Sep 262018

By Matt Diano:

Myles Proctor (Sr.); RB – Kennedy Catholic Gaels

Off to the program’s best start in quite some time, the current 3-0 Gaels have yet to be tested in 2018 and a big reason for that has been the electrifying performance of their senior dynamic duo in the backfield, Seth Surrett and Myles Proctor….We highlighted the former during the first week of the regular season and now it is the latter’s turn to bask in the spotlight.

An individual who was considered as a POTW candidate last weekend following a 13-carry, 112-yard, 1 TD performance in a 28-0 victory over Nazareth Regional, when we saw Proctor’s numbers from this past Saturday, we were glad we waited the extra week so as to capture his true breakthrough.

Playing only during the first half, the 6’2, 190-pounder out of Yorktown Heights not only logged his second straight 100+ yard showing, he went above and behind, exceeding the 200-yard mark for the first time in his scholastic career in the KC’s 35-0 blanking of St. Dominic’s….Carrying the ball a mere nine times on the afternoon, the 12th grader would rack up a career-high 215 yards (of the 267 earned collectively by the school), scoring three times on treks of 77, 55, and 11 yards…He would also find the energy to record five tackles from his linebacker position on defense to help the Gaels to a second straight goose-egging of the opposition.

Averaging an astounding 141 yards per contest through week #3, Proctor currently leads the “A’ division in all major ground categories with 423 yards on 35 carries (12.1/touch) and four touchdowns.

His 13 total stops also ranks him in the top-10 among Gaels in tackles this season.

Up next for the Gaels will be a week #4 clash against the defending “A” titlists, Cardinal Spellman.  With both teams still undefeated in league play, more than a few pundits are calling for this to be the first of two [also during the last week of the regular season] championship game previews…The host Pilots have yet to surrender a single point against “A” opponents this season.  On the contrary, KC is putting up an average of nearly 33 points per game and have not been held below 28 yet.

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

When you are the reigning Double-A Offensive Player of the Year and a returning 2nd Team All-State selection, one of the biggest challenges you face week after week is the pressure of trying to adhere to your own personal standard of excellence that at times borders on the realm of impossibility…When you are the red-headed assassin who dons the #10 jersey for the defending champion Firebirds, anytime you can succeed in raising the bar for yourself, it is a mighty big deal since that proverbial bar was already incredibly high to start.

This past Saturday night in a game that was being billed as a potential early preview of championship weekend, Sluka would emerge with statistically the best overall game of his two-year high school career in a 47-14 triumph on the road over Xavier.

Improving his record under center to a perfect 14-0, the 6’3, 205-pounder from Roslyn established new personal bests for total offense (362 yards) and passing yards (232), while also tying his previous record of five (set in last year’s AA title game) touchdowns.

Completing 9 of his 11 attempts in the air en route to the aforementioned new milestone, Sluka would post his first three-touchdown-passing effort as a member of the Blue & Gold…Connecting on all three TDs with fellow senior/Week #1 POTW honoree, Matthew Mongelli, Sluka’s first touchdown pass of the game would go for 60 yards and tie the game at six apiece in the first quarter…Leading 12-6, it would be his second dart of the half, a seven-yard strike that increased the lead to 19-6….Sluka’s final home-run hitter of the day would be his longest, as he displayed laser precision in lofting the ball over the outstretched arms of a defender to hit Mongelli along the sideline for an 85-yarder to make the score 40-14.

The state leader in yardage and rushing touchdowns by a quarterback last season in New York State, after being held to just 21 yards in the team’s season-opening victory over Holy Trinity on September 8th, Sluka has regained his top form during weeks 2 and 3, running for 117 and 130 yards respectively and combining to score five touchdowns with his legs…In the “w” over the host Knights, Sluka had one TD run in each half, including a 62-yard pilgrimage in the 3rd quarter in response to Xavier’s touchdown on their first possession of the final 24 minutes.

Sluka also converted on four of six PAT tries to play a role in 34 of the 47 total points accumulated by Kellenberg.

Well on his way to another All-State distinction, what has stood out most about Sluka has been the balance he has demonstrated in his attacks.  A year removed from scoring 70+ percent of his touchdowns on the ground, through three weeks of the season, he is putting up nearly a 1:1 ratio (6:5 to be exact) where his passing talents are slightly outweighing his contributions as a scrambler…Thus far, his stat line reads as follows: 30-for-43 (69.8%) for 513 yards and six TDs in the sky; 268 yards and an additional five scores on 30 carries (8.9 average) via the ground.

This is Sluka’s third career POTW distinction.  As a junior, he had the rare honor of being named twice in a span of three weeks (3 and 5).


Bobby Spano (Sr.); RB – St. John the Baptist Cougars

In his bestselling novel, The Five People You Meet In Heaven, author/sports writer, Mitch Albom addressed the subject of selflessness by penning this: “Sometimes when sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it.  You are just passing it on to someone else.”

In the case of the 5’7, 165-pound, senior tailback [Spano], much of scholastic career in general and his senior season in particular has been about doing all of the behind the scenes work so that it could be his teammates that were afforded the privilege of being the headliners…A dedicated lead blocker who despite never being the biggest guy on the field seems among the first to throw himself into harm’s way in order to create a hole for one of his peers, the influence that the Bay Shore resident has on the success of the running game far exceeds what you will in a weekend box score.

With these sentiments in mind, there is nothing more special or fitting then when the facilitator finally gets his moment to be the star.  And that occasion came to pass in the Cougar’s 51-6 win on September 22nd over Nazareth Regional.

Entering the week #3 contest having gained just 90 yards on 21 hand-offs (4.3/carry) this season, Spano would transform himself into an undeniable force, requiring only six touches to amass 200 yards (33.3 average).  Included in his career-day would be a 30yrd run in the second quarter that gave SJB a 21-0 lead.   He would also have a 93-yard blast to set up an additional score.

Not one to allow personal achievements to cloud the strong sense of “team” instilled in him by Coach Carusillo, Spano would continue to add to his reputation as a fierce “chaperone” for his fellow ball carriers.  With him serving as a human battering ram, Jayden Louis (60 yards on five carries) and Christian “Marvelous Mister” Maisel (38 yards on three hand-offs) each scored a pair of touchdowns…All in all, the West Islip based program accumulated 325 yards on the ground to improve to 2-1 this season.

The epitome of a “no job too small” philosophy, Spano rounded out his impressive day by doing solid work in all facets of special teams.


Joseph Costanzo (Sr.); LB – St. Anthony’s Friars

Our lone defensive player of the week recipient, the Friar senior checked off so many different boxes in the school’s 28-7 victory over Christ the King, last Saturday, that he made it impossible to ignore him.

Facing one of the most naturally gifted offenses anywhere in NYS that featured a running back holding a scholarship offer to the University of Michigan, a quarterback being actively watched by the likes of Penn State and Ohio, and several additional future college players at the other skill positions, the St. Anthony’s “D” would limit the Royals to no more than a  2nd quarter touchdown.

Showing himself to be a complete linebacker who is equally effective in both run and pass coverage, there wasn’t much more that the 5’11, 205-pounder could have done during week #3 to add to his statement-making afternoon.

Credited with 14 total tackles, Costanzo was a big reason why CTK’s highly routed tailback [Tirek Murphy], was kept to only 15 yards (on 8 carries) and the Middle Village school as a whole mustered only 78 yards gained on 27 attempts (2.7 average).

The STA 12th grader also shined in passing down situations, as he earned a quarterback sack and had one of two interceptions [Nick Espada accounting for the other pick] on the day for the boys from South Huntington.

Speaking of creating turnovers, the INT was one of just three change of possessions that Costanzo had a direct hand in bringing to fruition.  His truck-like hits to ball carriers also resulted in a pair of forced fumbles.

Now, as the Reichert-guided Friars inch closer to a week #4 rematch of last year’s triple-A title contest against a very diverse and athletic Stepinac offense (averaging 438.6 yards of total production), the D-unit will be counting on Costanzo to remain locked in…Should the front seven be successful in matching their intensity from last week, the Friars have every reason to feel confident about their prospects of improving to 4-0 in 2018.


CJ Riccobono (Jr.); RB/LB – Holy Trinity Titans

Back-to-back weeks that a Titan is being recognized, last time it was the muscle [John Stroughn] catching our eye, whereas today, we are pleased to acknowledge the finesse/skill [Riccobono] of the operation.

Turning the clock back to 2016, when Holy Trinity averaged over 37 points per game behind All-State tailback, Umari Taylor, the Tony Mascia-mentored cohort threw “half a hundred” on the scoreboard for the first time in two years this past Saturday in their 50-20 victory over St. Joseph’s by the Sea.

Providing the spark and further asserting himself as someone who is destined for present and future greatness was the junior tailback out of New Hyde Park, who maintained his workhorse status for a third straight weekend…Setting new career benchmarks for total carries (27) and yards gained [146] in the team’s second win of the season, Riccobono’s pair of touchdowns on the ground were two of the five in all that the Hicksville based school plunged into the end zone on September 22nd….He has now scored at least once in every appearance in 2018 and will head into the fourth week of the regular season riding a two-game two-touchdown streak…His 146-yard showing, which came as a follow-up to the 123-yard show he put on during week #2, made it consecutive 100+ games for the 5’9, 185-pounder.  To accomplish this twice in a matter of attempts, is a sign of a potentially revolutionary player.

Scoring both of his touchdowns in the 2nd quarter, Riccobono would turn a narrow 15-8 edge into a comfortable 29-8 half time advantage when he broke free on runs of 4 and 9 yards respectively to conclude the first 24 minutes of competition.

After three games, Riccobono’s [115.3/contest) 346 yards and five touchdowns both rank within the top-3 in the Double-A division.

Punching the clock on the defensive side of the ball to boot, Riccobono finished the game tied for 3rd on the team with five stops and earned his first sack of the season.   Playing their best game of the season, the front seven held the foes from Staten Island to a modest 2.2 yard/carry average (35 yards on 16 hand-offs).

Photo from SI Live

Michael Regan (Sr.); QB – Monsignor Farrell Lions

For those who do not put much stock in the saying, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish”, consider for a moment the day that the 6’5, 190-pound Lions signal caller [Regan] had this past Saturday in leading the Maroon & Gold to a 34-20 conquest on the road over Chaminade….Commencing the game by missing on his first three passing attempts, if you were to rush to judgement, you’d say that week #3 was not going to be a banner one for the Staten Island resident…YOU’D BE WRONG!!!

Calling it “The most efficient and complete performance” of Regan’s two-year varsity career, Head Coach, Anthony Garofalo, had nothing but praise for his field general, as he witnessed his team start the season 3-0 for a third year in a row.

Battling back from his initial struggles, Regan transformed himself from mortal to Marvel Comics character, as he was about as close to “Bullseye” as you could be for the remaining 3.5 quarters…Connecting on 13 of his final 14 attempts, the Lion co-captain hurled for 187 yards (3rd highest single-game total) and tied his personal best of three touchdown tosses in earning the first Player of the Week designation.

In synch with junior wide-out, Christian Tait (caught 10 of the 13 completions) all afternoon, Regan would double his team’s 7-0 lead in the second quarter when he found his teammate over the middle on a 16-yard strike for the first of their three hook-ups to make the score 13-0…Later in the quarter, it would a perfectly executed over-the-shoulder throw from approximately the same distance to make the score 20-0….The #10 to #13 TD trifecta would be capped off at the onset of the 3rd quarter and would be in response to the host Flyers’ touchdown on their first possession of the 2nd half, keeping the contest a three-score affair, 27-7.

Quite adept with his legs too, Regan was the furthest thing from one-dimensional last Saturday, as he tied his personal-best of nine carries and fell just short of a career-high in yardage (87 last season) with 80.

After completing 51.6 percent (79-for-153) of his passes for 892 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior, the “skyscraper in the pocket” is on track to obliterate his 2017 stat line, as he is currently sporting a 68.1 completion percentage (32-of-47), has already rocketed his way to 390 yards, and is just four TDs short of reaching double digits…His 156 yards on the ground puts him more than half way to the 310 he gained as an 11th grader.

Farrell will face their biggest test of the season thus far in week #4 when they go toe-to-toe with Cardinal Hayes…In their 51-48 loss to Iona Prep, the Cardinals secondary, which consists of several new faces, allowed 324 yards and four touchdowns.  Thus, unless they gelled in a hurry there could be openings to exploit for Regan and the MF receiving corps.

Sep 132018

This season the AA division features a new format since it has grown to 12 teams.  There will be 2 regional divisions, East & West consisting of 6 teams each.  Teams will play all of the teams in their respective region and then cross-over for 2 more AA Regular Season Games.  The top 4 from each region will then qualify for the AA Playoffs where the teams will be bracketed and cross over for playoff matchups (ie. 1 East v 4 West, 2 West v 3 East & 1 West v 4 East, 2 East v 3 West).

By Matt Diano:

Holy Cross

Head Coach

Tim Smith (4th Season As Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 5-4/Lost in the “AA” Quarterfinals, 26-22, to Xavier

2018 Overview

Now entering their second season as a “AA” program, the Green & Gold army would have a very strong regular season in 2017, earning the #3 seed for the postseason but ultimately getting bounced prematurely by a fired-up Xavier squad.

Gone in 2018 are many of the student-athletes who were paramount to the successes the Knights enjoyed last season.  Included in the lot of graduated seniors were a trio of state recognized warriors—Justin Felder (3rd Team RB), Mike Taylor (3rd Team DL), and Corey Allen (Honorable Mention Defensive Back)…Further subtractions from the roster were the likes of Tyler Hallerdin (second on the team with 129 rushing yards; contributed 27 tackles on defense), Brandon Orgill (tied for the team-lead with 16 receptions), Myles Taitt-Cooper (40 tackles; team-high 8 pass defenses), Thomas Tuohy (33 tackles, 4 PDs), and Russell Riescher (37 tackles, 2 QB bags).

What this means for Coach Tim Smith and his Knights is that it is more important than ever that those individuals who served in reserve roles a season, come into the new year fully prepared to battle.

In the midst of major roster turnover, if there is one position where the Knights do not have to fret, it will be under center where they will return their starter from 2017, senior, Michael Henglein.  As an 11th grader, the resident of Broad Channel, would have a productive campaign, completing 58-of-121 attempts (47.9%) for 932 yards and four touchdowns.   In fact, the only critique you could make of the 5’10, 181-pound field general is that he would like to limit turnovers (six INTs)…Without the safety net of a game-changing RB like Felder, it will force Henglein to take his game to the next level and serve as the poised composure that his band needs him to be in 2018.

Holy Cross 2017 College Commits

Losing the 1,600 yards (10th in NYS) and 21 TDs (9th) posted by Felder a season ago, Holy Cross will have to hope that senior, Chance Ward, can dig deep and find another level as he takes over as the most experienced tailback on the roster….As a junior, Ward, who at 5’10 and 195-pounds has the size and strength to barrel over defenders, would rush for 62 yards and be the only non-senior to score a TD on his 14 attempts.

Seth Orengo, who it should be noted, has been used in the past as a running option (7 carries for 41 yards) is the leader among returning players in receptions with 3 for 35 yards.  With the top-5 targets from last season now on to bigger and better, his numbers are sure to go up…Senior TE, Tyriek Dodd, only made one catch last season, but it went for 65 yards, so you know he has stretch the field potential.  At 6’5, 210, he should be able to establish position anytime he wants against smaller LBs and DBs.

With the majority of last year’s starting defense also consisting of seniors, there will not be much of an advantage to being on “D” as opposed to having possession.  In each case, Smith will be putting his faith in the hands of young men who will need to play with a chip on their shoulders to make up for what they lack in actual proven track record.

Perhaps the one trait that distinguishes the defense from the offense is that the former has a known foundation in the persons of linebackers extraordinaire, Donte Kenney and Joshua Rivera….Ranked 1st and 3rd on the team in total tackles last season with 81 and 49 respectively, the 12th grade duo also combined for four sacks (3 by Kenney)…As the expression says, as they go, so too will the remaining nine.

Floral Park resident, John Zarnowski (9 tackles, 1 interception), is the only other player who appeared to receive noticeable field time last season.  As such, he becomes the default commander of the back line.

Holy Trinity

Head Coach

Tony Mascia (28th Season at the School)

Last Season

Record: 1-7/Did not Qualify for the “AA” Playoffs

2018 Overview

A year removed from a disappointing 1-7 season, anyone who knows anything about Titan football is already keenly aware of the fact that last season was without question paradoxical….Under the leadership of Tony Mascia, who is approaching his third decade in Hicksville, Holy Trinity is not a program that is down often; and when they are down, it usually does not last particularly long….With these sentiments in mind, we would be incredibly surprised if we did not see a major bounce back from the Green & White army in 2018.

QB Ryan Razzano will lead the Titan offense

As the saying goes, “One’s team loss is another’s gain” and in the case of Holy Trinity, that gain will come in the person of senior quarterback, Ryan Razzano.  A two-year starter under center for McGann-Mercy before the school shut its doors this past June, while the circumstances surrounding his arrival are painful to any person who truly appreciates the value of a catholic education and wishes to see it survive, you likely won’t hear the Titans crying over it.  In fact, if anything, they will probably thank the Heavenly father for the sacrifice that has delivered them this dynamic dual-threat field general…Equally blessed in all of his appendages, the 5’10, 180-pounder from Manorville may only have this season to make his mark in the NYCHSFL, but from all the things we have heard, we feel confident he will succeed in becoming a household name.

In addition to the firepower that Razzano will bring to HT in all facets, the Titans will also welcome back their leading rusher from a season ago, senior Jalen Rivers.  As the program’s primary option in the ground game in 2017, the Westbury native would accumulate 247 yards on the ground and find the end zone on three occasions on 58 touches from scrimmage….Fellow seniors–Chris Porcaro, Jason Brown, Spencer Nixon—as well as emerging junior, CJ Riccobono, will all be called upon to provide that second wave of speed/power from the offensive backfield….Aside from Rivers, it is Riccobono, despite his young age, who possesses the most experience, carrying the ball 21 times for 48 yards as a sophomore in 2017…Porcaro and Brown combined for seven carries in their respective junior years; expect WAY MORE production from them in their final appearances as Titans.

