SUNY Purchase. Saxon Woods in White Plains. Silver Lake in Harrison. The Underdome in Mount Vernon. The Highlands in Rye.
Every practice for Archbishop Stepinac is like a Westchester geography lesson. The CHSFL’s most well-traveled team has been without a field all season and coach Mike O’Donnell says he doesn’t know where his team will be practicing some days until 1 p.m.
In all, the Crusaders have practiced, played or scrimmaged in 17 different facilities this fall.
“I don’t know how teams like Xavier do it,” Stepinac coach Mike O’Donnell said. “It’s not something we’ve been used to it.”
Stepinac's Mark White and his Crusaders have been without a home field all season.
The school’s field is still in the process of being redone. It was supposed to be finished for Friday’s huge game with powerhouse St. Anthony’s, which has won nine of the last 10 CHSFL ‘AAA’ titles, but Hurricane Irene and inclement weather throughout September erased those plans. The Crusaders, ranked No. 2 in the CHSFL, will meet the top-ranked Friars at White Plains HS instead and a Week 6 matchup with Holy Cross is scheduled for SUNY Purchase.
“People around White Plains and the surrounding areas have been very nice to us,” O’Donnell said.
Every day, O’Connell said, has been a challenge. Getting off a bus and practicing is almost worse than getting off a bus and playing a game. If anything, though, it has made his team used to playing on the road. Stepinac is 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the CHSFL after a 14-12 win at Mount St. Michael on Saturday.
The turf on the new field is being rolled out this week and the target date for the dedication and blessing of it is Oct.22, before a huge game with rival Iona Prep in Week 7.
“We can’t wait to walk out of our locker room and play a football game again,” O’Donnell said. ‘It feels like it’s been forever. It’s gonna be a beautiful facility.”