Friars Football: Friars Rebound, Blow Out Farrell

September 28, 2007 by  

Friars Football Week 4 2007

Title: Train Wreck: Friars Rebound, Blow Out Farrell
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 9-28-07
Word Count: 1140

There were signs of progress everywhere you looked Friday night, from the newly finished parking lot at St. Anthony’s that extended toward the stadium to the return of Chris Carberry. One had a fresh coat of asphalt; the other a heavily taped right hand and wrist.

Plenty of doubt still hung in the air. Especially after the Friars turned in a dismal performance six days earlier in a 22-12 road loss to Mount St. Michael Academy. It was the team’s first loss after 64 wins in a row against CHSFL foes. When you look at it compared to the larger body of work that is Friars football, the game hardly registers a beat.

But in the vacuum of one week in the current season, falling in the mud and rain to the Mountaineers touched off several rocky aftershocks. That national ranking courtesy of USA Today? Gone. The top spot in the NYSSWA Class AA rankings? St. Anthony’s tumbled to No. 11, behind local powers Floyd (2), East Islip (7) and Farmingdale (9). For the first time since its inception, the Friars failed to crack the MSG Tri-State Top 10.

Longtime coach Rich Reichert called it window dressing. Yet one bad day stripped the Friars bare. The rankings are trappings of success, but none mean as much as a CHSFL championship. Six-time defending champ St. Anthony’s is still very much in the hunt for title No. 7.

“The pressure is off us,” Reichert told his players before facing off against Staten Island-rival Farrell. “The only thing that matters is the present.”


St. Anthony’s thrived in the moment Friday against Farrell. The defense buckled down and the offense aired it out. The overheated scoreboard left at the end of a long night at Cy Donnelly Field in South Huntington would have misled anyone who did not actually watch the first three quarters of action.

The Friars led 28-6 and 42-14 before walking away with a 42-30 win. Farrell scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns and tacked on two-point conversions as quarterback Michael Gentile picked apart the Friars’ second-team defense.

The decision to keep the first unit offense in the game irked Reichert enough that he sent his starting offense out for the final drive of the game. St. Anthony’s moved 39 yards on two plays before letting the clock run out at the Farrell 14-yard line. Point made, even if it didn’t show up on the scoreboard.

It was a remarkable showing considering how inept the offense looked in the Bronx. Senior quarterback James Brady, apparently much better after injuring his left foot two weeks earlier, dazzled.

He already has offers on the table from Army and Division I-AA Georgetown. But offensive coaches from Missouri stopped in to see Brady on Wednesday. And his performance against Farrell will only help raise his profile as a legit Division I recruit.

The 6-1, 215-pound Brady completed 10 of 12 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns. Brady hit four different targets and sprayed the field. He found the open man in the flat, over the middle and on streaks behind the secondary. It’s a highlight reel that would impress even “Ole Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier.


Brady also ran nine times for 27 yards. But the opening drive of the game stalled at the Farrell 36 when Brady was stuffed for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-1. It was an ominous start for the less-than-capacity crowd of 1,500 on hand.

The defense answered. Rutgers-bound defensive tackle Scott Vallone smashed through the line and dropped Tom Cauto for no gain on third down, forcing the Farrell offense off the field after just four plays.

It took the Friars just 1:52 to march 69 yards, capped by a last-second pitch by Brady to Nicholas Mercurio. He took the ball and raced down the right sideline as if fired out of a cannon — untouched — for a 40-yard touchdown run. Rich Grennen’s point after attempt gave St. Anthony’s a morale boost and 7-0 lead.

The Lions (2-2 overall, 1-2 CHSFL), fresh off a 26-21 upset of fellow Staten Island power St. Joseph by the Sea, responded on the ensuing drive. The 6-3 Gentile found sure-handed wideout Anthony Evangelista for a 18-yard fade in the end zone. The duo would combine for eight catches, 122 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion.

But Farrell missed the extra point, so the Friars still led 7-6. Mercurio extended the lead to 14-6 only 1:31 later when Brady hit the running back on a crossing pattern. Mercurio did the rest, turning up the open right side for a 39-yard touchdown.

The Friars took a 21-6 edge into halftime after senior linebacker Kevin Waite intercepted Gentile at the goal line on the last play of the second quarter. If there were questions or lingering doubt, the Friars answered them in one impressive half.


If Mount St. Michael exposed one glaring hole in the Friars’ quest for another championship, it was the lack of a breakaway threat. Blazing speed will trump even the best game plan.

Offensive coordinator Fred Gallagher may have found it in junior running back Atiq Lucas. One play after Carberry went down with a right knee injury, the shifty Lucas proved he could get tough yardage by plunging into the end zone on third-and-goal from the 1.

While Carberry, who may have suffered ligament damage, was on the bench with his leg immobilized, Lucas got the call again. J.B. Andreassi halted Farrell with an interception. Lucas took the ball and showcased his cutback ability and breakaway speed to score on a 34-yard run with 7:01 left to make it 42-14.

Gallagher greeted Lucas on the Friars sideline with a bear hug.

The news wasn’t all good. Carberry, who missed the Mount St. Michael game with an injured wrist, may be done for the season. That will be a blow considering the gifted junior ran for 85 yards on 14 carries against Farrell.


Reichert couldn’t help but put an arm around Carberry after the game ended, telling the world: “If you didn’t have bad luck, you’d have no luck at all.”

St. Anthony’s must move forward without one offensive weapon. But after lighting up Farrell for 42 points, there’s newfound confidence and Lucas might get more opportunities to outrun defenders.

The gloom that permeated the evening gave way to a harvest moon and the cool night air. The Friars (3-1, 2-1) appear to be back on track. Another road test, this time to Brooklyn to face Xaverian next Saturday at 7 p.m., awaits. Xaverian is coming off a 31-21 loss to Iona Prep and is off to an 0-4 start.

For one night at least, the Friars could walk off the field with the same swagger of old. How long will it last?


Senior quarterback James Brady was on target the entire night, completing 10 of 12 passes for 192 yards and touchdown strikes of 39, 24 and 23 yards. Brady also ran nine times for 27 yards. He put St. Anthony’s ahead 28-6 on the first drive of the second half, hitting Jack Kensil in stride for a 23-yard score.


Coach Rich Reichert’s pregame speech. The team made the long march from Cy Donnelly Field to the school 20 minutes before kickoff. Once the players settled down, massing on one knee in the middle of the cramped locker room, only then did Reichert speak: “This is going to be a train wreck,” he shouted. “I want people on the ground all night long.” He was wired for sound by MSG, so look for the clip sometime in the near future.


TEAM……………………1…..2…..3…..4 — FINAL
Farrell……………………0…..6…..8….16 — 30
St. Anthony’s………….7…..14…7….14 — 42
SA — Mercurio 40 run (Grennen kick)
F — Evangelista 18 pass from Gentile (kick failed)
SA — Mercurio 39 pass from Brady (Ferrara kick)
SA — Capozzi 24 pass from Brady (Grennen kick)
SA — Kensil 23 pass from Brady (Ferrara kick)
F — Evangelista 20 pass from Gentile (Caputo run)
SA — Lucas 1 run (Grennen kick)
SA — Lucas 34 run (Ferrara kick)
F — Boshnack 5 run (Boshnack run)
F — Mormando 11 pass from Gentile (Evangelista from Gentile)


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