Please pray for the repose of the soul of Jarrod Sockwell. He succumbed to complications caused by the COVID-19 virus. Jarrod was a star player for Nazareth graduating in 1999 and then returned to his alma mater four years ago to serve as an assistant coach. He also served as an assistant coach at Holy Cross. Jarrod will be missed by the Nazareth High School and CHSFL communities.
May he Rest in Peace.
Reflecting upon and celebrating the achievement, glory, and blessings of their biggest, brightest, and most treasured competitors, the NYCHSFL community gathered together on Sunday December 8th for the annual ritual of sharing a meal at the 2019 Communion Awards Breakfast.
Headlining our collection of 2019 award winners would be Chaminade senior lineman, Liam Brown, who took home the Monsignor Peter’s Memorial Trophy, in recognition of being named the top Scholar-Athlete in the NYCHSFL…A young gentleman who carries himself as a living example of all the characteristics and values that we as Christians are called to embody, Brown has selflessly excelled across the board…In the classroom, he has posted a cumulative grade point average of 99.4, is a three-year (soon to be four) Honor Roll student, an active member in the National Honor Society, doubled up as the top student-athlete recipient for both the football and wrestling teams in 2018 (expected to repeat this achievement), received the Louis J. Faerber trophy in 2017 as the owner of the highest grade point average in the Flyer freshman class, and transformed his passion for the sciences (emphasis on Medicine/Biology) into a 1st place ribbon at the 2019 Science Fair, among his many academic accolades…In the community, Brown is a dedicated disciple, serving St. Paul’s parish as a volunteer at “Friday Friends”, a program which provides companionship and mentorship to special needs children. In addition, he is a devout representative of the Catholic League and Catholic 4 Life organizations, has given freely of his time as a peer tutor, was repeatedly selected by school administrators to serve as a role model at the Admitted Students Open House, as well as the Catholic High School Entrance examination. Furthermore, he continues to spread the teachings of Christ as a multi-year educator within the PREP program…On the gridiron, the Wantagh resident was recently named to the All-League squad following a 2019 season where he captained the Flyers to their first title since 2014. The anchor of the OL, Brown paved the way for the Flyers to rack up over 3,300 yards of total offense and 38 touchdowns en route to hoisting the hardware…Brown has been appointed to the United States’ Naval Academy and is presently awaiting notification of acceptance.
Signifying what may have been the most electric, dynamic, and/or explosive display of offensive prowess in the history of the Metropolitan Catholic League were a group of four extraordinary studs that together amassed totals of 8,084 total yards, 86 touchdowns, and three NYCHSFL team crowns over the course of the past two months…Claiming the Joseph Riverso Memorial Award as the Outstanding Offensive Players of the Year in their respective divisions were Clayton Proctor (A; Kennedy Catholic), Jordan DeLucia (AA-1; Kellenberg Memorial), Justin Lacks (AA-2; Moore Catholic), and Jalen Smith (AAA; Cardinal Hayes).
Proctor, who made it two years in a row that a member of his household emerged as the eventual single-A selection (older brother, Myles, won in 2018) for the Riverso, was nothing short of spectacular during a junior campaign that witnessed the boys from Somers celebrating the first title in program history…A true microcosm of the mind-blowing season he put forth this year, in propelling the Gaels to their aforementioned single-A crown, the 5’10, 170-pound field general out of Yorktown Heights was personally responsible for 420 yards and five touchdowns in earning Offensive MVP status in the championship contest….For the season, Proctor held the distinction of topping the “A” leaderboard in both passing and rushing yardage…Connecting on 69 of 153 attempts in the air, Proctor tossed for 910 yards. On the ground, he was even more potent, calling his own number on 138 occasions for a total of 940 yards. Not surprisingly, his 18 touchdowns in whole (11 rushing, 7 in the air) also bested his counterparts…With his entire senior year still awaiting him, there is no telling what Proctor has in store for the Gael faithful in 2020.
DeLucia, who requires no introduction following one of the most decorated three-year varsity careers in school, league, and Long Island history, became the third consecutive Firebird to have this award bestowed upon him (Matt Sluka was a two-time winner in 2017 and 2018)…Looking beyond the stat sheet (it is an impressive array of numbers) for a quick moment, perhaps the true measure of the legacy the future Harvard student leaves behind is the fact that every season he competed for the Blue & Gold varsity, the team advanced to championship weekend, riding a 22-game streak to titles in 2017 and 2018 before settling for the runner-up position this past year…A definitive difference-maker from the opening whistle of his sophomore season, the pride of Bellmore has been one of the most diverse and unstoppable forces in the Empire state during this previously cited three-year span…In 2019 alone, the KMHS tailback had a hand in 2,615 yards and 31 touchdowns. The utmost epitome of what it means to be an “all-purpose back,” DeLucia’s 1,931 yards (6th in NYS) and 23 touchdowns (9th in NYS) on the ground was 1st among all AA-1 ball carriers. To boot, his 603 yards (on 30 receptions) as a pass-catcher ranked 2nd. He even managed to throw for a pair of touchdown passes in his swan song, completing 3 of 4 attempts for 81 yards…A 4th team All-State selection in 2018, it is a foregone conclusion that this special individual will easily be acknowledged again by the New York Sportswriters Association…DeLucia closes out this chapter with the following career statistics: 3,929 yards and 46 TD rushing on 403 carries (9.7/per), 1,077 yards and 10 additional scores on 52 receptions.
Speaking of storied careers that at times seemed to approach the realm of invincibility, you need look no further than the four years of dominance showcased by the Mavericks’ gem of a running back, Justin Lacks…Sweeping All-League honors (4-for-4), the 6’1, 215-pound Adonis is a certainty to add his third All-State (5th team as a freshman, 3rd team as a junior) distinction when the 2019 list is unveiled…The catalyst (Offensive MVP each year) behind bookend titles in 2016 (single-A) and 2019 (AA-2) for the Mavs, the 2019 season was a magical one for the Staten Islander, as the success of his team was complemented by individual glory…Posting the 4th highest rushing total this season in New York State, #6 in Red & Black accumulated 1,998 yards and scored 22 times on 232 carries (8.6 average). In both cases, he blew away his AA-2 peers, finishing the season with more than a 1,000-yard edge over his closest competitor and recording double the touchdown quantity…Firmly cementing himself as a living legend, Lacks concludes his scholastic career as the All-time running leader in not only Staten Island history, but the entire five boroughs…Gaining no fewer than 1,058 yards and scoring no less than 11 touchdowns in any specific season, the NYC rushing king departs his throne with career totals of 5.486 yards and 66 touchdowns on 818 carries (6.7 average). In 37 career appearances, he surpassed the 100-yard plateau 28 times, including eight 200-yard-plus performances.
The consummate “money player” during his two years on the Hayes’ varsity, the bigger the stakes, the better the 5’9, 165-pounder [Smith] performed…In seven postseason outings, including two NYCHSFL AAA title contests (151 yards, 1 TD in 2019) and the 2019 Catholic State title game (212 yards, 2 scores), Smith ran for over 100 yards in five (123.6/game average) and scored a total of six rushing touchdowns (while tacking on 176 yards and 1 TD on 16 grabs as a receiver)….A legitimate jack of all trades and an undeniable game-changer, despite being shelved for a few weeks with injury, Smith still managed to lead the triple-A division in both rushing yardage (1,371) and TD runs (14) in 2019. His school reaped the benefits as the Bronx based institution won the title for the first time since 2016….So versatile in his ability to inflict damage, if need be, Smith could equally be utilized as a receiver at the next level. As an 11th grader, he made 51 catches for 726 yards and nine touchdowns before transitioning into the backfield late in 2018…Smith, who fulfilled the prophecy we made in September by seizing the Riverso, wrapped up his curricula vitae with combined totals of 1,765 yards rushing and 907 yards receiving (2,672 all-purpose) and 26 touchdowns…Displaying a maturity superior to his chronological age, Smith is already on his way toward being an amazing humanitarian. Prior to the start of his senior year, he initiated an online campaign where donors pledged money for every touchdown he scored. The proceeds were to be used to purchase new security equipment as a means of school shooting prevention. Hence, every one of the 15 trips to pay dirt were blessed with intrinsic goodness!
Flipping the script to our defensive personnel, this quartet of gifted stoppers were so sensational in their own right that there is no doubt that the iconic Paul “Bear” Bryant is up above tipping his fedora to them…Using the Bear’s own words, when it comes to this group of fine physical specimens, defense very much has translated into championships…Winning a combined six NYCHSFL crowns (in nine appearances) and two State titles among themselves, this senior foursome racked up 448 total tackles, 39 TFLs, 19.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries, and a plethora of additional feats this season, making them all perfect choices to forever wear the proverbial badge of Vincent O’Connor Memorial Award winner. Your 2019 Defensive Players of the Year: Ethan Ortiz (A; Cardinal Spellman), Aidan Cappellino (AA-1; Chaminade), Artie Padilla Jr. (AA-2; Moore Catholic), and Kevin McKenna (AAA; Archbishop Stepinac).
Unblockable during his junior and senior seasons, Ortiz followed up a 139-stop year (4th in NYS) in 2018 by recording 84 tackles for the Pilots in his last season wearing the Red & White. Both years, he finished as the overall tackle king in the “A” division…In addition, 2019 saw him increase his sack total by 100%, as he bagged the opposing quarterback on two occasions to finish 3rd in the category…Showcasing amazingly awareness, he was credited with a pair of fumble recoveries in 2019…A bona fide ironman who rarely came off the field, the 6’0, 177-pounder out of Mount Vernon, was also a major asset this season in the Spellman backfield, rushing for 841 yards and eight touchdowns…Finishing his career with 227 total tackles, on 15 different occasions, Ortiz registered double-digit stops, including six times this past year.
Without question the most improved of our four selections, Cappellino belongs at the top of the list when it comes to the breakout stars of 2019 in the entire Empire State…Not even appearing on the 2018 stat sheet, the standout from Sayville made up for lost time in a massive manner in his final season in Mineola…The heartbeat for a defensive corps that surrendered just 13.4 points per game versus fellow double-A foes (18.2 including all games), #41 in Crimson & Gold flew to the ball with unrelenting, unforgiving intensity. As a result of his impassioned play, he immediately and consistently put himself in a class of his own, collecting 19 tackles for a loss and five sacks to lead AA-1 in both categories. His 120 total tackles was 2nd in the division only to teammate, Brandan Coward (145)…The senior captain rounded out his resume this season by forcing and recovering one fumble apiece.
Like a fine vintage, the four-year Mavs’ varsity member [Padilla] grew sweeter and more valuable with each passing season. Joining Lacks as one of the few remaining components off of the roster that won the 2016 title, the 215-pound gem out of SI went from recording just one tackle as a freshman to 64 stops and two sacks as a sophomore, and then 71 (6 TFL) as a junior…And still, despite this steady climb, nothing could have prepared for the Catholic football community for the monumental, out-of-this world effort he demonstrated as a senior…The backbone of the #2 overall defensive cohort in the NYCHSFL (15.5/game surrendered), there was nothing that Padilla did not do this season in capping his career as a champion…Posting AA-2 highs in tackles (140; 4th in NYS), stops for a loss (12), and sacks (8.5), Padilla was an endless nightmare for the opposition…In 10 outings this season, he posted double-digit stops in nine…Padilla was also a master at creating turnovers as indicated by his three forced fumbles this season…His career numbers are as follows: 276 tackles, 18 stops for negative yardage, 10.5 sacks, 1 interception, 4 fumbles caused.