True to the tradition, HT will again be incredibly stout on both the offensive and defensive lines…..Led by a trio of two-way seniors—-John Stroughn, MiAndre Hughes, and James Russo, Mascia and his staff are counting on an ability to own the trenches this season as a means of reversing their misfortune from last year…Now a year more mature and hopefully more brutal in their dominance, this threesome will unite with the likes of sophomores, Jonathan Morales and Elijah Tobin in spearheading an attack that will be hungry to improve upon the approximately 150 yards of total offense it averaged last season.

As noted above, a program that prides itself on developing their student-athletes into COMPLETE players, many of these same names above will be standouts on the defensive side of the ball as well.

Stroughn led all Titans in tackles last season with 63 (an average of 7.9/game) and added sack and four quarterback hurries to his resume….Rivers finished 2017 with 28 stops, two sacks, and four QB hurries of his own….Nixon was a known commodity from his LB position, making 27 tackles as a junior….Brown (21 tackles, 1 INT) and Porcaro (16 tackles) will join Rivers in solidifying the secondary.

Sophomore WR/CB Jaden Sinclair, and Junior TE/LB Brian Holder, were identified by Mascia as fresh faces on the varsity this season that could be quick to become playmakers.

Senior PK, Tim Kiggins (6-for-9 on PATs; 2-for-2 on FGs) will again be a trusted asset in putting points on the board for HT.

Kellenberg Memorial 

Head Coach

Kevin Hanifan (23rd Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 11-0/2017 NYCHSFL “AA” League Champions, defeating Fordham Prep, 54-19, in the title game

2018 Overview

Living proof that a championship season is never any further than a year away at any given time, the 2017 Firebirds went from winning one game in 2016 to being at the top of the AA mountain following a remarkable undefeated season (11-0). They were so dominant that they boasted both the top offensive and defensive units in the league….Out-scoring their foes by an astounding ratio of 425 to 150, the Hanifan mentored Marianists won every game by 10 or more points and really poured it on during championship weekend, defeating an incredibly talented Fordham Prep squad (featuring four All-State players, including the NYCHSFL’s career leader in passing yards and TD throws) by a lopsided score of 54-19.

While no coach ever wants to burden their team with the pressures of a repeat bid, the truth is that this KMHS squad possesses such a uniquely special group of returnees (have won titles in each of the past two years—JV in 2016; Varsity in 2017) that even if a single word was not uttered, the expectation is obvious that it cannot be ignored.

The owners of a mind-blowing running attack that accounted for 3,446 yards and 49 touchdowns a season ago, the Blue & Gold machine brings back their top-4 rushing options, including the “Red Headed Assassin”, Matt Sluka….One of the profiled student-athletes in last year’s preview, even with all of the flattery we gave him in the lead-up to his junior season, the Roslyn resident still managed to exceed even our grandest visions…A 2nd team All-State honoree in his first season as the Kellenberg starting signal caller, Sluka would lead all Empire State quarterbacks in rushing yards (1,619) and touchdown dashes (24).  In fact, his yardage total ranked him 7th overall regardless of position…And as if he was not already borderline invincible with his legs, let it be noted that he is pretty darn proficient with his arm as well.  Last season, he completed 61.3% of his pass attempts (57-for-93) and tossed an additional 10 TDs to have a hand in 34 of the team’s 61 total touchdowns….As icing on the cake, he successfully converted 32 of his 40 PAT tries to further add to his mind-blowing point total…With all of this in mind, it came as no surprise when he was named the 2017 AA Offensive Player of the Year.

Kellenberg returns both the AA Offensive & Defensive Players of the year in Dan Wilson & Matt Sluka

It is not out of the realm of possibility to think that Sluka could potentially win every game single-handedly, but thanks to the best “supporting cast’ in all of New York State, he is not going to have to even try…Instead, like a murder’s row, one-by-one, the likes of Frankie Roder, Jordan DeLucia, and Jake Deakin, will all take turns chewing up major yardage and finding the house time and time again….If not for playing on the same team and having to share carries any one of these three talented backs could have easily been an All-State candidate himself under different conditions…Roder was 2nd to Sluka in all major rushing categories for the Firebirds, concluding his junior year with 809 yards and 15 touchdowns on 120 carries….DeLucia, who missed four games during the season due to injury, was second on the team with an average carry of 11.2, accumulating 618 yards and scoring five times on his 55 handoffs….Deakin, who may only get spot touches this season as he takes on a greater responsibility as a starting linebacker, will no doubt be effective if/when his number does get called.  Carrying the ball 33 times in 2017, he gained 152 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.

When Sluka does decide to let the pigskin fly, he will do so knowing that three of the team’s top-4 receivers from last season will again be on the back end of the pitch and catch….Matthew Mongelli was #1 in all receiving categories as a junior in 2017, catching 17 balls for 426 yards and four touchdowns….Fellow rising senior, Sean Boll, would be second on the list, making nine grabs for 92 yards and one TD…DeLucia, who is a full-service RB, finished 4th on the team in catches with seven, but was so electrifying with the ball in his hands that three of those seven resulted in touchdowns.  He wrapped up 2017 with 203 receiving yards to give him over 800 yards of total contribution.

Anchoring the offensive line will be returning starter, Thomas Cipolla….Samir Umar, who saw time in a reserve role last season will be asked to step up and help Cipolla open up holes for the who’s who of KMHS running options referenced above.

Refusing to state a weakness, but saying that there is opportunity available for guys to emerge, the KMHS coaching staff will be faced with the task of replacing invaluable linemen in the persons of Center Pat Harinski (2017 All League), LT Brendan Higgins, OL/DL Brendan Whitehead (45 tackles/4 sacks; now playing collegiately at Sacred Heart) and DT Elijah Eddy (28 stops/1 sacks; currently playing for Pace), and you might as well throw LB Shawn Hughes (2017 AA Championship game Defensive MVP; 2nd on the team with 56 tackles in his senior year now playing at Western New England) into that mix as well….Seniors–Matt Olsen (22 tackles, 5 sacks) and Thomas Brzezinski (13 stops)—gained experience last season and should be counted on to do even more on the lines in their final season in Uniondale.

The graduation of defensive back extraordinaire, Aidan Fitzgerald (top-5 in NYS with six interceptions) is also a bit of a blow to the Kellenberg defense, but one that the coaching staff believes it can fill with the coming of age of their rising juniors and returning seniors…One name that is already circulating as the program’s next ball hawk is senior Alain Telfort.  As a junior, he recorded 14 tackles and an interception….Peter Taliercio (17 tackles, 1 sack, 3 pass defenses) is another name that opposing quarterbacks better best be aware of in the KMHS secondary.

The great news if you are a member of the Firebird faithful, is that while the new faces are learning to gell and/or grow into their increased roles, Kellenberg will be blessed with a consummate prime time performer in the person of reining AA Defensive Player of the Year, Danny WIlson…..The co-#1 overall student-athlete in the Kellenberg class of 2019, Wilson is exceptional in all endeavors.  A three-sport star who will play lacrosse at the United State Naval Academy, there is nothing on an athletic field/court that the Levittown native cannot and will do in order to ensure victory…..The team leader in both tackles (71) and sacks (9), what sets the future Midshipman apart from many of his peers is that his freak athleticism affords him the versatility to pretty much play any position on the field.   He is an unblockable pass rusher, a proficient run stopper, and if needed, is quick enough to drop back and become an extension of the secondary (had 3 pass break-ups in 2017)….Simply put, he Is to the defense, what Sluka is to the offense; a warrior that can take over the game whenever the occasion requires it.

St. Francis Prep 

Head Coach

Rich Carroll (3rd Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 5-5/Lost in the “AA” Semifinals, 41-14, to Fordham Prep

2018 Overview

Fresh off of their first winning season since 2013, when we proclaimed in last year’s preview that it was going to be a year of redemption for the Terriers, we were not kidding…Going from winless in Coach Rich Carroll’s first season at the helm to .500 in a year’s time, there is a momentum disseminating all throughout Fresh Meadows and we see every reason to think that 2018 is going to be next the next chapter in the climb back to the glory days of Carroll’s mentor, the legend, Vincent O’Connor.

A program that averaged nearly 186 yards per game and scored 18 touchdowns on the ground last season, there will be no slowing SFP down this year either, as the school returns two of their top-3 runners, have a senior who is one of their most improved players from one year to the next, and will welcome a potential impact sophomore who will turn some heads in his varsity debut.

Providing the 1-2 punch in the backfield for the Terriers will be junior quarterback, Omarion Jones, and senior tailback, Nazareth McFarlan….A human highlight film from under center, 5’9, 152-pound resident of Jamaica, Queens [Jones] led all St. Francis players in rushing yards last season, averaging 7.4 yard per carry to conclude the year with 580 yards and three touchdowns….A devil of a passer, in reference to the 666 yards he threw for as a 10th grader, Jones added seven more touchdowns to his total on 46-for-95.  Should he raise his completion percentage by 5-7 points, he will go from freak athlete playing QB to genuine all-purpose field general.

Coach Rich Carroll enters his 3rd year as Terriers Head Coach

McFarlan, who is a bona fide triple-threat as a runner, receiver, and kick returner, will be all kinds of dangerous in his final season wearing the Red & Blue jersey….Third on the team in 2017 with 401 rushing yards (5.6 average on 72 carries) and second with four TDs on the ground, the Queens Village product also enters the new season as the team leader in receptions from a year ago with 13 catches for 119 yards and 1 TD.   If you are not already sufficiently impressed, let it be known that he also averaged double digits as both a kick-off and punt returns.  The icing on the cake is that he plays on the other side of the ball too, and tied for the school lead with three interceptions as a junior.

Adding to the running options this season will be senior, Luca Capo, and 10th grader, Aubrey Mitchell….Getting spot carries last season, Capo totaled 60 yards and scored one touchdown on 16 rushing attempts.  With the likes of Chris Auricchio (423 yards, 7 TDs) and Marc Anthony Dalce (222 yards) having graduated, Capo’s work load will increase drastically.

In staying with what we suggested regarding Jones incorporating more of a balanced approach in his arsenal, McFarlan will be complemented by fellow seniors, William Manderson (WR) and Christopher Hine (TE).

At the time of publication, the final details on offensive line personnel were still being ironed out, but we are sure that whomever gets the call to block for the talented assortment of gentlemen above will do a fine job opening the holes and providing a clean pocket.

There will be a certain degree of crossover between the two sides of the ball as guys like McFarlan, Jones (18 tackles, 3 INTs), and Manderson (15 tackles) will again be a part of the defensive backfield rotation…Senior CB, Jaylen Velez (47 tackles, 1 sack) and Junior center fielder/FS, Robert Padavona will be another name to focus on in the secondary.

The linebacking corps will be faced with replacing several graduated seniors who were the lifeblood for the defense last season—3rd Team All-State selection, Shawn Bendeck (8th in NYS with 121 tackles), Dalce (67 stops), and Auricchio (31 tackles, team leading 3 sacks)…While It was expected to be a battle until the opening whistle to determine who would step in to fill this voids, one name that was mentioned with a lot of weight behind it was that of sophomore newcomer, Daniel Chung…..Seniors, Matthew Galante (6 tackles) and Christian Bahr-Lopez (10 stops) are a little undersized, but are listed on the roster as LBs and do have 2017 game experience in which to fall back on.

Max Cassamajor and Xavier Castro, who recorded 22 and 13 tackles respectively and combined for two sacks, will be the anchors of the defensive line…Flauderson Fergilus (10 tackles as a sophomore) could/should see additional reps as an 11th grader.

St. John the Baptist  

Head Coach

Ralph Carusillo (5th Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 3-6/Lost in the “AA” Quarterfinals, 35-6, to Fordham Prep

2018 Overview

Much like Holy Trinity, the Cougars of St. John the Baptist are a program that is not accustomed to a losing a season….Runners-up in 2014 and semifinalists in 2015 and 2016, in his time at the helm of the West Islip located program, Head Coach Ralph Carusillo has cultivated a culture of winning, hard-nose football.  It is an attitude that permeates through the souls of every student-athlete he coaches and because of it, even when the chips seemed to be down, SJB has always found a way to make something happen….Winners of three of their last four regular season games in 2017, as small a feat as this may appear, the fact that momentum was able to be established could prove to be a great omen for the Cougars as they head into the 2018 season.

Gone to graduation might be the team’s #1 (Daniel Parker; 762 yards/6 touchdowns) and #3 leading rushers (Michael Palermo II; 457 yards/2 TDs), but thanks to the coming of age/development of some of their role players from a year ago, coupled with a major position change or two, the St. John the Baptist staff expressed nothing but confidence as they attempt to bounce back from last year’s 3-6 tally.

A school that is famous for its ground attack, the Cougars will turn to Jayden Louis, Bobby Spano, and David Amelemah to keep the tradition of rushing excellence alive for another season…Among this group, Spano possesses the most experience, running for just under four yards per carry (67 yards) on 17 hand-offs last season….Amelemah gained 33 yards on 13 rushing attempts, and Louis, who was only a frosh last season, appeared to be the most naturally explosive, finishing the season with 22 yards on his 5 rushing attempts….Another name that you cannot sleep on given his imme

nse ability to make things happen with the ball in his hands is senior, Nick Delcore…SJB’s starting QB during his junior campaign, Delcore will make the transition over to wide receiver in 2018, but it would not shock us to see the occasional reverse being run given his effectiveness with his legs.   Delcore finished last season second on the team in rushing yards with 491 and scored four touchdowns.  Hence, it is hard to imagine him not being used in some capacity as a running option during the course of the season….Larrry Conde, who was referenced as being in the DL rotation on the other side of the ball could be an insurance policy should any of the names above falter or get injured.  Aside from Delcore, Conde is the only player on the Cougar roster to reach 100 yards on the ground in 2017, concluding the year with 121 on 28 carries.

While we are still expecting a heavy dose of running, the addition of Nicholas Mazziotti as the new field general could certainly open up the passing game a bit more…Carusillo has certainly made more than a fair effort to surround his first-year varsity QB with an assortment of capable targets….The group will feature the previously mentioned Delcore, but Christian Maisel (1 catch for six yards as a freshman) is an individual who the coaches feel is ready to take on more responsibility from the tight end position.  Look for him to definitely become more visible within the offense in his sophomore season.

Coach Carusillo enters his 5th Season as Head Coach

Calling strength (so prevalent that Carusillo mentioned it twice) one of the characteristics of this year’s group, anyone who has followed SJB football over the year’s knows that it does not get much stronger than the average Cougar lineman….Listing three two-way linemen among his key players, the onus will fall on Jack Standwill, Matthew Stroble, and Jacob Carman to be human road graters….Mark Pillitteri, Alan Rodriguez, Thomas Jaycox, and Nicholas Rohrs will all provide depth and additional manpower to the O-line.

Defensively, Tim Gasparik (MLB) and Anthony Ermelino (OLB), as well as Jeremy DeJesus (OLB), DE Anthony Bossone, DT Nickolas Licata, and the tandem of Sebastian Lebron/Jacob Melendez will be among the prominent performers you are just learning about…Gasparik finished 2nd on the team last season with 77 total tackles (9.6/game); Ermelino notched 39 stops and added .5 sack; Licata made 33 tackles and had an interception.

Rounding out the remainder of the impact players on “D” will be some individuals already mentioned—-Conde (DE; 32 tackles/1.5 sacks), Amelemah (CB; 50 tackles/2 INTs), Maisel (4 tackles as a reserve strong safety), and Delcore (FS; credited with 1 tackle last year)



Head Coach

Chris Stevens (17th Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 5-7/Lost in the “AAA” Semifinals, 28-7, to Kellenberg Memorial

2018 Overview

Perennial semifinalists who won it all in 2015, it takes a special kind of player to suit up for Coach Chris Stevens.  An unapologetic throwback to the golden age of the sport, when Stevens is your coach, you are going to learn how to embrace the grind and what the definition of toughness truly is.

Underdogs the past two years, no matter what their record might be heading into the postseason, the Knights are usually the last team you ever want to see in a quarterfinal game.   In a day and age that has seen the game become overly reliant on big yardage plays, what we like about Xavier is that they have proven that you do not need freak athletes in order to enjoy a winning tradition.  On the contrary, as we learned from the story of the “Tortoise and the Hare,” slow and steady when executed diligently can also be a victorious formula.   In other words, why break for a 70-yard run and constantly makE your defense work overtime, when you have the option of pounding out 15 to 20 play drives that eat up clock and dissect the will of the opposition.

All of the above having been stated, there are no turtles on this year‘s roster and the Knights sure as heck will not be underdogs in 2018…After two years of sub-500 seasons, this season will be one where the boys of West 16th Street reaffirm themselves as an upper-echelon school with visions of Gatorade baths and trophy ceremonies.

An offense that rarely throws the ball, on the few occasions that is becomes necessary to air it out, senior, Evan Murphy, is the likely choice to be the person who undertakes this responsibility.  Having never attempted a varsity pass prior to last week, the 6’2, 185-pounder from the Big Apple went a perfect 3-for-3 for 66 yards in the 2018 opener.

Stepping in for last season’s workhorse, Jonathon Geruso (16th in the NYS with 1,640 yards; 14 touchdowns) will be an ensemble of adept rushers who together could/should surpass last year’s ground production of 2,342 yards and 20 touchdowns…At the top of this wealthy list of potential backs will be the team’s #2 rusher from a season ago, Demetrios Demetriades (team-best 6.2 yards per carry on his 67 handles to finish his junior year with 422 yards and two TDs)…Fellow senior, Daniel Vittiburga, will also enter the new year with some valuable game experience, as he carried the pigskin 28 times for 78 yards and took it to the promised land on two occasions as an 11th grader…Furthermore, the graduation of one Geruso just means there will be more opportunity for another, as now it will be junior, Matt [Geruso] who will be featured in the backfield…Murphy too (25 yards on 8 carries) is no stranger when it comes to looking for a hole to exploit.

