Sep 162021
 

By Matt Diano:

Chad Case (Jr.); LB – Holy Trinity Titans

Speaking of virtuosic stoppers on “D”, the 5’8, 180-pound dynamo from Baldwin competed with such tenacity and firepower during week #1 that those in attendance must have thought he had been shot out of a cannon..

Going above and beyond in the HT 27-0 goose-egging of Monsignor Martin (Buffalo) league member, St. Joseph’s Collegiate, Case logged a double-digit (10) effort in tackles and cemented his POTW status behind a supplemental highlight package that included, but was not limited to, 1 TFL, 1 sack, and a fumble recovery…

With Case delivering the pain on behalf of a Holy Trinity defense that pitched their first shutout since 2018 (49-0 against St. Dominic’s on 10/28), it is no wonder why Titan third-year head coach/Class of ‘97 graduate, Kahmal Roy, was overjoyed when the young hammer elected to be a Titan!

Concentrated and/or employed most effectively on one side of the ball during kick-off weekend, like many of his peers who will follow him in this article, Case is far from a one-trick pony…If you had the privilege of observing him during the 6-on-6 flag season last fall, you are keenly aware that it is a question of “how soon”, not “if” he will transform into a 48-minute, every down, impact commodity in all areas of the game…Per Newsday, in his lone touch on offense, he broke for a 29-yard gain on the ground as a preview of the potential that is on the horizon!

Ellis Robinson IV (So.); CB/WR – Iona Prep Gaels

One of, if not the most highly regarded student-athletes to come out of the NYCHSFL in LEAGUE HISTORY, the 6’0, 170-pounder from New Haven, CT. demonstrated the dynamic play-making ability on both sides of the ball that has earned him the #4 overall composite ranking on 247Sports among all 2024 national prospects…Still very much in the infancy stage of his scholastic career, when it comes to his many suitors (already holds scholarship offers from 20-power-5 programs), #2 in jersey leaves little doubt why he is NUMERO UNO on the wish list!!!

Starring in an inter-state clash between what is arguably the top teams in both New York and Rhode Island, Robinson IV registered a pair of timely interceptions on defense (the only throws in his direction all evening) before further displaying his elite hands/ball skills by hauling in a 21-yard touchdown reception to lead the Gaels to an impressive 35-14 triumph at home over 3x defending RI State Champions, Bishop Hendricken.  The victory snapped the 25-game winning streak enjoyed by their guests from “The Ocean State.” IP has now handed the Hawks their last two losses, as prior to this past Saturday, the last time B.H. tasted defeat was in week #1 of the 2018 season (41-34).

The New Rochelle based school clinging to a 21-14 lead, Robinson IV restored the two-TD advantage when just outside of the red zone, he went in motion, caught a pass (from junior signal caller, Ajani Sheppard) behind the line of scrimmage, shed a tackle, and then darted down the host sideline via a “tight rope” act into the end zone to make the score 28-14!

Both of his picks were also significant momentum changers as the first occurred just outside the Iona Prep 30 and halted a promising Hendricken drive; the second setup the IP offense with ideal starting field position when in man-coverage, he beat his opponent to the spot and finished off the turnover right around mid-field!

The shutdown cornerback [Robinson IV] and the Gaels, who evened their record to 1-1 this season behind the win, will next turn their attention to preparing for a week #2 showdown with a Monsignor Farrell squad that looked quite potent in the air (Sophomore QB, Christian Pinto, completed 6-of-10 for 171 yards + 1 TD).

 

Aaron Espinet (Sr.); LB/RB – Monsignor Farrell Lions

If you ask any former student-athlete what the highlight of their senior year was, most will tell you it was “the first game” and the “last game” played wearing our high school colors…The bookends of one’s swan song campaign just seem to hold a natural nostalgia that transcends much else that occurs.   And for the 6’1, 205-pounder out of Staten Island [Espinet], when he reflects back upon his 12th grade season debut, there is going to be a plethora of moments of which to remember…

The catalyst behind the Lions’ 34-20 victory at home under the Friday night lights over 16x Rhode Island State titlists (most recently 2017), La Salle Academy, there was not a single element of the game that the gentleman in the Maroon & Gold #23 jersey failed to impact!

Following a Farrell score on their opening possession to seize the immediate 7-0 edge, it was Espinet exploding up the middle untouched (on 3rd &15) for the first of his three sacks (one of which came on a 3Q 2pt conversion attempt) on the night to force La Salle into an impossible 4th down predicament that eventually ended in a turnover on downs…Less than 1:00 into the 2nd quarter (Lions still up 7-0), the MF captain would play a crucial role in generating his second turnover of the opening half when he applied a bone-crushing hit to the opposing quarterback to cause a fumble (recovered by fellow senior, Joseph Badyna, just short of the 50-yard line)…His personal TO count reached three when on 4th-and-long in the last 5:00 of the third quarter, he blew up a desperation pass attempt by chasing down the Ram receiver for a six-yard loss.  The tackle was one of 7 (5 solo, 2 assisted) he was amassed in the contest.

Shifting gears to offense, Espinet relied on his big frame to muscle his way into a commendable 5-carry, 43-yard, 2-touchdown evening on the ground…Building off of the aforementioned fumble that he was responsible for creating on “D”, he culminated the ensuing series by banging his way up the gut for the 7-yard TD run to double the lead to 14-0 (after a successful PAT) with 10:07 remaining before the break…The “big back” made it two consecutive scoring drives when he answered a La Salle touchdown with his second of the quarter on a 2-yard plunge across the goal line (3:35 to go in the half] to give the [Anthony] Garofalo guided cohort a comfortable 21-6 cushion heading into the locker room.

For good measure, Espinet got his name called on special teams to boot, recovering the onside kick (eventually negated by a LSA penalty) after La Salle scored approximately three-and-a-half minutes into the third quarter.

As referenced above, Farrell is scheduled to face off with the consensus preseason favorites in the AAA, Iona Prep, during the second week of the regulation season.  Should the beasts from Amboy Road hope to pull off the upset, it will be essential for Espinet to continue to be an imposing presence anywhere and everywhere on the gridiron!

 

Devin Grant (Sr.); QB/FS – Holy Cross Knights

If you perform a search for the 6’4, 190-pound standout hailing from Elmont on a major recruiting website, you won’t see any specific position recognized.  Rather, in acknowledgement of the universal and/or utter completeness of his array of tools, “ATHLETE” is utilized instead…In truth, “GODSEND” might have been just as accurate and applicable regarding how invaluable he is to Head Coach, Timothy Smith and the Knights of Holy Cross.

Returning to his roots as the snap-taker after spending his entire junior season as a wide-receiver (team-leader in all categories with 13 grabs for 194 yards and 4 TDs), there was not the slightest semblance of rust in his school’s 30-15 win over St. Francis Prep this past Saturday to avenge their lone defeat of the shortened 2021 spring season and claim the Battle of the Blvd. Trophy!!!

Like a prodigy that has honed and perfected his craft day-after-day for years, aside from the fact that he is two inches taller, #15 in the Green/White/Gold showcased the same unstoppable, dual-threat, highlight-reel caliber potential that yielded Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback, Lamar Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP!

Connecting on 6-of-8 throw attempts for 152 yards and two scores, if you can believe it, Grant was even more lethal with his legs, racking up 166 yards and two additional touchdowns on a mere eight carries in catapulting the Knights to 30 unanswered points from the 2nd-4th quarters.

