Catholic Football Grudge Match

November 16, 2009

Rivals Holy Trinity and St. Anthony’s face off in the CHSFL title game

For years this high school rivalry was all yap and no bite. Holy Trinity talked a good game. But when it actually came time to face St. Anthony’s on the football field, the Titans couldn’t deliver.

Just take the last time these teams met. Holy Trinity blustered. And then the Friars busted the Titans in the chops. St. Anthony’s rolled to a 62-13 win. That was Week 3 of the 2008 season. St. Anthony’s leads the all-time series with the Titans 25-8 dating to 1974 and has won the last 15 meetings. Holy Trinity last beat the Friars, 28-13, in 1992.

That’s a lifetime – literally — for these players.

The rivalry picks up again at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Hempstead. It’s the most important game these teams have ever played. That’s because Holy Trinity and St. Anthony’s meet for the first time with the CHSFL Class AAA championship on the line.

For Holy Trinity, it’s the culmination of a dream season. The Titans are 10-0 and led by Anthony Brunetti. The senior running back / linebacker has one game remaining in his remarkable high school career. Brunetti has 2,254 yards — the sixth-highest total in Long Island history — on 291 carries and 26 touchdowns this season.

All Brunetti did was carry the ball 44 times for 232 yards and three touchdowns to power the Titans past defending champ Iona Prep, 27-18, in the semifinals. He’s motivated after an injury-plagued 2008.

So is his chief competitor for the Friars. St. Anthony’s senior quarterback Tom Schreiber went down in the quarterfinals of the playoffs a year ago as the Friars failed to win the league title for the first time in eight seasons.

Schreiber is back in a big way for the 9-1 Friars. He helped St. Anthony’s run past Holy Cross, 28-7, in the semis, breaking touchdown runs of 57 and 44 yards.

The stage is set for an epic grudge match. No more talking. Victory here brings more than bragging rights. It delivers a championship.

Blog originally posted at LI

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