May 122021

By Matt Diano:

Troy Telesford (Jr.); LB – Moore Catholic Mavericks

After scintillating performances on the offensive side of the ball during the first two weeks of the 2021 season (courtesy of John Michalski and Michael Peraino), it was the defense’s turn to take center stage in the Mavericks’ spring sendoff…And boy did they get their money’s worth and then some out of the 6’2, 225-pound junior linebacker [Telesford]…So accurately described in a tweet from Defensive Coordinator, Nate Ryan, as a “sideline to sideline killer”, the Brooklyn boy may have been playing on the school’s new red turf, but “black & blue” seemed to be his mantra for the day after delivering one bone-chilling hit after another in Moore’s 29-12 victory over St. Peter’s on May 8th…Hearing his name and #1 jersey called so often that at times it must have given off the impression that he had been cloned, Telesford finished the afternoon with a mind-blowing sum of 19 total tackles (3 solo), two TFLs, one sack, and even induced a well-timed fumble in being the catalyst towards holding the visiting Eagles to their lowest output of the shortened season (STP entered averaging just under 30 ppg and had scored 19 or more in all three previous appearances)..Sophomore wide-out, Nick Jordan, shined on “O”, making eight grabs for 193 receiving yards, including a pair of TDs (from distances of 32 and 72 yards respectively)…The defending NYCHSFL AA-2 titlists concluded the abbreviated campaign as one of only two (Cardinal Hayes the other) Metro Catholic programs from NYC to go unblemished (4-0)!


Ethan Yak (Jr.); RB – Monsignor Farrell Lions

If what Alec Baldwin (‘Glengarry Glen Ross”) said about closers is true, then the 5’8, 175-pounder out of Staten Island [Yak] deserved the entire pot of coffee based on the way he was culminating drives this past Friday in the Lions’ 46-6 conquest at home over Christ the King…The win avenged a pair of losses from last year…Demonstrating that quality will always be preferrable to quantity, the junior tailback carried the ball only six times and contributed 45yrds to a massive 326-yard cumulative evening on the ground for Farrell.  However, whenever he got his touches, he made sure they all counted, as half of his carries resulted in “6” being put up on the scoreboard…MF already out to a commanding 17-0 advantage, it was #26 in the White & Maroon putting the finishing touches on a dominant opening half when he struck for the first of his three scores by taking a misdirection draw up the middle for the 2-yard TD with 4:02 remaining in the second quarter to give the Lions a three-TD lead at the break…Yak’s second and third TDs of the night both came on a pair of 12-yard runs, as he found a hole and ran to paydirt in front of his bench in the last four minutes of the 3rd quarter (to make the score 37-0) and then rounded out the point explosion when he capitalized off of a CTK mishandled punt by taking the ensuing snap to the house with 2:48 to play in the 4th…The three-TD effort was a personal best for the 11th grader, who for good measure, added an 8-yard reception to complement his resume!…Week #3 Co-POTW selection, Messiah Burch, was exceptional yet again, rushing for a game-high 193 yards and two touchdowns…Defensively, juniors, David Goodman, Chris Booras and Aaron Espinal, not to mention swan songers (suiting up for the last time as Lions), Vincent Macaluso, Patrick Gardner, and Stephen Booras, were all nothing short of spectacular and/or domineering in creating multiple turnovers, dictating starting field position, and turning “D” into offense…Goodman, who also had an interception, was responsible for the first score of the game for the Lions when he recovered a blocked punt (by the younger Booras) in the 1st quarter…The elder Booras registered an interception…The entire D-unit lived in the opposing backfield, racking up infinite tackles for negative yardage en route to limiting the Royals to –20 yards rushing…Winners of only two contests in 2019, the Tony Garofalo mentored program boasted a very impressive 3-1 record this spring!


