Friday, September 16, 2011
Week 2 NY football: St. Francis presents test for Aquinas Institute
By By Brandon Parker
For the second time this season, No. 2 Aquinas Institute will face a top-10 squad, as No. 3 St. Francis comes to town on Saturday.
As most know, the Little Irish (2-0) are led by the state's top recruit, Jarron Jones, who has committed to Notre Dame. The senior defensive lineman can plug up holes and get into the backfield in a hurry. Plus, All-State players Marc Pettrone (LB) and Jamahl Pardner (DB) have his back.
As a result, a Red Raiders (2-0) offense that has put up 85 points in two games could be slowed. Akeel Lynch is the backbone of their attack, gaining 479 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Thing is, if the Little Irish can solely focus on stopping Lynch, as the Red Raiders' passing game has struggled in minimal action this year.
On the other side of the ball, Aquinas also has a rushing attack to be respected. Junior Billy Lombardi has surpassed the 150-yard mark in two games to go with five scores. What's more, quarterback Cory Benedetto has yet to throw a pick this season.
The Red Raiders should put up a good fight, but Aquinas has too many weapons for St. Francis on this day.
My pick: Aquinas 35, St. Francis 20
No. 7 Fort Hamilton (1-0) at Campus Magnet (1-0)
Fort Hamilton extended its regular-season win streak to 33 games, but the Tigers face a Campus Magnet that appears prone to surprise teams. Last week, the Bulldogs fell behind 13 points before gaining a first down to a tough Erasmus Hall squad. But that was no sweat for the Bulldogs, who stormed back for a 24-20 win. Quarterback Khalik Greenwood will be tested again against a solid Tigers defense.
My pick: Fort Hamilton 20, Campus Magnet 17
No. 9 St. Joe's Collegiate (1-1) at Canisius (2-0) With two potent offenses meeting up, this could be an old-fashioned shootout. For St. Joe's, Elite 11 QB Chad Kelly can make plays with his arm and feet, totaling 586 yards, seven scores and just one pick. For Canisius, Mercer Timms is the focus. The tailback has tallied 463 yards and seven touchdowns in just two games. Likewise, quarterback Chris Jugovic showed his stuff last week with four touchdowns through the air. The Marauders' defense has struggled this season, which could give Canisius a slight advantage on its homefield.
My pick: Canisius 24, St. Joe's Collegiate 21
Erasmus Hall (0-1) at Boys & Girls (1-0) While one team showed it can adjust on the fly, the other is looking to prove its mettle after a shocking opening loss. Just days after Clive Harding replaced dismissed coach Barry O'Connor, Boys & Girls showed their resolve in a 40-12 win against Curtis. Meanwhile, Erasmus Hall, led by All-State player Wayne Morgan, lost a 13-point lead and eventually the game to a surprising Campus Magnet squad. This bout will be key for both squads, with Erasmus facing an 0-2 hole and Boys & Girls looking to gain some early momentum. Look for Erasmus Hall to bounce back behind Morgan and freshman phenom Curtis Samuel, who rushed for two scores last week.
My pick: Erasmus Hall 24, Boys & Girls 20
Brandon Parker covers New York for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.