Sep 222021

By Matt Diano:

James McCauley (Sr.); QB – Archbishop Stepinac Crusaders

Judy Garland delivered the famous line, “There’s no place like home.”; Elvis Presley sung, “Home is Where the Heart is.”; And for the 6’2, 190-pound, senior signal caller for the Crusaders [McCauley], “home” can be found on Mamaroneck Avenue and it truly is the ONLY place he wanted to write the final story of his scholastic chapter!!

The back-up field general for Head Coach, “Mike O’Donnell’s 2019 NYCHSFL triple-A runners-up as a sophomore, the cerebral assassin (boasts a grade point average of 104; posted an SAT score of 1340) spent his junior season leading Georgia prep powerhouse, Carrollton, to an 8-3 record en route to earning individual 2nd Team All-Region honors in his lone year in the “Peach State”.

However, with there being more reassurances that there would be action on the gridiron in New York despite the on-going pandemic (the uncertainty of such a year ago being the reason behind the transfer), the 3-star prospect knew in his heart that there was unfinished business to attend to and boxes to be checked back in White Plains….And thus far, despite Stepinac’s 1-2 overall tally (both losses to out-of-state opponents from New Jersey and Texas), their captain in the #6 jersey is making up for lost time!

Starting the first Metro Catholic contest of his career, McCauley needed only a single half to prove that he is going to torment opposing NYCHSFL secondaries every chance he gets in his swan song…Connecting on 9 of his 11 pass attempts, he tossed for 155 yards and 3 touchdowns in a commanding 47-0 victory on the road over St. Peter’s last Saturday!

The Crusaders already out to a 13-0 lead, McCauley made it three consecutive drives culminated by a TD when he hit Dae’Shawn Allen (3 catches for 98 yards) in space on a short route in front of the visiting sideline and then allowed his talented junior receiver to do the rest of the work to finish off the 47-yard hook-up that increased the Stepinac lead to 20-0 with just 5:00 remaining in the first quarter.

Changing ends of the field did nothing to disrupt the flow of McCauley as less than 60 seconds into the 2nd, he struck for his second touchdown hurl of the afternoon by converting a 4th & 5 inside enemy territory by firing over the middle on a 7-yard crossing pattern to sophomore, Jahi Gary, to further create separation (26-0) between the Crusaders and the host Eagles.

The scoreboard now reading 33-0 with 2:02 to play before the break, McCauley teamed with Allen for one final act, completing a beautiful 41-yard bubble screen that enabled the explosive 11th grader [Allen] to again showcase his ability to rack up massive amounts of YAC on his way to paydirt!

Performing like a marksman in the pocket, through three games this fall, McCauley has compiled a 71.2 completion rate (37-for-52) for 535 yards and five touchdown passes!

The road warriors in the red, white, and blue will finally be afforded the luxury of battling on their own soil when they welcome in the Mavericks of Moore Catholic during week #3…The Mavs countering by way of a gunslinger of their own, the presence of junior QB, John Michalski (781 yards and 10 TD throws in four games last spring) should set the stage for one heck of a proverbial shootout on the evening of the 24th!


Dowan Coachman (Jr.); RB/LB – Moore Catholic Mavericks

In the simplest and most precise terms, fall 2021 is a darn good time to be Moore Catholic Head Coach, Nick Giannatasio…Every direction he turns, the sixth-year herder of Staten Island stallions discovers one dynamic play-maker after another…As if It was not already an embarrassment of riches to return your starting QB (cited above), as well as your entire receiving corps (Nick Jordan, Michael Zeh, Matthias Lighten, Jay’len Johnson, etc.), and 80% of the OL from the abbreviated spring season, all signs officially point to week #1 signifying the birth of the newest superstar on Merrill Ave, two-way junior gem, Dowan Coachman

Making his first start in the offensive backfield last Saturday after serving as the primary back-up to 2021 graduate, Michael Peraino, in the spring, the 5’10, 190-pound 11th grader left no doubt that those glimpses of greatness he flashed last year (averaged 7.3/carry on 20 hand-offs for a total of 146 yards + 1 TD) were just the precursor to the breakout extravaganza he had planned for his last two seasons in Red & Black.