The Knights feel they have what it takes to get in Championship form like they did in 2015

Once again, because air strikes are not prevalent within the scheme they incorporate, there is no designated go to target for the Knights.  In many cases, the same personnel you see running the ball will also showcase their versatility by acting as pass catchers…The perfect examples of this from last week were senior, Kevin Connolly, and junior, Frank Bernie…Connolly would run the ball once (for a gain of 34 yards) but proved to be most valuable as a receiver, as he was on the back end of 2/3 of Murphy’s completions to end week #1 with 66 yards courtesy of his hands…Bernie had a 12-yard run complemented by a 5-yard catch.

If ball-control and time of possession are characteristics of the offense, then the staple of the “D” is an unrelenting desire to take the field every weekend with a mission of allowing negative yards of total offense…During the championship season of 2015, a weekly theme on the players of the week piece was a Knight defensive player who racked up double digit tackles and had a hand in pitching a shutout…And, having already earned one goose-egg in the first weekend of the season, we truly are of the opinion that the 2018 Xavier defense is going to live up to the standard of excellent that Stevens has instilled.

Filled with returning talent anywhere you look, of the top-11 tacklers in 2017, eight are back to go it again this season.

The Grand Marshall of the hit parade for a second consecutive season will be last year’s leader in stops, Valery Gwardyak, who made 79 tackles as a junior…The Staten Island boy, in association with Mitchell Robinson (29 tackles, 1 sacks, 2 PDs) will set the tone for the LBs…Junior, James Donaldson, is a newcomer who should compete immediately for playing time.

John Walsh (54 tackles, 1 sack), Milton Guzman (39 tackles; co-team-high 3 sacks), and Jordan Sosa (38 tackles; also had 3 sacks), all had monster junior seasons along the DL…Giovanni Bernie (13 tackles), also entering his last season as a Knight, will see his role increase in 2018.

Connolly (3rd on the team with 65 tackles), and his senior classmates, Langston Williams (44 tackles, 2 sacks, team-best 2 INTs), Murphy (8 tackles, 1 pass break-up, and Demetriades (29 stops, 2 PDs), will unite with talented junior Christopher Mafuffi in locking down the secondary.

The 2017 Xavier junior varsity were the 2017 league champions.  So, while some members of the youth movement were noted, let it known that we are without hesitation stating that a multitude of other rookies will become household names by the time we flip to November on the calendar.   

Sep 132018

This season the AA division features a new format since it has grown to 12 teams.  There will be 2 regional divisions, East & West consisting of 6 teams each.  Teams will play all of the teams in their respective region and then cross-over for 2 more AA Regular Season Games.  The top 4 from each region will then qualify for the AA Playoffs where the teams will be bracketed and cross over for playoff matchups (ie. 1 East v 4 West, 2 West v 3 East & 1 West v 4 East, 2 East v 3 West).

By Matt Diano:

Fordham Prep

Head Coach

Pat Deane (1st Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 10-2/Lost in the “AA” Championship Game, 54-19, to Kellenberg Memorial

2018 Overview

Not the official the slogan they will use this season, but when looking for a theme for this year’s Ram squad, the David Bowie song, “Changes” immediately came to our mind.  As the lyric goes, “Ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange.”  And for Fordham Prep fans, it does not need to be said that when they look over at the sideline this season, it will be mighty peculiar to no longer see the likes of Matt Valecce (four-year starting QB/3x All-State selection), Will Loffredo (2x All-State WR), Liam McHale (5th Team All-State WR), Joseph Petti (2017 “AA” Lineman of the Year; 1st team All-State), or Head Coach, Pete Gorynski.

A team that featured many two and/or three-year starters on both sides of the ball, the validity of the situation is that Fordham Prep is a program that was built to go all the way last season.  And by coming short of that goal in 2017, they now must endure a transitional period as they fall from hunted to hunter status.

The Rams look to replace record breaking QB Matt Valecce

Entering unchartered waters as they attempt to replace one of the statistically greatest high school football players the Empire State has ever seen, it is unreasonable and unfair to ask or expect that the successor at QB to sling the ball the way the current Boston College freshman [Valecce] did during his four years under center.   2nd All-time in career passing yards (10,027) and 3rd in touchdowns thrown (112), the living legend has left the stadium…Supplanting the departed icon will be the man who served as his back-up last season, Derek Bufano.  Used sparingly during his junior season, when the 6’0, 165-pounder did get the opportunity to throw, he showcased accuracy…Possessing a shorter, more nimble body type, the Cortland Manor resident may bring a different component to the quarterback position this season as he should present more of a challenge to opposing defenses as a scrambling, dual-threat operator.

While Bufano is getting his proverbial feet wet and establishing a rapport with his wide outs, do not be surprised if early in the season, you see the offense concentrated on more of a ground attack.  Not that there are many benefits to losing a player the caliber of Valecce, but one is that now there is likely more of a freedom to utilize a balanced game plan on offense…If/when this shift in philosophy does occur, a name that has emerged as a possibility to be the lead tailback is junior, Zach Wallace.  Known last season for his work on the other side of the ball as a starting member of the secondary, Wallace is such a natural athlete that there is a confidence that if you get the ball into his hands, he will be able to make things happen.  In his only carry as a sophomore, he would suffer a three-yard loss.  But, despite humble beginnings, we truly foresee him developing into a major asset as a ball carrier….Another 11th grader, Michael Adair, is said to have made a positive impression on the new coaching staff and will also find himself in the mix for carries…Sophomore, Matthew McKillop, is a budding star, who may not get the bulk of touches this season, but will strive to make the most of every chance he gets.

Undeniably the most lethal pass catching trio in the state last year (and for my money, of all-time), the graduations of McHale (2nd in NYS with 73 receptions; 5th in receiving yards with 1,014), Loffredo (3rd in NYS with 69 catches; 8th with 944 receiving yards; 3rd with 14 TD grabs), and Thomas Walsh (20th with 43 catches; 9th in receiving yards with 914; 6th in TD snatches with 13) means that of the 226 completions, 3,333 yards, and 41 TDs generated by the Ram aerial fireworks, 185 completions, 2872 Yards, and 36 TD’s disappear…Thankfully for Coach Deane, wide receiver on East Fordham Road is like cornerback at Florida State in that the cupboard never runs empty…After waiting his turn to be “the man” out wide, senior, Jack Goodkin, will finally be afforded the chance to shine.  Making 21 catches for 259 yards and three scores as a junior, the 5’11, 200-pounder is a lock to increase those number exponentially this season…Complementing Goodkin will be another appealing and proven target, fellow 12th grader, Devin Pettus (TE).  In his junior season, the 6’4, 190-pounder caught 10 balls for 114 yards and two touchdowns…Keeping with the pattern of seniors who will light up the stat sheet this season, do not sleep on a guy like Matthew McCarthy.  Despite only making one grab as an 11th grader, the coaching staff is high on him and are anticipating a very productive season…Junior, Owen Loffredo, will take the first steps in carving out a legacy of his own, as he enters 2018 equipped to add to the family name.

This year’s offensive line may not have a brutalizer like Petti (currently playing at the U.S. Naval Academy), but they do have senior leadership, as Andre Villarba (5’8, 230) and Brendan Kennedy (6’2, 230) return as starters off of a unit that did the dirty work and laid the tracks for 4,409 yards of total offense and 51 touchdowns.

Shifting gears to the defensive side of the field, the Fordham Prep is blessed to be returning a wealth of student-athletes who either started or at the very least, logged considerable turf time in 2017.

Directing the “D” will be two of the team’s leading tacklers from a season ago, George Gaspar, and Goodkin….Both dominant front seven players, Gaspar was the overall top stopper as a junior, making 80 tackles to go along with 1 sack…Goodkin, who was a thorn in the side of opposing quarterbacks, led the Rams in QB bags last season with four.  The two-way stud also contributed 53 tackles in total…Junior, Liam O’Shea (20 stops), and seniors, William Woods (19 tackles) bring additional toughness and know-how to the DL/LB…Sophomore, Mike Rice, and seniors, Merrick Staff and Arthur Long, could materialize as the unsung heroes of the Frpnt 7.

The last line of defense will be patrolled by incumbent senior starters, James McGaughan (51 tackles; tied for a team-high 2 INTs) and Wallace (21 stops)…Two more 12th graders, Quinn English (13 tackles), Jack Andreana, will also be called upon to be ball hawks in the defensive backfield.


Moore Catholic

Head Coach

Nick Giannatasio (Beginning his 3rd as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 2-7/Did not Qualify for the AA playoffs last season

2018 Overview

A program that was forced to pay their dues a bit last season in their introduction to the Double-A scene, no matter their win/loss record from a year ago, we find it impossible to forget about the shear athleticism and talent that we saw out of a group of freshmen and sophomores two years ago when they cruised to the “A” Division crown….Now that these same studs are upperclassmen and have had a full year to make the necessary transition to the higher level of competition, we see no reason why 2018 cannot be a statement year for the Mavericks and their third-year Head Coach, Nick Giannatasio.

Returning beaucoup talent on both sides of the ball for a team that with the exception of one or two games was in every contest they played in 2017, there is absolutely justification in our claims that last year’s 2-7 can easily be transformed into 10-2 if things breaks the right way for MC.

Justin Lacks was ‘A’ Championship Game MVP in 2016, he looks to get the Mavericks back to Championship Weekend this year

Starting with “Mr. Reliable”, the consummate “never take a weekend off”, “watch what I do next” playmaker, junior Justin Lacks, you know that Moore Catholic is going to have one of the most potent ground attacks in the NYCHSFL this season….Invited to participate in the Army All-American Combine, which is an honor bestowed on the top-600 underclassmen in the country, the 6’0, 215-pound Adonis already has two 1,000+ yard seasons on his resume.  A fab frosh when the team claimed their aforementioned “A” crown, Lacks would run for 1,058 yards and score 14 touchdowns in 2016.  Last year, as a follow-up act, he embraced the role of work horse, taking 243 of the team’s 279 handoffs and gaining 1,251 yards, and adding 11 more TDs….A former 5th team All-State selection, Lacks has the undeniable ability to take over the game by himself….On the rare occasion that Lacks may need a breather, senior, Mausari Miller is more than capable of complementing the running game…Known more for his stellar play at LB, two years ago, Miller rushed for 347 yards and four touchdowns on just 66 carries (5.3 average).  In 2017, his offensive numbers would decrease because of a lack of opportunity.   However, he still averaged over three yards per carry when presented with the chance to take a handoff.

Aiding the MC ground attack will be an offensive line consisting of four MASSive returning starters.  We chose to emphasis the “mass” because on size alone, opposing defenses may want to go to church and pray that this group does not surpass IHOP as the leading producers of pancakes in New York State….Commencing with three-year starting LT, Ted Kushi (6’6, 330 pounds), the OL also features Deonte Jackson (6’7, 340), Craig Sorrenti (5’11, 255), and center AJ Curran (260)…It is most certainly a means of intimidation when you consider that sophomore, Matt Heinemann, who was an outstanding two-way lineman on the Junior Varsity level last season, is the runt of the litter at “only” 250 pounds.

Providing further ammunition to what is clearly shaping up to an explosive offense will be another three-year starter, QB Vincenzo Scarola….A proficient pocket passer, in his first two seasons running the show for the Mavericks, the 6’1, 180-pounder has thrown for an average of 811.5 yards/year and has totaled 14 (7 in each season) TD hurls.

Scarola will enter his senior year without his favorite target, as the team’s leader in all receiving categories in 2016 and 2017, Zach Hampton, graduated last June….However, in addressing the WR position, Giannatasio appeared quite comfortable with the depth he had out wide….Senior, Nicholas Melo (5 grabs for 57 yards and 1 TD) is the most established of the unit, but you can expect to see significant production from junior, Cameron Holmes, who saw time last season on defense at LB, but will focus more on the offensive end as an 11th grader…..Anthony Perlongo had a solid sophomore year on the JV and looks ready to contribute from the opening whistle on varsity…..Freshman, Deshawn Lawton, has wasted little time in securing the favor of his head coach.  The 5’8, 155-pound 9th grader has big things awaiting him in the future.  The only question is whether the future is really the present.

The defense, led by the previously recognized All-League LB, [Masauri] Miller (team-leading 71 tackles; 2.5 sacks), will not be hurting for experienced, steady playmakers…..Other names that will remain on your tongues all season will be Artie Padilla (LB), Jafar Sannie (CB), and Nashaun Defy (DE)….Padilla (64 tackles, 2 sacks) finished 2nd to Miller in total stops made last year; Sannie, who enters his third season starting in the defensive backfield, was third on the team with 39 tackles….Defy (14 stops last season) will be the leader of the down linemen this season.

The remainder of this slightly undersized, but speedy “D” will be comprised of a few two-way players—Melo (Safety; 16 tackles in 2017) and Holmes (16 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble caused)–but for the most part will rely on young men looking to carve out a name for themselves….Sixx Johnson, who played most of last season on JV, but did earn a promotion at the end of the year, had five tackles in his short time on the varsity.  He will be a cherished partner to Padilla at ILB….Kris Bryant (4 tackles a season ago), tips the scales at 270 pounds and will counted on to be a space-eater in the middle of the DL….Freshmen twins, Mustafa and Mozion Khayyam, will be afforded the privilege of starting right out of the gate at DE and safety….Junior, Stephen Gerwer, rounds out the secondary.


Mount St. Michael Academy

Head Coach

Mario Valentini (Beginning his 35th Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 4-6/Lost in the “AA” Quarterfinals to St. Francis Prep, 32-14

2018 Overview

A top-4 team during the regular season in 2017, when the Mountaineers step onto the field every weekend, the one thing you always know, is that you are about to be hit with some of the most explosive athleticism of anyone in NYS.

A program that averaged close to 300 (294.2) yards per game on the ground last season, if you are counting on them slowing down even an iota in 2018, THINK AGAIN!

Coach Valentini is one of the longest tenured and most successful coaches in the league

Headlining the offense for yet another year will be the program’s star tailback, senior, Conrad Perry.  As an 11th grader, Perry was one of the most potent backs in the league, regardless of division, averaging 118.8 yards per game (1,188 total) and scoring touchdowns….Of the 10 games played by MSM a season ago, Perry would exceed 100 yards in half of them, including a mind-blowing 253-yard effort during a regular season triumph over St. Francis Prep in October….While the passing game is not necessarily their forte, let it be gone that Perry’s three catches from a season ago, also makes him the team’s returning leader in the category.  Hence, he certainly has the capacity to be utilized as a full-service back should the moment call for it….Tyrek Ogilvie, who has put up some mighty fast times as a sprinter on the Track & Field squad, could emerge as another speedy threat out of the backfield.

Complementing the star tailback will be a first-year starting QB in the person of Ason Rutledge.  An individual who did not get the opportunity to play much under center while sitting behind Marquise Jimenez (707 rushing yards, 11 TDs).  When identifying his team’s strengths, Coach Valentini expressed the utmost confidence in Rutledge.  This leads us to believe that he sees those special qualities in him that he saw in his predecessor….Seeing action predominantly as a defensive back last season, if there was one area where we received a glimpse of what Rutledge is able to do when the ball is in his hands, it was a kick returner where he routinely posted 20+ yard efforts.

In addition to the two primary skill positions, the 35th year Head Coach [Valentini] also praised/spoke extremely well of the young men he is counting on to control both lines of scrimmage….Anchored by a senior foursome consisting of Antonio Corrado (OT) Anthony Sotomayo (OT), Tariq Azwin (OG), and Kerwin Gonzalez in the middle, what the unit lacks in size, they make up for with toughness and fight….240-pound Sophomore, Theo Fraser, could be used to provide a little bulk to the OL, but will mostly star on the other side of the ball as a DT.

Corrado (the leader among returning players with 51 tackles) will join fellow 12th grader, Dominick Morety (22 tackles, 2 sacks) at DE, while Fraser will clog the hole alongside Delano Muir, who recorded 15 tackles last season as a sophomore.

Senior, Corinthian Black, will embrace greater responsibility as he will provide the foundation of the linebacking corps for the Mountaineers. Rutledge (FS; 25 tackles in 2017) will team up with cornerback, Justin Manzanet (who will also see time as a WR on offense), and strong safety, Jamar Simmons (11 tackles in his junior season) in making life difficult on opposing quarterbacks.

St. Joseph’s By the Sea 

Head Coach

Mike Corona (4th Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 3-6/Lost in the “AA” Quarterfinals, 27-6, to Kellenberg Memorial

2018 Overview

A program that has hovered around the .500 mark during Corona’s tenure, when talking about this year’s squad, the emphasis on the word “leadership” is one that caught our eye and made us believe that a breakthrough could be instore for the Vikings in 2018.

While the Staten Island based school did suffer some losses at the skill positions (their starting quarterback, their top-2 running backs; top-3 receiving options, and several key players on defense), there is an optimism on Hylan Blvd because of hard work and cross training in other sports (ex-wrestling) that the returning student-athletes committed to in the hopes of breaking through and putting the rest of the “AA” on notice….This is a team that if you rely on last year’s stat line may not blow you away on paper, but because of their coach’s confidence and their ability to get better as the year goes, you cannot help but feel encouraged by.

Citing the vast experience of the offensive line as a catalyst for success this season, the Vikings bring back All-League OT, Danny Doyle, who at 6’4, 265-pounds is going to present a challenge to any D-lineman that dare try to get the better of him…..James Colesanti  and Peter Sitaras who will star at guard and center respectively this year were also among the standout players that Corona made a point of mentioning when identifying the players who he foresees having huge seniors….Dylan Bille and Anthony Cretella are among the role players from last year who are primed to become key components this season; and Paul Quick is expected to be the top newcomer and an immediate contributor at OG.

