Elijah Fuentes (Sr.); DL – Cardinal Hayes Cardinals
A year ago, Coach CJ O’Neil’s Cardinals were mere moments away from hoisting a Catholic League State title before a Canisius touchdown pass (and 2pt conversion) with no time remaining on the clock ripped their hearts out…The memories of that loss are now serving as the inspiration behind what very much appears to be the best defensive unit the school has boasted in quite some time…Surrendering just 32 points total during the first two weeks of the 2021 spring (after allowing an average of 22+ in 2019) en route to victories over Monsignor Farrell & St. Peter’s, the defending NYCHSFL Triple-A champs are looking unbeatable at the halfway point of their abridged season…Acting as the heartbeat for these “pillars of pain” is the Syracuse University bound defensive lineman out of the Bronx [Fuentes]…Regarded as one of the top-10 in-state prospects (#8), as well as top-100 (94th) in the nation at his position by 247 Sports, the 6’3, 255-pounder wreaked all kinds of havoc in the aforementioned win last weekend over the StP…Facing an Eagles’ offense that put up “half a hundred” during week #1, Fuentes and the Hayes “D” pitched a shutout in the 1st half, allowing just 80 yards of total offense on their way to the 45-19 triumph…Doing his part and then some, big #99 in the White & Maroon tallied five stops (3 TFLs), including a pair of sacks…He was also credited with a forced fumble…Junior QB, Henry Belin, starred on offense, completing 13-of-20 pass attempts for 233 yards and four TD hurls (2x to Kuno Mendez, once each to Jaden Barrett and Gavin Taylor)
Michael Peraino (Sr.); RB – Moore Catholic Mavericks
Another week, another win, another birth of a rising star for the Mavericks in last Friday’s 20-7 defeat of Xaverian…Dating back to the 2018 regular season finale [Mausari Miller], the Staten Island based program had not had a running back whose name was not Justin Lacks rush for the century mark in a single game. In fact, last season, no one aside from the living legend in the #6 jersey [Lacks] reached 100 yards total for the year…Cue Peraino…Accumulating just 28 yards on four carries as a junior, the 5’10, 200-pounder exploded during the second week of his swan song campaign, amassing 112 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns on 11 carries to deliver the “w” to Merrill Avenue!! Taking the pigskin to the house on treks of 24 and 10 yards respectively, Peraino was solely responsible for the 14-0 lead that the defending AA-2 champions enjoyed at the half versus the host Clippers… Junior lineman, Troy Telesford, stood out on defense, racking up a sum of 11 stops, including one sack, on behalf of a unit that limited Xaverian to a modest total of 100 yards (10 on the ground, 90 in the air) for the night…Up next for MC will be a rematch of last year’s finals versus St. Joe’s by the Sea…When these the two schools met last November for the crown, Peraino garnered Defensive MVP consideration following a six-tackle (1 TFL) effort!
Vincent Macaluso (Sr.); DB – Monsignor Farrell Lions
It was “goose-egg city” for the Lions’ defense this past Saturday in Oakwood, as Monsignor Farrell prevailed 42-0 in a battle of SI bragging rights over 2019 AA-2 runner-up, St. Joe’s by the Sea…The shutout on April 24th was the first pitched by the school since the opening game of the 2019 season (24-0 over Fordham Prep)…Spearheading the demonstration of lockdown/refuse to give an inch defensive mastery was the 5’9, 175-pound safety [Macaluso]…A captain in both title and example, Macaluso topped all Lion personnel by posting a career-best nine total tackles over the weekend… Registering four TFLs, the “modern-day hybrid” as hailed by MF Defensive Coordinator, Rocco Del Priore, in a quote to the SI Advance, was the main protagonist for a unit that successfully disrupted and made the pocket uncomfortable for opposing All-State signal caller, Jackson Tucker (just 10 yards on seven carries)…With Farrell already leading 7-0 midway through the 1st quarter, Macaluso nearly turned defense into offense when he scooped up a fumble and cruised 54 yards (initially ruled a TD) to the SJS 2-yard line. His individual effort paved the way for junior tailback, Cole Abbruzzese, to punch in his second short-distance touchdown of the opening quarter to double the Lion advantage to 14-0…Splitting time under center on offense, the QB duo of senior, Chris Anarumo, and 11th grader Michael Martens, each tossed one TD strike apiece, with the former connecting with Junior WR Frank Esposito on a 43-yarder in the 1st half, while the latter found sophomore Shawn Keegan, from 5-yards away in the 2nd half…Having bested one intra-town rival in week #2, Farrell with try to make it two in a row when they square off with St. Peter’s on May 1st…
Eleazer Valera (So.); RB – Mt. St. Michael’s Academy Mountaineers
The Mountaineer offensive scheme may have taken on a fresh appearance (they introduced some shot gun formation), but the MSMA tradition of perennial ground attack excellence was alive, well, and fully on display last Saturday in the Bronx as the [Head Coach] Mario Valentini guided program got their spring off to a promising start with a 38-12 conquest of Nazareth Regional…Forced to fill a void in the backfield that was created when the school’s top-2 runners from 2019 either transferred or elected to not return this season, it took less time than a blink of an eye for the Mount to unveil their next big superstar…The Mountaineers already leading 8-0, the 5’10, 170-pound sophomore [Valera] guaranteed that his varsity debut would be an unforgettable occasion when he found a hole and sprinted 21-yards to paydirt for the first of what hopefully will be a plethora of touchdowns during the next 2.5 years…He later scored his second TD from 3-yards out…Valera further complemented his banner day by accounting for six additional points on a trio of 2pt conversions to conclude the day with 18 total…Carrying the ball 18 times, he collected exactly 100 yards…Showing a glimpse of his versatility, he caught one pass for a gain of nine yards…Senior DL, Angel Medina, had fumble return for a touchdown to highlight a strong performance on the other side of the line!
The Catholic High School Football League of Metropolitan New York, following the guidance of the New York State CHSAA, has decided to move our Fall 2020 season to March and April, 2021. Specific dates and schedules will be announced at a later date.
The New York State CHSAA has approved the addition of 7 v 7 Flag Football league for the Fall 2020 season. Practice is permitted to commence on Sept 21. Contests will begin weekend of Oct 10th. Further details and schedules for the league will be available soon.
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.
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.
Hosted once again on the campus of Kellenberg Memorial High school, the festivities commenced with Fr. Albert Bertoni of the Society of Mary providing the congregation with a lesson about preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ this Advent Season.
Then the time arrived to hand out some hardware…
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.
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, RyanWalsh, 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!
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.
Thomas Resker (Sr.); RB/LB – Xaverian Clippers
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.
Nick Alvarado (Sr.); CB – St. Anthony’s Friars
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.
Photo From Staten Island Live
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.
Courtesy of Lisa Dawn Photography
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!
Darius Wilson (Jr.); QB – Iona Prep Gaels
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.
Nicholas DeStefano (Jr.); RB – St. Francis Prep Terriers
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.
Anthony Perlongo (Sr.); WR/SS – Moore Catholic Mavericks
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.
Justin Alexander (Jr.); WR – St. Joe’s by the Sea Vikings
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.
Avery Turton (Sr.); WR – Iona Prep Gaels
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.
Michael Tartaglia (Sr.); Two-Way Lineman – Archbishop Stepinac Crusaders
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.