Friars Football: Monday Morning Quarterback

October 29, 2007

Friars Football Features 2007

Title: Monday Morning Quarterback
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 10-29-07
Word Count: 217

To say football is a physical game is to state the obvious. Injuries are part of the sport. And those injuries have cost St. Anthony’s some exceptional athletes this season. The latest is no exception. The Friars will have to make due — possibly for the remainder of the season — without one of the leaders on defense.

Senior safety Dan Basil injured his neck in the first quarter of the regular season finale against Chaminade. If you were there, you watched helplessly as Basil lay face down on the turf until an ambulance arrived. It took a half hour in a steady downpour before the senior could be immobilized and carried off the field on a stretcher.

The good news is that Basil is OK. There will be no lasting effects from his injury.

But he won’t be allowed to suit up again this fall. Maybe that’s for the best. Basil suffered a possible concussion against Holy Trinity two weeks earlier. That’s enough trauma for one season.

That just means teammate J.B. Andreassi must pick up the slack. Together they formed possibly the best safety tandem on Long Island. The 5-11, 186-pound Basil recorded 32 tackles, a pair of interceptions and a defensive score.

The Friars won’t be able to replace him. But it’s everyone’s job to try.

Friars Football: CHSFL AAA Playoff Preview

October 29, 2007

Friars Football Playoff Preview 2007

Title: CHSFL AAA Playoff Preview
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 10-29-07
Word Count: 745

The end of another regular season gives us pause and brings two undeniable facts into focus. The first: parity has washed over the CHSFL Class AAA division. When 3-5 Mount St. Michael can count a win against 7-1 St. Anthony’s as part of its resume and No. 6 Chaminade can break out game film of its 7-6 win over No. 3 Holy Trinity, then the rule of the day says anything is possible.

The second observation is this: a hiccup against the Mountaineers aside, St. Anthony’s is still the top seed and favorite to win the program’s seventh straight league championship. The Friars are 79-6 since the start of the 2000 season and Mount is one of two CHSFL teams to beat them over that span. (Farrell edged St. Anthony’s in the 2000 title game.)

What does it all mean? Get ready for a bumpy ride because in the November cold, anything is possible. The playoffs begin now. Here’s a breakdown of each CHSFL Class AAA quarterfinal:

Xaverian vs. St. Anthony’s

WHEN: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: South Huntington
RECORDS: Xaverian (0-8); St. Anthony’s (7-1)
THE SCOOP: St. Anthony’s beat Brooklyn-Xaverian, 27-6, on the road Week 5. The Friars had their way with Xaverian, especially James Brady. The quarterback had running lanes open up again and again and used them to lethal effect. The score did not reflect just how dominating St. Anthony’s played. The Friars have only gotten better in the month since. Take the defense. Ever since giving up 30 points in a 42-30 win over Farrell, the defense surrendered a combined 20 points over the next four games. Now the defense must prepare for two quarterbacks with much different styles. Xaverian will likely play both strong-armed Najee Tyler and run-oriented Ethan Ostermayer. It just might be enough to cause confusion. But will it be enough to keep the teams close on the scoreboard?

Iona Prep vs. Farrell

WHEN: Saturday, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Staten Island
RECORDS: Iona Prep (4-4); Farrell (5-3)
THE SCOOP: This is a rematch from Saturday, a 30-28 Staten Island-Farrell win. Farrell rallied for 14 fourth quarter points and then won it in overtime. The New Rochelle-Iona Prep defense has given up 92 points over the last three weeks and is winless over that span. That’s a tall order for the league’s top passer, Ryan O’Neil (1,732 yards, 17 TDs). If the Gaels win, it will be on his arm and with the help of some big plays on defense. Recent history is on their side. Iona Prep is playoff tough. It played for the title in 2005 and fell to St. Anthony’s in the semis a year ago. Farrell has won three in a row, and also boasts a dynamic quarterback in Michael Gentile. His top target is sure-handed receiver Anthony Evanelista. Farrell has reached the title game five times since 1998, but not since 2004. Anything is possible in this one.

Chaminade vs. Holy Trinity

WHEN: Sunday, 1 p.m.
WHERE: Hicksville
RECORDS: Chaminade (4-4); Holy Trinity (4-4)
THE SCOOP: Chaminade held off Holy Trinity, 7-6, in Week 4 action. But Holy Trinity rebounded to win three of its last four games. Sophomore Anthony Brunetti has been the workhorse, although it was another back, Aaron McRea that carried the offense in the regular season finale, a 22-16 road win over Mount St. Michael. Quarterback Michael Lagalante (9 TD passes) has been a playmaker. Chaminade is coming off a gritty 17-0 loss to St. Anthony’s, the culmination of an up and down season. The Flyers have the tools on offense: quarterback Doug Vella, tight end Luke Nawrocki, versatile back Alexander Fox and kicker Gerald Levano. Chaminade has been victimized at times on defense, so that may hold the key.