Trailing 7-0, Grant got HC on the board when he hooked up with sophomore, Issac Glaudin, on an 89-yard TD reception (and then ran in the 2pt try) to instantly jump in front, 8-7…

The third quarter proved to be the most lucrative for the senior field general as he established breathing room for his squad by notching one TD apiece with his legs and arm…Cruising to the promised land on a 38-yard sprint 2:29 into the 2nd half, Grant later (:31 remaining) added his second aerial strike of the night to a super sophomore when he found Terrance Alexander on the 48-yard pitch/catch to increase the margin to 22-7.

As an exclamation to his thesis of offensive brilliance, Grant rounded out his four-TD affair with a 64-yard dash to paydirt in the last 5:00 of regulation…

An automatic/undeniable selection to the POTW list based off of the resume cited above, when it comes to his prowess on the other side of the ball, it suffices to say that “It’s in the genes.”….The nephew of NFL veteran safety/Holy Cross alumnus, Dean Marlowe (currently with the Detroit Lions), Grant exhibited the blue-chip skillset that inspired the University of Buffalo to lock him up in early-July as a centerpiece to their defensive backfield in 2022-2025…Collecting nine tackles in total, the future Bull was at the forefront of two turnover-inducing plays, as he forced + recovered a fumble, as well as recorded an interception in the midst of keeping the Terriers scoreless for the majority of the final three quarters of action.

 

Photo by Geoff Walter

Thomas Kemp IV (Sr.); DE – Chaminade Flyers

A two-year starter and the bar none backbone of the 2021 Crimson & Gold defensive line, the 6’3, 230-pound 12th grade DE out of Hempstead certainly set an example and raised the bar for the rest of his linemates in Chaminade’s 44-6 victory against Christ the King last Saturday night…

Consistently and thoroughly commanding the war in the trenches, “Milton Bradley” would be a fitting nickname for #76 he spent his weekend constructing a monopoly in the Royals’ offensive backfield!!!

Credited with a program-best 9 stops (4 solo), including quartet for a loss of yardage, one sack, and a forced fumbled (stalled a promising CTK drive that was inside the Flyer 25), Kemp IV, along with with fellow senior, Anthony Scala (4 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack), and 11th grader, Luke Ventura (4 stops, 2 tackles for negative yardage) formed a “Steel Curtain” within the 3-4 scheme to wreak havoc and prevent the Christ the King attack from ever gaining their proverbial footing.

While Kemp and company brought the “BOOM” on defense, a bevy of personnel were equally outstanding when the Mineola based institution had the pigskin…Splitting QB duties, senior, Thomas Stueber (5-for-12 passing for 112 yards; 33 yards rushing + 2 TDs on eight carries) and junior, Matthew Dieguez (2-of-6 throwing for 64 yards w/1 TD; 53 yards and one touchdown running on 6 keepers) accounted for over 260 yards of total production and four scores…12th grade tailback, Christian Alacqua, was the very definition of “all-purpose”, surpassing the century mark (101) and reaching the end zone twice (distances of 13 and 7) on 15 carries; The Cornell University committed lacrosse gem tacked on two grabs for 60 yards and one bonus TD to conclude his 18-point saga! Sophomore place-kicker, Timothy Tomlinson (the only 10th grader on the varsity roster), went 5-for-6 on PATs and converted a 35 yard field goal attempt to contribute eight points of his own!

Head Coach, Kevin Dolan, will need for Kemp and the rest of the “Marianist Militia” to match, if not exceed, their respective week #1 performances when the Flyers hit the road to square off with the defending (2019) triple-A champs from the Bronx, Cardinal Hayes!

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.

 

May 052021
 

By Matt Diano:

Aidan Hanley-Piri (Jr.); QB – Cardinal Spellman Pilots

Someone please give Aidan Hanley-Piri a pair of aviator sunglasses and a Blue Angels jacket.  The past Sunday, people tuned in expecting to watch football; instead, the 6’2, 200-pound junior field general treated them to an air show en route to propelling the Pilots to their first victory of the spring, 40-28, over visiting Nazareth Regional…Working his way back into prime game condition after being hampered by an ankle injury suffered during week #1, the gentleman in the #2 jersey shattered not only established new personal bests, but also shattered quite a few school records with 48-minute display of aerial brilliance…Connecting on 23 of 31 throws, he hurled for a remarkable 315 yards, and SIX touchdowns to have a direct hand in all of Spellman’s scoring plays…And trust us when we say that pitted against a gritty Kingsmen foe that refused to go away on May 2nd, the Pilots needed every last point…His team already enjoying a 7-0 advantage, Hanley-Piri tossed his second TD of the opening quarter when he hit Mark Piri with a beautiful 46-yard over the shoulder pass…The second quarter would be all about playing pitch-and-catch with Logan Arroyo.  On two separate occasions, from distances of 15 (right at the first pylon) and 25 (diving catch) yards, the junior duo hooked up to send Spellman into the break with a 28-6 cushion…Answering the second of Nazareth’s two third quarter TDs (closed the gap to 28-22), Hanley-Piri regained momentum for CS when he culminated a well-orchestrated drive by finding sophomore, Nathaniel Cooke, on a 10-yarder to restore the multi-touchdown edge…Another Kingsmen score trimming the lead to 34-28 in the 4th, Aidan-Hanley delivered his most important strike of the afternoon, when on 3rd & long, he executed a perfect 23-yard “pump and go” to Miles Piegari to cement the “w”…All four of Spellman’s primary receivers posted multiple grab performances that yielded at least one touchdown apiece.  This masterful distribution of the ball earned the signal caller [Hanley-Piri} the ultimate praise from the coaching staff…Simply put, he made everyone on that field better on Sunday!

 

Mike Solimando (Jr.); WR/CB – St. Francis Prep Terriers

If this past Saturday’s quest for Queens taught us anything, it is that if you give the 6’0, 170-pounder from Middle Village [Solimando] a literal inch, he’ll take a proverbial mile!!!  The consummate play-maker in the Terriers’ 27-14 triumph over rivals, Holy Cross, the junior may have donning the #11 jersey, but he clearly was the #1 thorn in the side of the previously unbeaten Knights…Finishing the evening with five total catches for a grand sum of 140 yards, and highlighted by a pair of touchdown grabs, Solimando was prominent in everything that STF was able to achieve on offense…His team holding a 7-0 lead at the time, Solimando doubled the cushion for the Terriers when on a 4th & 6, he made an adjustment on a ball thrown slightly behind him to haul in a 6-yard TD off of a roll out pass from Junior signal caller, Matthew Gonzalez, to make the score 14-0 at the break…The margin having grown to 20-0 in the 3rd, the 4.0 student-athlete was again on the back end of a TD connection, leaping and configuring his body in mid-air to snatch a 34-yard in front of his bench to notch the first multi-score game of his varsity career…Not to be forgotten is the fact that Solimando came darn close to making it a three-TD affair when earlier in the third quarter, he caught a screen pass, evaded several defenders and raced 70+ yards into the end zone before officials ruled that he stepped out at the Holy Cross 12…Taking a turn on the other side of the ball, Solimando added two tackles from his spot on the corner to help the Terrier “D” contain an HC attack that entered averaging 39 points per game to a much more modest number on the scoreboard…St. Francis (2-0) Prep will wrap up their 2021 campaign when they square off with defending triple-A league champion, Cardinal Hayes (3-0) in a contest of the unblemished!

