Dec 032019

By Matt Diano:

Matthew Geruso (Sr.); RB/Punter – Xavier Knights

Donning the Maroon & Blue one final time, the 5’10, 195-pounder out of Hoboken put forth a performance that would have made Frank Sinatra proud as he most certainly did it “HIS WAY” in leading the Knights to a 40-14 triumph over Fordham Prep in the 97th rendition of the prestigious Turkey Bowl.  The victory for Xavier, their 41st in the history of the rivalry (52-41-4 now in favor of FP) snapped a three-year skid.  The 40 points recorded by the Knights represented the highest output by the school on Turkey Day since 1976 when they prevailed 40-30.

Holding absolutely nothing back and leaving every bit of blood, sweat, and tears on the gridiron, Geruso played some of his finest football in the last 24 minutes of his scholastic career, running to pay dirt on three separate occasions and adding a successful two-point conversion to tie personal-bests for touchdowns (3) and points (20) in a single outing.  The 143 yards he generated on 15 carries was a 2019 season-high and was second-most of his career, bested only by a 157-yard performance as a junior versus St. Francis Prep.

Xavier leading 13-7 at the time, Geruso capitalized off of a great kick-off return by Anthony Bruno to open up the second-half by plunging the ball across the line from a distance of four yards out for the first of his aforementioned three scores.

As his school’s advantage continued to expand (28-7), Geruso showed no signs of taking his foot off the pedal, as he exploded for a 77-yard trek to the house early in the 4th quarter to change the scoreboard to 34-7.

As the clock dipped below 2:00, Geruso put an emphatic exclamation on the morning when he converted on 4th & 11 by busting through a hole and cruising 32 yards for his last TD of the day and the 15th of his swan song campaign.

When not busy chewing up massive quantities of yardage on offense, Geruso found another purposeful use of his powerful legs, flipping the field and burying the Rams with punts of 43, 50, and 50 yards apiece (all inside the 20).

Not surprisingly, in recognition of his stellar body of work, Geruso was the recipient of the Most Valuable Player award last Thursday.

Rightfully named to the All-League team earlier in the week, Geruso concludes his 2019 season with a stat line that reads as follows: 608 yards and 15 touchdowns on 109 carries (5.6/per), an additional 237 yards passing (14-for-37 in the air), and a remarkable 14 punts inside the opposing 20 (36.8 average overall).

His two-year varsity stay ends with him having accumulated 1,414 yards and 22 touchdowns on 236 hand-offs (6.0 per carry).


Sidiki Kone (Sr.); DB/KR – Cardinal Hayes Cardinals

The very definition and/or epitome of well-roundness, the 6’0, 195-pound three-way student-athlete from the Bronx will not soon to be forgotten by the 650 Grand Concourse faithful.

Entering the finale of his high school career having accounted for nine touchdowns this season in three different ways (7 rushing, 1 receiving, 1 pick-6), the recently named All-NYCHSFL selection added two fresh scoring methods in the Cardinals’ 38-0 victory on Thanksgiving over Mount St. Michael Academy.

Making his impact felt literally from the first whistle, Kone fielded the opening kick-off of the contest at his off 30-yard line and then turned on the jets for the 70-yard TD return to immediately give Hayes the 7-0 lead…

With approximately eight minutes remaining in the first half, #2 added his second TD of the morning when he emerged from a group of Hayes defenders to scoop up a fumble and walk into the end zone from 2-yards out to make the score 32-0 at the break.

A catalyst behind the Cardinals’ ability to pitch their first shutout since the 2014 Turkey Bowl, Kone complemented his fumble return by also racking up six total stops in helping Hayes to their seventh consecutive win in the annual series.

Unofficially, Kone’s wrapped up his tenure as a Cardinal having collected 118 tackles, 16 TFLs, 5 sacks, and 3 interceptions…Primarily a defensive player in 2018, he was afforded the opportunity to be more active this season on offense and he made the most of this increased role, averaging over five yards per carry (258 yards on 52 attempts); his previously cited seven TDs on the ground was tied for 2nd on the team


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