Mount St. Michael vs. St. Joseph by the Sea

WHEN: Sunday, 1 p.m.
WHERE: Staten Island
RECORDS: Mount St. Michael (3-5); St. Joseph by the Sea (6-2)
THE SCOOP: Staten Island-St. Joseph by the Sea beat Bronx-Mount St. Michael, 15-12, in Week 4. More importantly for the Vikings, they were able to put behind a humbling Week 7 loss to St. Anthony’s and rebound with a 28-7 win over Xaverian to close out the regular season. Sea’s double-wing offense is tough to stop. It takes a disciplined, physical defense to slow bruising back Patrick Brennan. Mount St. Michael quarterback Jayson Holt is at the heart of what Mount does. He’s lightning fast and can throw the bomb too. Mount played in the title game a year ago. Despite an inconsistent season, overall team speed and playoff experience give the Mountaineers a slight edge.

Friars Football: Defense Wraps Up Rival Chaminade

October 26, 2007

Friars Football Week 8 2007

Title: Sack Attack: Friars Defense Wraps Up Rival Chaminade
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 10-26-07
Word Count: 87

On a rainy and windy night in South Huntington, St. Anthony’s wrapped up its regular season with a gritty 17-0 win over rival Chaminade. The defense registered eight sacks and held the Flyers to 79 rushing yards on 33 carries. James Brady ran for a 19-yard touchdown and junior Atiq Lucas led the way with 54 yards on eight carries and two catches for 33 yards. The top-seeded Friars (7-1) will host No. 8 Xaverian (0-7) in a CHSFL Class AAA quarterfinal next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.


Defensive tackle Scott Vallone fought through double teams to wreck Chaminade drives. The 6-3, 265-pound senior put together his most complete performance this season, getting in on four sacks. He led a defense that brought down Flyers quarterback Doug Vella eight times and limited the Chaminade rushing attack to 79 yards.


One play after James Brady threw into the end zone and was nearly intercepted by Chaminade’s Michael Riley, the Friars converted on third-and-7 from the Chaminade 15. Brady waited until the last second — drawing in Chaminade defenders — to pitch to Nicholas Mercurio. The fast back raced free down the right sideline for 13 yards. First down. William Ruggiero scored on a 2-yard bull run on the next play to put St. Anthony’s in front 9-0 with 1:49 left in the second quarter.


TEAM………………………1…..2…..3…..4 — FINAL
Chaminade………………..0…..0…..0…..0 — 0
St. Anthony’s…………….0…..9…..0…..8 — 17
SA — Safety (ball kicked through end zone)
SA — Ruggiero 2 run (Grennen kick)
SA — Brady 19 run (Lucas run)

Friars Football: Week 8 Preview

October 22, 2007

Friars Football Features 2007

Title: Monday Morning Quarterback / Week 8 Preview
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 10-22-07
Word Count: 529

With ESPN Radio (1050 AM) committed to covering Friday night’s regular season finale between two real rivals, you could excuse people for getting cranked up about the game.

But the thinking behind the scenes hasn’t been about the game so much as getting the word out to some special alums. Both St. Anthony’s and Chaminade have sent more than their share of former football players to the military.

The war on terror has scattered those veterans around the globe, from Baghdad to Kabul. And in those war-torn envirnments, nothing offers a reprieve more than some American-style football.

Well, if those soldiers can get to an Internet connection, they’ll be able to tune in. The game will be simulcast on the radio station’s Internet site.

It may not be Army-Navy, but for graduates of St. Anthony’s and Chaminade, no rivalry means more. Here are some graduates currently serving in the military:


•Capt. Kenneth Gein, Iraq

•Capt. John Zoll, Iraq

•Kevin Lynch, Middle East

•Michael Keilty, Middle East

•Michael Feriazzo, Iraq

•Lt. Benjamin Klimkowski, Afghanistan

•Capt. Patrick Crowley, Iraq

•Lt. Col. Edward Swanton, MD, Iraq

•Capt. Brendan McEvoy, Iraq


•Lt. Kevin Hughey, Iraq

•Lt. Eric Mineo, Afghanistan

•Lt. Nathanal Faust, Iraq

•Lt. Jason Mulligan, Iraq

•Capt. Andrew Mounce, Afghanistan

•Lt. Thomas Frey, Iraq

•PFC John Dayton, Iraq

•Capt. Jonas Anazagasty, Iraq


•James Regan, Chaminade Class of ’98 killed in Iraq on February 9, 2007

•Michael LiCalzi, Chaminade Class of ’00 killed in Iraq on May 11, 2006

•Ronald Winchester, Chaminade Class of ’98 killed in Iraq on September 3, 2005

Chaminade at St. Anthony’s

WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: South Huntington
RECORDS: St. Anthony’s (6-1); Chaminade (4-3)
THE SCOOP: Chaminade beat Mount St. Michael, 15-14, thanks to a 34-yard field goal from Gerald Levano as time expired on Saturday. It was typical Chaminade, at least this season. The Flyers also won a heart-throbbing 7-6 decision against Holy Trinity. Stopping the run has been the main problem in losses to Farrell, Iona Prep and St. Joseph by the Sea. Alex Fox is a dual threat out of the backfield and Doug Vella, who completed 18 of 35 passes for 294 yards a week ago, can air it out. The Friars have been outstanding on defense and nearly impossible to beat deep. How well the Flyers bottle up James Brady will determine whether this one remains close.


