this season, starting at LB on defense; Made 23 stops as a junior.
*Tashawn Stephens (Jr; OL/DL): Standing a monstrous 6’4 and weighing 265 pounds, the 11th grader is pegged to be the starting left tackle this season for the Mavs; Should the Mavs need him, he is plenty capable of being a dominant two-way lineman; last season he made four tackles and secured .5 sack.
*Anthony Perlongo (Sr; WR/S): Making a name for himself mostly on the defensive side of the ball as an 11th grader, Perlongo will be a major factor in all areas of the game in 2019; Made 3 catches for 54 yards + 1 TD last year; Credited with 46 stops, 1 sack, and 2 PDs as a junior.
*Artie Padilla (Sr; LB): Big-time hitter who led the Mavs with 6 tackles for a loss last season; finished 2nd on the team overall with 71 total stops; also had two fumble recoveries (1 for TD), one interception, and one pass defense.
*Sixx Johnson (Jr; LB): A year removed from a statement-making sophomore season that witnessed him make 68 tackles and break-up two pass attempts.
*Craig Sorrenti (Sr; OL/DL): Definitive two-way lineman who will play OG on offense and flip over to DE on “D”..An incumbent starter on the offensive line that piled up remarkable numbers (see above); Recorded 16 stops on defense as a junior.
*Matt Heinemann (Jr; OL/DL): The third returning starter on the offensive line for MC, his role on defense will increase in 2019 after registering 8 stops as a sophomore.
*Khalil Martinez (Fr.)—Despite only being a freshman, Martinez already possesses the size (6’3, 275) of an upperclassman; Is being penciled in as the day #1 starter at Defensive tackle.
*Ashton Padilla (So.)—Slides immediately into a starting position in the secondary as a varsity rookie.
*Justin Francis (So.)—Just weeks into his varsity career and is already the recipient of raving reviews; highlighted as an absolute difference maker in his starting role at defensive end.
“A” Division Champions in 2016, when you look at all of the speed and potential game-breaking ability that the Mavericks will have in 2019, you cannot help but feel as if a return to championship weekend may very well be in the cards in their third season competing in double-A.
Empowered on offense by a 6’1, 215-pound living legend in the person of Justin Lacks, Moore Catholic will be a threat to score on every possession…A combination of linebacker (strength) and cheetah (4.5 speed), the three-time All-League/two-time (5th Team in 2016; 3rd team in 2018) All-State performer has never had a season where he rushed for less than 1,000 yards or scored fewer than 11 touchdowns on the ground. As a junior, injury would put him on the shelf for multiple games, but yet he still managed to accumulate 1,161 yards (3rd in AA), while finding the promised land on 19 unique occasions (tied for 2nd in AA). All in all, Lacks will enter his senior season with three-year totals of 3,470 yards and 44 TDs…Junior, Michael Peraino, who averaged 11 yards per touch on three carries, will also see plenty of time in the backfield…A ground attack that is fear inducing under the most normal of circumstances, Lacks/Peraino becomes almost unstoppable when you consider that they will enjoy the benefit of doing their trekking behind a trio incumbent starters on the offensive line— Craig Sorrenti (LG; 235), A.J. Curran (C; 255) and Matt Heinemann (RG; 240)…255-pound sophomore, Kairon Grady (255), will team up with beastly 11th grader, Tashawn Stephens (260) to round out the 1200-pound OL…As a means of keeping defenses honest, the Mavs will look to another very experienced standout, three-year starter Cameron Holmes, to provide the spark for a wide-out corps that lost freshman All-League player, Dashawn Lawton (33 grabs for 692 yards, 6 TDs) to transfer (returned to his home state of NJ to play for West Side HS)…The team-leader in TD receptions last season with 7 (19 catches for 326 yards overall), the 6’2 185-pounder, Holmes, has both the measurables and the skills to emerge as the consummate go-to target in the aerial game…Anthony Perlongo (3 catches for 54 yards, 1 TD), who will take on added responsibility after primarily being utized on”D” in 2018, and one of the program’s most improved players this season, Justin Burriesci, will be the #2 and #3 options in the passing game…Nick Heinemann, who went 2-for-2 (96 yards, 1 TD) last season in limited work under center, takes the reins of the offense, as a senior signal caller…