SJS calls Viking Park home

Following a year where he was utilized as a Tight End, Francesco Arlia, will be called upon in his senior season to take over the primary running duties… As a TE in 2017, he showcased some very nice hands, making 10 grabs for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise if SJS decides to use him in a dual capacity….He would also get the occasional opportunity to demonstrate his prowess as a  ball carrier, as he averaged 5.1 yards on his 10 rushing attempts…Senior, Patrick Perry, whose main responsibility this season will be to set the example in the defensive backfield, could spotlight a bit on offense as well.  After all, next to Arlia, it is the 5’10, 165-pounder that possesses the most experience…..Rick Ferrigno Jr. who did not get a single handoff in 2017 is another name that Corona suggested could surface out of the backfield.

The battle for signal caller duties will be between a returning varsity back-up, David Maj, and one of fresh faces with the biggest upside, Jackson Tucker…Per an interview he conducted with, Corona expressed that whomever wins the job will be expected to display poise in his craft, “getting the ball to the right teammate at the proper moment.”

While the quarterback situation is getting worked out prior to the start of the season, one tidbit that has already been clearly ironed out is that the person who wins the QB1 job is going to have no shortage of talented and hungry receivers to feed….Junior TE, Nick Ruvolo, is SJS’s returning leader in balls caught last season, making 20 grabs for 292 yards and one touchdown….Ryan Simermeyer, who shares a last name with the team’s top receiver from a season ago [Chris; currently playing at Pace], will be in position where there is a lot of pressure to live up to the reputation of his family.  In 2017, the younger Simermeyer caught three passes for 23 total yards. At 6-foot-4, “Sim” is going to be an ideal target in the red zone on jump balls….Also making three grabs last season was Ryan Nicholaou, who ended 2017 with 19 yards as a receiver…..Senior, Joe Gallo (2 catches for 13 yards) is the only other player on the current roster with a varsity catch credited last year…..Adding further depth to the receiving corps will be Aiden Ryan, impact newcomers, Vincent Vazquez, TE Kyle Gaor, and Greg Ciauri.

Turning our attention to defense, Corona called this year’s DL one of the strongest he has ever had since taking the wheel as skipper of the Vikings ship….300-pound DT, Mike Falco is the heart of the unit, complemented by Chris Matera and Michael Angelone…Rookie, Sean Ruane, had a good camp and will fight for reps from the get-go.

Sitting at the head of the table and setting the example for the linebackers will be the young men who rank 1st and 2nd on the team among returning players in tackles made a season ago….Both penciled in as Mike LBs, Frank Ambrosino (24 stops) and Mike Cottone (13 tackles, 1 sack) are guaranteed to far exceed last year’s level of production…..Look for Nick Gagliardi and Dom Buser to hold down the fort on the outside….Corey Tehe and Brett Sciascia add to the horsepower.

As noted above, Perry is the featured air traffic controller of the secondary, but will receive major support from Devin Barros, Giovanni Adekoya, Jesse Addesso, and Justin Alexander among others.


St. Peter’s

Head Coach

George Mahoney (1st Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 2-8/Lost in the “AAA” Quarterfinals, 50-14, to Cardinal Hayes

2018 Overview

2018 will witness the commencement of a new era in Eagles’ football as George Mahoney will transition from his role as the program’s Special Team’s Coordinator to that of Head Coach following the decision of Mark DeCristoforo to step down in January, citing a desire to have more family time.

The presence of a new sideline leader will be accompanied by a few additional changes as the Staten Island based unit will welcome a new offensive scheme, as well as attempt to make an immediate impact in their return to “AA” following several prosperous years (semifinalists in 2014 and 2015) as a triple-A school.

One individual who is expected to play a significant role in captaining STP’s title ambitions is senior quarterback, Sonny Badyna, who was one of the most prolific passers in the Empire State in 2017, throwing for 1,681 yards (19th best in NYS) on 115-for-202 (56.9&), including 13 touchdown throws….The 6’2, 180-pound resident of Brooklyn averaged over 210 yards passing per game last season, which ranked him in the top-15 among all New York State signal callers.

As talented as he is, there might be a bit of an adjustment period for Badyna under center as he will have to learn to establish a rapport with some new primary weapons following the departures of the team’s two leading receivers—-Chris Ledlum (40 catches, 684 yards, 6 touchdowns) and Frank DiMattina (30 balls caught, 478 yards, 4 scores)….Ledlum, who is as gifted on the hardwood as he is on the gridiron, elected to focus on his basketball career by transferring to Northfield Mount Hermon, while DiMattina graduated last year and is currently in his freshman season at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

QB Sonny Badyna

Gone from last year is also the team’s leading rusher, Andre Hines Jr.  Following a monster sophomore campaign that saw him rush for 561 yards and seven touchdowns on 114 carries (4.9 per carry average), Hines Jr. made the decision to transfer to perennial NYC powerhouse Erasmus Hall for his final two seasons of scholastic eligibility.

But, while it goes without saying that these are some serious absences, the good news is that Mahoney seems more than confident that he has found the student-athletes who are more than ready to step up and into those gigantic shoes….One such emerging stud is senior tailback, Justin Pisapia, who will not just be wearing #1 on his jersey, but who is also being counted on to be the number one option out of the backfield in the ground game….Getting just three carries during his junior year, Pisapia might be unproven, but that just means that it will be all the more thrilling when he enjoys a breakout swan song campaign….Fellow 12th grader, Scott Bruggeman, who was listed as a linebacker on last year’s roster and was not credited with a single touch on offense, could reap the benefits of a position change as he will make the conversion over to fullback.

Juniors—Vincenzo Quinzi, Liam Grapes, and Nick Della Pioli, will be among a handful of receivers who will look to be on the back end of Badyna’s potent hurls….Frank Cullen (12 catches for 134 yards) and Mike Hoffler (10 grabs, 121 yards, 1 TD) are expected to have their presence felt more on the defensive end (at OLB and DE respectively), but cannot be counted out on the offensive side of the ball after catching double digit passes last season….Sophomore TE, James Clark, was highlighted by his head coach as one of the young men promoted from last year’s junior varsity who could be contribute right away on offense.

Serving as an anchor to the team will be an offensive line that returns three starters—Pete Sluder, Anthony Casillo, and Anthony Gatti….Hailed as one of the strengths of the 2018 cohort, the Eagles averaged close to 320 yards of total offense behind these behemoths.  Averaging approximately 272 pounds among themselves, this trio could be a wrecking crew in the trenches this season.

In addition to the previously referenced Cullen and Hoffler (18 tackles, 2 sacks in 2017), the stars of the Eagles’ 3-4 defense will be Nick Slofkiss and Sean Badon along the D-line, complemented by linebackers Joe Montalvo, Tom Bossert, and Matt Aprile….Derek Rosenow (DE) and Luke Jakubauskas (OLB) join Aprile as youngsters with the chops to make their first varsity season a memorable one.

Strong safety, Joe Ramos (23 tackles, 1 pick), will enter his junior year as the linchpin of the defensive secondary.  Praised by Mahoney as “the enforcer” of the group, the 6’2, 180-pounder [Ramos] will team up with Anthony Moscatiello, James Langan, and John Martello in creating a no fly line….Senior, Eric Torres, will add depth to the defensive backfield.    

Senior placekicker, Nick Guglielmo, who went a perfect 18-for-18 on PAT attempts and connected on his lone field goal attempt in 2017, will be a very reliable force in the special team’s aspect of the game.



Head Coach

Michael Jioia (6th Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 8-3/Lost in the “A” Finals, 20-18, to Cardinal Spellman

2018 Overview

A mere 25 seconds away from hoisting the “A” hardware for the second time in the past three years, surely not a day has gone by where the Clipper student-athletes have not replayed in their heads the sequence of events that saw their rivals, Cardinal Spellman, emerge with a 20-18 victory on Mitchel Field last November.

Perennial “A” Division finalist who have reached the title game in four of the past five seasons (2016 being the exception), the boys from Brooklyn head into the 2018 season looking to embrace a new challenge, as they will make the jump up to AA this season.

Stacked with returning talent on both sides of the ball, the 2017 “A” regular season champions are not going to have to look far at all to find an individual capable of impacting the game at any and every moment.

At the forefront of their potential offensive juggernaut will be dynamic backfield duo of tailback, Roberto Auguste (2017 NYCHSFL “A” Offensive Player of the Year recipient), and signal caller, James Resker….In last year’s preview, we hailed Auguste as the “single biggest offensive weapon in the A Division” and he lived up to that praise, rushing for 1,196 yards and 14 touchdowns on just 161 carries (7.4/carry average).  On six separate occasions in 2017, Auguste equaled or surpassed the 100-yard marker in a game, highlighted by a 205-yard effort in a regular season victory over Spellman…Resker,  who logged his second highest passing total of the season in the title game with 161 yards on 7-for-14 attempts, concluded his sophomore campaign with a stat line that read as follows: 61-for-110 (55.5%) for 1,006 yards and seven touchdowns hurls….Add in Poly Prep transfer, Shane Greene, and all of a sudden, you might be looking at an unbridled ground monster that could run away from the rest of the field in 2018.

Xaverian is back in AA after a title and 3 Championship Weekend Appearances in A

Out wide, Jioia and company will have to overcome the absence of last year’s budding star, Isaah Amazon (11 catches for 284 yards, and three touchdowns) who hung up his cleats to focus instead on hoops, as well as the graduated Timothy McCabe, who topped all receiving categories a season ago with 22 grabs for 415 yards and five scores….However, despite these losses at WR, Xaverian still feels very optimistic about the potential of their passing game thanks in large part to the second half of the Resker twins, Thomas…Overshadowed last season by some of his older teammates, T. Resker would still have a very solid showing, as he was utilized effectively as both a runner (347 yards and 5 TDs on 44 carries) and a receiver (10 snatches for 90 yards, and one score)….Jason Perlstein, who was second to McCabe last year with 17 receptions (255 yards, 2 TDs) will join newcomer, Justin Wolfe, who brings his talents to the five boroughs who starting his career in the Garden State, in comprising one of the best 1-2 Tight End combos in all of the NYCHSFL.

Doing the grunt work will be several experienced two-way linemen who have already shown countless times throughout their careers a propensity for doing damage on both ends of the line of scrimmage….When their team has the ball, Joe Leone (OT), Derin Hansen (OT), Christian Appel (OG), Brandon Ramrattan (OG), and sophomore pivot, Francis Ezeagbr were members of a unit that enabled the Clippers to average over 177 yards per game and score 24 touchdowns on the ground…..

Believing in the old school Ironman philosophy, almost all of the names cited for their offensive prowess, also are going to likely be showstoppers on the defensive side of the ball as well….Mike linebacker, Ramrattan, would finish second in total tackles last season with 60, while Perlstein would be right on his heels, taking the bronze with 58 stops and a pair of interceptions while patrolling the defensive backfield….Auguste (who was a 4th Team All-State selection at DB) and his 54 tackles and two picks at safety also proved himself to be a jack-of-all trades….Hansen and Appel, who will serve as the starting DEs this season combined to record 99 (Hansen with 50) and three sacks (Appel with 2), while Leone, who will occupy the DT position, was credited with 29 stops and two forced fumbles as a junior last year.

One final name that Coach Jioia advised us to keep an eye on was Brian Langan….Seeing action last season mostly as a back-up QB, now that he has transitioned to the other side of the ball (as an outside linebacker), the Clipper coaching staff are predicting a breakout season.

Speaking of defensive intangibles, the Clippers are also honored and proud to welcome back coach Dan Leahy, who after two years at Wagner, has made his way back to Shore Road to serve as the Defensive Coordinator.

Sep 122018

By Matt Diano: 

Cardinal Spellman 

Head Coach

William Cawley

Last Season

Record: 7-5/Won the 2017 “A” Division Crown, 20-18, over Xaverian

2018 Overview

NYCHSFL titlists for the first since 2008 behind a dramatic 20-18 triumph over rival Xaverian last November.  If a repeat is in the cards for the Pilots, it will need to come on the backs of a new troop of student-athletes.

Hit as hard any team last season by graduation, Head Coach, William Cawley, and his staff will be without 17 key members (mostly at the skill positions on both sides of the ball) of a faction that advanced to championship weekend for three consecutive seasons (2015-2017)…Does this mean that 2018 will bear witness to a rebuild?  The truth is that we don’t think so…Like any great sports tradition, what has been created on the Bronx based campus is bigger than one, two, 10, or in this case, even nearly 20 individuals.   And while admittedly there will be adjustments to be made, there is absolutely no reason as to why the Pilots cannot be celebrating in November yet again.

Supplanting an entire senior backfield (Justin Medina, Darrell Okpo, Michael Booth, Noah Stewart, etc.) that accounted for 1,420 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground and threw (Isaac Yearwood) for an additional 323 yards and seven more scores will not be an easy task.  Making the job even more difficult is the fact that when he was not channeling his inner-Billy Bob from “Varsity Blues”, Booth was also a premier OL who opened up many of the holes from which his teammates sprung free…..But, all of this having been acknowledged, there remains a faith in the high ceiling possessed by the new blood.

They say that competition is a good thing because it forces the best out of a player.  So, in some regard, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that we have a bit of a QB battle brewing between junior, Dylan Williams-Molitor and frosh, Aidan Hanley-Piri.  Both taking their first career varsity snaps this season, it may take a few weeks for the eventual victor to get into a groove, but once that comfort zone has been established, look out.

In year’s past, there has always been a running back by committee philosophy at Spellman and that system need not be altered.  As Bon Jovi sang, “It’s all the same; only the names will change” and for the Pilots, one name that you best make yourself familiar with is that of senior, Kyle Maysonet…Standing 5’6 and weighing 170 pounds, the hometown [Bronx] kid did not get as many carries as we are sure he would have preferred, but when he did he held his own, gaining 78 yards on 31 chances….Meki Howell-Browne, also in his final season at Spellman, will be a featured part of the defensive backfield, but does bring with him tailback experience,  carrying the pigskin 12 times for 28 yards in 2017….Junior, Myles Bideau, has demanded that people pay attention to him during summer workouts and will certainly be getting a healthy dose of hand-offs during the next 10-12 weeks.

Cardinal Spellman Celebrates the A Championship in 2017

Lance Powell will be the commander of the WR corps in 2018 and should be considered a lock to completely blow the roof off of his production (credited with three grabs for 56 yards and a pair of TDs) from a season ago.  Like him, his associates this season are all 12th graders—-Joseph Baez (WR), Frank Mennona (TE), and Joseph Delgrosso (TE) who will be determined to make their last chapter a rejoicing one.

Seniors, Thomas Nguyen (in the pivot) and Zoilo Carmona (OG; 230) will be the foundation of an offensive line that will also lock to get pet bulldozing performances out of junior OTs, Anthony Badagliacca (6’1, 280) and Ethan Butler (5’10, 215), as well as senior OG, Denzell Howden (5’8, 230).

On the defensive side of the ball, despite losing five of the team’s top-6 tacklers, Spellman looks quite solid on paper….In fact, hailed as the strength of the team as a whole, many of the 11 faces you will see on “D” played significant roles last season….

Michael Zheng and Carmona, who posted 46 and 39 tackles respectively as juniors in 2017 will be the glue of the defensive line…. Joining them will be Mennona (at the other DE), as well as a trio of junior mammoths—Anthony Sanchez (6’1, 290), Carlos DeJeus (6’0, 290), and Anthony Badagliacca (6’1, 280)—all of whom will complement Carmona at DT.

Matthew Forti, the leader in tackles among returnees, will captain the linebackers.  As a junior, the Manhattan resident collected 62 stops and had an interception….Nathaniel Colon, who will set the same senior example for the OLBs that Forti will do for the Mikes, is another playmaker on the defense, making 23 tackles and blocking a punt a year ago….Juniors, Ethan Ortiz, Williams-Molitor, and Bideau enhance the LB position.

Powell will be asked to be the shutdown corner in the secondary following a junior campaign that saw him make 42 tackles, log an interception, and two successful pass break-ups….Nicholas Payne (8 tackles, 1 pass defense), Justin Veith and Salvatore Maida, all of whom were singled out for deserved recognition by Cawley, are said to have looked very formidable at CB during training camp….Howell-Browne (7 stops, 1 PD) and William Crean, will be the team’s starting safeties.


Kennedy Catholic

Head Coach

Dominick Tassone (3rd Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 4-6/Lost in the “A” Division Semifinals, 16-14, to Cardinal Spellman

2018 Overview

The season has barely started and yet it is already a special one for Coach Tassone.  Welcoming a child into his clan just days before the opening kick-off, no matter what happens from this point forward, 2018 will always hold a special place in the heart of the Gael Head Coach….That having been said, next to marrying the love of your life and having children, there is no greater joy in this world than winning a NYCHSFL crown; And for Kennedy Catholic, that is a VERY attainable objective this season.

A program that has had the misfortune of running into the eventual champions in the semifinals in each of Tassone’s seasons at the helm, our gut is screaming that this will finally be the year that the Somers, NY located school will earn the privilege of suiting up for Championship weekend!!!!  Heck, they almost accomplished the feat a season ago, as they led Spellman 14-0 in the 4th quarter before a late rally squashed their title hopes.

Still unsure of who will emerge as the field general, at the onset of the season, the Gaels have said that they will implore a quarterback by committee system…Likely to be given the first crack at winning the spot will incumbent starter, Ryan Johnson…A young man who as a junior was thrown into the deep end, taking over for the 2016 “A” Offensive Player of the Year [David Keogh], at times the 6’1, 195-pound resident of Carmel endured some frustrating moments as he finished the year completing only 40.7% of his throws (33-for-81).  But alas, a new season welcomes a fresh slate and now that he has that always important year of experience under his belt, the hope is that increased confidence will yield a more accurate representation of his tools….Sophomore, Kieran Meyers, a transfer from Iona Prep, and senior, Zach Sellinger, will also vie for the honor of being QB1.