A three-year mainstay and human highlight reel for a Crusader program that made three trips to the league finals (titles in 2017 and 2018) and won back-to-back state crowns during his tenure, the multi-sport (lacrosse and football) University of Utah bound playmaker [McKenna] is the next in a lineage of renowned Stepinac defenders…The fifth AS representative to win the O’Connor in the past six seasons, when you are in the company of reigning ACC Player of the Week, Trill Williams (2017), you know you had an incredible season and a prestigious career…Recording no fewer than 89 tackles (2017) in any of his three years donning the Red, White, and Blue jersey, #32 was a 4th-Team All-State pick in 2018 following a 117 tackle, 10 sack, 11 QB hurry junior campaign…Asked to do a little more on offense as a senior (237 yards and 2 TDs rushing; 13 catches for 167 yards and 3 touchdowns as a receiver), some of McKenna’s gaudy numbers from a year ago may have waned slightly, but in many ways, he actually put forth a more complete and universal display…Putting an exclamation mark on his career with three straight double-digit tackle games (including a season-best 15 in the AAA finals), McKenna ended 2019 with 104 tackles, 8 stops behind the line of scrimmage, 4 sacks, 6 hurries, 4 pass break-ups, 4 caused fumbles, a pair of loose ball recoveries, and a blocked punt…With him at the helm, the Crusaders posted the top-ranked defense in triple-A, permitting just 15.9 points per game…McKenna’s final tallies are as follows: 310 tackles, 13 TFL, 14 sacks, 19 hurries, 2 INTs, 5 PDs, 4 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries, and two blocked punts…The 310 stops made him the all-time school leader in the category.
Relishing their rare moment in the spotlight were the often overlooked and/or taken for granted unsung heroes of the trenches…By far one of the most demanding roles one can undertake in the realm of athletic competition, former Kansas City Chief pro bowl WR/KR, Dante Hall, offered this praise to the men who muster the courage to accept the challenge: “Defensive and Offensive linemen control this game; and any true fan already knows that.”…Current University of Nebraska Head Coach, Scott Frost, reflected on his playing days, uttering, “Every great team I played on, the linemen were the bell cows of the whole team.”….With these sentiments in mind, the likes of Anthony Badagliacca (A; Cardinal Spellman), Anthony Casillo (AA-1; St. Peter’s), Elijah Tobin (AA-2; Holy Trinity), and Ajani Cornelius (AAA; Archbishop Stepinac) were fitting choices to be this year’s Joe Thomas Memorial Trophy recipients.
Selected in Week #8 of the 2019 season as a NYCHSFL POTW, for the past two seasons, the 6’0, 280-pound beast from the Bronx [Badagliacca] has been a two-way engine powering the offensive and defensive lines…With Badagliacca serving as the Pilots’ primary road grader, the Spellman running attack averaged 190+ yards and scored 26 touchdowns between 2018 and 2019…As a pass protector this year, he provided such a comfortable pocket that sophomore QB, Aidan Hanley-Piri, enjoyed increases in all of his 2018 statistics, improving his completion percentage by seven points and tossing for 127 more yards…Defensively, big #77 finished the year tied with Ortiz for 2nd on the team with 2 sacks, while also contributing 22 total stops, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, and a pair of punt blocks…As if he was not busy enough, Badagliacca handled placekicking duties as well for CS, converting 7 of 8 PAT attempts and nailing his lone field goal try.
A linchpin of the offensive line during each of the past three seasons, Casillo might as well have been nicknamed “Bisquick” because no matter where he lined up (either center or guard), he served pancakes week in and week out…Laying the tracks for 2,693 yards and 24 touchdowns as a sophomore and 2,891 yards last season, there would be no senior slump for the 280-pound Staten Islander, as his work made it possible for teammates, Kaiwan Taylor and Michael Politi, to have banner years as ball carriers for the Eagles…Like a genuine leader, Casillo embraced a much larger role on defense in 2019 too and his efforts did not go unnoticed as his game film was saturated with flashes of brilliance where he bulldozed opposing OLs to record repeated tackles for a loss.
The only non-senior among this four-person brute squad, the 6’1, 250-pounder out of Amityville [Tobin] has already established himself as one of the premier two-way linemen in Nassau & Suffolk and he still has all of 2020 to add to his esteemed reputation…A plug and play phenom on both sides of the ball from his first varsity practice as a sophomore in 2018, there is every reason to believe that this is only the first of two Thomas Awards that he will adorn his mantel…A punishing blocker that fits the Titans’ bread-and-butter ground attack to a “T” (as in Tobin), in his two years wreaking havoc on the OL, the Green & White have accumulated 4,459 yards and run for 47 touchdowns…The caliber of superstar that has the God-given ability to not only elevate his own game, but simultaneously make everyone around perform at a higher level, the best piece of evidence you need when assessing the importance of Tobin is that since he has joined the line-up, THREE Titan ball-carriers have achieved All-League status…Building off of a strong sophomore campaign last season where he was credited with 19 tackles, 9 TFLs, and four sacks on defense, Tobin jumped levels on defense in 2019, concluding the year with 31 stops, 11 tackles for negative yardage, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a blocked punt. In recognition of his stellar body of work, Tobin received his first All-League bid on “D“.
Last, but by no means least, is the behemoth from Harlem, Cornelius…Standing 6’5 and tipping the scale at 315 pounds, there was never a second during the past three years where the magnitude of his performance failed to match the scope of his stature…A Goliath among Davids from his spot at Offensive Guard, Cornelius has been an integral and priceless cog in a machine that has scored 1,193 pounds, rushed for 7,274 yards, passed for an additional 7,057 yards, while accounting for 152 touchdowns from 2017-2019…As noted above in the McKenna write-up, during this stretch, the Crusaders won two NYCHFL Triple-A titles, as well as back-to-back state titles…Presently holding scholarship offers from six different NCAA Division I programs (Morgan State, Howard, Bryant, Hampton, Delaware State, and Rhode Island), last summer, Cornelius gave a verbal commitment to the Bison [Howard] and could make it official in the coming weeks during the early signing period.
Garnering the last set of individual awards for excellence in a particular aspect/phase of the game were the talented lads that brought the crowd to their feet, via either a big kick/punt return or a clutch field goal…Holding down the fort for the future Adam Vinatieris, Devin Hesters, or Billy “White Shoes” Johnsons (for your old schoolers) of the world were your 2019 Special Team Players of the Year— Liam Mullholland (A; Kennedy Catholic), Joseph Pasqua (St. Francis Prep), Cameron Holmes (Moore Catholic), and Mekhi Green (Archbishop Stepinac).
Following in the foot-steps of 2018 winner, Brendan Lebitsch, Mullholland became the second Gael in a row to be honored for his ice water veins…Successfully connecting on 19 of 20 point after tries, and going 4-for-5 on FG attempts (long of 39), the 6’0, 170-pounder from Mahopac amassed 31 points this season, which was more than three times the amount of any other place-kicker in the “A” division this season…Emerging with one of the signature plays of the 2019 season, Mullholland booted a 27-yard field goal with no time remaining on the clock to send the single-A title game to overtime…Remarkably, his biggest kick of the season came just 24 hours removed from an assist on the soccer pitch that resulted in another Gael title. Hence, there clearly is no situation too big for the Kennedy 11th grader.
Indisputably a cherished weapon in the battle for field position, Pasqua’s 300 total yards on 14 kick returns ranked 10th in New York State…Spotlighted by a four return, 97-yard effort on October 20th, the Williston Park resident reached or exceeded 50 yards as a returner in three of nine games this season…While not as pronounced, he also gained 11 yards on three punt returns…Not just limited to specialist duties, Pasqua tallied 377 yards of total offense as a ball-carrier (222 on 39 carries; 3 TDs) and target out of the backfield (155 yards on 11 receptions; 1 touchdown catch)…Five of his 29 tackles on defense yielded a loss of yardage.
The Ultimate triple-threat for the Mavs this season, there was not a single area of the game that Holmes did not impact at one time or another during this championship winning season in Staten Island…Belonging to what is likely a very exclusive club, the 6’2, 185-pounder out of the Garden State pulled off a rare feat in 2019, returning both a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns this season…Extremely balanced in his resume as a special teamer, Holmes accumulated 470 yards (6th most in New York) in this dual capacity, concluding his senior year with 243 on 9 KOR (27.0 average) and 227 (3rd in the state) on 13 punt returns…One of, if not the top WR in AA-2 this season, Holmes’ totals of 31 catches (1st) for 602 yards (3rd) and 8 TDs (3rd) ranked in the top-3 of all major receiving categories in the division…On defense, he registered 48 tackles, 1 sack, and was the team-leader with both 3 interceptions (including a pick-6 in the AA-2 finals) and 6 pass break-ups.
Entering his swan song as the #1 running back on the depth chart, the injury bug forced Green to adapt to a new role and adapt he did, finding his calling as an invaluable returner for Coach [Mike] O’Donnell’s Crusaders…Tallying a AAA best 113 yards (11 attempts) as a punt returner, Green may not have been afforded as many opportunities as a KOR, but certainly maximized the chances he did get, averaging 22.8 yards on four returns (91 yards overall)…The cumulative total of 204 yards tops in the division…Wearing the famed #6 jersey for Stepinac, even if not fully healthy, Green lived up to his captain tag in every possible way, making 37 tackles, causing and recovering one fumble apiece, and breaking-up 3 passes on “D”, while rushing contributing 192 yards (24 carries; 2 TDs) and 116 yards (11 catches; 1 score) respectively as a rusher/receiver.
Other notable awards presented on Sunday were:
Monsignor Peter’s Memorial Golden Eleven Award
Frank Scafuri (Monsignor Farrell)
Christopher LoRusso (Kennedy Catholic)
Jordan DeLucia (Kellenberg)
Michael Tartaglia (Archbishop Stepinac)
Brian Holder (Holy Trinity)
James Donaldson (Xavier)
Anthony Casillo (St Peter’s)
Eric Terrano (St Francis Prep)
Ethan Ortiz (Cardinal Spellman)
Thomas Resker (Xaverian)
James Colesanti (St. Joseph’s by the Sea)
John Bromm Memorial Award
Dominick Battaglia (Monsignor Farrell)
Adrian Ordonez (Cardinal Spellman)
Ken Weinman Memorial Award
Derrick Nyarko (Nazareth)
Christopher Ramos (St. John the Baptist)
Anthony Rosati (Xaverian)
Lieutenant Ronald Winchester Memorial Award
Joshua Rivera (Xaverian)
By Matt Diano:
AAA Champions – Cardinal Hayes
Henry Belin (So; QB; Offensive MVP)—There is a saying in high school and college sports that “no one is a rookie anymore when the postseason rolls around.” In the case of the Cardinals’ 6’3, 200-pound sophomore field general, no truer words could be spoken as it pertains to the way he has taken his game to the next level during the course of the past three weeks in propelling Cardinal Hayes to their first triple-A title since 2016.
Not named to the POTW list at any point during the regular season, Belin has now been selected twice (also selected following the quarterfinals) during the playoffs and in all fairness, probably had a compelling argument to be nominated for all three of his performances.
Completing 28 of 38 pass attempts for 452 yards and six touchdowns, while rushing for 56 yards and an additional TD on 14 keepers during quarter and semifinal round victories over St. Anthony’s and Iona Prep, even before stepping onto the field this past Saturday afternoon for the triple-A championship, Belin had already asserted himself as the breakout headliner of the 2019 playoffs and the future face of the quarterback position in the NYCHSFL…His stellar display on November 16th was just the cherry on top!
The only underclassman of our eight title-game MVP recipients, Belin connected on 12 of his 18 pass attempts for 209 yards and one touchdown (his 20th TD throw of the year) in the Cardinals’ 25-7 victory over two-time defending league and state kings, Archbishop Stepinac…It was the second time in as many opportunities in 2019 that he notched a 200+ yard game in the air against the Crusaders. In the narrow (28-26) week #7 loss, he went 16-for-26, tossing for 272 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
His team trailing 7-0 at approximately the midway point of the opening quarter, Belin was instrumental in squaring the game on Hayes’ third possession, rushing for a 15-yard gain to move the ball into Stepinac territory and then later hitting Jonathan Jenkins on a 14-yard WR screen to advance the Cardinals to the opposing 2-yard line…Both plays set the stage for Zachary Mitchell’s equalizer.