Defensively, Coach Giannatasio is blessed to welcome back a plethora of experience, including the linebacking trident of Artie Padilla, Sixx Johnson, and Curran…Ranked 2nd and 3rd on the team last year with 71 and 68 stops respectively, Padilla and Johnson are easily two of the most renowned defensive players in the NYCHSFL regardless of division. Curran himself had a solid 2018, recording 23 tackles as an 11th grader…Perlongo (46 tackles, 1 sack, 2 PDs), Holmes (48 stops, 3 sacks, 2 INTs) and Stephen Gerwer (6 tackles, 1 pass break-up) bring senior maturity to a defensive backfield that will be enriched by the presence of rookie, Ashton Padilla, at one of the CB spots…Sorrenti (16 tackles) will be the foundation of a D-line that packs plenty of bulk, but is short in terms of varsity field time. Sophomore, Justin Francis, will join his aforementioned [Sorrenti] linemate, at DE, while Anthony Wilson (1 tackle as a sophomore in 2018) and 9th grader, Khalil Martinez (6’3, 275) will be the muscle in the middle.
Mario Valentini (36th Year as HC; 41st overall on the sidelines)
Record: 3-7; Did not Advance to the AA Playoffs
Top Returning Players:
*Tyrek Ogilvie (Sr; RB/CB): Finished 3rd on the team last year with 416 yards and two touchdowns on 76 carries; can be utilized as a receiver out of the backfield (3 grabs for 28 yards); will be a more active member of the secondary after making 7 tackles and intercepting one pass as a junior; Very dangerous weapon on special teams (averaged 19.9 yards as a KO specialist)
*Theodore Fraser (Jr; OL/DT): Two-way lineman that will start at either center or guard on offense and DT on “D”; helped the offence to rack up close to 3,000 yards and score 34 touchdowns in 2018;
*Delano Muir (Sr; OG/DT): Joins the two men cited above as the only other returning starter this season for the Mountaineers; Recorded 22 stops and half a sack while plugging the middle as an 11th grader.
*Kai Lewis (Sr; TE/DL): At 6’6 and 260 pounds, he possesses imposing size that he will use to beat down smaller foes; Made 16 tackles (1 TFL) in 2018.
*Matthew Marquez (Sr; RB/DB): Will provide a solid #2 option at tailback; will bring valuable experience to the secondary following a junior season where he made 12 tackles.
Described by their legendary coach [Mario Valentini] as a program that is very young and will rely heavily on underclassmen, the Mountaineers bring back just three starters. With these sentiments in mind, this is a team that you have to reserve judging for a few weeks until they have been afforded the opportunity of putting some notches on their belt…
Known over the year for their perennially strong ground game, if there is one spot on the field where the Mount enters 2019 with a high degree of confidence, it is tailback…While filling the cleats of departed All-Catholic selection/HM All-State, Conrad Perry (1,150 yards, 17 touchdowns in 2018) might be too much to request of any one player, the good news is that the boys from the Bronx will feature TWO very competent and potentially game-breaking backs in the persons of Tyrek Ogilvie and Matthew Marquez Jr...Both seniors this season, the former ranked third on the team last season with 416 yards gained (5.5/carry average) and scored a pair of touchdowns. The latter, whose main output was on the defensive side of the ball as a defensive back, has elite athleticism and should make a smooth transition to his new role as a key offensive weapon…
Turning our attention to the other side of the line of scrimmage, MSMA may not be relishing a wealth of returning starters, but on paper, they do seem to possess several qualified young men who benefited from field time in 2018 and will be prepared to elevate their respective performances this season…Theodore Fraser (40 tackles, 2 TFL, .5 sacks), Delano Muir (22 stops, .5 sacks), and Kai Lewis (16 tackles, 1 stop for a loss) will sit at the head of the table for what should be a formidable DL…Ogilvie (7 tackles, 1 interception) and Marquez Jr. (12 tackles) are the most polished of the defensive backs on the roster.