Adding further leadership to the backfield will be a trident of senior talent—Myles Proctor, Seth Surrett, and Brendan Gibson…As a junior, Proctor finished second on the team in all major rushing categories [behind Greg Brann), racking up 336 yards and scoring three times on 53 carries….Surrett, who is the most explosive of the trio, averaged 8.8 yards per touch last season, gaining 150 yards and finding the end zone once on his 17 attempts…Gibson would also surpass the 100-yard plateau, running for 117 yards + 1 TD on 37 hand-offs…With normal progression/development from one season to the next, each of these gentlemen are sure to increase their production….One additional name that has already starting to circulate as a future diamond for this Gael program is freshman Bobby Piesco.  While he may be asked to accept a secondary role behind his three elders this season, the Mohegan Lake resident has the goods and when he is unleashed, he will turn more than a few heads with his breakaway ability.

Expected to act as the primary target in the passing game will be senior TE, Eric Volpi…Standing 6’6 and weighing 240 pounds, Volpi is impossible to miss on the field.  As a junior, he caught seven passes for 85 yards.  His massive frame also enables him to be an effective blocking tight end, which in a run-heavy scheme, is a must-have…Should [Myles] Proctor display the durability and consistency to be an every down RB, there is a strong likelihood that Surrett and Gibson could make the conversion out wide to ensure that all possible play-makers are on the field at once…Sophomore, Clayton Proctor, will battle for snaps and could be a pleasant surprise in his first year on the KC varsity roster.

On the topic of opening holes and protecting the blind side, for the first time in quite a while, there will not be a member of the Longest family inflicting pain along the line of scrimmage.  Graduated and now playing collegiately at Ithaca, 2017 “A” Lineman of the Year, Ed Longest, is a hard man to replace.  Drawing the assignment of having to be the one to fill the void will be two-way lineman, Aidan Bernal, who will occupy the pivot in 2018… Freshman, Nate Kraemer, who is easily the biggest member of the team at 290 pounds, proved impossible to keep off the field and will join Wyatt Rumpf at the two OT spots…Stimulating the run game at OGs will be senior, Cole Esposito, and junior, Thomas Duffy.

Defensively, you cannot find a better base from which to build a starting 11 than the senior ILB tandem of Esposito and Rumpf….Esposito, the reigning “A” Defensive Player of the Year following a junior campaign that saw him finish second on the team [behind Longest’s 101] in both tackles (92) and sacks (3) was a finalist to the Lohud Super-11 team, officially distinguishing him as one of the best players in his Westchester/Yonkers/White Plains area…Rumpf, who was the sack king a season ago with four, ranked third on the team in total stops with 83 as an 11th grader.

Ayden Sanchez (LB), who the coaching staff predicted would have a solid sophomore season in the 2017 preview, did not fail to meet those expectations, he concluded last season with 28 tackles and 1 sack.

The Gael defense will also benefit immensely from a second wave of experienced personnel in the persons of outside linebacker [Myles] Proctor (20 tackles; 1 sack; 1 pass defense), DE Bernal (17 tackles, 1 forced fumble), and a defensive backfield consisting of Gibson (11 stops, 2 QB bags) and Surrett (7 tackles, 1 sack, and an INT)…Senior DT, Joseph Eckardt (7 stops), will be the final piece to the 3-4 package.

Gary Kellogg (OLB), along with his fellow rookies, Piesco (SS) and Kraemer (DT), will be contributors out of the gate and will only see their impact grow with each passing game they log.

Senior, Brendan Lebitsch, will handle kicking duties again the Gaels.  As a junior, he was an efficient point scorer, connecting on 14-of-17 PAT tries, and making 3-of-5 field goal attempts (long of 35 yards).


Nazareth Regional

Head Coach

Desmond DeFreitas (2nd Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 1-6/Did not Qualify for the “A” Playoffs

2018 Overview

Picking up their first win in over three years last season, what a triumph and confidence booster it must have been for the Kingsmen, as they knocked off the eventual league champions from Spellman.

Referring to the 2017 season as a “building year” where many of his student-athletes were first-year players who were still mastering the basic fundamentals of the sport, Head Coach Desmond DeFreitas admittedly did not put too much stock into how the win/loss column read.

A throwback to an era (late 1980s-early 1990s) of prosperity, the 1991 Nazareth graduate/former star tailback [DeFreitas) is not rushing the process.  Instead, the goal remains to make progress with each passing weekend and as that occurs, you should expect to see one win become two, two become three, and so forth until the memories of yesterday turn into the realities of tomorrow.

As noted above, this is a team that was so young a year ago that when you look across the board from position to position, you find that in almost every case, there is a key returning starter on the brink of a breakout season.

Piloting the offense for a second consecutive season will be senior QB, Kenial Densiar…Finding himself the victim of the learning curve at times, the 6’0, 156-pounder who calls Brooklyn home put up modest numbers as an 11th grader, completing only 52 of his 186 (36.5%) throw attempts for 187 yards….Should be able to add a little polish to his technique and clean up some of the errors, it will go a long way towards establishing momentum in 2018.

Working in the favor of Nazareth is that while their signal caller is ironing out the wrinkles aerially, they will have the luxury of welcoming back their top-4 rushers from last season…Junior, Matthew Moore, would have a dynamite sophomore campaign in 2017, leading the team in yards accumulated with 166 on 44 carries…Justin McDuffie, who we highlighted in last year’s preview as someone who possesses lighting speed, led all Kingsmen in rushing touchdowns last season, scoring twice to go along with his 134 yards on 55 chances…Kevin Fleetwood, who was used in the FB/big back capacity in his junior year, scored the only other rushing TD of the season for NR, ending the season with 51 yards on 13 carries…Malcolm McNeil, who is listed on the roster as the back-up QB, should not be ignored as a potential option out of the backfield.  Using a small sample size of four carries, the 6’3, 170-pounder from Far Rockaway, averaged nine yards per touch to finish the year with 36 yards in total. 

Similar to Moore Catholic, because the quantity of passes from a season ago was not immense, it is difficult to properly diagnose the skill level of the wide receiver troop…Two individuals who do look the part of trusted pass catchers are senior, Teshawn Howard, and junior, Jalen White….Howard only made two grabs last season, but averaged 19 yards on those catches, making him a major threat to stretch the defense…White also made a pair of catches in 2017 that equaled seven yards…Fleetwood (3 catches for 26 yards) and McDuffie (2 grabs for 5 yards) are the only other remaining players from last season that were credited with multiple receptions.

Flipping the page to the other side of the ball, the Kingsmen return seven of their top-10 tacklers from last year.

DE/OLB Elijah Jordan, will be the pulse of the defense following a junior year where he compiled a team-best 31 tackles and was second among Naz players with three sacks…Just behind him on the stat sheet was fellow senior, Hordley Pusey, who tallied 29 stops and led the Kingsmen with five QB bags…Fleetwood (21 tackles, 2 sacks) and Brenton Winter (19 tackles, 3 QB hurries) adds more punch to the front seven at the linebacker position…Junior, Christian Mazier, is also hear his #21 jersey called a lot this season….9th grader, Khalil Abdurrahman, is regarded as a future standout on the DL.

Justin McDuffie and senior, Jamel Nicholson, will headline the last line of defense…As a 10th grader, McDuffie made 20 tackles, an interception and five successful pass break-ups…Nicholson, posted near-mirrored statistics, finishing with 17 tackles, 1 pick, and a team-high six PDs.


St. Dominic’s 

Head Coach

Robert Ploth (3rd Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 2-8/Lost in the “A” Semifinals to Xaverian, 29-14

2018 Overview

A very young squad that suffered some keys losses to graduation and/or transfer, where this group may fall short on in experience/reps, they will account for by leaning heavily on their core group of returning players who possess the natural ability to make magic happen.

Semifinalists in two of the past three seasons, if St. Dominic’s  is going to make that serious push towards a championship berth, they will need to get a Herculean season out of their star quarterback, Jack Rooney…..A dual-threat sensation during his junior campaign, the 5’11, 165-pounder would have a hand in producing 1,051 yards of total offense, as he tossed for 709 yards (50-for-90) and ran for an additional 342 yards (on 75 carries).   Of the team’s 11 touchdowns recorded last season, Rooney played a role in seven of them, throwing for four and taking the remaining three to the house with his legs…..With older brother, Thomas, who led the team in rushing yards a season ago, now off to play college lacrosse at Siena, the rumor out of Oyster Bay is that the offensive scheme may shift to a more “pass-friendly” system.

If the Bayhawks do choose to air the ball out more on offense, one person who you know will be having his number called a lot in 2018 will be junior, Will Ford…..The team-leader in receptions last season with 15 (for 165 yards and 2 TDs) as a 10th-grader, now that he has that extra year of varsity experience under his belt, there is telling just how much better Ford will be this season…Listed as a running back on the official roster, Ford likely figures prominently into the running game too, as he probably assumes the role left vacant by the elder Rooney….Sophomore, Dom Camera (1 catch for 8 yards a season ago), who drew the spotlight of his head coach, could emerge as a secondary target out of the TE position….Sophomores, Christian Gutierrez and Charlie Mediavilla, are both fresh faces within this offense and could make their presence known a lot sooner than later.      

In addition to QB and RB, another area where Coach Ploth is not going to lose any sleep over a lack of experience will be along his offensive line which brings back three starters, including a pair of monsters in the persons of Charles Blyman (6’4, 280) and Jack Doherty (6’1, 245).

Defensively, the Bayhawks will have the daunting task of trying to replace seven starters, including the team’s leading tackler from a year ago, Ahmir Lyles (90 tackles, 5.5 sacks), who opted to do his senior season at the Hill School in Pennsylvania.

Addressing this issue, Ploth spoke confidently about a couple of his student-athletes who had reserve roles in 2017, but were prepared to step up and fill the void….Timothy Riordan (MLB) made 18 tackles and had a sack as a junior; Dom Bova, who made 11 stops last year will be charged with the responsibility of plugging the middle of the DL….Mykael Morring should also be viewed as an essential cog along the defensive line…Blyman (15 tackles) and Camera (10 stops) add further stability.

Ford (21 tackles, 3 INTs), Rooney (16 tackles, 1 INT), and Alfonso Iacono (15 tackles) are all ball hawks that will roam the defensive secondary.

Sep 112018

By Matt Diano:

Archbishop Stepinac

Head Coach

Mike O’Donnell (39th Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 10-2/Won the “AAA” League title, 47-22, over St. Anthony’s; Won the “AAA” State title, 49-28, over Canisius

2018 Overview

Without question the premier NYCHSFL dynasty of the 2010s decade, O’Donnell’s Crusaders have been so dominant (four straight League finals appearances; titles in 2014, 2015, and 2017; State crowns in 2015 and 2017) that in the history of the NYCHSFL website previews, we have yet write a seasonal preview where they did not enter the year as the favorites and/or co-favorites on paper…..

A program that endures severe losses to graduation every year (almost all of their players going on to compete at the collegiate level), it boggles the mind how the White Plains located school somehow manages to come back even stronger every season; it is almost as if they are defying the football gods.

To 99.9% percent of high school programs in New York State, the graduation of some 12-15 impact players (three of whom were State recognized) in a single class would be enough to cripple them and bring about an immediate rebuild…In the case of Stepinac, while they are up front in admitting that it is never easy to replace the caliber of player or human being that they had in a Trill Williams (1st Team All-State; playing at Syracuse), Mike Nicosia (2nd Team All-State; 6th in NYS last season with 2,713 passing yards; ranked 5th in TD tosses with 30; Currently playing at Catholic University), Alex Thomas (HM All-State; 6th in NYS last season with 964 receiving yards), Tyler Winston (team leading 41 grabs; etc., they also have the confidence and conviction to trust that the next man up is going to fill the cleats of his departed predecessor.  It is this ability to consistently develop out-of-this-world talent year after year without fail that has kept the Red, White, and Blue on top and will continue to keep them among the NYS elite.

Boasting what was without any question or challengers the #1 offensive line in the state, Stepinac returns a fearsome foursome—-Jonathan Mucciolo (OG), Ajani Cornelius (OG), James Prince (OT), and pivot Shadi Rabadi—-that together helped their school rush for 2,218 yards (184.8/game) and 27 touchdowns on the ground, while also providing Nicosia with the required time in the pocket to light up opposing secondaries….Both Mucciolo (Sacred Heart/Howard) and Prince (3 known suitors) have college offe

Stepinac celebrates after last years AAA championship

rs on the table, and if they do not already have it, it will not be long before recruiters are banging down the doors of Rabadi or Cornelius too….Senior, Chris Fowx, who can play any of the three OL positions, will likely be in the running to earn the second starting tackle position, while junior, Michael Tartaglia, will add depth to an already loaded offensive guard rotation.

So who will be the benefactors from the grunt work that the beasts above do in the trenches?  For the answer to that question, you need look no further than a trio of seniors—-Shawn Harris Jr., Malik Grant, and CJ Wise…..Harris, one of three Stepinac selections to Lohud Super-11, is the leader among returning players in both yardage (415) and TD runs (7).  However, because he is such a phenomenal athlete and can take over a game from any spot on the field, the expectation is that he might slide out wide to the receiver position (he was 3rd on the team with 26 catches for 565 yards and tied for the top spot with 7 additional touchdowns with his hands)…If Harris is used primarily as a WR, all that does is create more opportunities for his two fellow 12th graders….Grant, who picked the perfect time to have a career day, rushing for 130 yards + a score on only 11 carries in the state title victory, concluded his junior season with an average of 6.5 yard per handoff (401 yards and six TDs on 61 touches).  As the featured RB in 2018, there is no telling what kind of insane numbers he may be able to compile…..Wise, who darn well could have been a major player on just about any other team in the league, the state, the nation, and perhaps the planet, only handled the ball 30 times out of the backfield, but yet, he still managed to put up 180 yards of production (6.0/average).  With increased reps, he too will smash his previous career highs.

After two years of brilliance from Nicosia, the Joey Carino era will begin under center for the Crusaders….A multiple-sport student-athlete who has already made a name for himself on the lacrosse field as a highly touted middie, the 6’2, 190-pounder will bring a well-rounded, but slightly different skill set to the Stepinac offense this year…..Adept as a passer, which he proved by completing 64.7% (11-of-17 for 166 yards + 1 TD) of his attempts in a reserve role as a sophomore in 2017, the feeling is that because he is a more natural runner than Nicosia (who still mustered 263 yards and 5 TDs with his legs), Carino might be best characterized as a dual-threat option, as opposed to  a strict/traditional drop back gun-slinger.   In limited (13) carries, he notched 70 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Having graduated three of their top-4 pass catchers from the 2017 State Championship squad, with the exception of Harris, whose star we have already polished quite a bit, the WR corps this season for Stepinac will consist of a lot of eager players looking to make their mark…But alas, if we have learned anything over the years about this program, it is that just because a player is unproven does not mean they are not still dangerous.  True to any other position on the field, when you suit up for the Crusaders, you sometimes have to wait your turn to be great…..So, rival defensive backfields, do not make the mistake of sleeping on the likes of Eugene Boyd, Quentin McCauley, Dom Nicolo, or Matt Halas….Among this group, Nicolo is the most known, as he made five catches for 102 yards as a junior last season.

Now, having spent all of that time raving about how special the offense is, here’s a little secret that gives the rest of the league nightmares…..THE DEFENSE IS EVEN BETTER!!!

Led into the battle every week by the school’s other two Super-11 recipients—-Kevin Gray (LB) and Doug Simmons (DE), Stepinac might possess the most lethal front seven in NYS…. Gray, who will start for a third straight year was an Honorable Mention All-State pick as a junior, finishing the season with 122 tackles (7th best in NYS), 3 sacks, and two successful pass defenses….Simmons, the ultimate edge rusher, led the Empire State in sacks last season, racking up 18 QB bags to go along with 58 total stops, and two forced fumbles…

Joining Gray in creating a dynamic 1-2 punch at LB is the young man who will unquestionably succeed him next season as the General of the defense, junior Kevin McKenna….2nd on the team (behind only Gray) with 89 tackles as a 10th grader, on the rare occasion that his teammate [Gray] did not get you, McKenna was always present to clean it up….Perhaps under the impression that there were not already enough play-makers among his linebacking corps, the final piece to O’Donnell’s LB puzzle is OLB, Dexter Chance.  Fitting the mold of a more new school rover LB, the slightly undersized Chance is explosive off the snap.   As a junior, he recorded 51 tackles, added three sacks, and two interceptions to his resume.  Chance is athletic enough that he could see time as a free safety too this year.

Simmons’s partners in crime among the down linemen will be the defensive tackle combo of Nermin Metjajic and Joe Garbowski, as well as DE Sunil Fong….Metajic and Garbowski were regulars on the D-line last season, combining to make 85 tackles (Garbowski with 45) and three sacks (Garbowski with 2)…Fong on the other hand is an incredibly interesting story.  A member of the freshman football team back in 2015, the now senior 6’5, 220+ pounder is making his gridiron return in his scholastic swan song.  A basketball player by trade, despite his time away from the sport, Fong operates so smoothly for a man his size, that there is a belief that on athleticism along, he will find success.

Identical to the predicament they face at wide receiver, if there is one spot on “D” where Stepinac is entering without known commodities, it is in the secondary….In addition to the loss of the irreplaceable [Trill] Williams, the Crusader defensive backfield also will need to adjust to the absences of Joey Cappiello (76 tackles, 4 interceptions, 9 pass break-ups), Isaiah Walker (46 stops; 15 PDs) and Tyler Decrescenzo (57 tackles, 1 INT, 7 pass defenses).  The latter [Decrescenzo] was in line to take over as the leader of the secondary, but instead made the decision to return to his local public school district for his senior campaign….Nicolo (20 tackles, 12 pass defenses) and De’Andre Smith (54 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 QB hurries) will be called upon to lend wisdom and poise to the secondary, but it will also be essential that names such as Corey Richards, Stefan Romero, Jamel Fleming, and Mekhi Green grow from the ranks of the unknown status into “must know” status.