It was 7-0 St. Anthony’s versus 6-1 Chaminade under the lights at Hofstra. Keith Shannon made it a one-sided affair. The Friars senior rushed for 97 yards on 19 carries and scored four touchdowns while the defense held Chaminade to minus 2-yards of offense in the first half. James Brady completed 6 of 9 passes for 109 yards and John Gagliano added 51 yards on 11 carries.


St. Anthony’s leads the all-time series with the Flyers 29-11 dating to 1974 and has won the last 13 meetings. Chaminade last beat the Friars, 31-19, in 1998. Here’s the last five meetings:

•2004: St. Anthony’s, 23-13

•2004 CHSFL semis: St. Anthony’s, 30-3

•2005: St. Anthony’s, 44-30

•2005 CHSFL semis: St. Anthony’s, 27-20

•2006: St. Anthony’s, 28-7

Friars Football: Team Effort Stops St. Joe Sea

October 20, 2007

Friars Football Week 7 2007

Title: Relentless: Total Team Effort Helps Stop St. Joe Sea
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 10-20-07
Word Count: 1054

As if the anticipation couldn’t get any more intense. Homecoming. A battle for first place. An offense that’s nearly impossible to wrap your brain around. That’s just some of what St. Anthony’s football players were wrestling with in the days leading up to the biggest game of the season.

The Friars remember Staten Island upstart St. Joseph by the Sea very well. They needed a late comeback to edge the Vikings 36-35 a year ago. Their double wing running game resembles a Russian nesting doll, one layer revealing another until the back with the ball pops free.

But with severe weather expected to move across Long Island Friday evening, the principals of both schools decided to postpone the CHSFL showdown for 24 hours.

It was a prudent move, either way. St. Joe Sea had just four days to prepare after pulling off a comeback win over Iona Prep on Sunday. The last thing the Friars wanted was to try and stop the Vikings’ shifty attack in a downpour. And then there was homecoming to think about.

The decision proved right for another reason. Lightning struck in the South Huntington neighborhood Friday night, knocking out power to the surrounding area, according to athletic director Don Buckley.

In the end, Saturday night offered up the perfect atmosphere. From the early-arriving Staten Island fans tailgating in the parking lot to the capacity crowd of 2,500 on hand to cheer the homecoming court as it lapped Cy Donnelly Field in balloon-festooned golf carts.

High school events don’t get much better. Especially if you are a Friars fan. St. Anthony’s delivered on the football field too. The Friars put together their finest defensive effort and senior quarterback James Brady put points on the board. The result was a decisive 17-0 Friars win.


After the defense forced St. Joe Sea (5-2 overall, 4-2 CHSFL) into a three-and-out on the game’s opening possession, the Friars took over at midfield. Brady completed two passes for 17 yards on the drive. But the Friars stalled at the Vikings’ 18-yard line when junior Nicholas Mercurio was dumped for a 1-yard loss on third down.

In trotted senior kicker Rich Grennen. Just minutes after presenting his mom with a bouquet — all seniors got a chance to greet their parents on the field before the game — Grennen booted a 35-yard field goal. St. Anthony’s led 3-0 with 4:44 left in the opening quarter.

The Friars moved the ball again two possessions later. This one was all Brady. He marched the offense 62 yards — much further if you count a pair of holding penalties — capped by a William Ruggiero 5-yard scoring run off the right side. Nicholas Ferrara added the point after to make it 10-0 with 7:30 left in the half.

Brady completed two passes for 65 yards on the drive, the latter a 33-yard strike to senior wideout Jack Kensil down to the Vikings’ 7. Brady also had a 25-yard scramble wiped out by penalty.

Brady finished the night completing 7 of 12 passes for 131 yards and rushing for 44 more on 12 attempts. He put the game away with 1:53 left in the third, plowing into the end zone on a 1-yard keeper for the final margin.


So much time, energy and anxiety went into planning to stop the St. Joe by the Sea offense. The concept is amazingly simple. Aside from the occasional deep pass meant to catch defenders off guard, the Vikings run the ball through a wedge up the middle.

Understanding how to halt the opposition is one thing. Actually stopping the Vikings’ double wing is another matter. The Vikings entered the showdown as the highest scoring team in the CHSFL AAA division, averaging 34.5 points a game.

The Friars’ beefy defensive front and active linebackers and safeties were seemingly tailor-made to stuff the run. St. Anthony’s (6-1, 5-1) flexed its collective muscle early, stopping hard-running Vikings senior Patrick Brennan for no gain on third-and-2 on the opening drive of the game.

One week after holding Holy Trinity’s Anthony Brunetti to under 100 yards for the first time, St. Anthony’s limited Brennan — the league’s second-leading rusher — to 94 yards on 23 carries.

St. Joseph by the Sea managed to rush for 199 yards, but couldn’t crack the end zone. Senior safety J.B. Andreassi recovered a fumble inside the Friars’ 10-yard line and the defense stopped another potential scoring threat on downs.