Mike Corona (5th Season at the Helm)
Record: 1-7; Did Not Qualify for the AA Playoffs
Top Returning Players:
*Jackson Tucker (Jr; QB): 2018 All-Catholic selection; threw for 1,774 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore; ran 430 yards and tacked on four TDs on the ground.
*Vincent Vazquez (Jr; WR): Leading receiver In 2018 w/45 catches for 501 yards and three TD grabs.
*Danny Doyle (Sr; OT): Starting OL for an offense that generated close to 3,000 yards of total production; Could also see time on the DL.
*Kyle Gaor (Sr; RB): Jack-of-all trades who will factor in prominently as a running back and place-kicker/punter; caught 10 passes last season for 127 yards and two touchdowns; connected on all six of his kick attempts (5-for-5 on PAT; 1-for-1 on FG); averaged 37 yards per punt while placing five within the 20-yard line.
*David Maj (Sr; TE): Was the back-up QB as a junior; will move to TE in 2019.
*Nick Ruvolo (Sr; LB): Primary assignment will be as the starting OLB, but did showcase talent on both sides of the ball as an 11th grader in 2018; recorded 16 tackles last year; made 13 pass catches for 166 yards.
*Jesse Addesso (Sr; FS): Returning starting defensive back; made 19 stops and was credited with two successful pass defenses in 2018.
*Nick Gagliardi (Sr; LB): Another returning starter on “D”…Logged 19 tackles and one INT last year.
*Aidan Ryan (Sr; FS): All-Catholic honoree in 2018; Led the team in both interceptions (2) and pass defenses (4), while making 22 stops…One of the purest athletes on the squad, he can also be utilized as a threat on offense (78 yards and two TDs rushing on just 15 carries; 94 yards on 5 catches) and special teams (averaged 25.1 yards per kick return).
*Chris Gulemmo (Sr; DL): Two-way lineman with the potential to dominate on both ends.
*James Speciale (Jr.)—Will see significant time as a wide-receiver.
*Adonis Trejo (Jr.)—Listed as an OL, he has the chops to make noise on both ends of the field.
*Jordan Savinon (So.)—Only a 10th grader, will be a future star on the defensive line.
*Christian Clavell (So.)—Will be a great complementary piece in the offensive backfield; could emerge as the #2 RB behind Gaor.
*Logan Auerbach (So.)—A polished receiving target, he can be lined up out of the backfield, out wide, or at TE. His versatility makes him a valuable asset.
One of the most experienced teams in the Double-A division this season, when you look at the roster, it seems as if there is a future or current star at just about every money position on the field…
Leading the offense will be returning All-league field general, Jackson Tucker. Fresh off of a remarkable sophomore campaign that saw him hurl for the second most yards in AA (1,774), while simultaneously running for the third most yardage among QBs (430), the 11th grader is without question one of the top overall weapons in all of the NYCHSFL, regardless of division….Senior, Kyle Gaor, who made his mark more as a receiver in 2018, will now be asked to step up and assume a major role as the top rushing option for the Vikings…Vincent Vazquez (45 grabs, 501 yards, 3 TDs), John Sciulla (6 catches for 49 yards), and Justin Alexander will compromise a very gifted receiver corps. Nick Ruvolo (13 catches for 166 yards) was not listed as a starting receiver, but his resume makes us confident that he will be a definitive option in key situations…David Maj will man the TE position….Senior tackle, Danny Doyle, will be the backbone of an offensive line that will also rely on the likes of 11th grader, Matt Cordero, to provide stability…. James Speciale (RB), Adonis Trejo (OL), Christian Clavell (RB), and Logan Auerbach (RB/WR/TE) are all first-year varsity players who came out of the gate strong and will be ones to watch, both in 2019 and beyond on “O”.