The game still deadlocked at 7 apiece with 2:33 remaining in the first half, Belin put the Cardinals in front, 13-7, by throwing a perfect strike over the middle on 2nd & 13 to the NYCHSFL leader in receiving yards and TD catches, Kuno Mendez, for the 34-yard go-ahead touchdown.
Hayes up 19-7 in the early stages of the 4th quarter, Belin laid the tracks for one final bonus score when he played pitch-and-catch with Jerald Munoz, on a pair of completions totaling 34 yards to advance the ball to the Stepinac 35…A 23-yard run by Sidiki Kone, put the ball inside the red zone and then Tafari Blackstock culminated the drive with the 12-yard TD dash to account for the final tally.
Senior RB, Jalen Smith, who also garnered MVP consideration, posted a game-high 125 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries…In six career playoff games between 2018 and 2019, he has surpassed the century mark four times, racking up 627 yards and four touchdowns on 80 carries.
The Cardinals now turn their attention towards winning the first Catholic State crown for the first time in program history on November 23rd when they head upstate to clash with the Monsignor Martin League champions, Canisius…A rematch of the 2016 state finals won 50-44 by Canisius, both programs had modest regular seasons as evident by the fact that they entered their respective postseasons seeded 3rd [Canisius] and 4th [Hayes] in their brackets, but have caught fire in the month of November, combining to win five in a row, including avenging losses in four of those games.
Nicholas Burgess (Sr; LB; Defensive MVP)—Extending his career by another week, the 5’10, 210-pound Garden Stater, stepped onto Mitchel Field last Saturday with only two sacks this season (per MaxPreps)…By the time the final horn sounded, he had not just increased that number, he had absolutely obliterated it, concluding the afternoon with FOUR QB bags en route to claiming top individual honors on the defensive side of the ball.
The centerpiece (literally as the inside linebacker) of Head Coach, CJ O’Neil’s defensive cohort, Burgess was the catalyst behind a concentrated, suffocating demonstration of determination that saw a lethal Crusader offense accustomed to scoring 40 points, held down to just 7, including a drought that spanned the final 47:22 seconds of the contest.
Consistently plugging the pocket, any time Stepinac QB, Joey Carino, attempted to step up and run, #10 in white was there to personally greet him for a minimal gain or a loss of yards…Not allowing him to ever establish a comfort zone, the Hayes’ “D” also forced the future Albany Great Dane [Carino] into his poorest performance of the year in the air, as he was able to hit on only 7 of his 22 throws for a season-low 108 yards.
His team leading 25-7 in the last 4:00 of the 4th quarter, Burgess’s coverage sack on 4th down on his own 44-yard line was the nail in the coffin, as it halted Stepinac’s last-ditch attempt at a late-game rally.
All in all, Burgess was credited with seven total tackles, four stops for negative outcomes, and the previously acknowledged four-spot in terms of sacks.
Charles Miracle Oguamanam was quite imposing himself, making five tackles, 3 TFL, and sacking Carino on three occasions…Na’Sir Douglas was incredible in the secondary, amassing four successful pass break-ups, including creating a turnover in the red zone when he defended a pass on 4th down late in the first half…Shawn Ward notched sacks on back-to-back snaps late in the 3rd quarter to put himself into the DMVP conversation.
The Cardinal & Gold “D” will need to continue to bring their “A games” this coming weekend, as they face a very formidable and balanced Canisius attack (150 in the air; 201.5 on the ground) that is averaging over 30 points per game.
AA-1 Champions – Chaminade
Donovan Wood (Sr; WR; Offensive MVP)—One of the most explosive student-athletes in the Double AA-1 league in 2019, there were multiple times this season that the 6’0, 175-pound wide out of Manor Park could have been bestowed a POTW nomination…However, perhaps the fact that the distinction came in his final appearance as a Flyer makes the moment all the more special.
Tying his personal-best for receptions in a single game with six (previously set in week #1) in Chaminade’s 29-12 victory over two-time defending champions, Kellenberg Memorial, in the AA-1 title game last Saturday evening, #4 in Crimson & Gold notched the first 100-yard receiving day of his two-year varsity career, finishing with 140. He would also post his third two TD reception game of the year (week #4 versus St. Peters; week #8 over Fordham Prep).
Wasting no time getting the top-seeded Flyers off to a fast start, on his school’s first possession of the title contest, Wood caught approximately a 10-yard pass, but then spun up field and out-raced the Firebird defense to the tune of a 91-yard touchdown to make the score 6-0.
Trailing 12-9 in the early stages of the third quarter and in need of a big play to regain momentum, again it was Wood on the back end of a beautiful toss from fellow senior, Ryan Walsh, winning his one-on-one match-up with the KMHS cornerback and making a leaping grab on a back-shoulder route to put Chaminade back on top for good, 16-12…Prior to the touchdown grab, Wood also had a key catch on 3rd & 7 to preserve what ended up being the game-winning drive.
Serving as the team’s place-kicker as well, in addition to his pair of TD receptions, Wood converted a 25-yard field goal at the end of the 1st half (to give Chaminade a 9-6 lead at the break) and went 2-for-4 on PAT attempts to conclude the day having been responsible for nearly 60% (17 of 29) of the Flyer point output.
Walsh (16-for-20, career-high 250 yards passing, two touchdown throws), Paolo Maggio (personal-bests in catches and yardage with five grabs for 85 yards respectively), and Mario Fischetti Jr. (18 carries for 135 yards and two TD runs) also were given serious consideration for top offensive player honors.
Robert Booth (Sr; DL; Defensive MVP)—An individual that was immensely solid all season long, but really seemed to elevate his performance in the two rivalry games against Kellenberg, the 6’3, 225-pound defensive lineman was so active in flying to the ball during championship weekend that at times, it gave off the impression to those in the press box that there were multiple #51s occupying the DL for the Flyers.
Posting a career-best 13 total stops in Chaminade’s 28-26 regular season win over KMHS during week #6, the multi-sport student-athlete (committed to the United States Naval Academy to play lacrosse) may not have collected as many tackles during round #2 of the Marianist Bowl, but the quality of his efforts were every bit as important, if not more so.
Of the eight total tackles in which Booth was credited, four of these stops were in the backfield and resulted in a significant loss of yards. He also recorded his fifth sack of his senior season, and even added a pass defense to his resume, forcing a punt by getting his arms up and knocking pass a 3rd down pass attempt by Kellenberg field general, Daniel Settino, on the Blue & Gold’s second offensive series of the contest.
In fitting fashion, with Chaminade enjoying the 17-point advantage in the final 3:00 minute of the 4th quarter, it was Booth making one final stand when on 4th & 6th, he created a turnover on down by stopping Settino’s scramble attempt short of the sticks.
The anchor and captain of the Flyer “D”, Booth’s individual accolades were part of a tremendous collective effort by Chaminade on the defensive side of the ball that witnessed them hold a very potent KMHS office (entered averaging over 35 points per game) to the school’s lowest output since the 2016 season…Anthony D’Agostino, Brandon Coward, Aidan Cappellino, Liam McCormick, and Dylan Lomelo (1 INT) were all extraordinary in their own right on Saturday night.
AA-2 Champions – Moore Catholic
Justin Lacks (Sr; RB; Offensive MVP)—What a send-off it was for the 6’1, 215-pound three-time (soon to be four) All-Catholic selection from Staten Island…Donning the Maverick jersey one final time in his storied career, Lacks won his second NYCHSFL crown, earned bookend Offensive Most Valuable Player status during championship weekend, and even ascended to the top of the New York City record book in Moore Catholic’s 28-6 triumph over St. Joe’s by the Sea in the AA-2 title game.
Returning to the same turf at Mitchel Field Athletic Complex that three years earlier saw him run for 138 yards and four scores in leading the Mavs to just their second ever NYCHSFL team title (32-22 over Cardinal Spellman in the 2016 “A” championship, there was no better way to close out the scholastic chapter of his football story than to do it all over again in delivering the hardware to Merrill Avenue as a final testament to his legacy.
Carrying the pigskin 35 times this past Saturday morning, Lacks accumulated 225 yards on the ground and found pay dirt on two separate occasions. It was the fifth 200+ yard running game of the year (8th of his career) for the Mavs All-State tailback, including a 36-carry, 251-yard, 3TD performance in week #7 in the first meeting between these two schools.
The Mavericks trailing 6-0 after surrendering a touchdown to the Vikings on the initial drive of the game, Lacks quickly issued a response and evened the contest when on 3rd & 6, he took the hand-off in the wildcat formation and darted 64 yards to the house for the first of his two aforementioned TDs.
Moore now safely in front by a score of 20-6 early in the 4th quarter, Lacks made history when he took the toss in the backfield and raced 48 yards to the promised land for his 22nd touchdown of the year (67th of his career)…In addition to providing additional insurance, the trek enabled the MC 12th grader to move into sole possession of the New York City career rushing record, surpassing Kadeem Walcott’s (Fort Hamilton) total of 5,400…For good measure, #6 then pounded in a 2pt conversion run to round out a 14-point outing.
Lacks continued to tack on bonus yardage in the waning moments of the title game, capping his tenure with 5,468…His 2019 total of 1,998 yards (8.6 average) rushing was best among all Catholic ball-carriers (all divisions) this season.
Artie Padilla (Sr; LB; Defensive MVP)—The cream of creams for a Maverick defense that concluded the 2019 season as the top-ranked unit in the NYCHSFL (regardless of division) by allowing just 15 points per game, Padilla was at the heart of a unified shutdown effort that held St. Joe’s by the Sea nearly 30 points below their season average (35.8 entering the AA-2 finals) and bottled up Vikings star signal caller, Jackson Tucker, limiting the dual-threat weapon to 178 yards of total offensive production (averaged 283+).
Equally involved and dominant in disrupting the passing game (Tucker threw for a season-low 87 yards and was intercepted two times) and stuffing the ground attack (the Vikings mustered just 104 yards rushing after averaging 235.2), the 5’10, 212-pound senior linebacker was unblockable in his pursuit of any and all SJS ball carriers, recording five of his seven total stops behind the line of scrimmage…Applying so much pressure to Tucker from the outside that he might as well have been his conjoined twin, Padilla logged his third consecutive two sacks performance…To boot, he even had a forced fumble [that Sea was fortunate enough to dive on].
Reflecting upon his body of work as a whole in his swan song campaign, there is no doubt that Padilla is worthy of serious consideration for league Defensive Player of the Year merit…Having amassed 140 total tackles (2nd in NYS) and 8.5 sacks in 2019, he sits atop the AA leaderboard in both categories.
If not for Padilla’s outstanding showing in the AA-2 finals, Anthony Perlongo (5 tackles, 2 stops for a loss, 1 sack, 1 blocked punt), Matt Heineman (6 stops, 1 sack), or Michael Peraino (6 tackles, 1 TFL) could have all been named as Defensive MVP on November 16th.
Senior, Cameron Holmes, played the most complete game for the Mavericks, as he scored a touchdown on both sides of the ball, catching a 15-yard pass on 4th down to snap a 6-6 tie and give MC the 12-6 edge 15 ticks into the 2nd quarter…Holmes later turned defensive into offense when he registered a 29-yard pick-6 at the onset of the 4th quarter to up the advantage to 20-6.
A Champions – Kennedy Catholic
Clayton Proctor (Jr; QB; Offensive MVP)—A season ago, an injury robbed Myles Proctor of the privilege of playing in the “A” title game; the result of his absence was a hard fought loss to Cardinal Spellman…On Sunday, November 10th, younger brother, Clayton, made sure that even if it was a year later than anticipated, there would be celebration in the family home…He delivered on his promise!
Emerging with what may have been the greatest individual single-game effort of the 2019 Catholic football season, the 5’10, 170-pound field general out of Yorktown Heights left “everything and then some” on the field in catapulting (he literally dove) top-seeded Kennedy Catholic to their first team title in program history, 39-33 (OT) over the rival Pilots.