 

Messiah Burch (So.); RB/DB & Jameson Sessa (Jr.); DE  – Monsignor Farrell Lions

Debuting our first package deal of POTW honorees, with the sun starting to set on the 2021 season and so little opportunity to honor the worthy, the Monsignor Farrell staff felt strongly about two players being equally deserving of the spotlight and we fully concurred!!!..Taking command of their respective sides of the line of scrimmage, if not for the contributions of both the 5’10, 170-pound sophomore tailback [Burch] and the 6’0, 200-pound defensive end [Sessa], May 1st would have ended on a much sour note for the Lions…Trailing 14-0 on the road in a collusion of Staten Island adversaries versus St. Peter’s, it was Burch providing the much-needed punch on offense in the 2nd quarter, while Sessa, who was a consistent menace throughout, picking the last 8:00 of regulation to emerge with his signature moment, in a reversal of fortune that saw Farrell battle back for the 28-20 victory over the Eagles…Concluding the day with an outstanding 137 yards rushing on 14 carries, it was Burch turning the tables and giving life to the Lions with 4:30 to go in the 1st half when he took a 2nd & 7 hand-off straight up the gut and did not stop cruising until he reached the promised land 28 yards later to cut the deficit to 14-7…One series later, #4 in the White/Maroon did his best Barry Sanders impersonation, cutting back repeatedly, shaking off defenders and demonstrating impeccable field vision on a 38-yard trek to paydirt that evened the score at 14-14 with 1:50 remaining before the intermission…Even when he was not the one credited with the score, Burch found a way to be the catalyst.  With Farrell leading 21-20 in the last 7:00 minutes of the 4th quarter, it was his 38-yard shake and bake dash to the opposing 25 that set up sophomore, Ethan Yak’s, 6-yard game-clinching TD run with 4:40 left in duration…On defense, it was Sessa’s stellar performance down the stretch that earned him the admiration of his coaches…Following a STP touchdown in the final 8:00 to narrow the Lions edge to 21-20, it was his stop on the 2pt conversion attempt that enabled the boys from Amboy Road to maintain their advantage…#59 came up just as big on the last series of the contest, utilizing a sack (after being the one to flush the QB out of the pocket) on 3rd & 24 in the waning minute to all but terminate St. Peter’s last-ditch effort to find an equalizer…All in all, Sessa collected six total tackles, the already cited well-timed sack, a pair of TFLs, and a copious amount of QB hurries that will not be reflected in the box score but were essential in disrupting the flow of a formidable STP attack that put up 50 during a week 1 victory [over St. Joe’s by the Sea]…Monsignor Farrell will ride their two-game winning streak into the spring finale when they host Christ the King under the Friday night lights!

Apr 282021
 

By Matt Diano:

Elijah Fuentes (Sr.); DL – Cardinal Hayes Cardinals

A year ago, Coach CJ O’Neil’s Cardinals were mere moments away from hoisting a Catholic League State title before a Canisius touchdown pass (and 2pt conversion) with no time remaining on the clock ripped their hearts out…The memories of that loss are now serving as the inspiration behind what very much appears to be the best defensive unit the school has boasted in quite some time…Surrendering just 32 points total during the first two weeks of the 2021 spring (after allowing an average of 22+ in 2019) en route to victories over Monsignor Farrell & St. Peter’s, the defending NYCHSFL Triple-A champs are looking unbeatable at the halfway point of their abridged season…Acting as the heartbeat for these “pillars of pain” is the Syracuse University bound defensive lineman out of the Bronx [Fuentes]…Regarded as one of the top-10 in-state prospects (#8), as well as top-100 (94th) in the nation at his position by 247 Sports, the 6’3, 255-pounder wreaked all kinds of havoc in the aforementioned win last weekend over the StP…Facing an Eagles’ offense that put up “half a hundred” during week #1, Fuentes and the Hayes “D” pitched a shutout in the 1st half, allowing just 80 yards of total offense on their way to the 45-19 triumph…Doing his part and then some, big #99 in the White & Maroon tallied five stops (3 TFLs), including a pair of sacks…He was also credited with a forced fumble…Junior QB, Henry Belin, starred on offense, completing 13-of-20 pass attempts for 233 yards and four TD hurls (2x to Kuno Mendez, once each to Jaden Barrett and Gavin Taylor)

 

Michael Peraino (Sr.); RB – Moore Catholic Mavericks

Another week, another win, another birth of a rising star for the Mavericks in last Friday’s 20-7 defeat of Xaverian…Dating back to the 2018 regular season finale [Mausari Miller], the Staten Island based program had not had a running back whose name was not Justin Lacks rush for the century mark in a single game.  In fact, last season, no one aside from the living legend in the #6 jersey [Lacks] reached 100 yards total for the year…Cue Peraino…Accumulating just 28 yards on four carries as a junior, the 5’10, 200-pounder exploded during the second week of his swan song campaign, amassing 112 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns on 11 carries to deliver the “w” to Merrill Avenue!!  Taking the pigskin to the house on treks of 24 and 10 yards respectively, Peraino was solely responsible for the 14-0 lead that the defending AA-2 champions enjoyed at the half versus the host Clippers… Junior lineman, Troy Telesford, stood out on defense, racking up a sum of 11 stops, including one sack, on behalf of a unit that limited Xaverian to a modest total of 100 yards (10 on the ground, 90 in the air) for the night…Up next for MC will be a rematch of last year’s finals versus St. Joe’s by the Sea…When these the two schools met last November for the crown, Peraino garnered Defensive MVP consideration following a six-tackle (1 TFL) effort!

 

Vincent Macaluso (Sr.); DB – Monsignor Farrell Lions

It was “goose-egg city” for the Lions’ defense this past Saturday in Oakwood, as Monsignor Farrell prevailed 42-0 in a battle of SI bragging rights over 2019 AA-2 runner-up, St. Joe’s by the Sea…The shutout on April 24th was the first pitched by the school since the opening game of the 2019 season (24-0 over Fordham Prep)…Spearheading the demonstration of lockdown/refuse to give an inch defensive mastery was the 5’9, 175-pound safety [Macaluso]…A captain in both title and example, Macaluso topped all Lion personnel by posting a career-best nine total tackles over the weekend… Registering four TFLs, the “modern-day hybrid” as hailed by MF Defensive Coordinator, Rocco Del Priore, in a quote to the SI Advance, was the main protagonist for a unit that successfully disrupted and made the pocket uncomfortable for opposing All-State signal caller, Jackson Tucker (just 10 yards on seven carries)…With Farrell already leading 7-0 midway through the 1st quarter, Macaluso nearly turned defense into offense when he scooped up a fumble and cruised 54 yards (initially ruled a TD) to the SJS 2-yard line.  His individual effort paved the way for junior tailback, Cole Abbruzzese, to punch in his second short-distance touchdown of the opening quarter to double the Lion advantage to 14-0…Splitting time under center on offense, the QB duo of senior, Chris Anarumo, and 11th grader Michael Martens, each tossed one TD strike apiece, with the former connecting with Junior WR Frank Esposito on a 43-yarder in the 1st half, while the latter found sophomore Shawn Keegan, from 5-yards away in the 2nd half…Having bested one intra-town rival in week #2, Farrell with try to make it two in a row when they square off with St. Peter’s on May 1st

 

Eleazer Valera (So.); RB – Mt. St. Michael’s Academy Mountaineers

The Mountaineer offensive scheme may have taken on a fresh appearance (they introduced some shot gun formation), but the MSMA tradition of perennial ground attack excellence was alive, well, and fully on display last Saturday in the Bronx as the [Head Coach] Mario Valentini guided program got their spring off to a promising start with a 38-12 conquest of Nazareth Regional…Forced to fill a void in the backfield that was created when the school’s top-2 runners from 2019 either transferred or elected to not return this season, it took less time than a blink of an eye for the Mount to unveil their next big superstar…The Mountaineers already leading 8-0, the 5’10, 170-pound sophomore [Valera] guaranteed that his varsity debut would be an unforgettable occasion when he found a hole and sprinted 21-yards to paydirt for the first of what hopefully will be a plethora of touchdowns during the next 2.5 years…He later scored his second TD from 3-yards out…Valera further complemented his banner day by accounting for six additional points on a trio of 2pt conversions to conclude the day with 18 total…Carrying the ball 18 times, he collected exactly 100 yards…Showing a glimpse of his versatility, he caught one pass for a gain of nine yards…Senior DL, Angel Medina, had fumble return for a touchdown to highlight a strong performance on the other side of the line!

