By Matt Diano:
David Keogh (Sr.); QB – Kennedy Catholic Gaels
In 2015, the Gaels only won two games….Due in large part to the off the charts play of their 12th grade quarterback [Keogh], the Somers, NY based program needed only five weeks to match that total as their 41-14 victory over St. Dominic’s on Friday the 7th has them firmly in position to claim a top-3 seed in the Single-A playoffs.
The heart, soul, and backbone of the KC offense for much of his three-year scholastic career, the Mahopac resident has been known to put on a show or two….But alas, the demonstration of dominance he put forth in week #5 might have surpassed all the rest as he utilized every limb in his body to account for a 2016 Catholic Football high (thus far) of six total touchdowns (including five straight on the ground) to pad what were already some pretty darn fine numbers in his junior campaign.
The 5’11 signal caller recorded the first of the Gaels four first half touchdowns when he hooked with fellow junior, Greg Brann, on a 20-yard strike to give the visiting Gaels a 6-0 lead…Brann’s second receiving TD of the season signified the only time that a Kennedy Catholic player not named Keogh was the end piece in a successful drive.
Keogh, who concluded the afternoon having compiled 112 rushing yards on only eight touches (14.0/carry), increased the KC lead with the first of his five ground scores, taking it to the house from the 8-yard line…This initial TD run would actually be among his shortest of the night, as he broke for dashes of 15 and 55 yards before the end of the 1st half to send his school into the intermission with a comfortable 27-0 lead.
A Bayhawk mini rally in the second half more than cut the margin in half, as two straight touchdowns made the score 27-14….Sensing a shift in momentum, Keogh again put KC on his back, notching the final two scores of the final on runs of 20 and 15 yards respectively to cement the “w” for his head coach, Dominick Tassone.
Lost in his never-ending collection of rushing TDs was the fact that the Gael captain had a more than respectable day in the air too, completing 7 of 15 pass attempts for 173 yards and the aforementioned opening touchdown of the game.
The team leader in every offensive category in which he is eligible, Keogh has now accumulated 15 touchdowns (8 passing, 7 rushing), has passed for over 1,100 yards (61-for-134), and is creeping towards 400 yards rushing, having gained 338 (an average of 67.6/game).
Greg Campisi (So.); QB – St. Anthony’s Friars
What a whirlwind experience the past two weeks have been for the Friar super sophomore, Campisi…A student-athlete who was not even on the varsity roster at the start of September, since being promoted prior to week #4, the 10th grade phenom has been breathtaking in his first two starts, leading St. Anthony’s to back-to-back wins over undefeated opponents [23-6 over St. Peter’s on September 30th; 38-23 this past week over 2x defending AAA titlists, Archbishop Stepinac).
Given serious consideration for POTW honors following an 8-for-18, 2 passing touchdown effort despite horrendous weather conditions in the victory over the Eagles 12 days ago , the youngster continues to grow so much from week to week that it is frightening to ponder the level he will be playing at when the postseason rolls around….After leading the freshmen team to a JV B crown in 2015, there is now strong support for the argument that he can make it 2-for-2 by adding varsity gold next month.
Underdogs on paper against a Crusader squad riding a 28-game CHSFL winning streak last Friday, if you were not previously aware of his age, you would have sworn that the Farmingdale native was a seasoned veteran with a wealth of big game moments already under his belt…Described as mature well beyond his years, to see the cerebral reads and wise decisions made by Campisi was to witness the coming of age of a future king.
While it will not appear in any box score, one of the examples that immediately caught our eye in regard to the poise possessed by the 5’11, 180-pounder was the quick thinking he displayed in picking up a fumble in his own end zone and tossing it out-of-bounds with a receiver in the area to award what would have been at best a safety and at a worst, an opposing touchdown for the defending state champs…If his incompletions were good enough to draw our praise, imagine the admiration we felt on his successful attempts.
Connecting on 19 of his 28 throws for 275 yards, the future Harvard Crimson Lax player (ranked #11 among class of 2019 prospects) must be a Bernie Sanders supporter because he was sharing the riches all evening, hitting six different teammates overall, and finding a unique target on all four of his touchdown hurls.
Wasting no time putting points on the board, Campisi capped off the opening drive of the game when he paired up with junior, Heron Maurisseau-O’Neal, on a 13-yard pitch/catch combo to give the host Friars an immediate 7-0 lead.
