Nov 172022
 

Article by Matt Diano

NYCHSFL Playoffs- Semifinal Round (November 12th, 2022)

 

Isaiah Vanterpool (So.); OLB – Moore Catholic Mavericks

They call the 6’1, 185-pound 10th grader [Vanterpool] “Ice” and that is exactly how he has played in helping the Mavericks reach Championship weekend for the fourth time since 2016…

Cool and unshakable (ice water in his veins) by nature, after turning in a very solid regular season that witnessed him collect 41 stops (3 TFLs), the Staten Island resident has elevated his game even further during Moore’s two-game postseason, as he followed up a six tackle, 1 sack effort in the quarterfinals (35-7 win over St. Francis Prep) by registering a seven-stop, 2 sack, one interception performance this past weekend in the program’s 14-7 semifinal triumph over St. John the Baptist in a clash of 2021 Metro Catholic runners-up… 

A contest where points where obviously at a premium and every halting play took on greater magnitude, it was Vanterpool at the center of a significant momentum-shifting sequence when midway through the opening quarter and the visiting Cougars in the midst of a very promising drive (inside the Mav 13), it was the #16 jersey recording his second INT of the year to keep the game scoreless…

SJB would not have as good an opportunity until the very latter moments of the 4th quarter when they finally scored to cut the deficit to 14-7 with under 2:00 remaining in regulation…

On the ensuing onside kick attempt, it was Vanterpool without the slightest hint of nerves, “icing” the dub when he fielded the last-ditch effort and allowed MC to proceed into victory formation!!!  

Sparking the offense for Head Coach, Nick Giannatasio, was the unstoppable duo of senior QB, John Michalski (157 yards on 19 keepers), and sophomore RB, RJ Pacheco (155 yards and 1 touchdown via 23 carries) who combined to accumulate 312 pounds on the ground…Michalski, who was also 6-for-10 in the air for an additional 127 yards, connected with Jay’len Johnson (2 grabs for 46 yards) on a 16-yard strike for MC’s first TD of the afternoon!!!

Up next for the Red & Black will be a rematch of a week #6 instant classic versus Holy Trinity in a collision of returning NYCHSFL finalists (HT won the 2021 AA-2 crown; MC were the AA-1 bridesmaids)…When the two team last played on October 16th, the game seemed headed to overtime before a late score by the Titans allowed them to emerge with the 21-14 victory…

Despite the outcome, Vanterpool’s performance was quite exemplary in the loss to Holy Trinity, as he posted a stat line that read as follows: 6 tackles, 1 TFL, and 2 pass break-ups!…With him roaming around in that OLB/S role, the Moore secondary was able to limit opposing signal caller, Rocco Rainone, to his lowest completion percentage of the year (36.4%; 8-for-22, 65 yards) including inducing a pair of interceptions!!

If the Mavericks are victorious, it would be the school’s fourth NYCHSFL crown, joining the 2003 and 2016 squads that won it in the “A” division, as well as the 2019 cohort that were kings of the AA-2 classification!  

 

Devon Gonzalez (So.); RB/LB – Holy Trinity Titans

Making his post-season debut for the top-seeded Titans after spending his freshman year at Glen Gove, the 5’11, 210-pound, every down standout showed just why Coach Kahmal Roy & company regard him as the future leader of the program on both sides of the line…

Handling the pigskin just seven times on offense, the 10th grade sensation accrued 140 yards and two touchdowns worth of total production, carrying the ball on six occasions for 68 yards, while also hauling in a 72-yard reception…

Singlehandedly responsible and/or an accessory to 50% of Holy Trinity’s four scores in a 28-7 semifinal victory over Fordham Prep, to paraphrase legendary major leaguer, Reggie Jackson, “Gonzalez was the straw the stirred the drink” for the Green & White machine on November 12th

HT, the owners of both the top-rated offense and the #1 defense in the AA-1 division in 2022, clinging to a modest 7-0 advantage at break, it was the “Bull” donning the #14 shirt that put the team on his back and blew open the game in the 3rd quarter…

