High-SchoolNew-York: Billy Lombardi

Chad Kelly, a senior at St. Joe's Collegiate, is one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the nation after earning a spot in the Elite 11 this past summer. Kelly, who has already committed to Clemson, agreed to chronicle his senior season through a weekly diary as told to ESPNHS editor Brandon Parker.

We were so hyped going into Saturday's game against Aquinas Institute. The game was on TV and we knew we were playing a team that's not only ranked in the state but ranked nationally, so we figured they weren't going to make many mistakes. We knew it would be tough, but we thought we could do something against them if we played mistake-free football.

Unfortunately, though, we couldn't get it done [St. Joe's lost 40-20 to Aquinas]. I know I don't play defense, but we just couldn't tackle well at all. [Aquinas tailback Billy Lombardi] was running all over the place, so that's something we've got to work on. Jarron Jones is a good player, but he didn't have a dominant game. We actually felt like we got more yards going at him than when we did when we tried to go around him, so that was a pleasant surprise.

You always hate to lose, but we have to look past that one now and move on. It wasn't a league game and knowing we played the state's top team in our first game should have us prepared going forward. When we watched the film, it took us four and a half hours to go through the first half alone, so that gives you an idea of how much we can learn from this — and how bad it was at times. We just made so many mistakes and it was embarrassing for us on both sides of the ball.

Our coach [Dennis Gilbert] made me come in bright and early Sunday at 7:30 to talk and we didn't get out of practice until 3, so we're putting in work. We just sat down for about an hour and a half and he was saying how sometimes he goes hard on me so the guys know there are no favorites. Then we just talked about how bad we played and how we're really going to have to work on tackling, even if that means going hard in practice.

Next up, we have Monsignor Farrell. Last year, we lost a tough one to them, 21-20. With a minute and a half left, we scored to go up by six points. Then they got the ball, drove to their 30 and threw up a pass to score on the last play and then win it on the extra point. I actually got hurt on the first play of that game with a thigh bruise and our running back hurt his tailbone, so we should be better off this time around. They have a new coach now who runs a spread like Oregon does, so we'll have to be ready.

It was nice to have college football back on TV. After our game, I was of course checking up on the Clemson game. I saw the LSU-Oregon and Baylor-TCU games. Baylor looks like the real deal and LSU has a good team. Boise State is always tough, too. I think this will be an interesting season where a lot of people will be be surprised with the strides some teams make.

I'm also excited for the NFL season. All I can say for my Buffalo Bills is good luck. Hopefully they can win some games, but it's not looking too good for them right now. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Aquinas downs St. Joe's, Spelman goes off

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
2:02
PM ET
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.

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