Award recipients at the 2006 Stepinac Football Dinner included (l. to r.) Mark LaCerra, Matthew Joseph, Ryan Hoffer, Patrick Henderson, and Timothy Keyhayas.
Photo credit: StaffStepinac Celebrates Football Season FinaleBy: Albert CoqueranPublished: December 21, 2006
The Archbishop Stepinac High School Varsity Football Team finished the 2006 season with a 4-7 record. This season was not as successful as the Crusaders would have hoped, but after four straight losses to begin the year, the Crusaders won four out of their last seven games. "We were a team that nobody wanted to face at the end of the season," said Mike O'Donnell, Stepinac's head football coach for 18 years.
Categorically, the Crusaders gave Brooklyn's Xaverian High School a scare in the first round of the Catholic High School Football League (CHSFL) playoffs. But they lost to the favorites in a close game 27-22, Saturday, Nov. 4. "We put fear in Brooklyn," exclaimed O'Donnell, a White Plains resident.
On Thursday, Nov. 23, a day Coach O'Donnell describes as "one of the best days in White Plains each year," the Crusaders capped their season by stunning White Plains High School 30-0, to win the Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving Day.
The Turkey Bowl victory, the last game of the season, was the beginning of both celebration for the Crusaders and bidding farewell to senior teammates. Their season finale was celebrated at The 2006 Stepinac Football Dinner held at the White Plains Woman's Club Monday, Dec. 4. Approximately 250 people, including players, coaches, family members, faculty and administration, joined to acknowledge the Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshmen football teams.
Senior Captain Ryan Hoffer was honored as the varsity Most Valuable Player. "It is a great honor. It is a great night and makes you realize how much you love this game." Coach O'Donnell praised his tackle and linebacker. "Ryan is a class act. He does all the right things and he worked very hard to earn the award." Hoffer was also distinguished with the Sportsman Award at this year's Turkey Bowl.
Other varsity honorees included: Jonathan Riddle, offensive MVP; Anthony Mateo, defensive MVP; Mark Lacerra, the Crusader Award; Mathew Joseph, the Leadership Award; Patrick Henderson, the Pat Grimes Coaches Award; and center Tim Kehayas, the Joseph R. Rivero Memorial Lineman Award. In addition, Brain Boulhosa was the JV Most Valuable Player and Zack Avalos earned Freshman MVP. Principal Paul Carty organized the football dinner. The president of Stepinac is Msgr. Anthony Marchitelli.