Aquinas downs St. Joe's, Spelman goes off


With St. Joe's Collegiate a year wiser and with a bit more hype, many expected this year's season opener between the Marauders and defending Class A champ Aquinas Institute to be closer this time around.

But a year after putting together a 48-21 victory, the Little Irish looked just as good, coming away with a 40-20 win in a matchup of top 10 teams on Saturday.

Junior tailback Billy Lombardi led the charge with 221 yards and three touchdowns, as Aquinas scored the game's first 20 points and never looked back. Lombardi's monstrous game is a welcome sign for the Little Irish, who are looking to replace standout runner Mike Messina.

St. Joe's QB Chad Kelly finished the game with a total of 251 yards and two touchdowns. For Kelly's thoughts on the game, check back here later today for the first installment of his senior diary.

Speaking of quarterbacks, how about Monroe-Woodbury's Ryan Spelman? Then again, I should probably use the term "quarterback" loosely with Spelman after what he did Friday. In the Crusaders' 61-28 victory against Warwick, Spelman ran for 415 yards and six touchdowns, tying him for the 18th-best rushing output in state history. The senior also threw for two touchdowns in the rout.

*Since the majority of New York teams don't begin play until this coming weekend, our first weekly state rankings will be released next Monday, so ya'll come back now.

Brandon Parker covers New York for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.