 

Apr 212021
 

Joshua Bagwell (Sr.); QB – Holy Cross Knights

Looking at the NYC week #1 schedule, it would not have been surprising to hear most pundits predict that that a senior signal caller would put on a show and unequivocally be rewarded with POTW honors in the battle of Queens between Holy Cross and Christ the King…However, what many of these insiders are now humbly forced to confess (myself included) is that while we were correct on the position, we missed on the individual…With all of the attention focused squarely on seeing what 247 Sports #1 rated NYS QB/2x All-Catholic/2019 1st-Team All-Stater, Noah Bodden, would do as an opening act in 2021, instead it was his counterpart [Bagwell] that owned the night en route to leading the Knights to the decisive 34-12 triumph last Friday…Completing nine of 14 throws for a sum of 111 yards, the 5’10, 150-pounder out of Springfield Gardens was at the forefront of three of Holy Cross’s five TDs on the night…Hooking up with junior WR, Devin Grant, on a pair of touchdown connections, Bagwell posted the third multi-TD pass game of his career (also throw two in back-to-back weeks versus Holy Trinity and Mount St. Michael Academy last season)…When not relying on his arm, #12’s legs proved to be an adept secondary weapon, as he called his own number on four keepers, gaining 24 yards (second most among Knight rushers) and tacking on a third overall touchdown…

 

Brendan McKeon (Sr.); WR/CB – St. Peter’s Eagles

What a difference a year can make!  When these two programs last met (October 2019) in a war of Staten Island bragging rights, it was the Vikings emerging with the 29-26 victory…The proverbial tables certainly turned this past Saturday and one of the primary catalysts at the heart of the reversal of fortune was the 5’11, 190-pound, team captain [McKeon]…Going above and beyond on both sides of the line in the Eagles’ 50-18 triumph on April 17th, the SUNY-Cortland bound standout seems well intent on making the most of every second he has remaining in the gold #6 jersey…Accumulating in excess of 100 yards of total offensive production as a ball carrier and/or receiver, McKeon boasted a remarkable touchdown to touch ratio of 3:5….No, you did not read that wrong! Handling the “prolate spheroid” just five times individually (two carries, three receptions), the STP senior accounted for 18 points, scoring on a 6-yard run before hauling in TD grabs of 28 and 27 yards respectively from QB Vincent Mazzone…Defensively, he put the “corner” in a cornerstone defensive effort that stifled a SJS arsenal that averaged over 30 ppg in 2019 and returned several play-makers at the skill positions (ex- 2019 3rd-Team All-State signal caller, Jackson Tucker)…Whether it was repeated pass break-ups, timely tackles, DB blitzes, or just good old fashioned lockdown coverage where the opponent did not entertain the notion of throwing to his side of the field, it is quite evident why [Cortland] Red Dragons’ Head Coach Curt Fitzpatrick, is smiling at the thought of having McKeon patrolling secondary for the next 4-5 years!

 

John Michalski (So.); QB – Moore Catholic Mavericks

No Justin Lacks…No Problem!  For anyone under the impression that the defending NYCHSFL “AA-2” titlists from Staten Island might be in the midst of a rebuild following the graduations of the multiple-time All-State/5,400+ yard rusher and several additional 2019 All-League personnel, the rumors of Moore’s demise have surely been greatly exaggerated…On the contrary, while the names and faces may be fresh in the spring of 2021, the unwavering tradition of lighting up the scoreboard is here to stay!!!  And at the center (more literally under center) of this reign of terror is the 6’2, 190-pound signal caller [Michalski]…Needing only 24 minutes (sat the entire 2nd half) in his varsity debut to make a bold and unmistakable statement about the dynasty being in capable hands, the Woodbridge resident was nearly flawless in MC’s 35-0 shutout over Nazareth on April 17th…Completing 10 of 12 attempts for 236 yards, the 10th grade field general ought to get a sponsorship deal from Domino’s Pizza, as he clearly “delivers everywhere.”…Connecting with a different target on all four of his touchdown strikes, Michalski registered his first career TD pass as the commander of the Mav attack when he hit freshman, Matthias Lighten, on a 27-yarder…Sophomore, Nick Jordan, was on the back end of the longest of his quarterback’s TD hurls as Michalski found him on a 30-yard pitch-and-catch…Michael Zeh, who like Jordan, is only a 10th grader, got himself into the conversation when he made the third TD reception of the evening from 19-yards out…Jaylen Johnson (yet another sophomore) put the exclamation on the remarkable collective display when he made a 3-yard TD snatch…Since the program’s return to the varsity level in 2016, Michalski’s yardage and touchdown pass totals are tops among MC QBs making their first varsity starts!

 

Anthony Rosati (Sr.); RB – Xaverian Clippers

Welcome back to the spotlight Anthony Rosati!!!  While all of our fine Metro Catholic League student-athletes were forced to endure a prolonged wait before getting back on the gridiron, for the 5’10, 173-pound senior tailback, the absence from the thing in which he loves/excels required an exercise in patience greater than most…Identified in the 2019 Double-A season preview as a potential rookie play-maker for Coach Michael Jioia’s brigade, the Brooklyn boy was sidelined for the entirety of junior campaign due to injury…At long last, Rosati was afforded the opportunity to transform all of that heartache, fortitude, and tireless work during the rehab process into a varsity debut of which he could/should be mighty proud!  Carrying the pigskin 10 times, #34 in White successfully surpassed the century mark in his first career appearance, concluding the contest with 110 yards (an avg of 11 ypc) in his school’s 34-0 blanking of returning “A” runners-up, Cardinal Spellman….The linchpin of a Clipper land attack that generated 218 yards and scored four touchdowns, that moment that Rosati has been dreaming about for the last 17 months came to fruition when he darted 14 yards into the end zone for the first of what we hope is many TDs for him this spring!

Apr 202021
 

By Matt Diano:

