Football: Stepinac unable to keep pace with St. Anthony's
1:01 AM, Oct. 8, 2011 |
Stepinac's Mark White looks for some running room in the St. Anthony's defense Friday night at White Plains High School. St. Anthony's won 55-29. / Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News
WHITE PLAINS — If Stepinac had a chance to compete with St. Anthony's, it had but one formula: Play a perfect game and hope for its fair share of luck. Both of those hopes were vanquished on the Crusaders' second offensive play of the game.
With his team down a touchdown, Daniel Hoffer's short pass bounced off a receiver and into the hands of St. Anthony's Durelle Napier. The defensive back returned it for a touchdown.
"It was just kind of a freak play," Crusaders coach Mike O'Donnell said. "He was open. The ball hit him in the hands. The quarterback made a nice throw, but the ball just hit (the receiver) in the hands and the kid made a nice play on it. Obviously, when you play a team like this, you just can't make any mistakes."
The play was one of three interceptions for Stepinac, which never came close to recovering against the top-ranked team in the state and was humbled 55-29 in its home opener at White Plains High School.
"It's definitely humbling, but we have to use it as motivation now," Stepinac senior Caleb Gilligan-Evans said. "We went against the best team and they put it on us. We have to respond next week. We can't fall down."
The second half started just as inauspiciously. The Crusaders' other quarterback, Mark White, took a pitch from Hoffer for a halfback pass but a St. Anthony's defender hit his arm on the throw. The ball floated for an interception and the Friars (4-0) punched it in five plays later.
For Stepinac, the CHSFL's defending AA-division champ, Friday started a three-game stretch against the league's top competition. No challenge was greater than St. Anthony's, which has won the AAA division championship the last two years and nine of the last 10.
The Crusaders entered the game 4-0 but proved they still have strides to make. Their defense was shredded for 448 yards of offense and didn't force a punt or a turnover on downs until the Friars punted with 34.1 seconds left.
"They were a high-powered offense and defense," senior Austin Taps said. "We made too many mistakes tonight. Those mistakes have to big fixed."
As St. Anthony's continued to pile up yards and touchdowns, Stepinac's offense, which was effective, grew desperate. After the Crusaders cut their deficit to 35-14 on Mark White's second touchdown run of the game, they tried an onside kick. The Friars recovered at midfield and scored another touchdown.
Hoffer threw deep three plays later and was intercepted. St. Anthony's speedy running back Maston Ellerbe took the next handoff 81 yards for his second touchdown.
Stepinac actually gained 322 yards of offense, including 92 yards rushing for White and 81 receiving yards and a touchdown for Narog. But the Crusaders constantly played catch-up.
Although it will remain at home for the remainder of the regular season, Stepinac's schedule will only lighten slightly. It will host Holy Cross next week before christening the school's new turf field against rival Iona Prep on Oct. 15.
Tuckahoe 48, Kennedy 14: At Tuckahoe, Kayvon Reid rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns on four carries. Shyheim Nixon rushed for 48 yards and scored two touchdowns in the third quarter.
Gorton 20, Hen Hud 13: At Hen Hud Thursday, Jon Vazquez had a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown. He also had six carries for 66 yards. Thomas Watson had 43 yards rushing and a touchdown and Tyrone Bannister threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Figueroa. Carson Cole had 139 all-purpose yards and a receiving touchdown for the Sailors. Teammate Matt Solnick had seven catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.