A surefire candidate, if not the consensus front runner, to follow in his brother’s footsteps and win the “A” Offensive Player of the Year award at the Communion banquet next month, [Clayton] Proctor’s dual-threat capabilities were never in question, as evident by the fact that he was both the #1 passer (765 yards + 6 TD throws) and a top-3 rusher (665 yards and seven touchdowns) in the division…However, despite his mighty impressive track record, he managed to outdo even himself in ensuring that the hardware would be Somers bound.
More than doubling his regular season average of 204.3 yards of total offensive production in the championship contest, Proctor was deadly with all of his limbs, rushing for a career-best 275 yards and four touchdowns on 36 carries (7.6/per), while simultaneously flinging the pigskin for an additional 145 yards and one score on 12-of-18 in the air…The 30 points that he PERSONALLY had a hand in generating was more than any of our other three championship-winning schools were able put up in their respective triumphs on November 16th.
The Gaels trailing 7-0 late in the first quarter, Proctor recorded the first or his five scores when he connected with Bobby Piesco (2 catches for 31 yards) on a 17-yard TD pass to even the score at 7 apiece.
Approximately five minutes later, he let his legs do the talking on another equalizer, as he took the ball in on a 3-yard keeper to tie the score at 14-14.
With 6:12 remaining in the game, Proctor gave the Gaels their first lead of the night when he again called his own number, this time from 7 yards away to put KC on top, 23-20.
TD #3 on the ground/his fourth overall came with 3:09 still on the clock on a six-yard draw to make the score 30-20.
After an absolutely mind-blowing sequence of events witnessed Spellman score two touchdowns and then Kennedy respond with a game-squaring field goal with :01 on the clock, the game went to overtime.
Regaining possession after a clutch defensive stand by the KC defense yielded no points, Proctor fittingly had his hero moment, transforming a broken pass attempt into a 12-yard scramble, which ended with him diving at the pylon for the winning touchdown.
Aidan Bernal (Sr; OL/DL; Defensive MVP)—On an evening where the cumulative point total may suggest defensive struggles on both sidelines, the constant and consummate playmaker for the Gaels was their senior two-way linemen [Bernal].
A POTW selection in week #5 when he forced a fumble, intercepted a pass, and racked up 10 tackles in a 28-12 victory over Spellman, Bernal used the “A” finals to pick up where he left off in being a consistent menace to the Pilot offense.
Suiting up for the last time on his home field, the “captain and heart of the line” as hailed by Head Coach, Dominick Tassone, made sure he went out in memorable fashion, setting a new career-high with 15 total stops, tying his personal-best of six tackles for a loss (originally set in an Oct. 11th non-league game versus Woodlands), and tacking on a sack.
A young gentleman who most certainly has the respect of the rival Pilots, Bernal has been so good throughout his career when playing opposite them that it goes without saying that his graduation will likely bring a smile to the face of the Cardinal Spellman staff…According to MaxPreps, during his four years as a member of the KC varsity, he compiled the following stat line against Spellman: 51 tackles, 16 TFL, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 INT.
One of the hardest and busiest student-athletes on the field most weekends, he also serves as the linchpin of the OL as the starting center…For this reason, he shares in Proctor’s huge day!
By Matt Diano:
On an afternoon when the school honored one of the best teams in program history (the 2009 AAA Regula Season Champions & Playoff Runners-up), it was the 5’7, 165-pound, junior field general that truly owned the day in shepherding the Green & White to a 40-14 victory over visiting Kennedy Catholic, in a A/AA crossover on October 20th.
Putting his dual-threat capabilities on full display in helping HT to their second win of the 2019 season, Ramirez accumulated 155 yards of comprehensive contribution, rushing for 104 yards on eight carries, and throwing for an additional 55 yards on 3-for-6 passing.
The East Meadow resident’s multi-tasking prowess would translate directly into three scores for Holy Trinity, as he utilized his legs to explode for a 67-yard TD run and showed excellent precision with his arm in enemy territory, connecting on touchdown passes of 19 and 21 yards.
Perhaps the most important element of Ramirez’s strong effort last Sunday is that it provided further evidence that with increased reps, he is growing exponentially in confidence and has the offense peaking at the ideal time…Starting the season 0-4 and averaging just 14.3 points, the noticeable progression at the QB position has witnessed the Titans win two of their past three games while raising their points per game to 38.3.
Holy Trinity will enjoy the luxury of a bye during week #8, which will allow them to enter the postseason fresh and ready to shock the Catholic football world.
The prototypical mold of what we have come to expect from a Mike Jioia coached student-athlete, the senior two-way player from Queens is someone whose value is measured not by any one single act, but rather by all of the little contributions that by the end of 48 minutes, add up to a major impactful and difference-making performance.
A catalyst and leader in all three phases of the game, the two-time All-Catholic selection made his mark in a variety of ways this past Saturday in captaining his team to the 22-8 victory over Holy Cross.
Embracing the role of an all-purpose tailback, Resker had moments of brilliance both as a ball-carrier and as a pass-catcher, tallying 63 total yards and recording what would be the game-winning touchdown early in the 4th quarter.
Taking the hand-off three times, the 6’1, 180-pounder may have only been credited with 10 yards, but it was the quality and not the quality of the rushes that proved invaluable, as all attempts resulted in 1st downs and preserved possession for the Clippers.
Coming into the game third on the team in catches with seven grabs for 87 yards and one TD snatch, Resker made perhaps his biggest haul of the year when he was on the back end of a family affair (James to Thomas) that put Xaverian in front for good…The touchdown catch was one of two overall for him, as he concluded the contest with a team-high 53 yards as a receiver.
Shifting the focus to his defensive duties as the backbone of the linebacking corps, Resker’s imprint was every bit as evident, as Xaverian held a Knights squad that was averaging 23.2 points per game the last five weeks to just eight in snapping HC’s two-game winning streak.
Notching new career-highs with 11 total stops (2 TFL) and two sacks, as well as adding an interception for the second weekend in a row and forcing a fumble, Resker will head into his final postseason (Xaverian has a bye in week #8) with the following 2019 stat line: 36 tackles (3rd on the team), 4 sacks (1st), 2 INTs (1st), two caused fumbles (1st).
Masterful in creating desired starting field position, between three punt returns (67) and two kick-off returns (47), Resker emerged with 107 yards as a special teamer.
Advertised weeks ago as one of, if not the overall top defensive back on Long Island, the 5’9, 160-pound senior certainly lived up to his elite status this past Friday in the Friars’ 35-14 victory over Monsignor Farrell.
Competing in his final Homecoming game and in his next-to-last contest on Cy Donnelly Field, #21 in the Black & Gold made sure that the STA faithful got their money’s worth, as his transcendent presence in the secondary was essential in turning “D” into “O” on two separate occasions.
The game still scoreless less than one minute into the 2nd quarter, Alvarado demonstrated excellent awareness, intercepting an overthrown pass by the Farrell QB at the Lions’ 33 and returning it to the 9 to set up the first score of the game (9-yard TD run by Mario Escobar on the ensuing snap)…This would be the first of a pair (not including a third that was negated by penalty) of INTs for the Smithtown resident.
The Friars now leading 28-7 at the onset of the 4th quarter, it was Alvarado again at the center of a turnover-causing play, exploiting yet another overthrow and dashing 41 yards in front of his own sideline for the pick-6 for St. Anthony’s last TD of the night.
Earlier in the evening, Alvarado darn near set up another scoring opportunity for STA when he scooped up a blocked FG attempt and sprinted 45 yards to the opposing 17-yard line late in the 1st quarter. The drive ended with a missed 29-yard FG try.
In addition to the two interceptions, the consummate 12th grade ball-hawk was credited with three tackles and one successful pass break-up to round out his extraordinary body of work.
St. Anthony’s will wrap up the regular season when they host St. Francis in a AA/AAA non-league crossover showdown…The Terriers feature one of the top receivers in AA-1 in the person of Omarion Jones (4th in receptions with 17, 3rd in yards with 305, 4th in TD with 3 thru week #6). Hence, the Alvarado/Jones match-up should be a battle all afternoon.
Cameron Holmes (Sr.); WR/FS – Moore Catholic Mavericks
Defying any false narratives about the offense being a one-man show (Justin Lacks; 251 yards + 3 rushing touchdowns on 36 carries), for the second week in a row, it was a Mavs wide receiver securing a spot on the POTW list.
Stepping onto the gridiron last Sunday with the top seed in the AA-2 playoffs at stake, the 6’2, 185-pounder out of the Garden State confirmed that the bigger the moment, the more he will come alive. Posting what was his most complete/universal performance of the season, the September 2019 “Heart of A Giant” Award (sponsored by the NY Giants organization) nominee asserted himself admirably on both sides of the ball in spurring MC to the 36-26 victory over previously unbeaten St. Joe’s by the Sea.
Bringing the “boom” on offense during the opening half, Holmes was responsible for two of the school’s three touchdowns; in each case, his TD reception answered a SJS score.
MC leading 8-6, but pitted with a 3rd & 14 with a little less than 3:00 remaining in the 1st quarter, Holmes found himself on the back end of a 63-yard strike from senior QB, Nick Heineman, for the touchdown to increase the Mavericks’ advantage to 16-6.
Almost 12 minutes later (2:20 remaining in the 2nd) with the scoreboard reading 16-12, the two 12th graders hooked up again, this time from a distance of 18 yards on 3rd & 10 to restore Moore’s two-TD edge, 24-12.
The multiple TD-catch day was the second of its kind this season for Holmes (week #1 versus Mount St. Michael) and the third of his four-year varsity career (2018 Week #3 against St. Francis Prep)…At present, his 24 total grabs for the season ranks 1st among all AA-2 WRs and his 415 yards and five touchdowns are 2nd only to teammate/week #6 POTW, Anthony Perlongo.
If the first 24 minutes of the game were reserved for “O”, then the last 24 offered the opportunity for Holmes to shine on defense…
Making his greatest contribution when he recorded a 4th quarter sack that forced a punt, the Mavericks capitalized off the ensuing possession, putting the nail in the proverbial coffin when Lacks punched in his third TD of the afternoon to make the score 36-20.
The referenced sack, the first of the year and the fifth of his career, came as part of an effort that saw him tie his season-best of eight tackles (2 solo, 6 assisted), while also successfully breaking up a pair of throws from the leading passer in AA, Jackson Tucker…A credit to Holmes and the entire MC secondary is that while Tucker did convert 75% of his attempts, he was held to just 123 yards in the air, which is 73.5 below his 2019 average.
As icing on the cake, Holmes got involved in special teams too, registering a 36-yard punt return.
Moore Catholic closes out the regular season on October 26th by traveling to Long Island to square off with St. John the Baptist.
Jordan Delucia (Sr.); RB – Kellenberg Memorial Firebirds
The best Double-A player of all-time? That was the question posed by a prominent twitter account (New York HSFB) in addressing the colossal three-year varsity career of the future Harvard University student-athlete.
The first player this season to be a repeat selection to the POTW list, as much as we try to share the honors among as many worthy young men as possible, there simply was no way we could in good conscience ignore the sublime showing put forth in the Firebirds’ 49-17 triumph on the road over St. Peter’s.
On a day that started in a most unusual manner with the KMHS bus breaking down one mile short of its destination, the only “machine” that will be remembered years from now will be the one that was wearing #7 on his back and carried Kellenberg to their fifth win this season and their 27th victory in the past 2.5 years.
Entering week #7 as the only AA player (all divisions) ranked in the top-5 in both rushing (1st) and receiving (4th) yards, the 6’0, 208-pounder out of Bellmore sufficiently padded his 2019 statistics in both areas, racking up new personal-bests in both total yardage (313) and touchdowns scored (5).
On fire from the initial whistle, Delucia wasted no time in getting the Blue & Gold juggernaut on the scoreboard when he caught an 80-yard touchdown pass from fellow senior, Dan Settino (5-for-6, 145 yards 3 TDs), on the team’s opening drive to quickly make the score 7-0. This marked his fourth receiving TD of the season and the eighth of his career. He later tacked on a 5-yard reception to finish the day with two grabs for 85 yards.