Maximus Mongelli (Sr.); WR/DB – Kellenberg Memorial Firebirds

Last Friday marked the “last hurrah” for one of the most prolific families in Kellenberg and/or NYCHSFL history when the 6’0, 180-pound two-way player out of Port Washington [Mongelli] became the last of his four brothers to don the Blue & Gold for a final occasion in his school’s 35-25 road victory against St. John the Baptist…Dating back to the 2013 season, the quartet of “ginger gems” (Michael: 2013/2014, Marco: 2015/2016, Matthew: 2017/2018, Maximus: 2019/2021) racked up 150+ catches, over 3,000 yards of receiving output and were responsible for 35 touchdowns on behalf of the Firebirds…The latter three brethren combined to earn POTW honors four times (Max being the only 2x recipient; previously during the 2019 AA semifinals), with the last two leading KMHS to a pair of “AA” crowns in 2017 and 2018 (Matthew), as well as a runner-up finish in 2019 (Max)…Simply put, when 2021/2022 rolls around and we take a gander at the Kellenberg sideline, it is going to have quite the peculiar feeling as I personally have never covered a Kellenberg game without a Mongelli making his presence known…Wearing the infamous #12 jersey like his siblings before him, if you were to look at the stat sheet, his performance in the 2nd quarter alone would be grounds enough for selection.   Getting the job done on both sides of the line of scrimmage, Mongelli halted a promising Cougar drive early in middle stanza when he made a diving lunge to intercept a pass inside his own 15 to keep the Firebirds in front, 7-3…The Firebirds now trailing 10-7 with just under 4:00 remaining in the opening half, Mongelli immediately swung momentum back into the favor of the Marianist institution as he cruised over the middle to haul in a 30-yard, over-the-shoulder touchdown reception from Ethann Greenwood to answer SJB’s 35-yard TD connection (Kyle Chase to Bryce Robinson) two minutes prior…The Mongelli TD grab ignited a streak of 28 unanswered points between the 2nd and 3rd quarters, allowing KMHS to establish a cushion and give field time to the rest of the departing seniors…Concluding last Friday’s contest with 2 catches for 35 yards and the aforementioned TD, of equal importance when evaluating his full contribution were the aspects of the game that often get lost in a box score…Sensing a match-up problem, the KMHS coaching staff assigned him to shadow Robinson in the 2nd half and he answered the call, completely shutting down the gifted receiver as part of an overall five tackle, 2 pass break-up showing from the cornerback position…His coaches also applauded his selflessness in the blocking game as his willingness to sacrifice his body was key to enabling his fellow swan songers—Thomas Sluka and Griffin Chernoff to rush for a combined 168 yards, with each scoring a pair of TDs…Stringing together three consecutive wins to wrap up the spring, Kellenberg concluded 2021 with a 4-2 record!

 

Kameron Robbins (Jr.); RB/LB – Holy Trinity Titans

Another ironman who picked Bowl Week to have his finest effort of the 2021 season was the 6’1, 210-pound junior tailback/linebacker [Robbins]…Earning the second POTW distinction of his career (Week #5 of the 2019 season] in last Friday’s 27-7 win over Kennedy Catholic, the returning All-Catholic selection from Baldwin, may have been credited with just a single score (47-yard sprint two minutes into the 2nd quarter to give the Titans the 6-0 edge), but it was the consistency of his play on both ends that proved to be invaluable…Chewing up yardage on just about every carry throughout the afternoon, even when he was not the individual to punch the ball across for the TD, he was always instrumental in orchestrating the drive…Taking the hand-off 19 times, Robbins accumulated 173 yards on the ground (9.1/per)…Turning his attention to defense, #3 in Green’s contributions as both a run stopper and a pass rusher was a significant factor in HT’s success in holding a visiting Gaels squad to well below their seasonal average of 30+ points per game…Making six stops as a tackler, where Robbins especially made his mark on “D” was on a pair of perfectly timed QB hurries that either created a turnover on downs or forced a KC punt…The “w” no longer in doubt (27-0), he was not on the field when Kennedy scored their lone touchdown late in the 4th quarter giving time to other players on the field.

 

Tomorrow we will post the Players of the Week from NYC Week 1!

Apr 142021
 

By Matt Diano:

Jayden Jenkins (Sr.); RB – Archbishop Stepinac Crusaders

As we rapidly approach the conclusion of our abbreviated spring season, it is to be expected that all of our student-athletes are undergoing the process of taking stock in what they have achieved during these six weeks of competition…For our seniors, this reflection often comes in a much deeper form as they ponder the thought that the “next time” is the “final time” they will ever put on that jersey and represent their high school…With these sentiments in mind, it Is natural to want to have that career-day down the stretch so as to leave a legacy that will echo in the hallways long after you have stopped walking them…For the 5’10, 175-pound Bronx resident [Jenkins], no matter what happens in this week, he can rest assured that his place in the proverbial circle is secure following a monster performance this past Saturday in Stepinac’s 42-19 victory over Chaminade…Completely obliterating his previous personal-bests during week #5, the future United States’ Military Academy Black Knight racked up 253 yards and scored three touchdowns on 24 carries (complemented by a career-high 4 receptions for 33 yards) en route to single-handily out-scoring the visiting Flyers… Entering his swan song campaign having never reached the century mark, #4 in the Red, White, and Blue has now surpassed that milestone three times in four appearances in 2021 (previously ran for 108 vs. St. Anthony’s and 130 against Kellenberg)…The first of his aforementioned hat trick afternoon came just two snaps into the opening quarter when Jenkins took a draw around the corner for a 57-yard TD trek that gave AS the immediate 6-0 lead…The contest still close (21-13 late in the 3rd quarter), Jenkins again hit the gas pedal, exploding 22 yards up the middle to give the Crusaders a two-TD advantage…Early in the 4th (8:52 remaining on the clock), he put the game out of reach when he went 2-yard untouched up the gut to make the score 34-13.

 

Alexander Celeiro (Jr.); RB – St. Anthony’s Friars

If the abridged 2021 season has taught the Friar faithful anything, it is that a return to their perennial reign is very much on the horizon…Over the course of these past five weeks, it has become abundantly clear that the South Huntington based program is poised to boast one of, if not the top overall 1-2 punches in the backfield, both on Long Island and in the entire Metro Catholic League next year…Three weeks removed from honoring sophomore, Frank Ruta, for a 3 TD affair in a win over Stepinac, the Black & Gold unleashed the second of their budding two-headed monster in the person of the 11th grader, Celeiro…  Responsible for all four of his team’s touchdowns in STA’s 27-6 triumph over St. John the Baptist, the multi-sport standout (also a stud on the baseball diamond) from Bellmore, averaged over 12-yards per carry (15 attempts) as part of a 186-yard display that enabled the Friars to even their record at 2-2…Doing the deed from near and far, Celeiro distinguished himself as an every down/any situation threat…Giving STA the 6-0 lead when he struck for the first of his pair of opening quarter TDs runs on a 3-yarder up the middle with 1:35 to play in the 1st, #22 later answered a quick Cougar touchdown by exploding for a two-cut, 63-yard sprint down his own sideline to give St. Anthony’s a 13-7 edge at the end of 12 minutes…His third touchdown of the half occurred approximately three minutes into the 2nd quarter on a 5-yard burst through center to make the score 19-6…He put the finishing touches on his 24-point production by diving across the goal line from 5-yards out one minute into the 4th quarter to account for the final tally…As a sign of his all-purpose abilities, he hauled in two receptions for 10 additional yards…Celeiro will bring this momentum with him as he and STA seek to start a new winning streak in their rivalry against Chaminade on April 16th.

Apr 072021
 

By Matt Diano:

Jaden Sinclair (Sr.); WR/DB/Specialist – Holy Trinity Titans

This past Thursday, the 5’10, 165-pound senior triple-threat sure put the “special” in specialist in propelling the Titans into the win column behind a 40-14 road victory over defending NYCHSFL “A” champions, Kennedy Catholic…Accruing in excess of 200 yards of total output with the ball in the hands, Sinclair’s explosive track & field speed was indisputable, as evident by the countless kick and/or punt returns that he sprung for 20 or more yards…On two occasions, the 2019 All-Catholic honoree had his proverbial jets firing on so many cylinders that he successfully fielded the pigskin, cut wide, and then turned on the burners until he had reached the “land of milk, honey, and 6 points.”…The first of his pair of touchdown-yielding returns came in the 2nd quarter when he answered a Gael score (to tie the score at 7-7) by bringing the ensuing kick-off 79 yards to the house to instantly put the boys from Hicksville back in front…HT now securely in the driver’s seat (up 28-14 in the 4th), #8’s second act was just as exhilarating as the first, catching a low line-drive punt on his own 29, making a KC player miss on a tackle attempt, and again finding room down the visiting sideline (HT side of the field) for the 71-yard trek…Sinclair added a 12-yard reception from senior signal caller, Emilio Ramirez (5-for-7, 65 yards, 1 TD pass) on offense, and was solid defensively, providing air tight coverage from the secondary…Per his personal twitter account, since the conclusion of his junior year, Sinclair has been offered scholarships by the likes of Alvernia University, Allegheny College, RIT, SUNY-Cortland, UMass-Dartmouth, and most recently (March 29th), Utica College!