After a Stepinac rushing touchdown evened the game at 7-7, Campisi turned to his favorite long-ball threat, senior Terrance Mooney, in the second quarter, throwing the ball downfield and letting his polished receiver be the one to make the necessary adjustments to the tune of a 69-yard score that propelled STA to a 14-9 halftime lead.
Facing adversity for the first time in his two-game varsity journey, when Stepinac posted the first score of the second half to take their only lead of the game (16-14), Campisi proved himself worthy of the title, “money player” by leading STA on a go-ahead drive that culminated with him lobbing an innocent looking screen pass to his most popular receiver of the game, Tyler Palminteri (8 catches for 55 yards) on 4th-and-9, which the latter broke for a 31-yard TD with 3:04 remaining in the third quarter to put the home crowd on their feet.
The cherry came approximately four minutes into the 4th quarter when Campisi made the #2 ranked team in NYS pay for an interception deep in their own zone, tacking on some insurance points by throwing a perfect pass over the middle to Andrew Hancock for a 20-yard score to increase the lead to 28-16.
Through two games, Campisi is the owner of a 128.3 QBR as he has completed just under 58 percent of his pass attempts (27-for-46) for 416 yards and six TD passes (0 INTS)….With no more unbeaten teams left to slaughter, Campisi and the Friars will be favored to take another step towards locking up the top-seed in the AAA playoffs when they oppose Holy Cross in their third straight Friday Night Lights contest.
Julius Arcaro (Sr.); QB/LB – Xaverian Clippers
Staying on the topic of potential #1 seeds for the postseason, defending single-A champions, Xaverian, has put themselves into a great position sit atop the bracket following a 29-14 win over Cardinal Spellman in a rematch of the 2015 title game….The “w” in the Bronx kept the Clippers undefeated in league play (4-0) and improved their overall record to 4-1 (only loss coming in a non-league game against Moore Catholic which they can avenge next week).
If you ask Head Coach, Mike Jioia, he’d tell that one of the primary reasons his team might be staring a repeat effort in the face this season has been the steady play of senior quarterback/middle linebacker, Julius Arcaro….Listed on the official roster as a tight end, the best decision that the Xaverian coaching staff could have made was to put the Brooklynite in a position to take the snaps directly, thus enabling the 6’0, 220+ pound beast of a man go to town and bulldoze anything or anyone that tries to contain him.
A little over one week removed from a 117-yard, three rushing touchdown performance in a 33-0 conquest of Nazareth Regional, Arcaro made it consecutive weekends reaching and blowing past the magic 100-yard marker, as he averaged 8.6 yards per carry on 14 touches to rack up a season-high 120 yards with his legs. He also scored a running TD for the fourth game in a row to give him a team-high six on the season.
Because he possesses the frame of a tank, Arcaro’s success on the ground was not the least bit surprising. This is especially valid when you consider that the Clipper scheme has traditionally been one in which the field general takes on a heavy workload as a ball carrier….Where the senior captain did turn some heads though was in his proficiency as a thrower this past Saturday, tying a career high with eight completions (on 11 attempts) to emerge with his first 100-yard throwing game of the season (136 yards)…Arcaro even had his first TD pass of the season.
Accounting for 256 of Xaverian’s 420 yards of total offense, Arcaro was not done making an impact…It was not enough to just have a key role in scoring two touchdowns and setting up several others, he also felt the urge to go all out on the defensive side of the ball, compiling four tackles and picking off a pass to help hold Spellman to their lowest point total of the season (entered with an average of 36.25 points per outing).
While it will go down officially as a non-league game, these two programs will battle again in less than nine days as Spellman will look to snap the losing streak to the Clippers on the 21st….No matter the designation (league vs. non-league), if Brooklyn>Bronx again, it will be a major confidence booster when the weather turns colder and it’s win or go home in the postseason.
Justin Montoyo (Sr.); RB/LB – Mount St. Michael’s Academy Mountaineers
It did not take long for the senior from the Bronx to get his groove going in the Mount’s 15-14 victory last Saturday against St. Francis Prep….Exploding on the first series of the game for a 61-yard rushing touchdown, in the time it takes a person to tie his/her shoes, the 5’10, 180-pound two-year captain gave the host school a 7-0 lead.
As the game progressed Montoyo would continue to remain red hot in his performance, concluding the game with an average of 10.8 yards/touch, piling up 130 yards on 12 carries….This was the first 100+ yard game of the MSM Academy’s honor student’s three-year varsity career.
