And then there were four (and two for the A playoffs). After last week’s quarterfinal and semifinals game, we’re down to the best of the best in the Catholic High School Football League. While the AAA and A playoffs did not have any upsets, the AA had two lower-seeded teams. Time to break down the divisions and see who will emerge victorious.
No. 1 St. Anthony’s vs. No. 4 Fordham Prep (Friday, 7 p.m.): The knock on Fordham Prep’s undefeated season has been the lack of quality opponents on its schedule. The Rams did not face the top three seeds in the AAA-AA Division (Iona Prep, Holy Trinity, St. Anthony’s.)
That all changes this week. Fordham puts its undefeated streak on the line in road game against St. Anthony’s.The Friars have reached every CHSFL AAA title game since 1999, and are the defending league champions. They started the postseason on the right foot with a 42-8 thumping of St. Joseph by-the-Sea.
Rams’ coach Pete Gorynski said his team will need to play a perfect game to beat St. Anthony’s. If Fordham Prep plays like it did against Xaverian, when it turned the ball over five times, this game won’t be close.
No. 2 Iona Prep vs. No. 3 Holy Trinity (Saturday, 1 p.m.): We get a rematch of the Week 2 contest when Iona Prep defeated Holy Trinity at home, 31-21. Both teams played great in their opening game of the playoffs. Iona Prep routed Holy Cross 33-14, while Holy Trinity defeated Mount St. Michael 42-14.
Both teams play stout defense, but Iona Prep’s offense is much more high powered. The Gaels have scored 93 points more on the season than the Titans. If this becomes a shootout, it will be tough for Holy Trinity to win. If the Titans can keep it a low-scoring game, they will have a good shot.
Ehalt’s predictions: I like Fordham Prep’s team, it’s a tough, senior-lead team. But, going on the road against St. Anthony’s is too tall a task. I like the Friars at home, 28-14.
Iona Prep has impressed me in each game I’ve seen them this season. They play tough defense and have a good offense. I don’t see Holy Trinity scoring enough. Iona Prep, 24-14.
No. 5 Archbishop Stepinac vs. No. 8 Cardinal Hayes (Saturday, 1 p.m.) : The only two upsets of the playoffs came in the AA came at the hands of these two teams. Hayes had the bigger win, going on the road to Monsignor Farrell and winning 29-19. Stepinac, meanwhile, defeated fourth-seeded St. Francis Prep 46-6.
Hayes made the AA final last year and will have a tough task facing Stepinac, who is 9-0 on the season. Stepinac is a team that could’ve competed for the AAA title, but is just rolling though the AA. In the teams’ matchup on Sept. 25, the Crusaders emerged in a 35-18 triumph at home.
The pressure will be on Stepinac to keep it’s undefeated season intact. Hayes has nothing to lose in this game. Let’s see if it makes a difference.
No. 2 Kellenberg vs. No. 3 Chaminade: I’ll admit I was wrong about Chaminade. After their 0-8 finish to the regular season, I didn’t see the Flyers beating a tough Xavier team in the quarterfinals. Instead, Chaminade waxed Xavier 38-14.
With that victory, we have a very intriguing semifinal matchup. In the first week of the season, Kellenberg went into Mineola and upset Chaminade for the first time in school history, 24-21.
Chaminade will be looking for revenge in this contest, but will have to earn it on the road. After winning its first game of the season, can Chaminade make it two in a row and earn a spot in the finals? Or will Kellenberg best Chaminade twice in the same season?
Ehalt’s Predictions: Stepinac has been one of the most impressive teams I’ve seen this season and I don’t see them losing at home. Stepinac downs Hayes, 35-14. The other matchup is more intriguing, but I just don’t see Chaminade losing twice to Kellenberg in the same season. Chaminade 21, Kellenberg 14.
No. 2 St. Peter’s at No. 1 St. John the Baptist: The top two seeds won in the semifinals to give us this matchup. St. John the Baptistst downed Cardinal Spellman, 42-2, while St. Peter’s bested Bishop Ford, 36-20.
These two teams met on Oct. 16 at St. Peter’s and St. John the Baptist won, 25-13.
Ehalt’s prediction: I’ll say history repeats itself. Let’s go with St. John the Baptist winning the A title with a 28-14 win over St. Peter’s.