 

Griffin Chernoff (Sr.); RB/LB – Kellenberg Memorial Firebirds

Making his return to the KMHS line-up after missing the first three contests of the season due to injury, the 6’1, 206-pounder out of Lido Beach had himself a Senior Day to remember in the Firebirds’ 41-14 victory at home over a previously unbeaten squad from St. John the Baptist….Making his impact felt consistently throughout the morning, the multi-sport superstar (will play lacrosse collegiately at Binghamton University) notched several career-highs on both sides of the line of scrimmage in helping the returning AA-1 runners-up from Uniondale improve their 2021 record to 2-2….Ready, but not needed in the backfield as a junior last season (187 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries), Chernoff darn near equaled his rushing totals from 2019 in one outing…Carrying the pigskin 18 times, he racked up a team-best 172 yards and scored twice as part of a Blue & Gold ground attack that was lethal all day, combining for 311 yards and four touchdowns…With Kellenberg holding a 21-0 edge in the last three minutes of the opening half, Chernoff broke for his biggest gainer of the day, taking the draw up the center and then cutting back while out-racing a Cougar defender en route to the 54-yard trek to paydirt that made the score 27-0 at the break…He added a four-yard TD run in the final minute of the 3rd quarter that gave KMHS the comfortable 34-8 advantage at the end of 36 minutes…Turning to defense, Chernoff picked up right where he left off last year (finished 2nd on the team with 40 tackles in 2019), making a personal-best nine stops, including one sack and several additional TFLs…Holding a John the Baptist program that entered averaging over 38 points per game to a modest 8 (#22 was not on the field when the Cougars’ scored their second TD) is the ultimate compliment when it comes to assessing the game-altering value that the future Bearcat possesses from the LB position.

 

Photo Courtesy of Geoff Walter

James Goldfeder (Sr.); DB – Chaminade Flyers

A true representative of what it has meant to be a student-athlete during the “COVID-19” era, the 6-foot, 170-pounder from Floral Park elicited praise from Flyer Head Coach, Kevin Dolan, for the example he has set in his swan song campaign…Reminiscent of 2019 Vincent O’Connor/AA-1 Defensive Player of the Year recipient, Aidan Cappellino, with whom he was compared, Goldfeder transformed himself from someone who saw limited field time as an 11th grader to one of the most irreplaceable components for a Chaminade “D” that pitched a shutout in week 2 (vs. Holy Trinity) and then held a very efficient St. Anthony’s offense to just 13 points this past Thursday…Committing every ounce of his being to ensuring that he was fully prepared, both physically and mentally for a season that was never even guaranteed to happen, the senior defensive back received the ultimate payoff for his dedication and tireless work ethic when he was on the back end of two crucial turnovers that enabled the Mineola based program to emerge with their first victory over their rivals from South Huntington since 2012 (The AAA title-game; 17-16 Chaminade)…The contest deadlocked at 13 apiece in the waning seconds (:22 left on the clock) of the 4th quarter, it was Goldfeder thwarting the Friars’ last-ditch effort at a comeback triumph (trailed 13-0 at the end of the 3rd) when he jumped the pass route and intercepted the ball inside his own 15-yard line to extend the game to overtime…In the extra frame, St. Anthony’s again found themselves in an optimal situation to seize control.  STA Knocking on the door with a 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line, the snap must have had eyes, as it managed to slip through the smallest of crevices into open space.  Goldfeder, displaying amazing attentiveness, darted off the corner and dove onto the loose ball, spoiling the Friars’ bid for the “w”…Capitalizing off of the turnover, Chaminade put their fate in the hands of All-State senior RB, Mario Fischetti (POTW selection last week), who delivered the win with a 5-yard touchdown run…In addition to his pair of game-saving plays, Goldfeder was also credited with eight tackles (4 solo, 4 assisted).

 

Jarel Washington (Sr.); RB/WR – Iona Prep Gaels

Versatility thy name is Jarel Washington!!!  An individual who continues to distinguish himself as a bona fide Swiss army knife within the Gael Offense, the returning All-Catholic selection (323 yards rushing, 402 yards receiving, 8 total TDs as a junior) from White Plains has shown that no matter which/how many hats he is asked to wear on a given weekend, the Stonehill College commit is ALWAYS going to be invaluable in any/every capacity…The presence of such a multi-tooled and potent performer is the ultimate insurance policy for a program that takes on all comers and never makes excuses…During week #4, Washington’s chameleon-like ability to adapt was pivotal in his school remaining among the ranks of the immaculate following a 28-14 victory triumph over 2019 AAA runners-up, Archbishop Stepinac…Called upon by Head Coach, Joe Spagnolo, to fill the cleats of three-year starting tailback, Frankie McFadden, who suffered an injury on the first snap of the contest, #8 in the Maroon & Black was human dynamite all morning, as he became the first IP student-athlete since the 2014 season [Shane Martin per MaxPreps] to rush for 200+ yards in a single game…Taking the hand-off 21 times, Washington racked up 214 yards and logged three touchdowns to single-handedly outscore a very capable Crusader cohort…Drawing initial blood with just under 5:00 remaining in the 1st quarter, Washington took the draw straight up the middle from 11-yards away to make the score 6-0…Four minutes later, he struck again, culminating a series set up by a 36-yard connection in the air from Darius Wilson (10-for-16, 118 yards, 1 TD throw) to Will Stone (3 receptions for 62 yards) by taking the ball the final five yards across the goal to increase the score to 13-0…The trifecta for Washington occurred at a most opportune time, as it was his short dash (4 yarder) on 4th Goal in the last 3:00 of regulation (IP leading 21-14) that served as the clincher for the Gaels…Coincidentally, for the second year in a row (also in week #4 of 2019), Washington garnered POTW recognition after tormenting Stepinac.  Last season, it was a 4-carry/74-card, 2-catch/108-yard effort that was the catalyst in Iona Prep’s 36-35 win…With the health status of McFadden unknown, it should be expected that the Gaels will be leaning heavily on Washington again in week #5 when they square off with defending Catholic State Champion, Canisius (Buffalo), in an intersectional battle for bragging rights!

Mar 302021
 

By Matt Diano:

