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Posted Monday, November 05, 2007 by LOHUD.COM

CHSFL Class AA football quarterfinal: Slowley, Stepinac roll past St. Peter's

(Original publication: November 5, 2007)
WHITE PLAINS - After two losses in its first three games, Stepinac had some doubt - not in itself but whether game-breaking halfback Rashaad Slowley would return this season.

Slowley had suffered a high ankle sprain and missed those first three games. However, Slowley returned to the lineup in Week 4 and what a difference he made. The Crusaders managed 32 points through the first three games. Since then Stepinac has outscored its opponents 264-47 and has won six consecutive games.

"We had our heads down at first, but our captains brought us back up and pulled us together," said senior quarterback Joe Collins of White Plains. "Rashaad was right there with us on the sideline rooting us on and pulling us together. Having him has really helped.

Yesterday, fourth-seeded Stepinac scored a season-high in points in a 52-13 crushing of fifth-seeded St. Peter's in a Catholic High School Football League Class AA quarterfinal.

Stepinac (7-2) will play at top-seeded Fordham Prep (8-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a semifinal. Stepinac handed Fordham Prep its only loss of the season, 29-14, on Oct. 20.

Slowley, a Mount Vernon resident, ran for a game-high 203 yards and had touchdown runs of 48, 17, 26 and 3 yards.

On his first two scoring runs, of 48 and 17 yards, Slowley was untouched.

St. Peter's was staying close because of two long touchdown passes, closing to 19-13 in the second quarter. Stepinac answered right back with a 12-play, 83-yard drive, capped by a 3-yard strike from Collins to Brian Boulhosa.

Since Slowley's return, Collins has an array of targets that would make any quarterback jealous.

"It's so easy, with Raashad and then we have Mo (Easterling) and Brian (Boulhousa),"Collins said. "All I have to do is pick and read. They're all amazing."

Even though the offense has been piling up points like a pinball machine, Slowley said the defense has been just as impressive.

"We've been building a reputation that teams can't run on our defense," Slowley said. "Most teams' game plans are now to pass the ball."

Stepinac held St. Peter's to 27 yards on ground, including eight in the first half. After St. Peter's struck for touchdown passes of 48 and 79 yards, Stepinac clamped down. Boulhosa, who had a rough first half in the secondary and would be removed, would later have an interception and knock down two passes.

"I came to the sideline and I was upset, but coach John DiMarco, our defensive coordinator, talked me through it and told me to just keep my eye on the game," said Boulhosa, of Yonkers. "He believed in me."

Boulhosa's interception came in the third quarter, after Will Figueroa picked off Collins.

On Stepinac's first play after Boulhosa's pick, Slowley glided in from 26 yards out.

Reach Tony Pinciaro at apinciar@lohud.com or 914-696-8234.

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