The Vikings fought another foe: The clock. Its run-based offense drained the clock. That’s just fine when you are nursing a lead. But not when you trail by multiple scores. St. Joe’s was able to score the final 20 points to beat Iona Prep in OT just six days earlier. But there was no rallying against the Friars.


It was a signature victory. And the players celebrated accordingly, drawing the ire of St. Anthony’s coach Rich Reichert after the postgame handshake. The Friars might have locked up the top seed in the CHSFL Class AAA playoffs with one week remaining in the regular season, but there is still too much football left to savor any sense of accomplishment.

But the Friars are clearly building toward another championship run. The offense has gotten more diverse by the week. Ruggiero (69 yards on 14 carries) has emerged as the main back. Yet the Friars don’t need to depend on him or Brady for big gainers. Mercurio and junior Atiq Lucas are home run threats running or catching the ball.

And the kicking game has been a real strength. Reichert can send out either Grennen or Ferrara to hit a field goals from virtually anywhere. Add to that Ferrara’s dual threat kicking off and at punter. He usually pins the opposition deep. There’s no doubt St. Anthony’s has consistently won the field position game this season.

Aside from a first quarter meltdown against Mount St. Michael, the defense has played superbly.

With one contest remaining until the playoffs, the Friars are playing their best football. Therein lies the danger. Rival Chaminade is next. The inconsistent Flyers have close wins over Holy Trinity and Mount St. Michael and blowout losses to St. Joe Sea and Farrell.

What Chaminade team shows up Friday at 7 p.m. in South Huntington is irrelevant. How St. Anthony’s responds is all that matters.


Give defensive coordinator George McLaren credit. The double wing offense St. Joesph by the Sea runs has given foes fits. The Friars have surrendered a combined 77 points in the last two showdowns with the Vikings. This one seemed destined to go to the team that scored last. But the Friars defense put together arguably its finest performance of the year. Yes, St. Joe’s did pile up 199 rushing yards. But the Vikings registered zero passing yards as the Friars recovered a fumble inside the 10-yard line and stopped another drive on downs.


James Brady shook off a holding penalty that pushed St. Anthony’s back to the St. Joe’s 40 and two plays later hit Jack Kensil between two defenders. The ball lodged in the wideout’s facemask until he tucked it away for a 33-yard gain down to the 7. William Ruggiero scored on a 5-yard run two plays later for a 10-0 lead with 7:30 left in the first half.


TEAM………………………1…..2…..3…..4 — FINAL
St. Joseph by the Sea…0…..0…..0…..0 — 0
St. Anthony’s…………….3…..7…..7…..0 — 17
SA — FG 35 Grennen
SA — Ruggiero 5 run (Ferrara kick)
SA — Brady 1 run (Grennen kick)

Friars Football: Week 7 Preview

October 14, 2007

Friars Football Features 2007

Title: Monday Morning Quarterback / Week 7 Preview
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 10-14-07
Word Count: 516

With all due respect to Chaminade, St. Anthony’s faces one last real challenger this regular season. People have been looking for excuses to downgrade the Friars ever since a hard-to-imagine loss to Mount St. Michael in Week 3.

Yes, the Friars stumbled badly in the Bronx. But it was one bad day. One quarter, really. St. Anthony’s picked itself off the field and went back to work. The Friars have gotten better week-by-week. Another regular season title is within reach and the Friars should go into the postseason with confidence and momentum.

That will hold true if — and only if — the Friars can get past St. Joseph by the Sea on Friday. This is a team that’s given the Friars fits before. It’s a team that MSG broadcaster Mike Quick has lauded as a darkhorse from Day 1. It’s a team that’s explosive on offense. And it’s a team — like St. Anthony’s — that suffered an embarrassing loss earlier in the season (to Staten Island rival Farrell).

Now that’s something every Friars football player can relate to. So put aside the bravado. Tone down the trash talk. You are playing a team very much like yourselves. Go out there and simply hit someone. This is the night the Friars find out who they are.

St. Joseph by the Sea at St. Anthony’s

WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: South Huntington
RECORDS: St. Anthony’s (5-1); St. Joseph by the Sea (5-1)
THE SCOOP: THIS GAME HAS BEEN POSTPONED 24 HOURS BECAUSE OF WEATHER. Staten Island upstart St. Joseph by the Sea beat Iona Prep 34-27 on Sunday. But it was anything but easy. The Vikings needed an interception in overtime to put the game away. Iona Prep actually led 27-14 in the third quarter. But St. Joseph rallied to score the game’s final 20 points. Pat Brennan rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries and has a CHSFL-best 954 yards and 10 scores. So the challenge for the Friars is a simple one: Stop Brennan. The defensive front did a good job holding Holy Trinity’s running game and Anthony Brunetti to check. The Friars will need a repeat performance. This marks just the third meeting between the schools, all since 2005. The previous two games were high-scoring affairs. So don’t expect any different here. Much of the pressure on offense will fall on Friars quarterback James Brady. What’s new? He needs to shake off his worst passing performance of the season and get everyone involved.