Following Settino’s second touchdown toss (35-yarder to Max Mongelli) and a fumble recovery on defense by Keith Curran, Delucia increased the Kellenberg lead to 21-0 in the 1st quarter when he took the direct snap and cruised 15 yards to the house for the first of his four rushing TDs.
An Eagles’ touchdown pass cut the edge to 21-7 at the end of 12 minutes, but Delucia issued a response with approximately 5:10 left to play in the half when he again lined up in the Wildcat formation, handled the snap, turned the corner and trekked 35 yards for his third overall touchdown to re-establish the 21-point advantage.
The “W” seemingly well in-hand (KMHS leading 35-17), Delucia tacked on TD runs of 7 and 45 yards in the 3rd quarter to account for the last 14 of his 30-point matinee…Of the 20 NYCHSFL schools that stepped on the field this weekend, he outscored 14 of them.
All in all, his stat line on the ground read as follows: 18 carries for 228 yards and the aforementioned four touchdowns…As of the time of publication, his swan song yearly totals of 1,441 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns currently place him 2nd and 3rd respectively in the entire Empire State. Factoring in his previously cited four TD receptions in 2019, his 21 overall scores also puts him atop the NYS leaderboard.
With just one regular season game to go (AA/AAA crossover versus Christ the King on October 26th) before he and his teammates commence their run for a third straight AA crown, Delucia approaches the homestretch of his tenure as a Firebird having compiled these astonishing career numbers: 355 carries for 3,439 yards and 40 touchdowns; 41 catches for 864 yards and eight TDs; 4,303 yards + 48 touchdown of cumulative production!
Dating back to the 2013 season with Robert Madison, the Gaels have enjoyed a quarterback tradition like no other…The torch has been passed (perhaps literally) from Madison (2014 5th Team All-State) to Michael Apostolopoulos (2016 2nd Team All-State) to Derek Robertson (2017 HM All-State; 2018 2nd Team All-State)…And based on the way he has been performing in his first season taking the snaps for the IP varsity, it goes without saying that Darius Wilson is well on his way towards fulfilling the prophecy of our AAA season preview by emerging as the next Iona Prep iconic signal caller.
Entering week #7 ranked 2nd in the entire NYCHSFL in both yards thrown for (1,556) and touchdown passes (16), the 6’2, 185-pounder out of the Bronx continued to make quite the case for himself in terms of triple-A Offensive Player of the Year consideration in IP’s 35-18 victory over Christ the King the past Sunday…Completing 25 of his 38 attempts, the 11th grader recorded the first 300-yard performance of his scholastic career, concluding the afternoon with 303 yards. Aside from his varsity debut where he accumulated 197 yards aerially, Wilson has now hurled for 238 or more yards in all of his starts in 2019. His three TD strikes extends his streak of multiple-touchdown efforts to a perfect 7-for-7, including five (4 in air, 1 on the ground) versus Pope John XXIII (week #2) and three respectively against Xavier (2 passing, 1 rushing), Chaminade (all with his arm), and Monsignor Farrell (all throwing) during weeks 1, 3, and 5.
For the year, Wilson is boosting an unfathomable 67% connection percentage (134-for-200), has gunned his way to 1,859 yards in the air, and has played a role in 21 total scores (19 via sky, two by way of land).
Already receiving college offers (William & Mary), the captain and honor student (93 GPA) has ensured the Gaels the top-seed for the postseason and will be determined to keep the Gaels perfect (only unblemished team remaining in the NYCHSFL) when they head on the road to face returning AAA runners-up, Cardinal Hayes, in the regular season finale…Both programs currently, sit among the top-5 (#1 Iona Prep; #5 Cardinal Hayes) in NYS according to the MaxPreps polls.
THE CHSFL CONGRATULATES
THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS INDUCTEES
Class of 2019
Having rushed for 109 yards through the first five weeks of the season, it is doubtful that those in attendance this past Saturday were expecting the 5’8, 161-pound, 11th grader [DeStefano] to have the kind of breakout performance that he did in the Terriers’ 35-14 road victory over St. Peter’s…
Treating the SFP faithful to a demonstration of offensive explosion, the Middle Village resident was the first student-athlete this season for Head Coach, Rich Carroll, to surpass the 100+ milestone, gaining 155 and scoring three touchdowns on 10 carries to single-handedly account for more than half of the school’s point total.
The aforementioned three scores, all of which occurred during the second half, were highlighted by a remarkable 43-yard dart to the house. In crossing the goal line on three separate occasions, DeStefano is believed to be the first St. Francis player to record three rushing TDs in a single-game since Jeffrey Aime achieving the feat during the 2005 AA Championship game win over this same Eagles’ program…Since MaxPreps started keeping track of statistical data, the five accumulated touchdowns on the ground (Elohking Beasley and Joseph Pasqua scored one each) tied a school-high set back in 2015 versus Kennedy Catholic.
The quantity (155) is the most posted by a SFP ball-carrier in nearly eight years, as John Mendez ran for 270 on October 21st of the 2011 season versus Christ the King….Complemented by Beasley (73 on 10 carries) and Pasqua (81 on nine attempts), DeStefano helped St. Francis Prep rush for 365 yards, which is the third highest amount amassed by the school during the MaxPreps era.
Having already outdone their 2018 season (1-7) by picking up their second win of the year in week #6, the Terriers will look to string together a winning streak down the stretch when they host Fordham Prep this Sunday….The Rams have allowed opponents to gain an average of 233.3 yards running in their four losses in 2019. On the flip side, they surrendered just 48 on the ground in a week #6 triumph over Xaverian…Hence, if DeStefano is able to get into a groove early, it should translate into success for the squad as a whole.
A season ago, the 6’2, 190-pounder was known mostly for his defensive prowess in the secondary…But today, he finds himself sitting in the company of the top two-way players in the Empire State… From one year to the next, he has emerged as the utmost “complete” player in terms of his value to a Mavericks team that is seriously in the hunt for their first team title since winning the “A” crown in 2016.
Enjoying the very definition of a “career-day” in the Mavs’ 50-30 triumph over Holy Trinity on October 12th, Perlongo established new personal bests on both sides of the ball en route to raising the Staten Island school’s record to 4-0 in AA-2 and 5-1 overall.
Undeniably unstoppable as the main target in the MC passing game, the 12th grader was on the back end of six of the team’s nine completions, including three catches (from distances of 43, 40, and 20) that resulted in touchdowns. His afternoon concluded with 202 yards receiving, making him the only student-athlete since the varsity program was reinstated in 2016 to notch a 200-yard game with his hands…For the season, he has caught 17 balls for 525 yards and six touchdowns. These numbers place him near the top of the NYCHSFL leaderboard in all categories, as he presently ranks 4th in AA in catches and 2nd in the entire Catholic league in both yardage (9th in NYS) and TD receptions (15th in NYS).
Defensively, the multiple-sport standout (is a sprinter and javelin thrower for the Track & Field team) registered the first double-digit tackle game of his scholastic career, making two solo stops and assisting on nine others to end with 11…He added his second full sack of the year (3.5 of his three-year varsity tenure).
In extraordinary fashion, Perlongo even managed to make a significant impact on special teams, adding a fourth overall touchdown when he returned a “squib kick” 59-yards to the promised land for the final six points of a remarkable 24-point afternoon…He even tacked on a 36-yard punt to round out his collection of bullet points.
At stake in week #7 will be the top spot in the AA-2 standings as Moore Catholic will welcome in St. Joe’s by the Sea (6-0)…The visiting Vikings are putting up over 38 points per game and giving up a mere 14.7…Therefore, Perlongo and his peers should come ready for a fight, since nothing will be gifted on the sabbath.
Speaking of the Vikings, the Mike Corona guided program had a superstar of their own occupying the WR position during the sixth week of the regular season in their 56-0 victory against Mount St. Michael Academy.
Named as one of SILive’s top-10 performers of the week yesterday, the admiration and recognition continues to roll in for the 6’0, 175-pound junior receiver with his first-career selection to the NYCHSFL POTW list.
Tying his personal-best of four catches (also set in the team’s opening weekend victory over Xaverian), Alexander would establish new highs in yardage (100) and touchdown receptions (3)…Coincidentally, this stellar showing came approximately one year removed from the last SJS receiver to post a multi-TD catch game [Ryan Simermeyer; 2 TD grabs on October 12th, 2018 versus St. John the Baptist).
Having now caught at least one touchdown pass in three of his last four appearances, Alexander has surged into a three-way tie for 3rd place among all Catholic targets with five TD receptions in 2019…He sits 2nd on the Vikings in total grabs (13) and receiving yardage (236) behind only Vincent Vazquez (21 for 278) in both categories.
6-0 for the first time since the 2009 season, as noted above, if Joe’s by the Sea hopes to reach unchartered territory, they will need to contend with a mighty tough Moore Catholic cohort in a clash for Staten Island glory.
And then there was ONE!!! Following a loss by Christ the King to Stepinac, the Gaels are officially the only immaculate team remaining in the AAA division (6-0 and a big reason for their unblemished status has been the development and exceptional performance from their senior wide-out, Turton.
The second Iona Prep receiver to earn POTW accolades in 2019 [Alex Williams in Week #2], the 5’11, 185-pounder from White Plains has cemented himself as one of the most improved and priceless assets in the entire Metropolitan Catholic League…Catching just two passes for a modest 28 yards as a junior last year, the IP Honors Program (91 GPA, 1250 SATs) student-athlete has taken his game to the next level in his final season in Maroon & Gold…After six weeks, he currently ranks 1st among all NYCHSFL targets with 28 grabs and his yardage total of 451 places him 3rd regardless of division.
Last Sunday, in Iona Prep’s 21-0 win against St. Anthony’s, Turton put forth his finest statistical effort, leading the Gaels in every major receiving category on the day with nine grabs for 149 yards and one of the school’s two TD receptions [the other by Jarel Washington)…The catch count broke his previous career-best of six (set twice in weeks 2 and 3 against Chaminade and Stepinac) the 149 made it two weeks in a row and the third time this season that Turton contributed over 100 yards as a weapon in the aerial attack.
IP leading 7-0 at the time [Washington 1yrd run in the 2nd quarter), Turton created a cushion for the New Rochelle based program when in the last 2:00 of the third quarter, he snatched back-to-back pass attempts for a combined 81 yards, including a 37-yarder for the second TD grab of the season/his career.
Head Coach, Joe Spagnolo and company will look to secure the top seed in the triple-A playoffs when they square off on the road against Christ the King…The usually very solid Royals’ secondary has surrendered 606 yards and five touchdowns in the air the past two weeks. So, it will be quite the intriguing match-up when they face the most potent receiver in the league on October 20th.
A consummate winner on the field and in the classroom, the two-year starter who boasts a grade point average of 95 and scored 1300+ on the scholastic aptitude test, truly earned high marks across the board this past Sunday in captaining the Crusaders to a statement-making 45-7 victory against previously unbeaten Christ the King. The win, which improved Stepinac to 5-1 in 2019, likely puts the White Plains located school in the driver’s seat to earn the #2 seed in AAA for the postseason.
Standing 6’2 and tipping the scales at 275, #68 in Red, White, and Blue has a presence on the offensive line that exceeds his physical stature…No matter the assignment, Tartaglia routinely wins his battle in the trenches. Never was this more evident than week #4 when his universal blocking skillset enabled the two-time defending league and state titlists to rack up 449 yards (236 passing, 213 rushing) and score six touchdowns (four via the air, two on the ground)…In both cases, their output represented an increase from their averages (211/206 split) heading into the contest.