The igniter, as well as the closer, to a 21-0 rally in the third stanza, Gonzalez doubled HT’s lead when on the school’s first possession of the 2nd half, he found a hole up the gut and motored 28 yards untouched to the house to make the score 14-0…

Later in the 3Q (HT now up 21-0 thanks to a 30-yard pick-6 from Jayden Simpson), Gonzalez tacked on the final TD of the afternoon for Trinity when he turned an innocent screen pass that should have been yielded maybe 5-10 yards into a home run, shaking off and tearing through Ram defenders on his way to the aforementioned 72-yard pilgrimage to paydirt! 

Defensively, Gonzalez was tagged with four tackles as part of the ensemble that shutdown a Ram offense that entered having scored 56 points in their previous two outings…

As the Titans go in search of their second consecutive downstate Catholic brass ring, there might not be a happy person than Gonzalez at the idea of squaring off with Moore Catholic for the second time this fall….During the initial meeting in week #6, he went off to the tune of a 168-yard/1TD rushing (12 carrying) display, highlighted by the 73-yard game-winning trek in the last minute of the 4th quarter! 

 

Tyler Bobe (Jr.); RB – Mount St. Michael Academy Mountaineers

Falling 14-6 during the regular season to Xaverian in a game in which Bobe was not available, the Bronx based Mountaineers got their revenge against the Clippers last weekend and are now headed to the ‘ship for the first time since 2013!!!

His school exploding for 35 points in the semifinals, Bobe may not have been afforded the privilege of crossing the goal line himself on November 12th, but he darn-sure was the one that facilitated just about everything that the Mount managed to execute in attaining their vengeance!  

“Called upon repeatedly any time there was a need for a big play to extend a series,” per Head Coach, Mario Valentini, Bobe established new career-highs in both carries (19) and rushing yards (153)…

An example of his heroics came on the first possession of the afternoon for Mount St. Michael’s, as it was his 22-yard run on 3rd &2 that advanced the ball to the 2-yard line and allowed the “Murdock Mafia” to draw first blood…He later commenced the 2nd half when he darted for a 28-yard gain that moved the ball to midfield and got the wheels rolling on a drive that ended with the final offensive TD of the contest for MSMA (to make the score 28-7)! 

An individual that heats up and/or does his best work down the homestretch, Bobe is now a two-time POTW recipient, as he was previously honored in week #8 of the 2021 campaign after running for a then personal-best of 76 yards/2TDs in a victory over Nazareth Regional…One week after being honored, he recorded the first century-mark (113 yards, 2 touchdowns on 16 attempts) in a quarterfinal loss to Holy Cross!

One of three primary options utilized out of the backfield—Franklin Dominguez (59 yards/1 score on 8 carries) & Jonathan Otoo (46 yards/1 touchdown on 8 hand-offs) being the others—to put into perspective how valuable Bobe’s presence is to the success of the Mountaineers, consider that in addition to their point total skyrocketing, their average yards per carry increased by nearly 2 yards, meaning that the threat of him created better opportunities for his teammates!!

As the second-seeded Mount prepares themselves to face-off with a #1 Xavier that has surrendered just 13 points in their last two appearances and held a very solid Kennedy Catholic running attack to under 100 yards, they know that in order to hoist hardware, they are going to need for #25 to be every bit as good this coming Saturday as he was one week prior!

 

Shane Zaletofsky (Sr.); QB – Xavier Knights

“The best thing about this nomination is that Shane had a great attitude about this situation all season, and he was happy that his contributions helped the team to win acknowledging that his personal accolades were never the most important thing. Sometimes justice prevails and good things come to those who sacrifice and wait.”—Xavier Head Coach, Chris Stevens

This verbatim quote is everything we know and all we cherish as it pertains to the 5’9, 150-pound, senior hailing from the Big Apple [Zaletofsky]!!

Sitting patiently while three of his teammates have been honored this season (his stellar play cited in all three write-ups), Coach Stevens is correct in stating that it is a source of pride to the NYCSFL to at long last recognize a person who personifies the qualities on and off the field that define us as Christians!

