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CHSFL “AAA” DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Archbishop Stepinac (8-2) vs. St. Anthony’s (9-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: Mitchel Stadium, Uniondale
Watch live: MSG Varsity iO Ch. 14 and on msgvarsity.com
Previous meetings: St. Anthony’s defeated Stepinac 55-29 in Week 5 at White Plains High School.
Video Preview: CLICK HERE to Watch MSG Varsity football experts Gregg Sarra and Kevin Devaney Jr. break down the Stepinac-St. Anthony's matchup on the High School SportsDesk.
Did you know? St. Anthony’s is sitting on a 28-game winning streak and legendary coach, Rich Reichert, is one win away from tying to all-time coaching wins record in Suffolk County. He has 210 victories in his career.
TOP PLAYERS: Stepinac
QB Mark White: Offensively, Stepinac doesn’t have to change much from the first meeting with St. Anthony’s. That means White needs to take a lot of snaps and be effective. He was the fastest player on the field in the first meeting.
TE/DE Austin Taps: The senior is always an important player, and he had one of his two best games of the year this past week against Xaverian. St. Anthony’s killed Stepinac with the option pitch during the regular season. Taps will need to chase down the speedy wingbacks of the Friars.
DE Garfield Heslop: Heslop moved from outside linebacker to end in recent weeks and is a perfect complement to Taps. The two bookends will have similar job descriptions. Stop the option. The pair combined for 26 tackles last week, and will need similar production.
WR Vincent Narog: Narog has become one of the most integral parts of Stepinac’s offense and defense as the year has progressed. No matter which quarterback is throwing the ball, Narog is the number one target. To keep pace with St. Anthony’s, Narog will need to have a big game. He scored a touchdown off a reverse last week against Xaverian and was in on the decisive defensive stop during overtime. He’s a big-time player right now.
TOP PLAYERS: St. Anthony’s
DT Pat McHugh: The highly-touted senior is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line. For Stepinac to be successful against him, White and Caleb Gilligan-Evans will need enough time and space to get past the powerful lineman
RB Maston Ellerbe: Ellerbe has his coming out party against Stepinac earlier this season with 147 yards rushing. Wingbacks rarely rack up big yardage for St. Anthony’s. When they do? It’s not a good sign. Ellerbe will be a key.
QB Greg Galligan: This game will be Galligan’s fourth career start. He’s only a sophomore. He’ll be without star WR Jack Poetzsch who was lost to a leg injury during the Friars’ last meeting with Stepinac, so it’s basically just running and decision-making for the youngster.
DB Tim Stackpole: Stackpole is the typical St. Anthony’s defensive back. He’s quick, tough, and has a little mean streak in him. He will be important with help over the top against Narog down the field and making sure White doesn’t bust long touchdown runs.
PATH TO VICTORY: Stepinac
Stepinac is a huge underdog, mostly because of history. The good news for Stepinac is that St. Anthony’s is missing its original fullback, wingback, quarterback, and wide receiver from the beginning of the year. The bad news is that almost all of them were missing during the teams’ first meeting. Stepinac needs to score and score often. The defensive game plan didn’t work during the regular season when St. Anthony’s scored seven touchdowns in seven drives. Both teams have had trouble holding onto the football, however, so if Stepinac can win the turnover battle and play flawless offensive football, they have a good shot to win.
PATH TO VICTORY: St. Anthony’s
The Friars just have to be themselves. Play tough defense, eat up lots of clock, and take care of the football. St. Anthony’s is the favorite, despite all the injuries, because their depth is well-documented. The good news for the Friars is that the defense has been phenomenal during the postseason. Iona Prep’s offense (a similar scheme to Stepinac) traditionally gives St. Anthony’s fits because of speed and spreading everyone out. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Friars this year.
1955 Stepinac was CHSFL Champion
1993: Lost to Iona Prep in A Championship, 13-0
1994: Lost to Holy Cross in A Championship, 21-18
1995: Won A Championship vs. Kellenberg, 24-17
2001: Lost to St. Peter’s in AA Championship, 14-12
2007: Won AA Championship vs. Christ the King, 47-12
2008: Lost to Holy Trinity in AA Championship, 55-7
2010: Won AA Championship vs. Kellenberg, 41-7
1979: Lost to Farrell in CHSFL Championship, 25-14
1983: Lost to St. Francis Prep in CHSFL Championship, 15-0
1989: Lost to St. Francis Prep in CHSFL Championship, 22-15
1993: Won CHSFL Championship vs. Farrell, 21-13
1994: Won CHSFL Championship vs. Chaminade, 21-18
1995: Won CHSFL Championship vs. St. Francis Prep, 29-0
1996: Lost to Mt. St. Michael in CHSFL Championship, 21-7
1997: Lost to Mt. St. Michael in CHSFL Championship, 40-14
1999: Lost to Farrell in AAA Championship, 6-0
2000: Lost to Farrell in AAA Championship, 24-23
2001: Won AAA Championship vs. St. Francis Prep, 28-14
2002: Won AAA Championship vs. Chaminade, 34-32
2003: Won AAA Championship vs. Farrell, 31-12
2004: Won AAA Championship vs. Farrell, 17-14 (2OT)
2005: Won AAA Championship vs. Iona Prep, 28-7
2006: Won AAA Championship vs. Mt. St. Michael, 21-20
2007: Won AAA Championship vs. Mt. St. Michael, 26-20
2008: Lost to Iona Prep in AAA Championship, 48-35
2009: Won AAA Championship vs. Holy Trinity, 28-21
2010: Won AAA Championship vs. Iona Prep, 41-23