Defensively, Tartaglia was a member of an ensemble cast that did a marvelous job containing a King offense comprised of major NCAA DI prospects…Allowing just 195 yards of total offense to an opponent that came in putting up 455.4, the AS defensive line pressured CTK signal caller, Noah Bodden, into a sub-.500 completion percentage (14-for-29), limiting him to 169 yards tossing and inducing two interceptions…The run defense was even better, holding King (155/game thru week #5) to just 26 yards…The Mohegan Lake resident [Tartaglia] registered a pair of assisted stops as a part of this collective beatdown.
There will be no resting on laurels for Mike O’Donnell’s crew, as next up for Stepinac will be a rematch of the 2018 title game versus Cardinal Hayes…Up to this point, Hayes has been scoring 36.3 points per game and accumulating 483.5 yards of production. Thus, AS will need to remain stout up front as they look to win their fourth straight game in this rivalry.
By Matt Diano:
Tim Smith (5th Season At the Helm)
Record: 1-7; Did not Qualify for the AA Playoffs
Top Returning Players:
*Ladon Hicks (Sr; WR/SS): The most dangerous and versatile weapon the Knights have on offense; among returning players he led all rushing and receiving categories (11 carries for 38 yards on the ground; 10 catches for 151 yards and 2 TDs); Is also one of the top defenders for HC, making 54 tackles, earning 1 sack, intercepting one pass, and recovering a pair of fumbles as a junior).
*Kyante Watkins (Sr; OL/DL): Returning starting OG for a line that helped Holy Cross accumulate 2,225 yards and 24 touchdowns (15 on the ground) in 2018; Not listed as a starter on defensive, but will add depth, following a junior year where he recorded 10 tackles and was credited with one QB hurry.
*Jay Brown (Sr. OL): Will start at center for Holy Cross this season; Could see his role on defense increase after making two stops a season ago.
*Chase Duncan (Sr; DT): Incumbent starter in the middle of the defensive line; As a junior, he finished 3rd on the team in total tackles with 44 (3 TFL) and recovered one fumble.
*Octavious Bailey (Sr; DB): One of two potential shutdown corners for HC; Collected 34 tackles as an 11th grader and led all Knights with five successful pass break-ups.
*Jaeden Smith (Sr; DB): The other lockdown defensive back on Holy Cross; Smith made 25 tackles in 2018 and knocked away four passes in his direction.
*Isaia Villiata-Ortiz (Sr; DE): Returning starter at DE; Recorded 11 tackles as a junior.
*Jakari Knolle (Sr; DE): Adds additional senior presence to the defensive end position; logged 9 stops last year.
*Christopher McElhinney (Sr; OLB): Rounds off the list of experienced players on the defensive side of the ball; as a junior, he was credited with 10 tackles (2 for a loss) and one quarterback hurry.
*Kemari Ward (Jr.)—At 5’11, 212-pound, he has good size and excellent speed; should be one of the top new faces on the defense at linebacker.
*Jaedan Alexander (Jr.)—Another very solid linebacking prospect; will make a name for himself in 2019.
*Jaden Bagwell (Jr)—The Springfield Gardens resident will provide the Knights with another trusted WR.
*Xavier Chapman (Jr.)—A young gun that despite the DL being senior-laden, is too talented to keep off the field and will see significant action in his rookie year on varsity.
*Thomas Graham (Jr.)—At 6’1, 260 pounds, the Flushing resident should break into the starting-11 this season along the OL.
*Troy Powell (Jr.)—Like Chapman, Powell is a future difference-maker on the DL; will fight for snaps as a defensive end.
A program that is overjoyed at the embarrassment of riches they will have on defense, the Knights will bring back SIX starters on this side of the line, and are blessed to have several newbies who will be hot on their heels looking for playing time…Back for their senior campaigns will be the young studs who finished 2nd (Ladon Hicks), 3rd (Chase Duncan), and 5th (Octavious Bailey) last season in total tackles with 54, 44, and 34 tackles respectively…With Hicks (who added a sack and 2 fumbles recoveries) at strong safety, Bailey (team-leading 5 PDs as a junior) at one corner, and fellow seasoned vet, Jaeden Smith (25 tackles, 4 pass defenses) at the other CB spot, Holy Cross might have the best secondary in the AA division this season…Duncan (44 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 fumble recovery) will team up with Jakari Knoelle (9 tackles) and Isaia Villiata-Ortiz (11 stops) to present a “steel curtain” on a senior-guided defensive line…Newcomers, Xavier Chapman and Troy Powell, will also make quick contributions on the DL….Christopher McElhinney (10 tackles, 2 TFL) will shepherd a linebacking corps that is excited about the additions of juniors, Kemari Ward and Jaedan Alexander.
Offensively, Holy Cross will be introducing a lot of new personnel…However, if history has taught us anything, it is that when attempting to rebuild a unit on the scholastic level, the best place to have stability is the offensive line; and Coach Smith absolutely has that in the persons of seniors, Kyante Watkins (OG) and Jay Brown. At 247 and 233 pounds apiece, the 12th grade tandem may not blow you away with their measurements, but they are quite adept at blowing you off the ball…260-pound junior, Thomas Graham, will infuse that mass into the OL…Whether it be in the backfield or out wide, in terms of the skill positions, the previously referenced Hicks will be the person that Coach Smith and company will be turning to for explosion…Dealt a crucial blow when All-Catholic recipient, John Beaubrun (334 yards rushing/3 TDs; team-leading 25 catches for 419 yards and 5 touchdowns) decided to transfer prior to his senior year, the onus of being the primary playmaker was inherited by the 5’10, 170-pounder from Williamsburg [Hicks]…As a junior, Hicks rushed for 38 yards and 11 carries, while also making 10 grabs for 151 yards and a pair of scores. No matter where they line him up in 2019, Hicks will make noise…Junior WR, Jaden Bagwell, received (no pun intended) the praises of the HC coaching staff and should also be regarded as an essential spoke in the wheel.
Kahmal Roy (1st Season As HC)
Record: 8-2; Lost in the AA semifinals, 7-0, to Xavier
Top Returning Players:
*Emilio Ramirez (Jr; QB/CB): Replaces All-Catholic signal caller, Ryan Razanno; moves under center after being used in a limited role as a receiver last year (1 catch for 13 yards); His importance on defense also increases as he is penciled in to be one of the starting cornerbacks; made 7 tackles and notched one pass break-up in 2018.
*Elijah Tobin (Jr; OG/DT): Consummate two-way player; Returning starter on the OL that helped the Titans put up 2,814 yards and 38 touchdowns; 9 of his 19 tackles on defense resulted in a loss of yardage; his 4 sacks a sophomore ranked 2nd on the team.
*Jonathan Morales (Jr; C/DL): Resumes his role as the starting center; not identified as an expected starter on defense, but should see some action as a reserve; Made 7 stops and logged one successful pass break-up as a 10th grader.
*Jaden Sinclair (Jr; WR/DB): Speedster that will both eat up opposing defensive backs and then transform into an elite D-Back; ended his sophomore season ranked 2nd in both catches (8) and receiving yards (95) on the HT stat sheet; As a defender, he recorded 33 tackles and 4 PDs; One of the top KO/PR specialists, racking up 303 yards in this capacity.
*Stephen Collica (Sr; TE/OLB): After spending his junior season focused on “D”, he will embrace a dual role this season, starting at tight end and outside linebacker; As an 11th grader, he registered 23 tackles (2 TFL) and caused one fumble.
*Brian Holder (Sr; ILB): Probably the best overall returning player on defense; finished his junior year ranked 2nd in tackles (67), tied for 2nd in TFL (9), and 3rd in sacks (3rd); also logged one PD and one fumble recovery.
*Dylan Lewis (Jr; RB/SS): Immense improved player who is expected to start on both sides; as a reserve tailback last year, he displayed solid skill, rushing for 70 yards and 1 TD on 4 carries; from the secondary, he made 19 tackles (3 TFL) and earned one sack as a 10th grader.
*Kameron Robbins (Sophomore)—Transfer from Baldwin HS; will split carries with Lewis at tailback; Anticipated starter at Outside linebacker.
*Otega Uwode (Sophomore)—Full-service lineman who will move immediately into the starting-11s at OT and DE.
*Andre Wilkes (Sophomore)—Will fight for playing time in the secondary; could ultimately emerge as a starter at strong safety,
After 28 years of glorious service by Tony Mascia, the Titans will begin to write a new chapter in their history this season and in our opinion, they could not have landed on a better individual. Tapping class of ‘97 alumnus turned NCAA All-American wide-out (on behalf of Hofstra University), Kahmal Roy, as their new maestro, the Hicksville-based school will be determined to build off of the momentum they created when they bounced back from a 1-7 year in 2017 to go 8-2 and advance to the double-A semis last season.
Taking a bit of a hit at the skill positions on offense due to commencement, HT will need to replace the 2,200+ yards of production delivered last season by All-Catholic QB, Ryan Razanno (599 yards in the air, 667 on the ground), and running backs, Spencer Nixon (583 yards) and Jalen Rivers (269), and Chris Porcaro (142)…Announcing themselves as the prime candidates to fill these holes will be junior field general, Emilio Ramirez, and a running back combo consisting of Dylan Lewis (Jr.) and Kameron Robbins (So.)…Seeing the grass on occasion at WR and defensive back last season, Ramirez’s overall athleticism should make him a natural when it comes to running a scheme that has always been predicated on dual-threat proficiencies…Lewis, only carried the ball four times as a sophomore, but displayed tremendous burst, averaging 17.5 yard per touch, including one TD dash…Robbins, a transfer from Baldwin High School, brings a little added size to the backfield, as his 6’0, 175-pound frame, coupled with quickness, makes him the perfect hybrid back…Juniors, Jaden Sinclair and Bryce Ettrick, as well as senior TE, Stephen Collica, will be the main targets in the passing game. Among this trio, only the Westbury resident [Sinclair] made a catch last season (8 for 95)…Acting as the bedrock for the offensive line will be returning starters, Elijah Tobin (6’1, 250) at guard, and Jon Morales (5’10, 235) in the middle…Otega Uwode (6’3, 206) and John Escobar (5’10, 210) will be at the tackle positions, with Anthony Green (5’11, 200) completing the OL at the remaining guard position. Not a single senior among this group (four juniors + the 10th grader, Uwode), as solid as the offensive line will be in 2019, just envision the agony they will inflict next season…
A case of déjà vu, the majority of the gentlemen profiled above also fit in prominently on the other side of the ball…Inserting 12th grade ILB, Brian Holder (3rd on the team in tackles with 55, 2nd with 9 TFL, 3rd with 3 sacks), LB should be an especially strong position, with Robbins and Collica (23 stops, 2 TFL) on the outside…Tobin (19 tackles, 9 TFL, 4 sacks) and Uwode are expected to be quite the duo at DT…The starters at defensive end remain to be determined, but after making 7 stops last year, it only makes sense that a player the caliber of Morales has to be part of the game plan…Cornerback, Sinclair (33 tackles, 4 pass break-ups), and strong-safety, Lewis, (19 stops, 3 TFL, 1 Sack) are the most refined members of the last line of defense, but the staff is said to be very impressed with Ramirez (7 tackles, 1 pick), Ettrick, and another high-ceiling prospect, Andre Wilkes.
Nick Giannatasio (4th Season as Head Coach)
Record: 6-3; Lost in the AA” quarterfinals to Holy Trinity, 27-26
Top Returning Players:
*Justin Lacks (Sr; RB): 2x All-State/3x All-Catholic Selection; Rushed for 1,161 yards and 19 touchdowns on 145 carries (8yrd/per)
*Cameron Holmes (Sr; WR/FS): Entering his third year as a starter for the Mavs; His speed will be a tremendous asset on both sides of the ball; Finished 2018 with 19 catches for 326 yards and a team-best seven TDs receiving; ran the ball 7 times for 83 yards; Defensively ended his junior campaign having made 48 tackles, earned 3 sacks, and picked off a pair of passes.
