Daily News 2011 high school football all-stars: Long Island/Westchester
Rich Reichert and St. Anthony's stay on top, but Mike O'Donnell's Stepinac Crusaders emerge as legit contenderComments
By Julian Garcia / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, January 16 2012, 12:00 PM
Jeff Bachner/Jeff Bachner for News
St Anthony's team members celebrate their 14-0 victory over Stepinac at Mitchel Field on Nov. 18, giving Friars their 10th CHSFL championship in 11 seasons. Mike O’Donnell and Crusaders have plenty to cheer, too, as Stepinac reaches Class AAA final in just its first year at the league’s top level.
For years now, St. Anthony’s has been pushing around city teams, making it clear that Long Island is home to the area’s most dominant force.
But this season, the Friars may have met the team that will eventually take their place at the top —Stepinac, which made the leap from the CHSFL AA division to the league’s AAA division.
The Crusaders lost to St. Anthony’s in the title game, but with a talent pool as deep as the one in White Plains, and with a coach like Mike O’Donnell, the Crusaders should be around for a while.
FIRST TEAM ALL-SUBURBAN
C Matt Biscardi, St. Anthony’s, Sr.
OL Douglas Black, Kellenberg, Sr.
DB Justin Combs, Iona Prep, Sr.
FB/DT Caleb Gilligan-Evans, Stepinac, Sr.
LB, Matthew Fiore, Chaminade, Sr.
QB Matt McDaniels, Kellenberg, Sr.
DT Pat McHugh, St. Anthony's, Sr.
WR Vincent Narog, Stepinac, Sr.
S Tim Stackpole, St. Anthony’s, Sr.
TE/DT Austin Taps, Stepinac, Sr.
QB Mark White, Stepinac, Jr.
SECOND TEAM ALL-SUBURBAN
RB Maston Ellerbe, St. Anthony's, Sr.
RB, Danny Fowler, Chaminade, Jr.
C Jesse Gwin, Stepinac, Sr.
LB Garfield Heslop, Stepinac, Sr.
QB Chris Laviano, Holy Trinity, Jr.
S Durelle Napier, St. Anthony’s, Sr.
OL/DL Jordan Normile, St. John the Baptist, Sr.
K Przemslaw Popek, Stepinac, Sr.
DE Bryan Rhodes, St. Anthony’s, Sr.
DE/OT Kameron Tedder, Iona Prep, Sr.
RB Michael Williams, Holy Trinity, Sr.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: AUSTIN TAPS, STEPINAC
The senior two-way star put the Crusaders on his broad shoulders and helped carry them to the CHSFL Class AAA title game in their first season competing at the most competitive level. The TE/DE caught four touchdown passes and helped spearhead a stingy defense that played a huge role in helping Stepinac advance as far as it did.
“Every time we were on the field, he was the best player on the field,” Stepinac coach Mike O’Donnell said of the team captain. “He’s an outstanding player who impacts both sides of the ball.”
Taps, who had 10 sacks and 52 tackles, was voted defensive player of the year in the CHSFL and committed to William & Mary in December.
“He’s a tremendous athlete and a great student,” O’Donnell said.
COACH OF THE YEAR: MIKE O’DONNELL, STEPINAC
The Crusaders went 12-0 in the 2010 season, winning the CHSFL AA championship and earning a bump up to the league’s elite “AAA” level. There, Stepinac seemed right at home, winning nine games and advancing to take on powerhouse St. Anthony in the championship game.
Stepinac lost that game but O’Donnell took great pride in making it that far, especially in his first season in the league’s top tier.
“Being in the championship game against St. Anthony’s was a remarkable experience for the kids,” O’Donnell said. “Even though we lost, the kids fought right to the end.”
“All of our seniors, they won 21 games in two years,” O’Donnell noted. “That’s a pretty remarkable achievement.”