Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains celebrated perfection at its annual Gridiron Dinner at the White Plains Knights of Columbus Hall Dec. 8. The Crusaders had recently completed their first-ever undefeated football season by routing rival White Plains High School, 42-14, in the 40th Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25.
The win gave Stepinac a perfect 12-0 record. The Crusaders were playing on only four days rest after dispatching Kellenberg Memorial High School, 41-7, in the Catholic High School Football League AA championship the previous Saturday in Uniondale. Stepinac took a narrow 14-7 lead into halftime against White Plains, but the squad’s overwhelming offense blew the game wide open in the second half.
“Fifty years of football here at Stepinac and it’s the first time it’s ever happened,” said head coach Mike O’Donnell of the perfect season.
The coach, who doesn’t like to compare teams or eras, wasn’t prepared to declare this squad the best ever. “They’re right up there and they are the only team that accomplished every goal they set,” he stated. “The kids really bought into what we asked them to do.”
Senior quarterback Tyrell Goodman was a one-man demolition crew for the Crusaders in their season finale, rushing for 172 yards on 18 carries and completing seven of 10 passes for 77 more.
“Goodman really stepped it up a notch,” O’Donnell said. “He’s a leader and he likes to be challenged. He did it for us all year.”
Goodman is just one of several seniors who are now looking at offers to attend Division I schools next year. Senior defensive end Donnie Simmons has already accepted an offer from Syracuse. So there will be holes next year to fill but Coach O’Donnell is looking at putting a competitive team on the field in 2011. Right now, though, he’s still savoring what his 2010 team accomplished.