*Nick Heinemann (Sr; QB): After patiently waiting his turn, assumes starting QB duties in his swan song; Completed both of his pass attempts for 96 yards and one touchdown last season; Not listed as a defensive starter, but did contribute last year, making 27 tackles and being credited with 1 successful pass break-up.
*A.J. Curran (Sr; C/LB): One of three returning starting OLs who enabled MC to accumulate 3,139 yards of total production and record 41 touchdowns; Will be doing double duty this season, starting at LB on defense; Made 23 stops as a junior.
*Tashawn Stephens (Jr; OL/DL): Standing a monstrous 6’4 and weighing 265 pounds, the 11th grader is pegged to be the starting left tackle this season for the Mavs; Should the Mavs need him, he is plenty capable of being a dominant two-way lineman; last season he made four tackles and secured .5 sack.
*Anthony Perlongo (Sr; WR/S): Making a name for himself mostly on the defensive side of the ball as an 11th grader, Perlongo will be a major factor in all areas of the game in 2019; Made 3 catches for 54 yards + 1 TD last year; Credited with 46 stops, 1 sack, and 2 PDs as a junior.
*Artie Padilla (Sr; LB): Big-time hitter who led the Mavs with 6 tackles for a loss last season; finished 2nd on the team overall with 71 total stops; also had two fumble recoveries (1 for TD), one interception, and one pass defense.
*Sixx Johnson (Jr; LB): A year removed from a statement-making sophomore season that witnessed him make 68 tackles and break-up two pass attempts.
*Craig Sorrenti (Sr; OL/DL): Definitive two-way lineman who will play OG on offense and flip over to DE on “D”..An incumbent starter on the offensive line that piled up remarkable numbers (see above); Recorded 16 stops on defense as a junior.
*Matt Heinemann (Jr; OL/DL): The third returning starter on the offensive line for MC, his role on defense will increase in 2019 after registering 8 stops as a sophomore.
*Khalil Martinez (Fr.)—Despite only being a freshman, Martinez already possesses the size (6’3, 275) of an upperclassman; Is being penciled in as the day #1 starter at Defensive tackle.
*Ashton Padilla (So.)—Slides immediately into a starting position in the secondary as a varsity rookie.
*Justin Francis (So.)—Just weeks into his varsity career and is already the recipient of raving reviews; highlighted as an absolute difference maker in his starting role at defensive end.
“A” Division Champions in 2016, when you look at all of the speed and potential game-breaking ability that the Mavericks will have in 2019, you cannot help but feel as if a return to championship weekend may very well be in the cards in their third season competing in double-A.
Empowered on offense by a 6’1, 215-pound living legend in the person of Justin Lacks, Moore Catholic will be a threat to score on every possession…A combination of linebacker (strength) and cheetah (4.5 speed), the three-time All-League/two-time (5th Team in 2016; 3rd team in 2018) All-State performer has never had a season where he rushed for less than 1,000 yards or scored fewer than 11 touchdowns on the ground. As a junior, injury would put him on the shelf for multiple games, but yet he still managed to accumulate 1,161 yards (3rd in AA), while finding the promised land on 19 unique occasions (tied for 2nd in AA). All in all, Lacks will enter his senior season with three-year totals of 3,470 yards and 44 TDs…Junior, Michael Peraino, who averaged 11 yards per touch on three carries, will also see plenty of time in the backfield…A ground attack that is fear inducing under the most normal of circumstances, Lacks/Peraino becomes almost unstoppable when you consider that they will enjoy the benefit of doing their trekking behind a trio incumbent starters on the offensive line— Craig Sorrenti (LG; 235), A.J. Curran (C; 255) and Matt Heinemann (RG; 240)…255-pound sophomore, Kairon Grady (255), will team up with beastly 11th grader, Tashawn Stephens (260) to round out the 1200-pound OL…As a means of keeping defenses honest, the Mavs will look to another very experienced standout, three-year starter Cameron Holmes, to provide the spark for a wide-out corps that lost freshman All-League player, Dashawn Lawton (33 grabs for 692 yards, 6 TDs) to transfer (returned to his home state of NJ to play for West Side HS)…The team-leader in TD receptions last season with 7 (19 catches for 326 yards overall), the 6’2 185-pounder, Holmes, has both the measurables and the skills to emerge as the consummate go-to target in the aerial game…Anthony Perlongo (3 catches for 54 yards, 1 TD), who will take on added responsibility after primarily being utized on”D” in 2018, and one of the program’s most improved players this season, Justin Burriesci, will be the #2 and #3 options in the passing game…Nick Heinemann, who went 2-for-2 (96 yards, 1 TD) last season in limited work under center, takes the reins of the offense, as a senior signal caller…
Defensively, Coach Giannatasio is blessed to welcome back a plethora of experience, including the linebacking trident of Artie Padilla, Sixx Johnson, and Curran…Ranked 2nd and 3rd on the team last year with 71 and 68 stops respectively, Padilla and Johnson are easily two of the most renowned defensive players in the NYCHSFL regardless of division. Curran himself had a solid 2018, recording 23 tackles as an 11th grader…Perlongo (46 tackles, 1 sack, 2 PDs), Holmes (48 stops, 3 sacks, 2 INTs) and Stephen Gerwer (6 tackles, 1 pass break-up) bring senior maturity to a defensive backfield that will be enriched by the presence of rookie, Ashton Padilla, at one of the CB spots…Sorrenti (16 tackles) will be the foundation of a D-line that packs plenty of bulk, but is short in terms of varsity field time. Sophomore, Justin Francis, will join his aforementioned [Sorrenti] linemate, at DE, while Anthony Wilson (1 tackle as a sophomore in 2018) and 9th grader, Khalil Martinez (6’3, 275) will be the muscle in the middle.
Mario Valentini (36th Year as HC; 41st overall on the sidelines)
Record: 3-7; Did not Advance to the AA Playoffs
Top Returning Players:
*Tyrek Ogilvie (Sr; RB/CB): Finished 3rd on the team last year with 416 yards and two touchdowns on 76 carries; can be utilized as a receiver out of the backfield (3 grabs for 28 yards); will be a more active member of the secondary after making 7 tackles and intercepting one pass as a junior; Very dangerous weapon on special teams (averaged 19.9 yards as a KO specialist)
*Theodore Fraser (Jr; OL/DT): Two-way lineman that will start at either center or guard on offense and DT on “D”; helped the offence to rack up close to 3,000 yards and score 34 touchdowns in 2018;
*Delano Muir (Sr; OG/DT): Joins the two men cited above as the only other returning starter this season for the Mountaineers; Recorded 22 stops and half a sack while plugging the middle as an 11th grader.
*Kai Lewis (Sr; TE/DL): At 6’6 and 260 pounds, he possesses imposing size that he will use to beat down smaller foes; Made 16 tackles (1 TFL) in 2018.
*Matthew Marquez (Sr; RB/DB): Will provide a solid #2 option at tailback; will bring valuable experience to the secondary following a junior season where he made 12 tackles.
Described by their legendary coach [Mario Valentini] as a program that is very young and will rely heavily on underclassmen, the Mountaineers bring back just three starters. With these sentiments in mind, this is a team that you have to reserve judging for a few weeks until they have been afforded the opportunity of putting some notches on their belt…
Known over the year for their perennially strong ground game, if there is one spot on the field where the Mount enters 2019 with a high degree of confidence, it is tailback…While filling the cleats of departed All-Catholic selection/HM All-State, Conrad Perry (1,150 yards, 17 touchdowns in 2018) might be too much to request of any one player, the good news is that the boys from the Bronx will feature TWO very competent and potentially game-breaking backs in the persons of Tyrek Ogilvie and Matthew Marquez Jr...Both seniors this season, the former ranked third on the team last season with 416 yards gained (5.5/carry average) and scored a pair of touchdowns. The latter, whose main output was on the defensive side of the ball as a defensive back, has elite athleticism and should make a smooth transition to his new role as a key offensive weapon…
Turning our attention to the other side of the line of scrimmage, MSMA may not be relishing a wealth of returning starters, but on paper, they do seem to possess several qualified young men who benefited from field time in 2018 and will be prepared to elevate their respective performances this season…Theodore Fraser (40 tackles, 2 TFL, .5 sacks), Delano Muir (22 stops, .5 sacks), and Kai Lewis (16 tackles, 1 stop for a loss) will sit at the head of the table for what should be a formidable DL…Ogilvie (7 tackles, 1 interception) and Marquez Jr. (12 tackles) are the most polished of the defensive backs on the roster.
Mike Corona (5th Season at the Helm)
Record: 1-7; Did Not Qualify for the AA Playoffs
Top Returning Players:
*Jackson Tucker (Jr; QB): 2018 All-Catholic selection; threw for 1,774 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore; ran 430 yards and tacked on four TDs on the ground.
*Vincent Vazquez (Jr; WR): Leading receiver In 2018 w/45 catches for 501 yards and three TD grabs.
*Danny Doyle (Sr; OT): Starting OL for an offense that generated close to 3,000 yards of total production; Could also see time on the DL.
*Kyle Gaor (Sr; RB): Jack-of-all trades who will factor in prominently as a running back and place-kicker/punter; caught 10 passes last season for 127 yards and two touchdowns; connected on all six of his kick attempts (5-for-5 on PAT; 1-for-1 on FG); averaged 37 yards per punt while placing five within the 20-yard line.
*David Maj (Sr; TE): Was the back-up QB as a junior; will move to TE in 2019.
*Nick Ruvolo (Sr; LB): Primary assignment will be as the starting OLB, but did showcase talent on both sides of the ball as an 11th grader in 2018; recorded 16 tackles last year; made 13 pass catches for 166 yards.
*Jesse Addesso (Sr; FS): Returning starting defensive back; made 19 stops and was credited with two successful pass defenses in 2018.
*Nick Gagliardi (Sr; LB): Another returning starter on “D”…Logged 19 tackles and one INT last year.
*Aidan Ryan (Sr; FS): All-Catholic honoree in 2018; Led the team in both interceptions (2) and pass defenses (4), while making 22 stops…One of the purest athletes on the squad, he can also be utilized as a threat on offense (78 yards and two TDs rushing on just 15 carries; 94 yards on 5 catches) and special teams (averaged 25.1 yards per kick return).
*Chris Gulemmo (Sr; DL): Two-way lineman with the potential to dominate on both ends.
*James Speciale (Jr.)—Will see significant time as a wide-receiver.
*Adonis Trejo (Jr.)—Listed as an OL, he has the chops to make noise on both ends of the field.
*Jordan Savinon (So.)—Only a 10th grader, will be a future star on the defensive line.
*Christian Clavell (So.)—Will be a great complementary piece in the offensive backfield; could emerge as the #2 RB behind Gaor.
*Logan Auerbach (So.)—A polished receiving target, he can be lined up out of the backfield, out wide, or at TE. His versatility makes him a valuable asset.
One of the most experienced teams in the Double-A division this season, when you look at the roster, it seems as if there is a future or current star at just about every money position on the field…
Leading the offense will be returning All-league field general, Jackson Tucker. Fresh off of a remarkable sophomore campaign that saw him hurl for the second most yards in AA (1,774), while simultaneously running for the third most yardage among QBs (430), the 11th grader is without question one of the top overall weapons in all of the NYCHSFL, regardless of division….Senior, Kyle Gaor, who made his mark more as a receiver in 2018, will now be asked to step up and assume a major role as the top rushing option for the Vikings…Vincent Vazquez (45 grabs, 501 yards, 3 TDs), John Sciulla (6 catches for 49 yards), and Justin Alexander will compromise a very gifted receiver corps. Nick Ruvolo (13 catches for 166 yards) was not listed as a starting receiver, but his resume makes us confident that he will be a definitive option in key situations…David Maj will man the TE position….Senior tackle, Danny Doyle, will be the backbone of an offensive line that will also rely on the likes of 11th grader, Matt Cordero, to provide stability…. James Speciale (RB), Adonis Trejo (OL), Christian Clavell (RB), and Logan Auerbach (RB/WR/TE) are all first-year varsity players who came out of the gate strong and will be ones to watch, both in 2019 and beyond on “O”.