And boy did Zaletofsky pick an ideal moment to command the spotlight as his individual exploits are a huge reason why the Knights are headed back to championship weekend for the first time since 2018 and are the favorites to win Double-A prize for the first time since 2015…

Pitted not only in a collective collision between top-seeded Xavier and #4 Kennedy Catholic with a berth in the AA-2 finals on the line, but also in a one-on-one personal clash with the Gaels’ Nick Duryea (93 yards on 16 attempts) to finish atop the Metro  Catholic divisional rushing leaderboard, it was the gentleman in the #3 shirt logging his sixth 100+ yard game of the fall that vaulted the host Knights to a 48-7 semifinal victory against their foes from Somers… 

Challenging his personal record book in two categories, Zaletofsky’s 156 yards on the ground were just four short out of his output during the week #3 match-up with KC, in which he amassed 160 yards on 23 carries (vs. 16 last weekend)…His three land scores were one short of the 4 touchdowns he notched in a week #1 win over Xavier…

And while he may not have etched out new personal-bests, he did succeed on two fronts, as his massive yardage sum enabled him to jump Duryea (963 to 958), and his trifecta of TD runs tied him with teammate, Mehdi Merah (78 yards + 1 touchdown on 8 tries) for co-leader status, as each enters the title game with 12!

Doing his damage in a bookend capacity, Zaletofsky came out of the locker room on fire, as a pair of 1st quarter touchdown runs from distances of 21 and 19 yards approximately three minutes apart (6:52 remaining, 3:48 to go) enabled the Blue & Maroon to jump out to a 14-0 edge after the opening 12 minutes…

The cushion having ballooned to 42-7, Zaletofsky completed the hat trick and rounded out the scoring in the last half minute of the 3rd quarter, as he called his own number and jetted up the middle for the 46-yard TD sprint (his longest run of the night) to account for the final tally!

The ringleader and/or conductor from start to finish in a resurgence that has witnessed Xavier go from 1-8 in 2021 to one step award from being on the mountaintop, it is quite simple to see the caliber of impact he has made in his swan song story!!!  

Gavin Gallagher & Emir Yuksel were also worthy of commendation for their outstanding respective efforts during the semifinal round….The former racked up 151 yards and scored twice on 5 carries (Xavier ended the night with 422 yards and 6 TD running), while the latter scored on a 54-yard pick-6 (one of three interceptions earned by XR)! 

 

Capri Martin (Sr.); DL/NG – Iona Prep Gaels

A consummate champion who has already won team league and state titles on the gridiron, to complement the two individual golds he has achieved on the wrestling mat, there is not a more fitting way for the 6’2, 270-pound nose-guard to close out this chapter of his football career than to go in search of more hardware!!!  

Returning to the Iona Prep line-up after being temporarily sidelined with a minor ailment, the 2021 All-Catholic team member and/or All-State Honorable Mention selection made up for lost time in the Gaels’ 41-28 semifinal victory over Archbishop Stepinac… 

Registering double-digit stops (10), including three that resulted in a loss of yardage, the future Villanova Wildcat lived in the face of opposing quarterback, Will Currid, sacking the Crusader junior on 1.5 occasions!!

A stark contrast from the regular season meeting (also won by IP, 42-35), with Martin applying consistent pressure, the A.S. aerial attack was not nearly as potent/effective, as Currid went from connecting on 33-of-49 passes for 483 yards (5 touchdowns) during week #5 to a more modest 16-for-34, 185-pound (2 TD/2 interception) day in the rematch!

As the representatives from New Rochelle ready themselves for what has become a bi-annual firefight with the top-seeded Friars from St. Anthony’s, Martin is well aware that his ability to bring the heat could be a make it or break it factor versus NYCHSFL OPOY candidate, Dante Torres!!

Torres was responsible for 560 yards (530 in the air) and 7 touchdowns (4 throwing) during the regular season affair…So anything big #0 can do to disrupt him will be valuable! 

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