These teams combined to score 91 points in a 2005 thriller, so this Week 4 match-up spelled trouble. And trouble is what St. Anthony’s got when quarterback James Brady went down with a hamstring injury in the second quarter. The Friars trailed 35-29 late in the game when backup Anthony Gagliano put together the winning drive. He completed a 40-yard pass to Lou Loria to move into Vikings territory. Keith Shannon, who rushed for 112 yards on 22 carries, capped the heroic march with a 1-yard scoring plunge in the final minute and Mike Barbour added the decisive extra point.

Friars Football: Friars Shut Down Brunetti

October 13, 2007

Friars Football Week 6 2007

Title: Run Stoppers: Friars Shut Down Brunetti, Run Away From Holy Trinity
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 10-13-07
Word Count: 1063

It was a designed draw, just as most of his runs begin. St. Anthony’s senior quarterback James Brady dropped back, bobbed on the balls of his feet as if setting up to throw and then tucked the ball under his left arm and shot up the middle through a crease.

Brady was past the line in a blink, stepped through a hand tackle and headed toward the end zone just 13 yards away. As he approached the goal line, Brady grabbed the football with his right hand and thrust it into the air.

That was the defining image of a day ruled by Brady runs and a stubborn St. Anthony’s defense. Brady scored three times to power the Friars past rival Holy Trinity, 34-14, in a key CHSFL clash Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 800 in Hicksville.

Brady’s 13-yard scoring run came with 56 seconds left. It capped another gritty performance by the hobbled senior. Brady injured his left foot against Iona Prep and hasn’t been healthy in the four weeks since.

Still, Brady was the one MSG cameras trained on and reporters quoted in the post-game confusion. The 6-1, 215-pound Brady shook off a poor passing day to rush for a season-high 114 yards on 11 carries and touchdown runs of 1, 1 and 13 yards. He also completed 5 of 12 passes for 63 yards and an interception.


It’s always important to set the tone early — especially on the road. Like the rest of the league, Holy Trinity hadn’t beaten the Friars in recent memory. The streak was 13 in a row, dating to 1993. The Titans were hungry to stop the streak.

Then came the opening kickoff. St. Anthony’s senior return man J.B. Andreassi took the ball at the 15 and jetted up the middle, though a gap in the wedge and into open field. No one caught Andreassi. He pulled up 85 yards later and the Friars led just 12 seconds into the game. Rich Grennen’s point after attempt put St. Anthony’s in front 7-0.

The defense — along with a questionable call by Titans coach Tony Mascia — gave Brady and Co. the ball at midfield with 5:53 left in the first quarter. That’s when senior linebacker Craig Staub dropped Holy Trinity quarterback Michael Lagalante for a 10-yard loss on fourth down.

Brady extended the lead to 14-0 nine plays later with a 1-yard keeper. Another long march late in the second quarter — 73 yards on 12 plays — sent the Friars into halftime ahead 21-7.


There will be those who claim the contest was much closer than the score indicates. But pull back the curtain and there’s an even harsher reality behind the perception.

The bottom line: Holy Trinity (2-4 overall, 2-3 CHSFL) struggled to move the ball. Sophomore sensation Anthony Brunetti entered the day with 728 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns to power the Titans. He owned five 100-yard games.

That streak was stopped by the Friars (5-1, 4-1). Holy Trinity managed 89 yards on 34 carries — good for 2.6 yards per carry — and Brunetti (67 yards on 16 attempts) was held out of the end zone.

The return of Rutgers-bound defensive tackle Scott Vallone helped. Winless Xaverian rushed for 147 yards against the Friars. But that was with Vallone sidelined by a neck injury. His presence, along with the Friars’ swarming linebackers, did a solid job of bottling up the Titans.

Holy Trinity’s first score was aided by two 15-yard penalties. Both were questionable. The first was a facemask. The infraction was clear. But the player in question let go of the facemask almost immediately. The second was a late hit by Vallone. But if his hit was late, the flag was thrown even later by an uncertain official.


Lagalante was the lone bright spot. One year after getting hurt in a loss to St. Anthony’s, Lagalante accounted for both Holy Trinity scores. But again, things weren’t as they seemed.

A roughing the kicker penalty kept the second Holy Trinity scoring drive alive. Then Lagalante hit consecutive 31-yard passes, the latter a strike to junior wideout Gregory Walsh in the back of the end zone to close the gap to 27-14 early in the fourth quarter.

The secondary has been a source of strength for the Friars. But the St. Anthony’s defense was missing three quarters of its secondary on Trinity’s scoring drive. Andreassi cramped up and left the field on the series. Lockdown cornerback Matthew Metalios, who made several big plays against Xaverian, was already on the bench getting treatment. And senior safety Dan Basil, a real playmaker, was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a possible concussion.

With three of the Friars’ best players on the sideline, Lagalante suddenly found holes in the defense and exploited them. He couldn’t repeat that magic when the Titans got the ball back with 4:21 left. Lagalante drove the Titans to the St. Anthony’s 33 before senior linebacker Kevin Waite wrapped up a workmanlike performance with a 7-yard sack on fourth down.

No, this one wasn’t close.