Defensively, you could blindly toss a dart at the depth chart and you would unquestionably land on a person who garnered significant playing time in 2018…With the exception of strong safety, where no individual was identified as the clear-cut day #1 starter, every other spot on “D” will be occupied by trusted senior personnel….Chris Gulemmo and James Colesanti will be at DE….Dylan Bille (one of the most improved on the roster) and Paul Quick (11 stops) will plug the middle…Ruvolo (16 tackles), Nick Gagliardi (19 stops, 1 INT), and Corey Tehe (31 tackles; most among returning student-athletes) headline the linebacker unit…Championing the defensive backs will All-Catholic selection, Aidan Ryan (22 stops, 2 interceptions, 4 pass break-ups). Jesse Addesso (19 tackles, 2 PDs) and Vin Grillo will both give consistent effort at the two cornerback spots…Jordan Savinon (DL) is another young gem whose performance will be so lights out that you forget that he is only a 10th grader.
Philip Alba (1st Season at the helm)
Record: 3-6; Lost “AA” Quarterfinals to Fordham Prep, 39-12
Top Returning Players:
*Nicholas Mazziotti (Sr; QB): Back for his second season taking the snaps; the Shoreham resident completed 40% of his pass attempts (32-for-80), tossing for a total of 629 yards and four touchdowns; Carried the pigskin on 31 occasions for a net of 64 yards and two more scores.
*Christian Maisel (Jr; WR/FS): Guaranteed starter on both sides of the line, the 11th grader will see is numbers grow exponentially at WR, after making six catches for 149 yards and two TDs as a sophomore; also rushed 38 yards and scored twice on three carries; Defensively, he will remain a significant presence in the secondary; Last year he logged 31 tackles, 4 TFL, and tied for the team-lead with two interceptions.
*Jayden Louis (Jr; RB/CB): Had a tremendous season offensively as a sophomore, finishing the year ranked 2nd on the team in yards (426) and touchdowns (3); proved that he also a threat as a receiver, making 9 grabs for 105 yards and one additional TD; Credited with three tackles last season on “D”, his role in this area will increase quite a bit as he assumes a starting duties at cornerback; Has take it to the house potential as a kick/punt returner.
*Matthew Stroble (Sr; Center): Returning All-Catholic selection off of an OL that helped to generate approximately 2,500 yards and score 20 touchdowns; not listed as a DL starter, but if need be, could absolutely serve as an ironman.
*Thomas Jaycox (Sr; OT): By far the biggest player on the Cougars, at 6’4, 270, he knows how to push people around and will do an extraordinary job keeping the QB upright.
*Anthony Ermelino (Sr; OL/OLB): Another two-way superstar, on offense he will line-up at guard; on “D”, he is fresh off of a junior campaign that saw him record 52 tackles (11 for a loss) and force two fumbles.
*Jeremy DeJesus (Sr; ILB): The other returning standout LB for SJB, DeJesus notched 43 stops, including six for negative yards.
*Liam Clifford (Sr; DE): Sleeper who is under the radar but is expected to have a great senior year on the DL.
*Matthew DePaola (Jr.)—Will make for an excellent #2 option out of the backfield at RB.
*Darius Adbulhagg (Jr.)—Plugged in as the starting strong safety from the opening whistle.
*Kyle Chase (So.)—Expected to be a mainstay at cornerback every second of the next three years; per the coaching staff, he will also compete for snaps under center; Was a late-season call-up to the varsity and shined in his one appearance, connecting on 14 of 23 attempts for 250 yards and two touchdowns…Was the #1 pitcher on the Cougar varsity last season as a freshman; hence, the moment will never overwhelm him.
A perennial postseason program that has won three or more games every year since 2006, despite facing the obstacles that accompany returning only five starters and breaking in a new head coach (Philip Alba), we see no reason why 2019 cannot still be a very successful season in West Islip…
Loaded with qualified, if not outstanding, student-athletes from top to bottom, even in areas where SJB may be replacing a graduated starter, there seems to be a “next man up” mentality that will inspire this band of 36 young gentlemen!
Finding themselves in quite the advantageous situation of being strong at the skill positions, St. John the Baptist will put their faith and trust in the likes of Nicholas Mazziotti, Jayden Louis, and Christian Maisel among others to provide the electricity and/or firepower when the pigskin in their possession…Mazziotti, now in his second year running the offense, threw for 629 yards and four touchdowns last season, and displayed glimpses of having dual-threat ability by scoring two additional TDs with his legs (ran for a total of 64 yards on 31 keepers)…Louis had a fantastic sophomore season in 2018, finishing 2nd on the team in every major rushing category (78 carries, 426 yards, 3 touchdowns). In addition, he ranked 2nd in total receptions, catching nine balls for 105 yards and one score. Hence, there is no telling how #21 in your program will torment you on a week-to-week basis…Like Louis, Maisel is also something of a jack-of-all-trades, when it comes to stretching an opposing defense; as a runner last year, he averaged 12.7 yards on limited touches (38 on 3 carries); with his hands, he was 3rd in catches (6) and 2nd in both receiving yards (149) and TD grabs (2)…Another upperclassman that you ought to keep an eye on is senior, Jeyse Osorto (2 yards on 3 carries); lost early in the 2018 season to a knee injury, the 170-pound resident of Wyandanch busted his butt rehabilitating and will be adamant in his desire to make up for the lost time…Junior, Matthew DePaola, is one of the top rookies on the roster and is certain to add further boost to the backfield…Captained by All-League center, Matthew Stroble (230 pounds), the offensive line will consist of fellow seniors, Thomas Jaycox (OT; 270) and Anthony Ermelino (OG; 210), junior, Andrew Unterschuetz (OT; 240), and sophomore, Spencer Shaughnessy (220)…One last individual that we want to put on the radar is sophomore, Kyle Chase. At the moment, he is #2 on the depth chart at QB, but we see him as a game-altering wildcard. A late call-up to varsity as a freshman, he completed 14 of 23 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns in his only appearance. The Levittownian also happened to be the ace of the varsity pitching staff as a 9th grader, meaning that he seems to be at his best the higher the stakes.
Polished/battle-tested everywhere but the DL on defense, senior, Jeremy DeJesus (43 tackles, 6 TFL), and Ermelino (52 stops, 11 TFL, 2 forced fumbles) will be rock stars at LB, and FS, Maisel (31 tackles, 4 stops for a loss, team-high 2 interceptions), will combine with cornerback, Louis (3 tackles), to fortify the secondary…Senior, Liam Clifford (DE), will be the only senior on a DL constructed of 11th graders, Christopher Annitto (DE), Brian Moloney (DT), and Jayson Smalls (DT)…12th grader, Christian Sosa (9 tackles) could play his way into the line-up along the line…10th grader, Jason Campo, will be OLB…Chase (CB) and highly-touted junior strong safety, Darius Adbulhagg, are welcomed fresh faces in the defensive backfield.
Mike Jioia (7th Season at the Helm)
Record: 5-4; Lost in the “AA” Quarterfinals to Xavier, 27-0
Top Returning Players:
*Derin Hansen (Sr; OL/DL): Returning All-League performer; Two-way Lineman who on offense helped the team accumulate over 2,100 yards of total offense and score 17 touchdowns; defensively, registered 57 tackles, forced 3 fumbles, and had earned a sack.
*Shane Greene (Sr; RB/OLB): 2018 All-Catholic selection; Probably the team’s most important player, Greene will be the #1 option out of the backfield (323 yards and a team-best six rushing TDs as a junior; added 4 receptions for 59 yards and two scores), as well as a key component to the linebacking cohort (40 tackles, 1 sack).
*Tom Resker (Sr; WR/SS): Named to the 2018 All-Catholic Team on defense as a junior; will be a dynamic play-maker on both sides of the ball in his swan song; rushed for 177 yards and scored once on just 11 carries; caught 15 passes for 202 yards and 1 TD as a receiver; Recorded 33 tackles and notched 1 sack on “D”.
*Jordan Murrell (Sr; WR/CB): Ironman player who will utilize his speed and agility to make noise anywhere and everywhere; gained 117 yards on the ground on 17 carries; made 4 grabs for 75 yards and one touchdown as a receiver; logged 19 tackles and picked off one pass as a defensive back…Is also an explosive kick-returner (averaged nearly 40 yards per return).
*Joshua Rivera (Sr; OL/DL): Like Hansen, Rivera is not afraid to bang in the trenches and will make his presence felt as both a blocker on one end and an untamed pursuer on the other; Made 27 tackles, earned one sack, and had a fumble recovery a season ago.
*Francis Ezeagbor (Jr; OG/LB): Another Clipper doing double-duty in 2019; he will start at OG on offense and star at ILB on defense; Compiled 20 tackles and recovered a fumble as a 10th grader.
*Justin Wolf (Sr; TE): Finished 2nd on the team in 2018 with 21 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns; Standing 6’4 and weighing 215 pounds, his measurables will make him a match-up nightmare for most defenders.
*James Resker (Sr; QB): Took the majority of snaps under center last season for the Clippers; completed 56.7% of attempts (55-for-97) for 780 yards and six touchdowns.
*Tom Leahy (Jr.)—Expected to start this season at cornerback, while further bolstering the receiving corps.
*Anthony Rosati (Jr.)—Turned in a solid season last year on the junior varsity as a running back/defensive back…Adds depth to both positions in his first year on varsity.
*Ryan Kenny (Jr.)—Not a complete rookie, Kenny did make a late-season appearance on varsity at QB, completing 3-of-5 pass attempts for 31 yards. However, in his first full season with the big club, his main contribution will come as the starting free safety.
Exceeding all preseason expectations (aside from their own) after making the jump up to AA last year, Mike Jioia’s Clippers earned the top-seed in the Western Division last season and will be armed and/or well-positioned to build off of that momentum and make 2019 a year to remember in Brooklyn…
A brigade that Is loaded with talent at all of the glamour positions, if all goes according to plan, there is every reason to believe that Xaverian could make their fifth trip (Single-A runners-up in 2013, 2014, and 2017; “A” titlist in 2015) in the past six years to championship weekend…Spearheading this quest for hardware on offense will be the four-headed senior monster comprised of running back, Shane Greene (323 yards + 6 TDs rushing on 83 carries), Tight End, Justin Wolf (leads all returning players in every major receiving category—21 grabs for 217 yards and a pair of TDs), and the double dose of Resker, quarterback, James (780 yards and six touchdowns hurled in 2018), and wide-out Tom (15 snatches for 202 yards and 1 TD; also ran for 177 yards)..The well-roundedness of Jordan Murrell (75 yards receiving on four touches; 117 yards on the ground on 17 carries) should also be put to good use, as he is slotted to start at WR, but could be utilized in a number of different ways…Don’t sleep on newcomer, Anthony Rosati, either. Regarded as one of the top players from last year’s JV, the junior may not have a defined role yet, but ought to feel optimistic about where his talents will take him during the next two seasons…Seniors, Derin Hansen, Joshua Rivera, and L.J. McGurk, will combine with 11th graders, Kevin Moylan and Francis Ezeagbor, to form the offensive line.
Priding itself on toughness, Xaverian has always been huge advocates of the two-way system, which means that several of the names already cited will be busting their butts on defense too…Returning All-Catholic standouts, Hansen (DL; 57 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack) and [Tom] Resker (DB; 34 stops, 1 sack) will be the ones that set the example…Greene (OLB; 40 tackles, 1 sack), along with Rivera (DT; 27 stops, 1 sack), Ezeagbor (ILB; 20 tackles), Murrell (CB; 19 stops, 1 pick), and Jayden Victor (OLB; 16 tackles) all provide a second wave of experienced defensive personnel…Seniors, William Graham (4 tackles) and Jack Ward are eager to make the most of their expanded roles along the DL…Labeled as day #1 starters in the secondary were rookies, Tom Leahy and Ryan Kenny.