Defensively, you could blindly toss a dart at the depth chart and you would unquestionably land on a person who garnered significant playing time in 2018…With the exception of strong safety, where no individual was identified as the clear-cut day #1 starter, every other spot on “D” will be occupied by trusted senior personnel….Chris Gulemmo and James Colesanti will be at DE….Dylan Bille (one of the most improved on the roster) and Paul Quick (11 stops) will plug the middle…Ruvolo (16 tackles), Nick Gagliardi (19 stops, 1 INT), and Corey Tehe (31 tackles; most among returning student-athletes) headline the linebacker unit…Championing the defensive backs will All-Catholic selection, Aidan Ryan (22 stops, 2 interceptions, 4 pass break-ups). Jesse Addesso (19 tackles, 2 PDs) and Vin Grillo will both give consistent effort at the two cornerback spots…Jordan Savinon (DL) is another young gem whose performance will be so lights out that you forget that he is only a 10th grader.
Philip Alba (1st Season at the helm)
Record: 3-6; Lost “AA” Quarterfinals to Fordham Prep, 39-12
Top Returning Players:
*Nicholas Mazziotti (Sr; QB): Back for his second season taking the snaps; the Shoreham resident completed 40% of his pass attempts (32-for-80), tossing for a total of 629 yards and four touchdowns; Carried the pigskin on 31 occasions for a net of 64 yards and two more scores.
*Christian Maisel (Jr; WR/FS): Guaranteed starter on both sides of the line, the 11th grader will see is numbers grow exponentially at WR, after making six catches for 149 yards and two TDs as a sophomore; also rushed 38 yards and scored twice on three carries; Defensively, he will remain a significant presence in the secondary; Last year he logged 31 tackles, 4 TFL, and tied for the team-lead with two interceptions.
*Jayden Louis (Jr; RB/CB): Had a tremendous season offensively as a sophomore, finishing the year ranked 2nd on the team in yards (426) and touchdowns (3); proved that he also a threat as a receiver, making 9 grabs for 105 yards and one additional TD; Credited with three tackles last season on “D”, his role in this area will increase quite a bit as he assumes a starting duties at cornerback; Has take it to the house potential as a kick/punt returner.
*Matthew Stroble (Sr; Center): Returning All-Catholic selection off of an OL that helped to generate approximately 2,500 yards and score 20 touchdowns; not listed as a DL starter, but if need be, could absolutely serve as an ironman.
*Thomas Jaycox (Sr; OT): By far the biggest player on the Cougars, at 6’4, 270, he knows how to push people around and will do an extraordinary job keeping the QB upright.
*Anthony Ermelino (Sr; OL/OLB): Another two-way superstar, on offense he will line-up at guard; on “D”, he is fresh off of a junior campaign that saw him record 52 tackles (11 for a loss) and force two fumbles.
*Jeremy DeJesus (Sr; ILB): The other returning standout LB for SJB, DeJesus notched 43 stops, including six for negative yards.
*Liam Clifford (Sr; DE): Sleeper who is under the radar but is expected to have a great senior year on the DL.
*Matthew DePaola (Jr.)—Will make for an excellent #2 option out of the backfield at RB.
*Darius Adbulhagg (Jr.)—Plugged in as the starting strong safety from the opening whistle.
*Kyle Chase (So.)—Expected to be a mainstay at cornerback every second of the next three years; per the coaching staff, he will also compete for snaps under center; Was a late-season call-up to the varsity and shined in his one appearance, connecting on 14 of 23 attempts for 250 yards and two touchdowns…Was the #1 pitcher on the Cougar varsity last season as a freshman; hence, the moment will never overwhelm him.
A perennial postseason program that has won three or more games every year since 2006, despite facing the obstacles that accompany returning only five starters and breaking in a new head coach (Philip Alba), we see no reason why 2019 cannot still be a very successful season in West Islip…
Loaded with qualified, if not outstanding, student-athletes from top to bottom, even in areas where SJB may be replacing a graduated starter, there seems to be a “next man up” mentality that will inspire this band of 36 young gentlemen!