Racking up just over 50 yards per outing in his swan song campaign, Montoyo needs just two yards the rest of the season to set a new career high…24 more yards and he will exceed his previous two-year total….Put another way, he is on pace to shatter all of the bullet points on this athletic resume.
Defensively, Montoyo finished Saturday’s afternoon matinee as a part of a four-way tie for the team lead with six tackles (3 solo, 3 assists).
Sean Cavanagh (Sr.); FB/KR – St. John the Baptist Cougars
Ask any high school student and he/she will tell you that there is no greater tradition in the realm of academia than the bliss and excitement of homecoming weekend….These warm emotions and feelings of euphoria take on even greater magnitude when it is the 50th anniversary of your school….Thus, aware of all of the nostalgia, pomp, and circumstance permeating the campus, it was only fitting that Coach Ralph Carusillo’s Cougars picked last Saturday to post their first victory of the 28-7 season….Pitted against one of their chief rivals, defending AA champs, Xavier (who handed SJB their only two losses of 2015, including knocking them out of last year’s playoffs), St. John the Baptist collectively rushed for 241 yards and scored the final 21 points of the game to win 28-7.
At the center of this vengeance was the senior fullback, Cavanagh, who rushed for 100+ yards for the fourth straight game and tallied multiple ground scores for the third time in five games….Running behind one of the top offensive lines on Long Island, the 5’7 12th grader was a tackle shedding machine against the Knights, “never going down on first contact” per his head coach….When all was said and done, the student-athlete that calls Port Jefferson home had posted season highs in total carries (29) and touchdowns scored (3. His 152 yards was his second highest effort…For the season, the National Honor Society member/A.P. Class enrollee has run 90 times for 592 yards and eight TDs.
The first of Cavanagh’s two 1st half touchdowns would be a 4-yarder to give the Cougars a 7-0 in the opening quarter….Still holding a seven point edge (14-7) at the time, #21 in your media guide doubled the lead in the second quarter when he trekked 20 yards to make the score 21-7.
Baptist’s D-unit would pitch a shutout in the second half so the “w” was never in question…However, as a means of putting an exclamation on altogether fantastic day for the school and the team alike, Cavanagh added a nine-yard TD run in the third quarter…His eighth first down gainer of the afternoon served as the game’s finale, as the team was able to transition into victory formation.
Effective in his role as both a kick and punt returner, Cavanagh complemented his huge day on the ground by fielding one of each yielding a total of 23 yards to increase his total output to 175 yards (his second highest quantity behind only the 285 he logged during week #2 against St. Joe’s by the Sea).
Justin Otunba (Sr.); RB/CB – Fordham Prep Rams
When you are teammates with one of the top quarterbacks in all of the Empire State, it is not always easy to receive the adulation and respect that you deserve….The primary rushing option in an offensive scheme where the ball is often air born (28 pass attempts/game), the 5’9, 170-pound 12th grader, Otunba, has made it ritualistic to maximize the few touches per game he garners….Currently he is averaging nearly 11 (10.8) yards per carry in his 21 rushing attempts.
Like Montoyo, week #5 bared witness to a career day for the Ram senior [Otunba], as he went from 92 total rushing yards in 2016 to 135 yards in a single day, as his eight carry showing represented the first 100+ yard game of his career.
The Rams built a 28-0 lead in the first half behind four TD passes…However, their foes, St. Joe’s by the Sea did not go quietly, rallying for the next 14 points to cut what looked like an insurmountable deficit in half….Enter Otunba whose most important carry of the game was a back-breaking touchdown with 5:45 remaining in regulation to cement the 35-14 victory to improve FP’s record to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in AA match-ups…He now has three touchdowns total this season and his second in as many weeks.
Otunba and junior teammate, Daniel Almeida, shared the team lead with six stops apiece from the defensive backfield.
Fordham Prep is next in action on Saturday the 15th when they face Iona Prep in a pivotal league game that could have serious playoff seeding ramifications…Both teams have identical AA records, meaning that the loser could be setting themselves up for a potential semifinal showdown against Christ the King….The Gaels’ defense have surrendered 135.4 yard and just under 2.0 (1.8) touchdowns rushing per game this season…So, the opportunity might be there for Otunba to play the role of difference maker in what we expect to be a high scoring, back-and-forth demonstration of offensive prowess.