Senior place-kicker, Nate Henderson, only attempted two field goals last season, going 1-for-2.  However, he would successfully convert on 80 percent of his extra point tries (44-of-52).  Thus, should the Crusaders need a game-winning kick, those odds would be favorable.

One final note to keep in mind…Last year’s Stepinac Junior Varsity was league runners-up.  Therefore, in addition to all of the gentlemen referenced above, anticipate several more key efforts from this rising cohort.


Cardinal Hayes

Head Coach

CJ O’Neil (Head Coach Since 2004)

Last Season

Record: 8-2/Lost in the “AAA” Semifinals, 13-12, to Archbishop Stepinac

2018 Overview

Finalists in 2015, Champions in 2016, and semifinalists last year, the Cardinal program seems to be in the midst of a collective windfall that might never have an ending…Picked by the experts at MaxPreps as the top overall team in New York State in 2018, the boys from the Bronx are dead set on returning to the top of the triple-A Catholic football scene following that one-point loss in the semifinals to the eventual league and state champions, Archbishop Stepinac.

A program that has become renowned for the speed, agility, and overall explosiveness of its playmakers, when you go to watch Cardinal Hayes play, you know before you even sit down that you are about to be treated to 48 minutes of non-stop electricity….The ringleader of this offensive juggernaut for a second consecutive season will be junior QB, Sofian Massoud….A student-athlete that we greatly misjudged in the 2017 season preview [in reference to no one being able to replace Christian Anderson], the 6’2, 175-pounder did not just make us eat our words with his sensational sophomore showing, he put some proverbial tabasco sauce on that unbelievable campaign so that it burned on the way down….Already holding scholarship offers from NCAA DI programs such as Boston College, the University of Virginia, Rutgers, the consensus four-star/#322 national prospect in the class of 2020 will only continue to see his stock grow over the course of the next year and a half….A third-Team All-State selection, Massoud led the Evil Empire in passing yards per game last season, averaging 310.6.   His total throwing yardage of 3,106 was 2nd  in the state, and his 32 TD passes ranked him fourth…Perceived as more of an athlete than a true QB by the recruiting pundits [we disagree], Massoud would also demonstrate the elusiveness he possesses as a scrambler in 2017, leading the Cardinals in run attempts (84) and yards gained (362).  His three TD dashes tied him for runner-up honors among all Hayes’ players.

As noted above, when it comes to attacking opposing defenses on the ground, Massoud is likely to be the #1 option.  However, should foes try to shadow him and force someone else to beat them, a name that could emerge as a game-changer is Jeremye Brown.  Overlooked a bit because of the presence of higher profile teammates, the 5’11, 170-pound tailback still had a solid 2017 season, running for 227 yards (second among RBs on last year’s roster) on 50 carries….Joel Atuahene, a starter at fullback last year, also has the goods when it comes to chewing up yardage with this legs.  The owner of a steady 4.4 yard/per carry average a season ago, the Bronx resident gained a total of 127 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns on 29 carries.

After two years of watching them be darn-near uncontainable, when we look out wide at the Hayes’ receiving corps this season, it will be incredibly strange not seeing Lucas Nunez (2x All-State; led NYS with 1,399 receiving yards; 2nd in NYS with 14 TD catches) and Elijah Jones (4th in NYS with 1,017 yards as a pass catcher; 3rd in New York with 14 TD snatches).  One of the best WR combos in Empire State history, it would be completely unfair to ask their successors to equal their level of production…However, even if it does not produce the same gaudy numbers as 2017, the Cardinals have no reason to fret about their wide-receiver situation….Accounting for 31 catches, 519 yards, and three touchdowns between them, the new senior duo of Angel Tamarez (17 for 27 + 1 TD) and Micheal Escobar (14 catches, 249 yards, 2 touchdowns) are more than capable of having monster years that keep the machine operating fluidly….Yahya Kone only made one catch last season as a 10th grader, but it was for 17 yards.  Hence, you can add him to the mix of gentlemen who will make it their mission to tax opposing secondaries.

Cardinal Hayes AAA Champs in 2016 pictured here look to get back on top this season

4th Team All-State recipient, Qadir White, who has moved onto the college ranks at Syracuse University, may no longer be around to manhandle the line of scrimmage, but he leaves the OL in capable hands….Back for another year and bigger/stronger than ever are three starters on the offensive line—-Edgar Roman (6’0, 260), Emario Vushaj (6’3, 325 pounds), and Ithier Irving (6’0, 250)….Vushaj was invited to participate in an elite prospects camp at the University of Notre Dame last June….Anticipating that more responsibility would fall on his shoulders, Irving hit the weights hard and added 45 pounds to his frame since the end of last year.

On defense, Hayes graduated several impactful student-athletes, including their top-5 tacklers (Claude Watford, Juan Rosario Jr., Antonio Colclough, Nasheem Cooper, and Randy Brito), and a pair of all-state defensive backs in Nunez and Jones.  Also gone from the defensive backfield is Robert Javier, who had 24 tackles/2 INTs….Taken all together, this list of eight departed seniors recorded 337 tackles, 10 sacks, and 13 interceptions…So, it need not be said that last year’s reserves are going to need to perform like today’s superstars.

Thankfully for O’Neil and company, depth and experience is something that the program is rich on…So, rather than focus on what is lost, the concentration will be on all that returns.

Whether it be among the front seven or in the defensive backfield, never fail to keep a watchful eye on the following who are primed for huge 2018 seasons after accepting complementary roles last year: Chyon Pearsall (LB; 44 tackles, 1 sack), Atuahene (LB; 34 tackles), Maurice Sherrod (DL; 18 tackles, 1 sack), Micheal Tetteh (DL; 16 tackles; 2nd on the team with 3 sacks), and Christian Zapata (DL; 7 stops)….While he did not play much defense last year, a possible wildcard in the secondary could be Massoud in some big spots.  After all, as a freshman safety, he led the team with five interceptions while also contributing 49 tackles.

Another ace in the holes that the NYCHSFL aficionado needs to be aware of is that the 2017 Cardinal junior varsity were league champions.  So, in addition to the names above, there will be no shortage of rookies that will be relevant from the opening whistle.



Head Coach

Kevin Dolan (3rd Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 3-6; Lost in the AAA Quarterfinals, 48-38, to Archbishop Stepinac

2018 Overview

A program that was much better than their 3-6 mark a season ago, half of the Flyer losses, including their postseason defeat to the eventual league and state champs from Archbishop Stepinac, were by a margin of 10 points or less….For this reason, despite the sub-.500 record in the standings, we considered 2017 to be a relatively solid season in Mineola.  Several juniors received significant field time and because of this real game experience, we feel that the potential is there for the Crimson & Gold to enjoy their finest season since the 2013 cohort that advanced to the AAA title contest.

Calling team speed and physicality the strong points of his roster, Head Coach, Kevin Dolan, raved about the character and skill set of his senior class, but was also equally quick in shining a spotlight on a handful of juniors that looked good during camp and seem ready to make their respective varsity debuts successful ones.

Commanding the offense from the QB position for a second straight season will be senior, Thomas Rogan….A standout in everything he does, the 6’3, 175-pounder from Merrick, might not only be the best pure athlete on the football team, he may also be the best overall athlete on Jackson Avenue (high praise considering the reputation that Chaminade has across the board in all sports)…Born into a Flyer family athletic dynasty, the future Dartmouth lacrosse attackman, is the nephew of John [Rogan], who is one of only two former Chaminade players to ever win the Thorp Award as the top player in Nassau County.  Like his nephew, John starred under Center when he earned the top honor in 1977….Last season, the younger Rogan would have a hand in more than 50 percent of his school’s touchdowns, throwing for 10 scores and rushing for an additional six…One of the most dynamic dual-threat field generals on Long Island, Rogan threw for 1,364 yards (101-for-186) and rushed for 549 more (average 9.5 per carry).  If Rogan is able to improve his TD:INT ratio (5:4 last season), there is no question he will have a swan song for the record books.

Having graduated both of their main tailbacks (Aidan Ryder and Isaiah Cashwell) from last year, 2018 welcomes an opportunity for individuals such as seniors Spenser Warantz or Brandon Janosko (could also see time at WR) to become breakout stars in their final varsity season…Warrantz was not credited with a single rushing attempt last season, whereas Janosko would gain 83 yards on his 33 tries…Both young gentlemen did demonstrate versatility, as the former made 3 catches for 28 yards, while the latter accumulated 112 yards on his four grabs.  Hence, do not be surprised to see them being utilized as passing targets out of the backfield….Junior, Jagger Kuhner, will bring some new blood to the RB rotation after having a very solid season on the Junior Varsity a year ago.

Perhaps the biggest offensive loss to graduation suffered by Dolan and staff would be that of stud wide receiver, Chris Nicholas….Another member [along with Rogan] of Chaminade’s 2018 State Champion-winning lacrosse program, the current University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill midfielder, was more than just a minor weapon with his hands….Ranked in the top-20 in NYS for both total receptions (20th with 43 catches) and TD catches (13th with 10), Nicholas’s ability to stretch the field was invaluable in 2017….The Flyers also parted with their #3 and #4 receivers in the persons of Alex Breuer (23 catches for 198 yards) and JT Carlstrom (13 grabs for 205 yards).  What this all means is that like the running back position, there will be a healthy competition among last year’s overshadowed juniors and this season’s rising juniors for reps at the receiver position.

One person who you already know is going to see plenty of action as a target will be Conor McCormick…Standing 6’3 and weighing 205 pounds, the Islip resident brings great size that will enable him to out-muscle many DBs….As a junior in 2017, McCormick ended the year second on the squad in every major receiving category, finishing with 37 catches for 529 yards and six TDs.  If there was any concern about his ability to serve as the #1 option out wide, you need look no further than his nine catch, 146-yard performance against St. Peter’s last October, or his 5 catch/59-yard effort in the postseason against a Stepinac secondary featuring 1st team All-State cornerback [Trill Williams] and several other experienced defensive backs….Odinn McLoughlin (2 catches for 10 yards, 1 score) and Matthew Liotta (1 catch for 5 yards) are the only other returning players who caught passes in 2017.

Anchoring an offensive line that will be charged with the duty of opening up holes and giving their gem of a QB time to work in the pocket will be seniors, Richard Martin (6’3, 255) and Thomas Murphy (5’10, 235)…The junior from Wantagh, Liam Brown (5’10, 210), will be among the fresh faces that will help to solidify the O-line.

When you have a generational athlete the caliber of Rogan, it is easy for the offense to hog much of the headline.  However, in the case of the 2018 Flyers, the truth is that the heart of the team may exist on the other side of the ball….

Returning seven players that made an impression last season and are now a year stronger and more polished, gone will be the weekends where some of the high octane AAA offenses will be looking to put 30-40 points up on the scoreboard.

Residing at the helm of the Chaminade defense will be Conor Dempsey and Michael O’Grady on the line; Philip Arnold and Matt Grimm at linebacker, as well as a secondary made-up of Sean Tariche, Dan Schaefer, and James Corcoran….Dempsey and O’Grady will be tasked with replacing the output of graduated senior DL, Liam Siegler, who finished 6th in NYS last season with 12 sacks.  O’Grady made 19 tackles and had a sack as a junior….Arnold, who assumes the leadership role among the linebacking corps, finished second on the team [John Shelley; 107) in total tackles with 91 and was tied for 3rd with four sacks….Tariche (17 tackles) brings poise to the defensive backfield….Senior DL, Christian Vaughn (12 tackles) and rookie, Robert Booth, add depth to the line, while two other first-year varsity players, Brandan Coward and Dylan Lomelo, should made early contributions as DBs

It’s not very often that a specialist gets his own paragraph in a HS football preview.  Therefore, when it does happen, you know it is warranted…In the case of senior PK/P, Anthony Pecorella, it was a no-brainer that he would be profiled….A returning Honorable Mention All-State recipient, the 6’3, 190-pounder, who also serves as the back-up QB, was darn near automatic as a junior in his kicking responsibilities…Ranked 1st in the state with nine (out of 10 attempts) successful field goals and connecting on 26 of 28 PAT tries, as a place-kicker alone Pecorella would command serious interest from recruiters at the next level.   But alas, he is a full-service specialist, whose future in college may actually be as a punter.  Last season, he averaged 43.3 yards on his 44 punts, while displaying impeccable accuracy by putting 43 percent of them inside the opposing 20-yard-line.

Christ the King

Head Coach

Jason Brown

Last Season

Record: 0-8; Lost in the “AAA” Quarterfinals, 31-21, to St. Anthony’s

2018 Overview

It’s a case of deliberate déjà vu in Middle Village for the Royals…A program that willingly took its lumps for a few years with a master plan of building toward a big future, proof of that concept was achieved in 2015 and 2016, when, despite not having a crown to show for it, the Royals were without question one of the top teams, regardless of classification, in the NYCHSFL….By holding true to the old adage that “patience is a virtue”, CTK became living proof that sometimes losing the battle to have a shot at winning the war is an acceptable strategy.

Not winning last season following a promotion to the “AAA” Division, do not be fooled by what strikes us as clearly a case of history repeating itself….Much like they were in 2012 and 2013, this Royals program is a sleeping giant; the only question is whether or not this is their year to channel their inner-Paul Bunyan….But, rest assured, even if 2018 is not met with the win/loss successes that the “what have you done for me lately” crowd has come to demand, you best believe that there is a reign on the horizon and when it comes, it will be magnificent.

A program like no other, when doing research on Christ the King, the craziest factoid was revealed…Despite being the only winless team a season ago, there is not another squad in the Catholic League that seems to have piqued the interests of college scouts the way CTK has done…..Boosting some of the best young talent in the Empire State, major NCAA DI programs flocked to Queens in June to check out this collection of young guns.

Running the offense full-time after splitting snaps in his freshman year will be Noah Bodden….Standing 6’4 and weighing 210 pounds, the sophomore field general has the prototypical look and because of it, his mailbox has been a crowed space….Completing a modest 38 percent of his pass attempts last season (46-for-121) and struggling with turnovers (seven interceptions compared to just two TD throws), the Valley Stream resident possesses all of the physical talent necessary to be a star; he just needs to hone that skill set.  If he succeeds in doing so, his future in the sport of football is going to extend well beyond the high school level.  Already, he has scholarship offers from Baylor, Cincinnati, and Temple.  That quantity should continue to increase as word has it that Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State, and Rutgers have been in contact and love his ceiling.

Bringing back pretty much every person who gained a yard on the ground last season, while Bodden is fine tuning the aerial game, there will no shortage of available running backs ready to take some of the pressure off of his arm….Led by junior, Tirek Murphy’s 393 yards (on 71 carries, with two TDs) last season, three different Royal runners accumulated 100+ yards in 2017.  Also in the club were Andre McGann (30 carries for 183 yards and a team-best three touchdowns), and Thaliq Battle (102 yards on 22 carries)….Elijah Simmonds cemented himself as another potential option, gaining 65 yards and scoring a TD on 21 hand-offs last season….Murphy (a four-star prospect), who 247Sports listed as a crystal ball lock to choose the University of Michigan, has Arizona State, Baylor, Boston College, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Duke, Louisville, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, and Tennessee all actively on his trail….Battle has been offered by Buffalo and Morgan State.

Because of the erratic nature of the passing game last season, it was hard for any one person to put up fancy statistics.  But, even in a famine, you can always find the occasional feast…And for CTK, that feast is named, Jared Harrison-Hunte….While we will wait until we turn our attention to defense to go into depth on how uniquely special this young man, let us at least point out that last season, he was the team-leader in receptions, making 23 grabs for 227 yards….Right behind him on the leaderboard was fellow rising senior, Rudy Silvera, who concluded his junior year with 19 snatches for 233 yards and one touchdown.  Silvera currently has an offer from Sacred Heart, the same school that signed for Hayes star Lucas Nunez….Battle (16 catches for 138 yards and two TDs) and Murphy (12-180-1) displayed the well-roundness of their talents….Dante Goodwyn, who could have easily been mentioned in the previous paragraph among the running back rotation, showcased more of his receiving skills as a sophomore, making double digit (10) catches for 66 yards.  Goodwyn heads into 2018 with a Morgan State offer in his back pocket….Jarald Coleman (4 catches for 66 yards) and Jahlani Sundar (3 catches for 36 yards) add depth to the WR corps.

Anchoring the offensive line will be a pair of seniors—-Adam El Gammal and Darryl Fuller…The former, a 6’5, 270-pound three-star prospect, has garnered college interest from several FBS and FCS schools and holds offers from Cincinnati, Monmouth, Morgan State, and Temple….The latter, tipping the scales at 260 pounds on a 6’4 frame, has been wooed by Cornell, Howard, and Morgan State among schools who have put scholarships on the table.  A plethora of additional major DI programs are scouting Fuller, but nothing formal has been extended.

On the defensive side of the ball, aside from Stepinac, there may not be a more naturally gifted group of linemen in the NYCHSFL….Highlighted by Harrison-Hunte (DE) and junior DT, Zephron Lester, the DL is every bit the rival of the offense when it comes to hot commodities….Harrison-Hunte, who made 11 tackles last season, is to the “D” what Murphy is to the “O”.  Measured at 6’4, 285-pounds, the Queens resident is regarded as the #2 overall senior prospect in NYS and has attracted the attention of the industry leaders such as Penn State (88% Crystal ball prediction in their favor), Ohio State, Georgia, Arizona State, Baylor, LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Central Florida, and Virginia among the many suitors….Lester, who is just a junior this season, enters the year with The United States Military Academy, Temple, Morgan State, and UPenn as early entries into the sweepstakes for his services.  As a sophomore, he was credited with 27 tackles and a sack, while recovering two fumbles…. Fuller (23 stops, 1 sack), Daunte Gordon, Nate Curry will join Harrison-Hunte in all bringing senior leadership to the DL.