Finding themselves in quite the advantageous situation of being strong at the skill positions, St. John the Baptist will put their faith and trust in the likes of Nicholas Mazziotti, Jayden Louis, and Christian Maisel among others to provide the electricity and/or firepower when the pigskin in their possession…Mazziotti, now in his second year running the offense, threw for 629 yards and four touchdowns last season, and displayed glimpses of having dual-threat ability by scoring two additional TDs with his legs (ran for a total of 64 yards on 31 keepers)…Louis had a fantastic sophomore season in 2018, finishing 2nd on the team in every major rushing category (78 carries, 426 yards, 3 touchdowns). In addition, he ranked 2nd in total receptions, catching nine balls for 105 yards and one score. Hence, there is no telling how #21 in your program will torment you on a week-to-week basis…Like Louis, Maisel is also something of a jack-of-all-trades, when it comes to stretching an opposing defense; as a runner last year, he averaged 12.7 yards on limited touches (38 on 3 carries); with his hands, he was 3rd in catches (6) and 2nd in both receiving yards (149) and TD grabs (2)…Another upperclassman that you ought to keep an eye on is senior, Jeyse Osorto (2 yards on 3 carries); lost early in the 2018 season to a knee injury, the 170-pound resident of Wyandanch busted his butt rehabilitating and will be adamant in his desire to make up for the lost time…Junior, Matthew DePaola, is one of the top rookies on the roster and is certain to add further boost to the backfield…Captained by All-League center, Matthew Stroble (230 pounds), the offensive line will consist of fellow seniors, Thomas Jaycox (OT; 270) and Anthony Ermelino (OG; 210), junior, Andrew Unterschuetz (OT; 240), and sophomore, Spencer Shaughnessy (220)…One last individual that we want to put on the radar is sophomore, Kyle Chase. At the moment, he is #2 on the depth chart at QB, but we see him as a game-altering wildcard. A late call-up to varsity as a freshman, he completed 14 of 23 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns in his only appearance. The Levittownian also happened to be the ace of the varsity pitching staff as a 9th grader, meaning that he seems to be at his best the higher the stakes.
Polished/battle-tested everywhere but the DL on defense, senior, Jeremy DeJesus (43 tackles, 6 TFL), and Ermelino (52 stops, 11 TFL, 2 forced fumbles) will be rock stars at LB, and FS, Maisel (31 tackles, 4 stops for a loss, team-high 2 interceptions), will combine with cornerback, Louis (3 tackles), to fortify the secondary…Senior, Liam Clifford (DE), will be the only senior on a DL constructed of 11th graders, Christopher Annitto (DE), Brian Moloney (DT), and Jayson Smalls (DT)…12th grader, Christian Sosa (9 tackles) could play his way into the line-up along the line…10th grader, Jason Campo, will be OLB…Chase (CB) and highly-touted junior strong safety, Darius Adbulhagg, are welcomed fresh faces in the defensive backfield.
Mike Jioia (7th Season at the Helm)
Record: 5-4; Lost in the “AA” Quarterfinals to Xavier, 27-0
Top Returning Players:
*Derin Hansen (Sr; OL/DL): Returning All-League performer; Two-way Lineman who on offense helped the team accumulate over 2,100 yards of total offense and score 17 touchdowns; defensively, registered 57 tackles, forced 3 fumbles, and had earned a sack.
*Shane Greene (Sr; RB/OLB): 2018 All-Catholic selection; Probably the team’s most important player, Greene will be the #1 option out of the backfield (323 yards and a team-best six rushing TDs as a junior; added 4 receptions for 59 yards and two scores), as well as a key component to the linebacking cohort (40 tackles, 1 sack).
*Tom Resker (Sr; WR/SS): Named to the 2018 All-Catholic Team on defense as a junior; will be a dynamic play-maker on both sides of the ball in his swan song; rushed for 177 yards and scored once on just 11 carries; caught 15 passes for 202 yards and 1 TD as a receiver; Recorded 33 tackles and notched 1 sack on “D”.
