Stepinac beats White Plains in annual Turkey Bowl
11:44 PM, Nov. 24, 2011 |
WHITE PLAINS — Every year there are three things you can bank on seeing at Thanksgiving; food, and lots of it, coupon clipping, and football.
Less than a week after a tough loss in the CHSFL AAA championship game, Stepinac defeated White Plains 38-14 Thursday at a fully packed Loucks Memorial Field.
An estimated 5,000 people were in attendance for the 41st annual meeting between the two teams, which has become known as the Turkey Bowl.
"It's a great day for the city of White Plains," Stepinac coach Mike O'Donnell said. "I don't understand why more schools don't want to play Turkey Bowls."
While the Tigers lead the overall series 27-14, it has been the Crusaders who have had the upper hand in recent years, winning five of the last six contests.
The Tigers seemed to struggle all game, but still managed to keep the game close in the first half, despite some offensive problems.
Senior Michael Scotman rushed for his only touchdown of the afternoon with just over five minutes remaining in the half to pull the Tigers within a field goal.
Once Stepinac regained possession, it was clear it didn't want to lose it again.
The Crusaders forced three turnovers on the next three White Plains drives, all coming on the Tigers' first play.
Senior Shane Hogan picked off Tigers quarterback Jeff Avery in the end zone on a fantastic catch to save a White Plains touchdown.
The Crusaders had two of their four fumble recoveries for the game in the final two minutes of the half.
"I don't know what it was," White Plains coach Skip Stevens said. "Stepinac really just made some great plays when they needed to make them."
With the exception of Caleb Gilligan-Evans, few Crusaders found offensive success in the first half.
The senior rushed for 64 of his 96 yards in the half and scored his only touchdown of the game
Gilligan-Evans is one of only a handful of players to ever play in four Turkey Bowls.
"I got to really understand the importance of the (Turkey Bowl), not just to Stepinac or White Plains, but to the whole city," he said. "Being on Thanksgiving, it's a very family-oriented day and everyone takes a lot of pride in it."
Senior Austin Taps found success on both sides of the ball, blocking a punt on defense and scoring on a 24-yard reception in the fourth quarter to all but seal the deal for Stepinac.
"Our defense played awesome today," he said. "It really helped us out on the offensive side."
Taps and Scotman were named the B.T. Lauer most valuable players from each team.
For Scotman, the honor didn't take any of the sting out of losing.
"Not at all. I just want to enjoy the holiday with my family," he said, adding, "I don't want to see anymore football