Jackson Tucker (Sr.); QB – St. Joe’s by the Sea Vikings

It is cliché, but hopefully for the 6’0, 185-pound field general out of Staten Island [Tucker], the old saying about “not how you start, but how you finish” will bring with it a sense of calming peace…For the past three years, there were few better, either in the NYCHSFL or in the entire Empire State, at patrolling the offense…Entering his final season taking the snaps for Vikings, the two-time All-Catholic selection/returning 3rd Team All-Stater probably had a much different vision of what the last hurrah would resemble.  A year removed from spearheading the program to a AA-2 runner-up showing, it goes without saying that images of grandeur and dreams of glory seemed feasible on paper…However, instead, as he took the field for the last occasion donning the Blue & Grey, the St. John’s University commit (baseball) did so in search of his first “w” of 2021 (0-3)…Rightfully/Fittingly, the football Gods were surely smiling down on #10 the evening of May 8th, as his 14-for-22, 196-yard, 3-TD outing enabled him to close the book on a decorated scholastic career as the hero/legend he has been on Hylan Blvd since stepping under center as a sophomore in 2018…Captaining the Vikings to the 25-17 victory at home over Xaverian, the future king of the diamond (center fielder by trade) for the Red Storm connected with a different target on all three of his aforementioned scoring passes to put a ribbon on the “gift” he has been to the Joe’s by the Sea faithful…Wasting no time in getting SJS on the board, Tucker punctuated the initial drive of the game by hitting fellow senior, Vincent Vazquez, for an 11-yard completion to give Sea the early 6-0 lead…The second bullseye of the night came in response to a Clipper TD, as JT teamed up with his biggest weapon, connecting with 6’4 11th grader, Jacob Stewart, on a 31-yard completion to regain the lead, 13-7, at the intermission…Tucker made It three quarters in a row with a touchdown pass when he notched what proved to be the difference-maker, spotting another of his senior brethren, James Speciale, in the flat for a 21-yard insurance score that padded the cushion to 25-7 at the end of 36 minutes…Per SILive, the junior tandem of Devin Malvasio and Mario DellaPasqua, were dynamite on special teams, with the former blocking a punt and the latter pouncing on top of the pigskin early in the 3rd to account for the remaining SJS TD…In his first season as the successor to Mike Corona (accepted the HC job at St. Joe’s Collegiate in February 2020), Joe George is officially in the win column at the helm of Sea!


Shane Smith (Jr.); Two-Way Lineman – Mount St. Michael Academy

Borrowing the phrase made infamous by professional wrestling Hall of Famer, Robert “Booker T” Huffman, how many times did the 6’2, 220-pounder from the Bronx [Smith] sack the Cardinal Spellman signal caller in the Mountaineers’ 16-0 triumph last Saturday?  FIVE TIMES, FIVE TIMES, FIVE TIMES, FIVE TIMES, FIVE TIMES…Lining up at defensive tackle for the first time in his high school career, Smith gave a performance that would have made “numbersake” (#72) Ed “Too Tall” Jones (106 career QB bags) proud in anchoring a MSMA defense that pitched just their fifth shutout in the past decade (per MaxPreps)…All in all, his collection of quarterback carnage yielded a comprehensive loss of 35 yards to the visiting Pilots…Speaking of past icons that turned the “7” and the “2” historic at the highest level, 6x Pro Bowler/1996 HOF inductee, Dan Dierdorf, surely would have had a tip of the cap and a kind word for the skill set displayed by Smith on the other side of the line of scrimmage…Providing the example/modeling the attitude in the trenches, the ultimate “iron man” (including special teams where he assumed kicking/punting duties) was the backbone of an offensive line that relished the dirty work in empowering a balanced Mountaineer attack that amassed 332 yards of total production (182 via sky, 150 on land) and scored twice (one passing, one rushing)…Sharing time under center, freshman, Marc Pearson Jr. and Nico Bustamante combined to complete eight of 17 attempts…Pearson (5-of-7 for 94 yards) also ran for 18 yards and emerged with the lone ground TD…Bustamante (a perfect 3-for-3, 90 yards) did the deed with his arm, hooking up with senior RB, Colin Coleman (28 yards running on 8 carries; 2 receptions for 95) for the aerial jackpot!  Week #2 POTW honoree, Eleazer Valera, topped all MSMA runners with 94yrds on 12 hand-offs…Sophomore DB, Kameron Wheeler, recorded an interception…Mount St. Michael Academy ends their season with a 2-1 record.


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