Taking over for 2017 5th team All-State selection, Nicholas Hunter (113 tackles, 1 sack) as the general of the LB corps will be senior, Jahlil Watson, who finished second on the team (behind only Hunter) with 70 stops.  Watson can also be utilized as a rover safety….Kyle Ormsby, who is still awaiting his first scholarship offer, but is said to be on the radar of several mid-majors, saw significant time as a sophomore in 2017, making 25 tackles and earning a QB bag….Murphy, who is a two-way superman, made 23 tackles, and had one sack and one pick in 2017.

Several of the speedsters at the skill positions on offense, performed double duty in the secondary last year and likely will do so again….Simmonds made 38 tackles last season as a safety/OLB hybrid….McGann had 29 tackles and an interception….Goodwyn contributed 18 stops and one INT….SIlvera had 12 tackles and a pick….Ajay Morrison (16 tackles), Brandon Mitchell (12 tackles, and Sean Idemudia (4 tackles) also factor into the conversation at DB.

With this talent you have to believe they are ready to contend.


Iona Prep

Head Coach

Joe Spagnolo (3rd Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 6-4/Lost in the “AAA” Semifinals, 35-7, to St. Anthony’s

2018 Overview

Double-A Champions in 2016 followed up with a AAA semifinal berth a season ago, despite losing five State recognized players to graduation last June, the Gaels are a team that we feel will continue to be among the crème de la crème of the NYCHSFL elite….

So, while we acknowledge that it is never easy to replace the likes of two-time All-State receiver, Michael DeGasperis (finished 6th in NYS with 63 reception), 1st Team All-State OL Derek Ferraro (Rice University), 4th Team Defensive back, Malkelm Morrison (West Point), the menacing man in the middle of the D-Line, Jack Doty (Brown University), or a jack-of-all-trades like Ki’Shyne Shipmon (Pace), we choose instead to focus on all of the talent that Head Coach, Joe Spagnolo, will welcome back this season.

In what seems to be a yearly ritual, Iona Prep would again have a field general that commanded the attention of the state sports writers, as Derek Robertson, in his first year running the Gael offense, would earn Honorable Mention All-State accolades following a junior campaign that saw him establish a new Westchester County record for passing yards in a single season with 2,774 (4th in NYS)…Robertson, who completed 64.6% of his passing attempts (226-for-350) would also rank in the top-10 in the Empire State in TDs tossed with 27.  Regarding it as an inevitability that he was destined for another mind-blowing season, LoHud named him one of their Super-11 for the 2018 season.

Joining his quarterback on that aforementioned Super-11 squad will be the person who is sure to find himself on the receiving end of many of Robertson’s throws this season, Tight End, Sean Fleming…..Second on the team to DeGasperis in all major pass catching categories, the 6’4, 230-pound Monmouth University commit had a banner junior season, making 42 grabs for 463 yards and six touchdowns.

AA Champions in 2016 the Gaels are looking to finish on top of the AAA Division in 2018

Fleming will not be the only weapon that Robertson will have at his disposal, as IP has developed such amazing depth at the WR position that even the losses of DeGasperis, Shipmon, and Johnryan Freeman (26 catches, 424 yards, 6 TDs) will not phase this program.  Rather, it is a next man up philosophy and for the boys from New Rochelle that next regime involves Matt Panker (3rd on the team with 38 receptions for 390 yards and two TDs), Ryan Soules (10 catches for 116 yards), Jayden Lambert (10 grabs for 167 yards and one score), and converted tailback, Camari Glasgow (21 carries for 157 yards, 1 TD out of the backfield during an abbreviated junior season)….Newcomer, Alex Williams, will also get some significant playing time.

Handling the bulk of running duties will be last season’s fab freshman, Frankie McFadden, who earned a promotion from the Junior Varsity for the 2017 postseason and gave the NYCHSFL faithful a hint of what they can expect to see during the course of the next three seasons….Carrying the ball 21 total times between the two playoff games, the 5’7, 195-pound underclassman gained 96 yards (4.6/carry average).  This big game experience combined with nine additional months of maturity should turn McFadden into an absolute beast in his 10th grade campaign….Joe Rodda, who will be one of the featured stars on the defensive side of the ball, also has running back experience (91 yards on 15 carries, with one touchdown among three appearances) and could add depth to the backfield if necessary.

While depth may be a slight concern along the O-line, the first string will consist of three players—-Anthony Bonavita (OG), Charlie Ryan (C) and Tim Bergamini (OT) who have already proven that they have the skills to do the job….At 255 and 260 pounds respectively, expect to see reps out of sophomore, Kevin Rohde, and junior, Dionis Polanco, as well as 240-pound 12th grader, Will Griffin.

Hailing the defensive line as a strength of the program, Spagnolo had nothing but praise for Rodda (DE), as well as line mate, Jimaar Edwards (DT)….Nick Gadson and Will D’Ambrosio factor in prominently on the DL as well.   

Having just sent six Linebackers/DBacks to the college ranks, the Gaels will be counting on a combination of emerging role players and first-year varsity team members to fill these cleats…..At LB, two names that have already showed themselves prepared to accept the challenge are junior OLB Keshawn McDowdell and senior outside backer, Charlie Stanton….Juniors, Danny Riccio and AJ Zaccagnino, will occupy the Mike LB role.

Lambert will be joined in the secondary by Jordan Dunbar, Marquis Dukes, Ethan Robinson, and Jalen Rotella-White.


Monsignor Farrell

Head Coach

Tony Garofalo (4th Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 5-4/Lost in the “AAA” Quarterfinals, 52-20, to Iona Prep

2018 Overview

5-4 a season ago, when you look at the individuals who contributed mightily to last year’s Lions squad, you cannot help but come away with a feeling that the program was no more than a year away from being legitimate title contenders in the “AAA” Division….Now that 2018 is here, the abundance of field experience they possess on both sides will be an invaluable asset as they search for their first titles since going back-to-back in 1999 and 2000.

Returning just about every skill position player from an offense that scored an average of 19.5 points per game last season, look for that number on the scoreboard to increase into the high 20s, if not the 30s given the ammo that will be stepping foot on the field for the Maroon & Gold platoon.

Led by their captains in the backfield, senior QB, Mike Regan, and senior tailback, Vin Wagner, this group of 11 young men have the potential to be the more prolific of their kind during the Garofalo era of Lions’ football….Last season, the 6’5, 190-pound signal caller showed himself to be a well-balanced, dual-threat weapon that has the maturity and gridiron IQ to take what the defense is giving him.   As a thrower, Regan completed 51.6 percent of his 153 attempts to finish the year with 892 yards and nine TD tosses….With his legs, he’d be the second leading rusher on the team [behind only Wagner], accumulating 310 yards and scoring five touchdowns on 36 carries (8.6 average).

The “Lions Den”

Wagner, who was an Honorable Mention All-State pick as a junior last season and will be a surefire All-State selection yet again in his final scholastic season, lived up to the essence of the school mascot in 2017.  His lionhearted tenacity enabled him to handle a huge workload, as he gained just short of 1,400 yards (1,309) and found the end zone on nine different occasions on his 175 carries.  His yardage a season ago placed him in the top-20 (#18) among his Empire State peers….And while it may not be his forte, his nine catches for 89 yards + 1 TD is evidence that when the situation calls for it, he can be used as a full-service presence out of the backfield.

Truth be told, we don’t think Wagner will have to do much pass catching in 2018 because, much like Iona Prep, the receiving corps on Amboy Road is second to none….The Lions will return their top-3 targets from last year—Lucas Turco, Christian Tait, and Anthony Lasako—and have already gone on record in stating that the belief that JonMichael Monaco, Nicholas Petrino, and Mike Travers are all on the cusp of having breakout senior seasons…..Turco, who has been plagued by the injury bug a bit during summer workouts, led all receiving categories last season for MF with 28 grabs for 289 yards and 4 TDs….Tait, who tied Turco for the team lead in touchdown receptions, was second with 15 catches for 225 yards….Not to be outdone by anyone, Lasako emerged with 13 catches of his own for 138 yards…..Vincent Renna, one of the top performers on the Junior Varsity a year ago, looked great in camp and will further strengthen the aerial attack.

Providing the nucleus to the OL will be a pair of returning starters—Jaleel Rhett (6’3, 275) and Nicholas Lubrano (6’0, 260)–who will line up at tackle and center this season….Carmine Comitini, who earned a captainship in his senior year, will join fellow 12th graders, Anthony Mangini (OT) and Domenico Lamorte (OG) in filling out the big boys in the trenches.

Defensively, the Lions will have to adjust to life without their three-year starter, two-time All-State standout linebacker, John Kelly the III (84 tackles, 4 sacks), who graduated last June and now plays for the United States Naval Academy….Sean Kopenheffer (21 stops, 2 sacks) is another member of last year’s front-7 that left an indelible impression on the program and will be missed.

In fact, statistically, Monsignor Farrell will take the field in 2018 having lost their top eight tacklers from 2017.  To some coaches, this notion may be frightening to face.   But, in the case of Garofalo and his staff, there is such a sincere confidence in the effort displayed by the returning faces and the rising varsity rookies during the summer, that the vibe about the campus is quite positive and encouraging.

Referencing speed, toughness, and overall athleticism in describing the traits of the “D”, the Farrell staff is not anticipating even the slightest drop-off in collective performance from a year ago.

Juniors, RJ Bonhometre, Stephen Stella, and Domenick Battaglia will join forces with senior, Dylan Sierp in forming the defensive line….Sierp and his 12 tackles/1 sack from 2017 is the most known of the group, but Bonhometre, who was credited with three stops as a sophomore, also brings experience to the legion.

Junior Mike LB, Chris Ortalano, will have the biggest cleats of all to fill, as he steps in to take the place of Kelly.  Last season, as a 10th grader, the 5’10, 195-pounder made 16 tackles….Senior, Sean Shivers, will also be in the middle of the LB corps….Anthony Pollio, who also made an appearance on varsity as a sophomore, recording three tackles, will be teamed up with another young up-and-comer, fellow 11th grader, Anthony Picarello, on the outside.

The secondary will be the area where the Farrell defense will be most polished as all four expected starters are varsity veterans….Brandt Mandia will headline the group after a junior season that witnessed him make 10 stops and successfully defend four pass attempts at the corner….Monaco, who we mentioned as factoring into the WR conversation, will be a full-time player at the other CB.  Last year, he recorded eight tackles and had 1 PD….Lasako (22 tackles, 3 PDs, 1 Interception) will be the center “fielder”, and Arturo Galeano (5 tackles), who is one of the team’s most improved student-athletes will be at the other safety position.


St. Anthony’s

Head Coach

Rich Reichert (32nd Season as Head Coach)

Last Season

Record: 9-2 Lost in the “AAA” Title Game, 42-22, to Archbishop Stepinac

2018 Overview

Now in its 32nd and final season, the legendary Rich Reichert era is one that has been marked by nothing but brilliance through his three-plus decades on the Friar sidelines….Winners of 14 NYCHSFL crowns during this span, St. Anthony’s came one game short of adding #15 to the trophy case when they saw an early 14-0 lead slip away in last November’s title contest.

Unable to hoist the hardware since 2013, with each passing week, as we draw closer to closing the book on a Hall-of-Fame legacy, the pressure to send Reichert out on top could be either a blessing (pressure turns coal into diamonds) or a curse depending.

Complicating matters is the fact that after advancing to championship weekend behind a heavy dose of senior leadership, this year’s starting line-up on both sides of the ball is filled with new names and unproven faces….Admittedly, much like the other perennial powerhouses in the AAA, new personnel does not always translate into bad things.   After all, STA is certainly no stranger to annual reloads.  However, because this group is comprised of so many newcomers, it is truly a case of we are anticipating them being incredibly solid, but until they go out and show it, there will be a certain degree of skepticism.

On the positive side, if there is a single position where the Friars are immensely experienced and blessed, it is at the most important spot of all, the quarterback….Now entering his third season as the field general for the South Huntington based school, Greg Campisi, is nothing if not a consummate winner.  Since being an emergency call-up from the junior varsity as a sophomore in 2016, the 6’1, 175-pounder has only lost one regular season game under center (12-1; 14-2 overall including postseason)…Following the pattern of AAA quarterbacks featured in this preview, Campisi, too, is a blue chip lacrosse player who will take his talents to Cambridge, MA next fall as a midfielder for Harvard (note: has intentions of trying to also play for the Crimson football team)….An honorable mention All-State recognized athlete as an 11th grader, Campisi can do it all on the gridiron….Ranked in the top-20 in NYS as a passer and a runner (among his QB counterparts), last season he would complete 71% of his pass attempts (160-for-226), accumulating 1,840 yards in the air (13th in NYS) and throwing 10 touchdowns.  On the ground, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry, to finish the year with a total of 592 (19th among NYS quarterbacks) and 10 more TDs.

Joining Campisi in the backfield will be fellow seniors, Kyle Angus and Daniel Parker.…Both regarded as full-service tailbacks who will be just as deadly lined up out wide as a part of the spread offense, Angus ran for 257 yards and three touchdowns on just 43 carries (6.0 average), while Parker (6 yards on seven hand-offs +1 TD) was utilized more as a traditional WR in 2017….Junior, Mario Escobar, who had a very impressive training camp, will see plenty of action this season, as he too possesses the kind of lightning speed that has always been a staple of past Friar offensive weapons.

In addition to Parker (17 catches, 130 yards) and Angus (6 grabs for 42 yards), who as we stated above, will be unquestionably involved in all facets of the game plan, junior wide receivers, Greg Randall and Jaden Jernigan will do their best to replace the team’s top-2 pass catchers from a season ago, Julian Chung (59 grabs for 736 yards, 3 TDs) and Heron Maurisseau (31 catches for 493 yards and a team-leading 5 TD receptions)…Passing the torch from one senior to another, Richard Silva III will be the successor to Conor Ryan (26 grabs for 282 yards, 1 touchdown catch)….With Jernigan standing 6’3 and weighing 210 and Silva at 6’4, 215, you can anticipate that this group will come out on top of a lot of physical mismatches against shorter and/or lighter defensive backs.

Coach Reichert looks to add one more title

With regard to the offensive line, if there is one signature asset common to all of the past STA title teams, it is a dominant and experienced OL.  Reminded of the legends of yesteryear such as Chris Auletta (played collegiately at Penn State) and Alex Fletcher (the #3 ranked Center in the nation his senior year; played at Stanford and a lock play in the NFL if not for medical issues), the 2018 cohort will have a lot to live up to….Returning only one starter (Senior, Chris Wright) off of a 2017 line that enabled STA to gain 1,936 yards and score 32 times on the ground, it will be up to individuals such as juniors—Sean Boyle (6’1, 225), James Ramacca (5’10, 260), Justin Williford (6’1, 310), and Gavin Miller (6’5, 280)–as well as 12th graders, Edward Arens (6’0, 250) and Konall Keane (5’10, 200) to extend the tradition through another season.

Defensively, St. Anthony’s has a lot of speed and athleticism, but early on, may still have to deal with the minor headaches associated with what is essentially a complete (8 of 11 starters were seniors last season) overhaul of the line-up.

Returning just two of their front seven, it will be up to DE Xavier Green and DT Anthony DePaul to set the tone for a D-line that lost multiple year standouts in the persons of 3rd Team All-State pick, Grayson Cherubino; now playing at Bucknell) and Nicholas Greer (playing at Stony Brook)…William Fitzgerald, Matthew Stetz, and Ajay Ottimo, all of whom are seniors, will all play major roles in fortifying the unit.

Eager to make a name for themselves at LB in 2018 will be a pair of juniors—Christian Taylor and Samir Gragui—as a senior duo consisting of Joseph Costanzo and Jamel Joyner.

Propelled by a mostly-senior contingent, Makhai Murphy (top-15 in NYS last season with 4 INTs), Nicolas Espada (1 INT), and James Errante (1 interception) will be joined by junior, Nicholas Alvarado, in making up a defensive backfield that could very well be the foundation of the Friar “D”.

Sep 072018

The 2018 Season officially kicks off tonight with a host of games across the league,  games will continue tomorrow and into Sunday.  You can check back in the ‘Schedules’ tab for scores and make sure you also follow us on Twitter @NYCHSFL for updates on games and news throughout the weekend.

Next week we will have our season previews by our resident Columnist Matt Diano for each Division and Team posted on the Site.  As always we will also be featuring the athletes who have exceptional games this weekend in our Player’s of the Week Awards.

Good luck and best of wishes to all teams competing!