Establishing new personal-bests in every statistical rushing category, Coachman carried the pigskin 14 times for 81 yards, highlighted by bookend scores (first and last TD of the afternoon for the Mavs) in propelling his school to a 28-20 triumph in a clash for SI bragging rights against St. Joe’s by the Sea…

Drawing first blood in the war of cross-town rivals when he took the pitch and “bulldozed” (to borrow from SILive’s game summary) his way into the end zone from a distance of five yards out to give MC the initial 7-0 lead, it was actually the second of his pair of TD treks that rendered those in attendance speechless…

The defending AA-2 titlists (2019) clinging to a one-score lead in the 4th quarter, Coachman “sunk the Viking ship” when he erupted for a 32-yarder to the house to increase the MC advantage to 28-12!

Including a TD run this past May as part of a six-carry, 25-yard outing in a 28-0 shutout, all three of Coachman’s career touchdowns have come versus SJS!

Consistent with the theme of our previous edition (week #1) of the POTW list, Coachman joined his peers in cementing ironman status by racking up a double-digit tackle (10), one sack, one TFL effort from the linebacker position…


Nick Mittag (Sr.); OG/ILB – Kennedy Catholic Gaels

Every year since 2016, there has been at least one exceptional Kennedy Catholic student-athlete recognized at the annual end of season Communion Breakfast…Over the years, we have witnessed Ed Longest win Lineman of the Year (2017),  Cole Esposito receive back-to-back Top Defensive Player honors (2017, 2018), a trio of Gaels (David Keogh-2015, Myles Proctor-2017, and Clayton Proctor-2019) go home with the  Joseph Riverso Memorial trophy (Outstanding Offensive Player), and finally Brendan Lebitsch repeat as the extraordinary specialist in 2018 and 2019…The 6’0, 210-pounder out of Ossining [Mittag] was so well-roundedly remarkable in KC’s 35-0 victory against Nazareth Regional last Friday, that he made a strong case for himself to be regarded as an early contender for every one of those individual accolades.

Tirelessly impacting every facet of the game, despite lining up at offensive guard when his team had possession, Mittag was “AT THE CENTER” of all that went right for the Somers based program in notching their first dub of fall 2021!

A catalyst in helping the Gaels’ to their first defensive shutout since week #1 of the abridged spring schedule [35-0 over St. Dominic’s), #55 emerged with school-highs in total stops (8; 5-solo, 3-assisted) and tackles for a loss (3), while simultaneously collecting one of the team’s three sacks, recovering a fumble, and adding three QB hurries to his resume…

Tagged as the anchor of the OL by his head coach, Dominick Tassone, Mittag set the tone/provided senior leadership in the trenches for a group that paved the way for KC to accumulate 250 yards (108 in the air, 142 on the ground) and 35 points of comprehensive offensive production….Sophomore tailback, Chris Kalle (65 yards on nine carries), was especially appreciative of the unsung work done by the offensive line, as he was the most pronounced beneficiary as indicated by his FOUR touchdown runs…Thriving in the comforts of a clean pocket, junior QB, ZJ Suarez connected on 9-of-11 aerially, including a touchdown pass to fellow 11th grader, Anthony Castaldi.

To polish off his incredible night, Mittag would also make quite the stir on special teams, as he was responsible for both blocking a punt and then pouncing on it to flip the field for the Gaels.

Up next for KC will be a match-up that has developed into one of the top rivalries in the NYCHSFL, the showdown with Cardinal Spellman…Splitting the last two “A” title games (Kennedy winning the most recent affair in 2019), when these two programs face off, something unexpected always seems to ensue!