Want to know how badly each team wanted this one? A scuffle broke out following a St. Anthony’s kickoff return midway through the fourth quarter. Andreassi got buried on the play and a scrum ensued.

By the time emotions finally cooled, both Holy Trinity and St. Anthony’s were assessed offsetting personal foul penalties and Holy Trinity senior Kenneth Murphy was ejected. No doubt adrenaline had turned to frustration for Holy Trinity as the Friars had the game in hand.

St. Anthony’s rushed for 253 yards and won the game at the point of the attack. Coach Rich Reichert called upon his players to show who was the more physical team. That point was made time and again. The line gave backs Nicholas Mercurio (64 yards on nine carries) and William Ruggiero (54 yards on 13 attempts) room to roam.

Even though the defense forced just one turnover (a Ryan Fumai interception), eight plays ended in losses.

The Friars will need another stellar effort against the dynamic ground attack of Staten Island upstart St. Joseph by the Sea. The Friars host Sea at 7 p.m. Friday.

The winner of that game could well earn the top seed in the Class AAA playoffs. Adjust your chin strap. The stretch run is finally here.


Senior quarterback James Brady, still bothered by a nagging foot injury, showed his leadership skills time and again against rival Holy Trinity. After the Titans cut the deficit to 14-7 midway through the second quarter, Brady led the Friars on a 12-play, 73-yard march. It culminated with a 1-yard push into the end zone on fourth down. It was one of three rushing touchdowns on the day for Brady, who scrambled for a season-high 114 yards on 11 carries. He also completed 5 of 12 passes for 63 yards and an interception.


Nothing sets the tone like running back the opening kickoff. That’s what super senior J.B. Andreassi did, taking the kickoff up the middle untouched for an 85-yard score and 7-0 St. Anthony’s lead just 12 seconds into the game. Andreassi, a safety, also scored on a 70-yard interception return last week against Xaverian.


TEAM……………………1…..2…..3…..4 — FINAL
St. Anthony’s………..14…..7…..0….13 — 34
Holy Trinity……………0…..7…..0……7 — 14
SA — Andreassi 85 kickoff return (Grennen kick)
SA — Brady 1 run (Ferrara kick)
HT — Cureton 6 pass from Lagalante (Matias kick)
SA — Brady 1 run (Grennen kick)
SA — Ruggiero 3 run (run failed)
HT — Walsh 31 pass from Lagalante (Matias kick)
SA — Brady 13 run (Ferrara kick)

Friars Football: Week 6 Preview

October 8, 2007

Friars Football Features 2007

Title: Monday Morning Quarterback / Week 6 Preview
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 10-8-07
Word Count: 747

OK, Friars fans. The holiday is over. I’m not talking about Columbus Day, although most students did enjoy a four-day hiatus. I mean the football schedule.

Winless Xaverian represented a break from the pressure-packed CHSFL schedule for St. Anthony’s. The X-Men, as the announcer at Kings Bay Field in Brooklyn repeatedly called Xaverian on Saturday night, was a team that no one was afraid to play or even conjure up doomsday scenarios about.

The Friars’ 27-6 win was the equivalent of a scrimmage. And coaches found plenty to hound players about. The game was just what St. Anthony’s needed after a tough three-week stretch. Well, the holiday is over.

Three teams remain on the schedule — Holy Trinity, St. Joseph by the Sea and Chaminade — and each represents a bear trap in the woods. One misstep and — snap.

It begins Saturday with the final road game of the regular season, a 1:30 p.m. start in Hicksville against rival Holy Trinity. Don’t be fooled by the Titans’ 2-3 record. They are as good if not better than a year ago when they fought the Friars to a standstill for one half.

The question is can the Friars measure up to last season’s accomplishments? Did your ears just pop? That’s the pressure of another championship run rising once again. The forecast calls for that pressure to be at its most intense Saturday just before game time.

St. Anthony’s at Holy Trinity

WHEN: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Hicksville
RECORDS: St. Anthony’s (4-1); Holy Trinity (2-3)
THE SCOOP: Holy Trinity is coming off its biggest win of the season, an impressive 45-28 flogging of Staten Island power Farrell. The Titans have won two of their last three, sandwiched between a frustrating 7-6 loss to Chaminade. The Titans moved the ball up and down the field but couldn’t finish. One drive was stopped by Chaminade safety Andrew Morici, who intercepted a pass at the Chaminade 5-yard line. But that offensive brownout was followed by a blowout. Sophomore Anthony Brunetti rushed for 280 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries to sink Farrell. Senior quarterback Michael Lagalante is a year older and wiser. He’s thrown five touchdown passes this season. Look out for senior linebacker Robert Lazos, a real playmaker for the Titans. The Friars have utilized several options on offense the last two weeks — eight different players carried the ball for 188 yards against Xaverian — and are poised for a breakout game. The big question is will Brunetti find running room or not. If Rutgers recruit Scott Vallone (neck) doesn’t play for the second straight week, the Friars will surely miss their big run stuffer on the defensive line. Someone must step up or Holy Trinity could make things interesting