Feb 072018

CHSFL College Commitments

  • Derek Ferraro C Iona Prep – Rice University
  • Jack Doty T Iona Prep – Brown University
  • Malkelm Morrison DB/RB Iona Prep – US Military Academy at West Point
  • Ki’Shyne Shipmon RB/WR Iona Prep – Pace University
  • Johnryan Freeman TE/OLB Iona Prep – Trinity College
  • Joseph Colaio-Coppola S Iona Prep – Elon University
  • Luke Tobia LB Iona Prep – Ithaca College
  • Marlon Ellis OG/DT Iona Prep – SUNY Maritime
  • Elijah Jones WR Cardinal Hayes – Boston College
  • Antonio Colclough DL Cardinal Hayes – Temple
  • Qadir White OL Cardinal Hayes – Syracuse
  • Lucan Nunez WR Cardinal Hayes – Sacred Heart
  • Randy Brito DB Cardinal Hayes – Sacred Heart
  • Robert Javier DB Cardinal Hayes – Towson University
  • Chris Simermeyer WR St. Joe’s by the Sea – Pace University
  • Matthew Mitchell WR St. Joe’s by the Sea – St. Anselm’s University
  • Trill Williams RB/DB Archbishop Stepinac – Syracuse University
  • Tyler Winston WR Archbishop Stepinac – University of Albany
  • Devante Reid WR/RB Archbishop Stepinac – Trinity College
  • Deuce Prince DE Archbishop Stepinac – The Citadel
  • David Harris OG Archbishop Stepinac – University of New Haven
  • John Kelly LB/TE Monsignor Farrell – US Naval Academy
  • Patrick McSweeney WR Monsignor Farrell – Coastal Carolina University
  • Ed Longest DL Kennedy Catholic – Ithaca College
  • Sean Bryan RB St. Anthony’s – Towson University
  • Grayson Cherubino DL St. Anthony’s – Bucknell University
  • Julian Chung RB St. Anthony’s – Southern Connecticut State University
  • Nicholas Greer DL St. Anthony’s – Stony Brook University
  • Michael Leahy OL St. Anthony’s – SUNY Maritime
  • Heron Maurisseau WR St. Anthony’s – University of Connecticut
  • Philip Plantia DB St. Anthony’s – Bryant University
  • Conor Ryan WR St. Anthony’s – Stone Hill College
  • Ryan Vahey LB St. Anthony’s – Wagner College
  • Rob DeGregorio K St. Anthony’s – Hobart College
  • Justin Adames St. Anthony’s – Morrisville State
  • Shawn Bendeck LB St. Francis Prep – LIU Post
  • Michael Taylor DE/TE Holy Cross – Villanova University
  • Christian Mason OL/DL Holy Cross – Alfred University
  • Justin Felder RB Holy Cross – Stonehill College
  • Maxamillion O’Quinn OL Holy Cross – Stonehill College
  • Brendan Orgill TE/DE Holy Cross – Texas Wesleyan
  • Michael Palermo RB/LB St. John the Baptist – United States Coast Guard Academy
  • Nigel Jarvis RB/DB St. John the Baptist – SUNY Cortland
  • Daniel Parker RB/DB St. John the Baptist – Nichols College
  • Robert Gray TE/DL St. John the Baptist – Western Connecticut State University
  • Thomas Force TE/DB St. John the Baptist – Stevenson University
  • Elijah Eddy DL Kellenberg Memorial – Pace University
  • Brendan Whitehead OL/DL Kellenberg Memorial – Sacred Heart University


Dec 032017

City Coach with Offensive MVP QB Mike Nicosia of Stepinac

By Matt Diano: Playing their last game as CHSFL student-athletes, the cohort from New York City would use a 19-0 fourth quarter run to blow open a razor thin contest, earning the 47-27 victory over Long Island in the 2017 Senior Bowl.  The triumph snapped host, LI’s, two-year winning streak and sent the boys from the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island out in the most fitting and cherished of ways.

Clinging to just a 28-27 lead early in the 4th, it would be Fordham Prep Ram tailback, Justin Ancetta, notching the first of the three unanswered touchdowns for NYC when he found space and took the pigskin to the house from seven yards out to increase the advantage to 34-27.

Following an interception by Cardinal Hayes’s Rob Javier, one of two posted on the afternoon (also had a pick at the onset of the second half) by New York City’s Defensive Player of the Game, the road warriors would continue to pull away when school-record breaking Archbishop Stepinac field general, Michael Nicosia, tossed his fourth and final TD pass of the game to fellow departing Crusader, running back Jamal Dallas with 7:41 remaining in regulation to make the score 40-27.

Nicosia would be a most deserving choice for his squad’s Offensive Most Valuable Player going 17-23 for 253 Yards and 4 TD’s….Putting his God-given field vision on full display, the 6’0, 175-pound, Thornwood resident would do a masterful job of spraying the ball all over the field, hitting four unique targets for his aforementioned quartet of TD yielding throws….His first touchdown hurl came with 7:00 remaining in the opening half when he hooked up with 2017 CHSFL Joe Riverso Memorial Award honoree (AAA Offensive Player of the Year), Lucas Nunez on a 12-yard strike to double the City lead to 14-0…..Having previously connected with one Cardinal living legend [Nunez], Nicosia would halt Long Island’s momentum (14-0 run to tie the game at 14 apiece) by finding another Hayes standout, Boston College bound Elijah Jones for a 67-yarder before the end of the half to send his charges into the break leading 21-14.  The pitch-and-catch between the two former Triple-A rivals would mark the second 60+ yard score of the game for Jones as it was him on the backend of a 68-yard hurl from St. Joe’s by the Sea’s Matthew Vigilante that gave NYC the initial 7-0 edge in the 1st quarter….Just as it had done at the end of the 2nd quarter, the third of Nicosia’s TD darts came at an opportune time, as it broke a 21-21 tie late in the 3rd when he put the ball on the money to St. Peter’s Eagle, Frank DiMattina, to put the City up 28-21.

Hampered by an injury during the 2017 postseason, the always electric Ki’Shyne Shipmon of Iona Prep fame, would get his chance to show the Catholic football enthusiasts just how special he can be when operating at 100 percent, tacking on one final TD in his illustrious career in the last 2:00 of the game when he took off like a rocket for a 68-yard TD trek to account for NYC’s third TD of the quarter and round of the final tally on the scoreboard.

A game that was much closer than the scoreboard suggests, Long Island would have every reason to hold their chins high on Sunday afternoon, as time and time again during the first 36 minutes of play, they would find themselves in a hole, but never quit, fighting back to remain in contention.

Surrendering the first two TDs of the game on the aforementioned Vigilante and Nicosia passes, LI darn-near went into the intermission all even after two quick touchdowns within mere moments of each other squared the game at 14-14…Getting the proverbial ball rolling on the comeback effort was regular season rushing king in the Double-A division, Justin Felder, who broke across the line on a six-yard run to cut the deficit in half with 2:48 still to play in the 1st half…While it was Felder who got the spoils for being the one to punch the ball in, equal credit would be bestowed upon his fellow Queens resident, Chris Auricchio, who had a big gainer on the ground to lay the tracks for the eventual icebreaker.

Approximately 90 seconds removed from seeing his team get on the board, it was Kellenberg’s Shawn Hughes (named the Defensive Player of the Game for Long Island) living the Linebacker’s dream, when he intercepted a pass with 1:13 remaining in the half….Capitalizing on the clutch play by his high school teammate would be another member of the undefeated AA Champion Firebirds, Aidan Fitzgerald, who sprung free into the opposing secondary and provided a perfect target for Chaminade QB, Nick Jaskolski, who wrapped up the All-Marianist  series of plays on both sides of the ball by throwing a perfect 18-yard pass for the game-tying touchdown.

After an exchange of turnovers to begin the third stanza, it was the Flyer, Jaskolski, delivering again when he ran in a 3-yarder for his second score of the game to again knot the contest at 21-21.

Down 28-21 at the beginning of the final quarter of his scholastic career, Felder whose two Touchdown performance earned Offensive MVP honors for his team, was the catalyst of one last rally, scoring his second TD of the game from 5-yards away for draw LI within 28-27….Long Island attempted to take their first lead of the day on a 2pt conversion, but were unsuccessful….The City would not give their foes another chance…And, much like the high school careers of the fine young men who suited up, the rest would be history!

NYCHSFL FOOTBALL December 3, 2017                                                                           NYCHSFL Senior Bowl


1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
New York City 7 14 7 19 47
Long Island 0 14 7 6 27


1st 05:00 NYC Elijah Jones 68yd reception from Chris Vigilante (Rory Naughton kick) 7-0
2nd 07:07 NYC Lucas Nunez 10yd reception from Michael Nicosia (Rory Naughton kick) 14-0
2nd 02:45 Island Justin Felder 5yd run (Jeremy Miller kick) 14-7
2nd 00:29 Island Aiden Fitzgerald 18yd reception from Nick Jaskolski (Jeremy Miller kick) 14-14
2nd 00:12 NYC Elijah Jones 67yd reception from Michael Nicosia (Rory Naughton kick) 21-14
3rd 08:19 Island Nick Jaskolski 3yd run (Jeremy Miller kick) 21-21
3rd 00:01 NYC Frank DiMattina 7yd reception from Michael Nicosia (Rory Naughton kick) 28-21
4th 11:29 Island Justin Felder 4yd run (try failed) 28-27
4th 09:04 NYC Justin Ancheta 16yd run (try failed) 34-27
4th 07:41 NYC Jamal Dallas 16yd reception from Michael Nicosia (try failed) 40-27
4th 00:12 NYC Ki”Shyne Shipmon 68yd run (Rory Naughton kick) 47-27


Team Totals New York City Long Island
Rushing 6 5
Passing 8 5
Rushing Attempts 17 24
Average Per Rush 11.0 6.0
Rushing Touchdowns 2 3
Yards Gained Rushing 194 152
Yards Lost Rushing -7 -9
Completions-Attempts-Int 19 – 26 – 1 10 – 20 – 2
Average Per Attempt 13.1 7.4
Average Per Completion 17.9 14.7
Passing Touchdowns 5 1
Total offense plays 43 44
Average Gain Per Play 12.3 6.6


New York City


Name # Gain Loss Net TD Long Average
Ki”Shyne Shipmon (Iona) 2 79 0 79 1 68 39.5
Michael Nicosia (Stepinac) 6 51 0 51 0 17 8.5
Jamal Dallas (Stepinac) 4 27 0 27 0 20 6.8
Justin Ancheta (Fordham) 1 16 0 16 1 16 16.0
James Halbert (Xavier) 1 8 0 8 0 8 8.0
Lucas Nunez (Hayes) 3 13 (7) 6 0 10 2.0
TOTALS 17 194 (7) 187 2 68 11.0


Name Att Cmp Int Yds TD Long
Michael Nicosia (Stepinac) 23 17 0 253 4 67
Chris Vigilante (Sea) 3 2 1 87 1 68
TOTALS 26 19 1 340 5


Name # Yds TD Long
Elijah Jones (Hayes) 6 174 2 68
Lucas Nunez (Hayes) 7 86 1 26
Frank DiMattina (Peters) 3 28 1 13
Ki”Shyne Shipmon (Iona) 1 19 0 19
Matthew Mitchell (Sea) 1 17 0 17
Jamal Dallas (Stepinac) 1 16 1 16
TOTALS 19 340 5 59

Long Island


Name # Gain Loss Net TD Long Average
Nick Jaskolski (Chaminade) 4 64 0 64 1 53 16.0
Chris Auricchio (St. Francis) 7 54 (2) 52 0 35 7.4
Justin Felder (Holy Cross) 8 26 (2) 24 2 5 3.0
Daniel Parker (Baptist) 4 8 (4) 4 0 4 1.0
Marc Anthony Dolce (St. Francis) 1 0 (1) -1 0
TOTALS 24 152 (9) 143 3 53 6.0


Name Att       Cmp     Int Yds TD Long
Chris Auricchio (St. Francis) 13 5 2 91 0 30
Nick Jaskolski (Chaminade) 7 5 0 56 1 18
TOTALS 20 10 2 147 1


Name # Yds TD Long
Aiden Fitzgerald (Kellenberg) 3 59 1 28
Justin Holder (Holy Cross) 3 42 0 22
Chris Nicholas (Chaminade) 2 41 0 30
Tim McCabe (Xaverian) 1 6 0 6
Brandon Orgill (Holy Cross) 1 -1 0
TOTALS 10 147 1
Dec 032017

The annual CHSFL Communion Championship Awards Breakfast  recognized the championship teams and players for the 2017 season.  The ceremonies began with mass and was followed by breakfast in the cafeteria of Kellenberg Memorial High School.  The 2017 award winner are as follows;

Monsignor Matthew Peters Award – Student Athlete Award

Matthew Valecce – Fordham Prep

Golden Eleven Awards

Robert Scala – Chaminade

Patrick Mc Ardle – St. Francis Prep

Deuce Prince – Archbishop Stepinac

Jake Valensi – Monsignor Farrell

Michael De Gasperis – Iona Prep

Michael Palermo – St. John the Baptist

Frank Corrado – Xavier

Dominick De Masi – Kellenberg

Gabriel Gelves – Holy Trinity

Claude Watford – Cardinal Hayes

Jack Donovan – St. Anthony

John Buscini – St Joe by the Sea

Defensive Player of the Year

Vincent O’Connor Memorial Award – AAA Defensive Player of the YearAtrilleon Williams (Archbishop Stepinac)


AA Defensive Player of the Year – Daniel Wilson (Kellenberg)

A Defensive Player of the Year – Cole Esposito (Kennedy Catholic)

Offensive Player of the Year

Joe Riverso Memorial Award – AAA Offensive Player of the YearLucas Nunez (Cardinal Hayes)

AA Offensive Player of the Year – Matt Sluka (Kellenberg)

A Offensive Player of the Year – Roberto Auguste (Xaverian)

Lineman of the Year

Joe Thomas Memorial Award – AAA Lineman of the YearGrayson Cherubino (St. Anthony’s)

AA Lineman of the Year – Joseph Petti (Fordham Prep)

A Lineman of the Year – Ed Longest (Kennedy Catholic)


Metropolitan Football Association Award

In Memory of John Bromm

Matthew Gomes – St Joseph by the Sea

Sal Maida – Cardinal Spellman

The Ken Weinman Award

Donated by the Intercounty Association of Football Officials

Mark Johnston – St John the Baptist

Andrew Pace – Chaminade

 Lieutenant Ronald Winchester Award – Unsung Hero Award

Donated by the L.I.A.F.O. Foundation of New YorkDaniel Bentivegna, Monsignor Farrell

Bob Stenger Memorial JVB Sportsmanship Awards

Long Island – Holy Trinity

City – Fordham Prep

 Players of the Week Awards 

Week 1

Frankie Roder (Jr.); RB/LB – Kellenberg

Mike Nicosia (Sr.); QB – Archbishop Stepinac

Vin Wagner (Jr.); RB – Monsignor Farrell

Sean Bryan (Sr.); RB – St. Anthony’s

Malkelm Morrison (Sr.); DB/KR – Iona Prep

Will Loffredo (Sr.); WR – Fordham Prep

Marc-Anthony Dalce (Sr.); LB/FB/P – St. Francis Prep

Week 2

Elijah Jones (Sr.); WR/CB – Cardinal Hayes

Justin Felder (Sr.); RB – Holy Cross

Chris Viglilante (Sr.); QB – St. Joseph’s by the Sea

Roberto Auguste (Jr.); RB/DB – Xaverian

Will Ford (So.); WR – St. Dominic

Kevin Gray (Jr.); LB – Archbishop Stepinac

Week 3

Marquis Jimenez (Sr.); QB – Mount St. Michael

Matt Sluka (Jr.); QB – Kellenberg

Matt Kindya (Sr.); OL – Monsignor Farrell

John Stroughn (Jr.); OL/DL – Holy Trinity

Greg Campisi (Jr.); QB – St. Anthony’s

Sonny Badyna (Jr.); QB – St. Peter’s

Week 4

Matt Valecce (Sr.); QB – Fordham Prep

Roberto Auguste (Jr.); RB/DB – Xaverian

Christopher Auricchio (Sr.); FB/LB – St. Francis Prep

Derek Robertson (Jr.); QB – Iona Prep

Cole Esposito (Jr.); LB – Kennedy Catholic

Justin Hairston (Sr.); LB – Archbishop Stepinac

Week 5

Demetrios Demetriades (Jr.); WB/CB – Xavier High School

Michael DeGasperis (Sr.); WR – Iona Prep

Grayson Cherubino (Sr.); DE – St. Anthony’s

Matthew Sluka (Jr.); QB – Kellenberg

Omarion Jones (So.); QB/DB – St. Francis Prep

Michael Palermo II (Sr.); RB/LB – St. John the Baptist

Week 6

Liam McHale (Sr.); WR – Fordham Prep

Michael Palermo II (Sr.); RB/LB – St. John the Baptist

Sofian Massoud (So.); QB – Cardinal Hayes

John Kelly (Sr.); LB – Monsignor Farrell

Conrad Perry (Jr.); RB/LB – Mount Saint Michael

Anthony Pecorella (Jr.); PK/P – Chaminade

Week 7

Jack Rooney (Jr.); QB – St. Dominic

Thomas Force (Sr.); TE/SS – St. John the Baptist

Isaiah Amazon (JR.); WR/DE – Xaverian

Omarion Jones (So.); QB – St. Francis Prep

Makhai Murphy (Jr.); CB – St. Anthony’s

Ryan Scelzi (Sr.); RB – St. Joseph’s by the Sea

Week 8

Jonathon Geruso (Sr.); RB – Xavier

Ki’Shyne Shipmon (Sr.); RB/WR – Iona Prep

Matt Valecce (Sr.); QB – Fordham Prep

Ed Longest (Sr.); OL/DL – Kennedy Catholic

Justin Medina (Sr.); RB/DB – Cardinal Spellman

Playoffs – Quarter Finals (Week 9)

Jayden Lambert (Jr.); RB/CB – Iona Prep

Valery Gwardyak (Sr.); LB – Xavier

Justin Ancheta (Sr.); RB/LB – Fordham Prep

Wyatt Rumpf (Jr.); OL/LB – Kennedy Catholic

Chris Beyers (Sr.); LB – Kellenberg

Elijah Jones (Sr.); WR/CB – Cardinal Hayes

Playoff  – Semi-Finals

Ian Devine (Sr.); DE/DT – Fordham Prep

Shawn Harris (Jr.); RB/WR – Archbishop Stepinac

Brendan Whitehead (Sr.); DL/OG – Kellenberg Memorial

Robert DiGregorio (Sr.); PK – St. Anthony’s

Championship Game Offensive & Defensive MVP’s

AAA Championship Offensive MVP – Atrilleon Williams (Archbishop Stepinac)

AAA Championship Defensive MVP – Kevin Gray (Archbishop Stepinac)

AA Championship Offensive MVP – Matthew Sluka (Kellenberg)

AA Championship Defensive MVP – Shawn Hughes (Kellenberg)

A Championship Offensive MVP – Isaac Yearwood (Cardinal Spellman)

A Championship Defensive MVP – Michael Booth (Cardinal Spellman)


Claude Watford (Sr.): DB – Cardinal Hayes

Joseph Petti (Sr.): OL – Fordham Prep