Will Currid (Fr.); QB – Archbishop Stepinac Crusaders

The mere knowledge of stepping into a tradition that has seen the previous four predecessors earn All-State recognition can be enough to rattle even the moist poised and gifted of prospects…Now imagine having to undertake this role as a FRESHMAN…This is precisely the situation that the 6’1, 165-pound field general out of Cross River [Currid] faced in a varsity debut loss in week #1 to St. Anthony’s.  And while he performed quite admirably (10-for-15, 142 yards, 1 TD pass), you could tell from the game film that this young man had another gear in which he could go…The question of how long it would take for the former Harlem Jet to ascend was answered in expeditious fashion this past Saturday…THE FUTURE IS NOW THE PRESENT; The stud has arrived!!  Demonstrating pinpoint accuracy from start to finish, the rookie signal caller hit on 19 of his 24 aerial attempts for 274 yards and SIX touchdowns in the Crusaders’ 56-35 win over Kellenberg Memorial in a battle of respective 2019 Catholic divisional runners-up…Masterful in his ability to survey the field and distribute the pigskin evenly, the fab frosh connected with three different targets on TD strikes, commencing with an 11-yard rollout to the sideline where he hooked-up with senior, Gary Wilkins (6 grabs, 112 yards) for the first of a pair of 6-point receptions…Stepinac now leading 14-0, It was sophomore, Dae Shawn Allen’s (114 yards of total offense; 3 TD catches, 1 TD run) turn to be on the back end of a perfect strike, as Currid connected on a 21-yarder in the corner of the end zone two minutes into the 2nd quarter…The diaper dandy posted his third and longest hurl of the weekend with 2:37 remaining in the 1st half, going back to Wilking on a 70-yard bomb over the middle to make the score 35-7.  But he wasn’t done yet!  After the Stepinac defense induced a TOD in the last 94 before the break, Currid spearheaded a two-play 38-yard march into the end zone.   Setting up the drive with a 30-yard completion to Patrick Johnson, he notched a hat trick for the quarter (4th overall of the half) with an 8-yard screen pass to Allen…There was no resting on laurels for the dynamic underclassmen duo as they immediately picked up where they left off, with Allen making a 20-yard over the shoulder snatch less than a minute and a half into the 3rd for the last of his trifecta of TD catches…A KMHS two-touchdown rally brought the score within 42-21, but the proverbial nail in the coffin was hammered in w/8:56 remaining in the 4th quarter, as Currid pulled a doozy from his bag of tricks, rolling in one direction and then firing in the other to convert a marvelous 8-yard wheel route to Jayden Jenkins (130 yards rushing on 12 carries; 1 reception for the TD) as the exclamation to a nearly flawless outing…Per MaxPreps, who began compiling statistics during the 2004 season, Currid’s six touchdown tosses in a single-day is the most by a Stepinac QB in at least the past 17 years!!!  Catholic football aficionados are already immensely anticipating this Thursday’s QB clash, as Currid will oppose Week #1 POTW choice, Darius Wilson, in what is sure to be the ultimate shootout of perennial AAA superpowers!

 

Mario Fischetti Jr. (Sr.); RB – Chaminade Flyers

In 1986, Ferris Bueller spoke eloquently about life moving pretty fast and the importance of making sure you don’t miss it…Some 35 years later, these same sentiments can be applied to the way in which NYCHSFL enthusiasts relish in the consistent play of the 5’7, 165-pound senior tailback out of Glen Head [Fischetti Jr.]…Much like death and taxes, the last two-years have demonstrated that a certainty of life is that when #24 in Crimson & Gold takes a handoff, he is ALWAYS a threat to take it the distance for the “6”…This is a fact that he illustrated on four separate occasions this Saturday in the Flyers’ 34-0 victory at home over Holy Trinity…Wasting no time in his getting his name in the box score, the returning All-Catholic/All-Long Island/NYSSWA 3rd-Team All-State selection exploded on the second snap of the game, busting through the middle and traveling 63-yards untouched to help the defending Catholic AA-1 champs from Mineola to the early 7-0 advantage…Approximately seven minutes later, the Williams College commit notched his second TD of the quarter, punching it in from 3-yards out on 1st-and-goal; he subsequently tacked on a successful 2pt conversion to increase the Chaminade cushion to 21-0.  Earlier in this drive, it was his 36-yard trek that moved his school into the red zone (the opposing 14) and laid the tracks for the eventual score…Not much changed for “Super” Mario in the second quarter as he again handled the bulk of the workload and reaped the eventual benefits.  His team facing 3rd-and-3 on their own 30, he cut to the outside and dashed 45 yards to move the pigskin within the Titan 25.  Five plays later (following a few solid gainers on the ground and in the air by Junior QB, Thomas Stueber, + an outside penalty), Fischetti culminated the drive by plunging into the pylon from 8-yards away to put the Marianists in front 28-0 at the break…As a final act before sitting out the majority of the second half, Fischetti answered a turnover on downs forced by his teammates by taking Chaminade’s first snap of the 3rd quarter 66-yards to paydirt to complete an outstanding 14-carry, 245-yard, 4TD afternoon…Including his week #1 performance (180 yards and two touchdowns on 15 touches) in a loss to Iona Prep, Fischetti has now surpassed the century mark in 11 of his 12 varsity appearances.  In addition, he has rushed for multiple scores in 8 of 12…He heads into this Thursday’s rivalry contest versus St. Anthony’s needing just 47 yards on the ground to reach 2,000 in his career.  His next TD run will be his 30th overall!

 

Mark Anthony Scott (Jr.); RB – St. John the Baptist Cougars

Next man up; next man tough!!!  Such would be a perfect description for the 5’8, 175-pound 11th grader out of Port Jefferson Station…Accustomed to sharing in the ground attack duties for an always deep and potent SJB backfield, when the program’s top-returning runner from a year ago [Jayden Louis] was sidelined with an injury, it would be on Scott’s shoulders to do his part and then some…He more than delivered this past weekend in John the Baptist’s 49-27 victory over the defending NYCHSFL “A” champions from Somers, Kennedy Catholic…Posting an incredible 14.4 yards per carry for the day, #22 in Red/White amassed 260 yards and scored THREE touchdowns on 18 rushing attempts to help Coach Phil Alba’s Cougars to their highest output since September 2018…Utilized primarily on the defensive side of the ball (DB) in 2019, Scott was credited with just 2 yards on three handoffs as a sophomore; hence it need not be said the amount of hard work applied and the degree of development he has experienced during the past 17 months…His team leading 7-6 at the time, Scott recorded the first of his two 2nd quarter TDs when he followed-up a 21-yard connection between QB Kyle Chase and WR Christian Maisel, by barreling over a Gael defender for a 1-yard TD run…Later in the 2nd stanza, having already displayed his power, the “total package” gentleman with the 3.7 GPA took his turn at showcasing the breakaway speed and agility he possesses, taking the draw up the middle, cutting to the outside (in front of his bench) and then nimbly shifting back at the goal line to evade a would-be tackler en route to the 18-yard dash to the promised land that gave SJB a 27-20 halftime edge…A KC touchdown on the initial drive of the second half evened the scoreboard at 27 apiece, but the contest was not square for long as Scott emerged with his most impressive and electrifying contribution of the afternoon when his first action of the 3rd quarter witnessed him take a handoff, shake off a tackle, reverse field and spring 81 yards down the Kennedy sideline for what proved to be the deciding touchdown…With the win, St. John the Baptist kicked off a season with a 2-0 start for the first since 2012 when they were Catholic Double-A runners-ups.

Mar 252021
 

THE WAIT IS OVER….Following an extended absence from the hard-nosed, “leave it all on the field”, “play for the name on the front of the jersey” excellence that we have all come to expect and cherish from the student-athletes in the NYCHSFL, action finally resumed on the 12th of March this year…And while the landscape has been significantly altered (only eight teams are competing right now) due to on-going restrictions throughout the five boroughs, we speak for all Catholic football enthusiasts when we proclaim that we are appreciative that even a sample of the amazing young gentlemen representing us have been afforded this privilege of engaging in the sport they love!

As is our tradition, the Catholic High School Football League Metropolitan New York remains firm in our commitment to always shine the proverbial spotlight on today’s starts/tomorrow’s living legends!