Each team entered the game 4-0. But only St. Anthony’s emerged unbeaten, pulling away for a 35-7 win. The defense stuffed Holy Trinity quarterback Michael Lagalante on a fourth-and-1 play from the St. Anthony’s 14-yard line just 4:21 into the game. That set the tone on a night when the Friars forced three turnovers, sacked the quarterback five times and turned away the Titans twice in the red zone. Junior defensive tackle Scott Vallone (pictured above) finished with 11 tackles, three for a loss, and one sack. Holy Trinity’s lone touchdown, which sent the teams into halftime tied at 7, was set up by a pass interference call that could have easily gone the other way. John Gagliano took the first play from scrimmage to open the second half and broke away for a 41-yard touchdown run, the first of 28 unanswered points by St. Anthony’s. Holy Trinity, which scored from 30 or more yards six times in its first four games, could not connect on the big play against the Friars. And after a night on the run from the Friars’ relentless line, Lagalante left the game with an injury with 4:24 left.


St. Anthony’s leads the all-time series with the Titans 23-8 dating to 1974 and has won the last 13 meetings. Holy Trinity last beat the Friars, 28-13, in 1992, part of a 3-6 season for St. Anthony’s. Last year’s game was one of the most anticipated in the history of the rivalry with each team 4-0. But the Friars broke it open in the second half to win, 35-7. Here’s the last five meetings:
•2003: St. Anthony’s 47-24

•2003 CHSFL semis: St. Anthony’s 64-34

•2004: St. Anthony’s 13-6

•2005: St. Anthony’s 42-7

•2006: St. Anthony’s 35-7

Friars Football: Friars Dominate Xaverian

October 6, 2007

Friars Football Week 5 2007

Title: Xclamation! Friars Hit The Road, Dominate Xaverian
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 10-6-07
Word Count: 972

A marathon day began for many St. Anthony’s seniors sequestered in silent classrooms with enough tension hanging in the air to pull a 16-wheeler down the highway. That’s right, SAT Saturday.

As if hours spent clinging to a No. 2 pencil and tapping every corner in the brain weren’t exhausting enough, the football team needed to be back at school by 2 p.m. St. Anthony’s had a road date with CHSFL foe Xaverian in Brooklyn.

So a long day turned downright painful once the yellow school busses carrying the Friars limped along the Belt Parkway in stop-and-go traffic until pulling off the road at Sheepshead Bay.

It didn’t take long for Friars to take out their collective frustration. Winless Xaverian had no answer for the dynamic offense St. Anthony’s trotted into the walled facility known as Kings Bays Field. Senior quarterback James Brady led scoring drives on the Friars’ first two possessions and the defense pitched a shutout for 45 minutes as St. Anthony’s earned a convincing 27-6 win.

Yet in the postgame locker room, Friars coaches were far from impressed. This was an uneven performance at best, and with rival Holy Trinity looming on the schedule, the staff ripped into players. St. Anthony’s (4-1 overall, 3-1 CHSFL) has yet to play a complete game.

“This was a lost opportunity to get guys more playing time,” coach Rich Reichert explained. He added: “You have an X on your back every football game.”

Offensive coordinator Fred Gallagher promised lots of running come Monday.

No doubt this was a day these teenagers couldn’t wait to end.


The game was never in doubt. Brady ensured as much with a strong opening quarter. He opened the first offensive series by whipping the ball to Michael Capozzi for a 17-yard completion to the Xaverian 42-yard line.

Brady finished the drive five plays later by bolting up the middle with a 19-yard touchdown scramble. Senior Rich Grennen pounded the extra point through the uprights for a 7-0 Friars lead just 3:49 into the game. A partisan crowd of 250 roared its approval.

The offense got the ball back 42 seconds later in Xaverian territory. Junior running back Nicholas Mercurio rumbled 5 yards before Brady found senior wideout Jack Kensil open in the right flat. The 6-3, 180-pound Kensil did the rest, turning upfield and shaking three tacklers en route to a 34-yard touchdown. As Nicholas Ferrara converted the point after attempt and extend the lead to 14-0, 6:39 remained in the first quarter.

Brady and Kensil hooked up four times for 56 yards on the night as Brady completed 9 of 16 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown. The quarterback rushed for 46 more yards on nine carries and another score.


Until he was knocked out of the game late in the first half, shifty Xaverian running back Jaquan Bethune proved to be a major headache for St. Anthony’s defensive coordinator George McLaren. The 5-9, 168-pound junior piled up 78 yards on 11 carries and refused to go down on first contact.

It seemed as though there was a huge hole in the middle of the Friars defense. Indeed, there was. Rutgers-bound defensive tackle Scott Vallone, one of the premier run-stuffers in the nation, was on the sideline. So was fellow lineman Miguel Roque.

Roque was nursing a shoulder injury. Vallone left last week’s Farrell game in the third quarter with a neck injury. After getting treatment on the bench, Vallone pleaded to go back in as Farrell moved the ball late in the game. His cries fell unanswered.

The 6-3, 265-pound Vallone was a silent bystander in Brooklyn, wearing his jersey and sweats. Vallone’s absence from the lineup was precautionary. But no one can say if he’ll even play next week against Holy Trinity.