*Jordan Murrell (Sr; WR/CB): Ironman player who will utilize his speed and agility to make noise anywhere and everywhere; gained 117 yards on the ground on 17 carries; made 4 grabs for 75 yards and one touchdown as a receiver; logged 19 tackles and picked off one pass as a defensive back…Is also an explosive kick-returner (averaged nearly 40 yards per return).
*Joshua Rivera (Sr; OL/DL): Like Hansen, Rivera is not afraid to bang in the trenches and will make his presence felt as both a blocker on one end and an untamed pursuer on the other; Made 27 tackles, earned one sack, and had a fumble recovery a season ago.
*Francis Ezeagbor (Jr; OG/LB): Another Clipper doing double-duty in 2019; he will start at OG on offense and star at ILB on defense; Compiled 20 tackles and recovered a fumble as a 10th grader.
*Justin Wolf (Sr; TE): Finished 2nd on the team in 2018 with 21 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns; Standing 6’4 and weighing 215 pounds, his measurables will make him a match-up nightmare for most defenders.
*James Resker (Sr; QB): Took the majority of snaps under center last season for the Clippers; completed 56.7% of attempts (55-for-97) for 780 yards and six touchdowns.
*Tom Leahy (Jr.)—Expected to start this season at cornerback, while further bolstering the receiving corps.
*Anthony Rosati (Jr.)—Turned in a solid season last year on the junior varsity as a running back/defensive back…Adds depth to both positions in his first year on varsity.
*Ryan Kenny (Jr.)—Not a complete rookie, Kenny did make a late-season appearance on varsity at QB, completing 3-of-5 pass attempts for 31 yards. However, in his first full season with the big club, his main contribution will come as the starting free safety.
Exceeding all preseason expectations (aside from their own) after making the jump up to AA last year, Mike Jioia’s Clippers earned the top-seed in the Western Division last season and will be armed and/or well-positioned to build off of that momentum and make 2019 a year to remember in Brooklyn…
A brigade that Is loaded with talent at all of the glamour positions, if all goes according to plan, there is every reason to believe that Xaverian could make their fifth trip (Single-A runners-up in 2013, 2014, and 2017; “A” titlist in 2015) in the past six years to championship weekend…Spearheading this quest for hardware on offense will be the four-headed senior monster comprised of running back, Shane Greene (323 yards + 6 TDs rushing on 83 carries), Tight End, Justin Wolf (leads all returning players in every major receiving category—21 grabs for 217 yards and a pair of TDs), and the double dose of Resker, quarterback, James (780 yards and six touchdowns hurled in 2018), and wide-out Tom (15 snatches for 202 yards and 1 TD; also ran for 177 yards)..The well-roundedness of Jordan Murrell (75 yards receiving on four touches; 117 yards on the ground on 17 carries) should also be put to good use, as he is slotted to start at WR, but could be utilized in a number of different ways…Don’t sleep on newcomer, Anthony Rosati, either. Regarded as one of the top players from last year’s JV, the junior may not have a defined role yet, but ought to feel optimistic about where his talents will take him during the next two seasons…Seniors, Derin Hansen, Joshua Rivera, and L.J. McGurk, will combine with 11th graders, Kevin Moylan and Francis Ezeagbor, to form the offensive line.
Priding itself on toughness, Xaverian has always been huge advocates of the two-way system, which means that several of the names already cited will be busting their butts on defense too…Returning All-Catholic standouts, Hansen (DL; 57 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack) and [Tom] Resker (DB; 34 stops, 1 sack) will be the ones that set the example…Greene (OLB; 40 tackles, 1 sack), along with Rivera (DT; 27 stops, 1 sack), Ezeagbor (ILB; 20 tackles), Murrell (CB; 19 stops, 1 pick), and Jayden Victor (OLB; 16 tackles) all provide a second wave of experienced defensive personnel…Seniors, William Graham (4 tackles) and Jack Ward are eager to make the most of their expanded roles along the DL…Labeled as day #1 starters in the secondary were rookies, Tom Leahy and Ryan Kenny.