NEW ROCHELLE — The scoreboard clock drained down to empty and the Stepinac players were grinning and jumping on the field. There was satisfaction etched across so many faces.
The Crusaders hadn't knocked off Iona Prep since 2002, falling six straight times. But they came to the Gaels' sun-drenched home for the season opener Saturday and beat them 23-6, largely behind the many talents of Tyrell Goodman, who delivered 151 yards and a
"It means a lot to me, but it means more to the coaches because they didn't do this for a long time," said Goodman, the senior
Count coach Mike O'Donnell in on that, too.
"We're always measured by Iona Prep," O'Donnell said. "I think everybody looks at our program as we're a step below. Them losing some very good players and us having some very good players coming back — we knew this was one of the years where we possibly had a shot against them. Our kids really rose to the occasion and played great."
The game fell on 9/11, the day nine years ago when his former player and assistant, Joseph Riverso, lost his life. O'Donnell took the team to a memorial service Friday for victims from White Plains.
"Coach Riverso loved Stepinac," O'Donnell said. "Probably his biggest rival was Iona. For him to be looking down on us today, I think there's something to be said about that."
This was just a 7-6 game at the half. The Gaels' Sidney Weston, who ran for 134 yards, and the Crusaders' Donnie Simmons both ran for short touchdowns. Then Stepinac, a CHSFL AA division champ in 2009, took over at its 45 with 4:23 left in the third after a fourth-down stop. Goodman, being recruited by Temple, Akron and Stony Brook, looked the D-I part on the first play, throwing long down the right side for Nick Euvino.
"It was a great call," Iona Prep coach Vic Quirolo said.
Euvino pulled it in at the 25 and raced for a 55-yard score.
"The way our offense was rolling and our defense was playing, no one could stop us," the senior receiver said.
Tim Perley, the Gaels' senior quarterback, passed for 127 yards. But he was hampered after injuring his foot late in the first half.
Perley was hit and fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a safety early in the fourth, making it 16-6. After Goodman blitzed for his three sacks, he ran 5 yards for a late touchdown.
"Last year, we were more talented," Quirolo said. "This year, we're a little more cohesive. We didn't execute today. So I don't know where we are. But right now we're not too good."