Group of eight leads Stepinac's way
WHITE PLAINS - When it comes to Stepinac's offensive
The Crusaders don't have a regular five-man unit. Eight guys rotate in and out depending on the play. They take roughly the same number of snaps. All but center Joseph Mattiaccio and guard Andre Gigi are first-year starters.
"We all trust each other," Mattiaccio said. "We don't say, ‘Oh, he's better than him.' We all feel like we have a connection to each other.
"We all feel like we can't let our quarterback get touched."
If Bishop Ford was trying to take advantage of the eight-man rotation, was trying to jump on a crossed signal or a missed blocking assignment, it failed on Saturday. Quarterback Tyrell Goodman could have finished a tax return in the pocket before delivering a pass. With his nimble footwork and the line's protection, he had all day to throw in Stepinac's 21-0 win.
Goodman tossed touchdown
Caleb Gilligan-Evans, a monster sophomore fullback, rushed for 151 yards on 18 carries.
"The line's played excellent," Goodman said. "They did what they had to do. They played hard. I have to give it up to them. They're helping me make my reads and make my passes and give me time."
Stepinac remained unbeaten at 5-0. Bishop Ford dropped to 2-3.
Bishop Ford's first play was an 8-yard gain. It was also the Falcons' longest play from scrimmage all afternoon.
Their willingness to keep the ball on the ground and grind out 2- and 3-yard gains is what kept Stepinac from putting up more than 21 points.
The Crusaders first scored on an 8-yard run by Gilligan-Evans in the first quarter. After a Bishop Ford fumble was recovered by Anthony Obi on the 18-yard line, Goodman cashed in on the short field with a third-and-14
Bishop Ford's best chance to score came in the last minutes of the half. Goodman punted a ball into his own offensive line, giving the Falcons possession at the Stepinac 25. But a halfback-option pass by Tim Wade - Bishop Ford's first pass attempt of the game - was intercepted by Brian Byrnes.
Stepinac's longest drive - 15 plays, seven minutes -[0x0f]ended in the final touchdown with five minutes to go. Goodman, who had twice overthrown Joshua Powell on the drive, connected with his top receiver on a jump
"We don't want them to sit back and be happy and to think that they played great today," Crusaders coach Mike O'Donnell said. "That's kind of what our message to them was. You need to be realistic. You're 5-0, you're ranked this and that - you have to throw it out the window, because every team plays hard. We need to get back to the drawing board on Monday a little bit harder if we want to continue to win, and not get too full of ourselves."
That said, how long do the players think they can go before they take their first loss?
"We're not taking our first loss," Mattiaccio said.