Honored for exemplify individual performances during the opening two weekends of the 2021 season are the following:

 

WEEK 1 (03/12/21-03/13/2021):

 

Darius Wilson (Sr.); QB – Iona Prep Gaels

Saturday March 13th was a case of new year, same story for the 6’2, 195-pound field general out of the Bronx….During his two years running the Gaels’ offense, we have witnessed the College of William & Mary committed standout do just about anything and everything on the gridiron; but the one thing we have not seen is an “off day”…And based on how his swan song campaign is commencing, it is becoming increasingly probable that we never will see a subpar effort out of the returning NYSSWA 2nd-Team All-State/2019 All-Catholic selection…More than a year removed from amassing 2,207 yards in the air, 551 on the ground and racking up 27 total touchdowns (23 passing, 4 rushing), the captain did not skip a beat in Iona Prep’s 42-7 victory on the road over a Kellenberg Memorial squad that has advanced to the Double-A title game in each of the past three years (winning the hardware in 2017 and 2018)….Connecting on 15 of 18 attempts with his arm, Wilson hurled for 211 yards and four scores.  To boot, he displayed the full array of his abilities, tacking on an additional 89 yards (4 carries) with his legs…His encore this past Saturday was equally, if not more-so mind-blowing, as he hit on 13 of 14 aerial attempts for 258 yards and three TDs in a 51-14 win on home turf against defending Double-A-1 champions, Chaminade….Thru two appearances, he boasts an 87.5 completion rate, has tossed for nearly 500 yards and already has SEVEN TD passes!

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WEEK 2 (03/20/21-03/21/2021):

 

Zyian Moultrie-Goddard (So.); LB – Iona Prep Gaels

While the first week of the Catholic season featured one Gael [Wilson] sprinting (literally) towards the tape in his scholastic marathon, week #2 showcased the emergence of the newest surefire game-changer in the person of a sensational sophomore linebacker [Moultrie-Goddard)….Receiving his initial NCAA Division I scholarship offer [from Syracuse] as a FRESHMAN in January 2020, the “Humble Beast” as he refers to himself on twitter, has since added Arizona State and Tennessee to the list of suitors seeking his services…And after watching his highlight reel from last Saturday in a loop, it is no wonder why the Big-5 power conferences are lining up to talk to this spectacular and well-rounded [honor student in the classroom] gem…In IP’s aforementioned triumph over their visitors from Mineola [Chaminade], the 6’2, 235-pounder spent such an abundance of time in the opposing backfield that the state may have changed the address of his legal residence…Credited with 10 total stops (4 for a loss), three sacks, and a forced fumble, the dynamic 10th grader was the main reason the Gaels’ D-unit succeeded in holding a Chaminade cohort that averaged over 28 points per game behind 2nd-Team Al-State RB, Mario Fischetti Jr, last season to half that output on March 20th. 

 

Thomas Sluka (Sr.); QB – Kellenberg Memorial Firebirds

For those who claim that a sequel is doomed to never live up to the expectations set forth by the original, we offer you the 6’2, 182-pound Locus Valley resident [Sluka] as evidence to the contrary…When your older brother [Matt] is a 2x Catholic “AA” Offensive Player of the Year, a twice named All-State (2nd-Team in 2017, 1st team in 2018) selection, and is revered for leading your school to back-to-back titles (without ever losing a game), it is not too often, if ever, that you prevail in a game of “one-upmanship.”…But alas, this moment materialized last Saturday evening in KMHS’s 48-34 win over defending ‘A” titlists, Kennedy Catholic…Making the conversion from WR (3 catches for 25 yards in 2019) to QB1 duties for his final season donning the Blue & Gold, the multi-sport (will start on defensive for the lacrosse team in the spring) stud made a statement in just his second start taking the snaps…Directly responsible for six (three in each half) of Kellenberg’s seven touchdowns, the perennial honor roll student-athlete closed out the second week of the regular season with a stat line that read as such: 34 carries for 347 yards and SIX rushing TDs…In one single outing, he managed to surpass the single-game career-highs (carries-18, yards-244, TDs-5) on the ground achieved by his elder sibling (the top rushing QB in NYS both years of his varsity career) over the course of two years…Capitalizing off of a KC fumble on the opening drive of the contest, Sluka propelled the ‘Berg” to an early 7-0 lead by punctuating the series with a 1-yard plunge across the goal line…Unable to shake their guests from Westchester, Sluka repeatedly and consistently did all he could to keep KMHS in control, darting from 12 and 1 yard(s) respectively in the bookend moments of the 2nd quarter en route to sending his school into the break with a 28-20 advantage…Reaching paydirt for the fourth occasion of the night approximately 3:00 into the 3rd quarter, Sluka refused to be denied as he powered his way up the middle from 11-yards out to increase the cushion to 34-20…It was déjà vu four minutes later when he answered a KC score with an identical trek up the gut (from 12 away) to restore the 14-point margin…The sixth and ultimately final dagger came at the midway point of the 4th quarter as #10 took it to the house from a distance of 15 yards (after a previous 66-yard run was called back) to conclude the barrage of attacks…To keep the Gael “D” honest, Sluka did connect on three pass attempts for 27 yards as a bonus!

 

Clayton Proctor (Sr.); QB/S – Kennedy Catholic Gaels

Acting as foe in the back-and-forth dual of elite signal callers this past Saturday at Mitchel Field was the reigning NYCHSFL “A” Offensive Player of the Year recipient, Proctor…Formerly feared as a “run first” type of quarterback (seven of his 13 TDs in 2019 were on the ground), the Yorktown Heights resident ABSOLUTELY exhibited the vastly improved passing dimension of his arsenal in the loss to the Firebirds…Establishing new single-game career-bests in completions (20-for-26), yardage in the air (293) and touchdowns thrown (2), the 2019 Honorable Mention All-State pick has transformed from Vick to Russell Wilson in terms of the balanced way that he can now punish the opponent’s defense…KC trailing 7-0 at the time, Proctor notched the first of his pair of TD strikes in the 1st when he found sophomore, Nick Duryea over the middle from 27-yards out to cut the deficit to 7-6 in the 1st quarter…With just under 4:00 remaining in the opening half and KMHS up 20-13, Proctor was even more precise with his sniper arm, as he hooked up with fellow senior, Louis Cardillo (4 grabs for 98 yards) on a 50-yard completion down the home sideline to square the contest at 20 apiece…Not forgetting about the magical legs that delivered a Catholic “A” crown to Somers last season, Proctor complemented his strong performance throwing by accumulating 40 yards on 12 keepers, including a 1-yard dash early in the 3rd quarter that capped off his three score night…As a testament to his selflessness, it should be noted that when not commanding the offense, he served as a mainstay in the defensive backfield…After two games this season, he Is the owner of a 60% (30-for-50) completion percentage, totaling 495 yards and five touchdowns.

 

Frank Ruta (So.); RB – St. Anthony’s Friars

Talk about the perfect way to make a first impression; the 5’9, 175-pound sophomore [Ruta] was living the dream last Saturday in his 11-on-11 varsity debut for the Friars; the perennial powerhouse from South Huntington trailing 20-14 in the waning moments of the 4th quarter, it would be Ruta on the back end of a 2nd-and-5, 5-yard yard screen pass from fellow 10th grader, Dante Torres, with 16 ticks remaining that cemented the comeback victory (21-20; Griffin Goldstein successfully executed the PAT] for STA over an Archbishop Stepinac program that has advanced to the triple-A title game six consecutive seasons, winning four…The clutch TD grab was one of three instances that afternoon which saw a St. Anthony’s drive culminated by #47 journeying to the promised land!!!…At the forefront of every productive series for St. Anthony’s, it was Ruta getting his school on board with 3:52 remaining in the 1st half when found a hole, evaded tacklers and cruised six yards to the end zone to cut their deficit to 10-7…His determination and toughness was again evident at the initial stages of the 4th quarter (STA down 20-7) when he utilized a second-effort push to force him across the plain from five yards away to put the Friars back within one score…All in all, Ruta accounted for 105 yards of total output, averaging just shy of 8 yards per carry on his 12 attempts (95 yards) while also making three receptions for an additional 10 (the last six being the saving grace)!