Friars Football: Friars Dominate Xaverian

October 6, 2007 by  

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)


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