Jameer Reeder (So.); RB/LB – Holy Trinity Titans

God Bless the youth movement in Hicksville!!!  For the second weekend in a row, it was a non-senior standing at the forefront of victory for the Titans as they traveled to the Bronx and came away with a decisive 34-12 conquering of Mount St. Michael Academy last Saturday afternoon!

Off to their first 2-0 start since the 2016 season that eventually saw them advance to the Double-A title contest, there is just something different in the “holy water” at Holy Trinity thus far this fall!  And that difference seems to be tied to the coming of age and/or immediate contributions of student-athletes that perhaps entered the year under the radar!

A week removed from recognizing junior RB/LB, Chad Case, today belongs to a standout that is even younger; SOPHOMORE, Jameer Reeder

Gifted and on a trajectory to stardom, the 5’10, 180-pounder from Freeport is held in such high regard by the coaching staff at Trinity that he not only was extended an invite to roster on the varsity as a 9th grader last spring, he also earned his way onto the field for valuable playing time!  That experience is paying dividends at the onset of his sophomore campaign as he has lent a steady and poised demeanor to the defense as a linebacker, while distinguishing himself as a “home run hitter” on offense from the backfield!

Playing a pivotal role in the Green & White’s effort to hold the Mountaineers scoreless thru three quarters, a mind-blowing 50% of Reeder’s six tackles in week #2 yielded negative yardage…

Offensively, the perennial honor roll student in the classroom (4.0 GPA, including AP courses) displayed his rocket legs when he took a 2nd quarter hand-off wide down his own sideline and then cut back to the middle of the field, sprinting 52 yards to the promised land to give the Titans a 27-0 lead….Clocked at 12.27 in the 100-meters at the CHSAA Freshman/Sophomore Track & Field Championships last May (took 4th), literally and figurately out-running the competition is becoming habitual for Reeder.  In the season-opener, he had a 30-yard TD burst in the 27-0 win over St. Joe’s Collegiate (Monsignor Martin; Buffalo).


Zyian Moultrie-Goddard (Jr.); RB/LB – Iona Prep Gaels

The mark of a special player is that even in a game where their school ended up on the short end of the stick, you leave the field convinced that no matter the outcome, that person was without question the best player in the stadium that day…

Such was true of the 6’2, 245-pounder from the Bronx [Moultrie-Goddard] in the Gaels’ 21-7 loss to New Jersey powerhouse, Don Bosco Prep, on September 4th.

Like the rinse and repeat instructions on the bottle of shampoo, witnessing him perpetually invade the opposing backfield and rack up stops for a loss was all the evidence we needed to know that it would not be long before we would again [was previously a POTW selection during week #2 of the pring season] be writing about his chronicles of pain-inflicting glory!

Iona Prep’s 24-10 triumph over Monsignor Farrell this past Saturday afforded us the privilege that we inevitably knew was destined to come to fruition…

The Gaels’ finding themselves trailing the Lions 10-3 at the midway point of the third quarter, “Spags” [Head Coach, Joe Spagnolo] called upon his squad to rise to the challenge and demonstrate why they currently hold the #2 ranking in the Empire State (per MaxPreps)…The gentlemen from New Rochelle all responded, but none more than their 11th grade, three-year varsity member, captain in the #8 jersey!

Spearheading a defensive insurrection that refused to surrender any additional points in the final 17:25 of regulation,  the 247 Sports 3-star prospect (with scholarship offers from the likes of Syracuse, Arizona State, West Virginia, and Tennessee), dropped the hammer countless times during the comeback…Credited with 14 total tackles, 6 TFLs, and a 1.5 sacks to boot, like we stated about [Nick] Mittag above, these are the performances that not only translate into team success, but also individual prestige!

“Humble Beast” was not one to leave the job half done either….Between six carries (63 yards) and one reception (6 yards), he accounted for nearly 70 yards of total offense as a complement to his superb execution on “D”.

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