Friars Football: Friars Pull Away From Xaverian

November 3, 2007

Friars Football Quarterfinals 2007

Title: Second Effort: Friars Pull Away From Xaverian With Strong second Half
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 11-3-07
Word Count: 232

It took every bit of 34 minutes, but top-seeded St. Anthony’s finally found the end zone Saturday night against No. 8 Brooklyn-Xaverian. The Clippers stopped St. Anthony’s at the goal line just before halftime, but the Friars erupted for three touchdowns on consecutive drives in the second half to pull away, 24-0, in a CHSFL Class AAA quarterfinal.

Atiq Lucas helped get the offense rolling in the third, converting a third-down pass for 16 yards and breaking a 12-yard run on the next play. He set up the first touchdown with an 11-yard counter to the Xaverian 1-yard line. William Ruggiero scored the first of three touchdowns on the next play to put the Friars up 10-0 with 2 minutes left in the third.

St. Anthony’s (8-1) amassed 348 yards of total offense, highlighted by 252 yards on the ground. Lucas accounted for 135 yards (87 rushing) while Ruggiero finished with 47 yards on 13 carries. Quarterback James Brady completed 7 of 16 passes for 85 yards and rushed for 55 yards on nine carries.

The game marked the fourth shutout of the year for the defense, which has not given up a point in 12 straight quarters. St. Anthony’s will host No. 5 Iona Prep in a semifinal on Friday. Iona Prep advanced with a resounding 38-8 road win over Staten Island power and No. 4 seeded Farrell. Xaverian finishes 0-9.


The maturation of Atiq Lucas took a quantum leap forward against Xaverian. Coach Rich Reichert promised to use the fleet junior back more come playoff time and 5-11, 175-pound Lucas responded with a stirring performance. He fumbled away his first carry and dropped a sure touchdown pass in a first half that mirrored the Friars’ sluggish offense. But Lucas proved to be a game-breaker in the second half. He finished with 135 yards of offense, including 87 rushing yards on five carries and three catches for 48 more.


James Brady was sandwiched by Xaverian’s Davon Robinson and Oday Aboushi for a 4-yard sack, setting up third-and-10 from the St. Anthony’s 27-yard line early in the third quarter. The senior quarterback responded on the next play, firing a dart to Atiq Lucas for a 16-yard gain to keep the drive alive. The Friars drove 73 yards on 11 plays, scoring on a 1-yard burst by William Ruggiero with 2 minutes left in the quarter. Nicholas Ferrara’s point after kick put St. Anthony’s up 10-0.


TEAM………………………1…..2…..3…..4 — FINAL
Xaverian…………………..0…..0…..0…..0 — 0
St. Anthony’s…………….3…..0…..7…14 — 24
SA — FG 33 Grennen
SA — Ruggiero 1 run (Ferrara kick)
SA — Ruggiero 19 run (Grennen kick)
SA — Ruggiero 1 run (Ferrara kick)

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.