Little wonder Xaverian (0-5, 0-4) found running room. Gifted quarterback Najee Tyler couldn’t get it done through the air. He tossed three interceptions and was sacked five times. The Clippers still managed to put a scare into the Friars by racking up 147 yards on the ground.


Reichert’s crew showed there was more than one way to put away a football game. Ferrara, who showcases his booming kickoffs after each Friars’ score, got a chance to prove himself as a marksman with 9 seconds left in the half. He boomed a 42-yard field goal into a slight wind with plenty of room to spare.

Reichert had hoped the offense would respond in the third quarter the way it opened the game. But the Friars bogged down again and again and managed just one more field goal — this time a 21-yard attempt by Grennen with 9:22 left — extending the lead to 20-0 midway through the fourth quarter. It was one of two drives that stalled inside the 10. Another was simply stopped on downs.

The defense finished off Xaverian moments later. Tyler aired it out deep over the middle and senior safety J.B. Andreassi snared it. A footrace ensued as Andreassi blazed 70 yards for a touchdown — the second interception return for the Friars defense this season.

That’s when the second unit began to filter onto the field. And that’s how Xaverian finally got on the scoreboard. Tyler beat the backups for an 8-yard touchdown pass to Gerald Mistretta with 2:32 left.

In the end, St. Anthony’s drove out of Brooklyn with a win under its belt and no serious injuries. Yes, there were lapses on both sides of the ball. But when you play a winless team, the tendency to dismiss them as a threat is impossible to resist.

St. Anthony’s did what it needed to against Xaverian. Enjoy it. The schedule gets tougher from here on into the playoffs. The Friars will need to elevate their game. A far bigger threat is next: Holy Trinity.


Junior Nicholas Ferrara — that’s right, the kicker — proved to be as big a weapon as the Friars possessed. His kickoffs boomed into the end zone for touchbacks, a huge edge in the battle for field position. Ferrara did yeoman work as a punter. He also added two extra points and an impressive 42-yard field goal that traveled well beyond the uprights. In fact, it hit the side of a building.


Senior receiver Jack Kensil showed he has more than sure hands, but the resolve of a playmaker when he broke a 34-yard touchdown. He took a short pass and broke three tackles down the right sideline with 6:39 left in the opening quarter for a 14-0 edge. It was his fourth score in five games and has emerged as a favorite target for James Brady.


TEAM……………………1…..2…..3…..4 — FINAL
St. Anthony’s………..14…..3…..0….10 — 27
Xaverian………………..0…..0…..0……6 — 6
SA — Brady 19 run (Grennen kick)
SA — Kensil 34 pass from Brady (Ferrara kick)
SA — FG 42 Ferrara
SA — FG 21 Grennen
SA — Andreassi 70 INT return (Ferrara kick)
X — Mistretta 8 pass from Tyler (kick failed)

Friars Football: Week 5 Preview

October 1, 2007

Friars Football Features 2007

Title: Monday Morning Quarterback / Week 5 Preview
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 10-1-07
Word Count: 390

The number was a stunning one. One week after managing all of 17 rushing yards on 25 carries, the Friars had to do something to ignite the offense. Averaging 0.68 yards per carry isn’t going to move the chains, much less win a football game.

But that’s what happened in the Bronx against Mount St. Michael Academy. St. Anthony’s simply couldn’t make headway. The result was an ugly 22-12 loss.

One player helped change the Friars’ fortunes Friday night against Staten Island power Farrell. Senior center Austen Fletcher put his 6-3, 285-pound frame to use, plowing holes through the Farrell defense big enough for the kickline to dance through.

The offensive line took its cues from Fletcher and responded with a dominating performance. James Brady had time to throw and eight different players carried the ball for 267 yards and three rushing touchdowns. A fumbled snap late in the game was the only misstep.

The Friars boasted a hefty 6.8 yards per carry and the scoreboard in the South end zone reflected as much. St. Anthony’s 42, Farrell 30. Those are numbers worth remembering.

St. Anthony’s at Xaverian

WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Kings Bay Field, Brooklyn
RECORDS: St. Anthony’s (3-1); Xaverian (0-4)
THE SCOOP: Welcome back from the edge, Friars fans. After a harrowing week of uncertainty, St. Anthony’s tattooed Staten Island power Farrell 42-30 on Friday night to get back in the CHSFL title hunt. St. Anthony’s went on the offensive against Farrell, throwing for 192 yards and rushing for 267 more. The only question is how offensive coordinator Fred Gallagher will replace running back Chris Carberry (right knee). The Friars hit the road to play winless Xaverian on Saturday. This one should be over by halftime. This is only the third meeting ever between the two schools. The Friars are 2-0 lifetime, with wins in 2003 and ’04. The Clippers have dropped games to Chaminade and Holy Trinity. And they are coming off a 31-21 loss to Iona Prep. This was not what was expected of Xaverian one year after going 9-2 and winning the Class AA title. Top back D.J. Spadaro has struggled to find running room. But undersized wideout Paul Perez has made some big catches in the spread offense. If the Friars can put some pressure on quarterback Najee Tyler, then the Clippers will crack.