High-SchoolNew-York: Marc Pettrone

Week 2 NY football: St. Francis presents test for Aquinas Institute

September, 16, 2011
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 brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Aquinas Institute, St. Joe's Collegiate kick off football season

September, 3, 2011
A lot has happened in the last few days, from Boys & Girls firing and hiring a football coach to one of the state's top soccer players leaving for Arizona.

But first, I of course have to touch on today's big matchup between No. 2 Aquinas Institute and No. 8 St. Joe's Collegiate.

Outside of the obvious rankings implications, what makes this matchup intriguing is the struggle that could ensue between St. Joe's offense and Aquinas' defense. The Little Irish feature the state's top-ranked player in defensive lineman Jarron Jones, who committed to Notre Dame earlier this week. His size and ability off the line are a big reason why Aquinas Institute won the Class A title last year and are favorites to do it again.

All day long, though, Jones must keep his eye on St. Joe's QB Chad Kelly, who's coming off a monster summer. The Elite 11 gun-slinger has the arm, athleticism and confidence to give the Little Irish defense fits. Jones, along with LB Marc Pettrone and their defensive comrades, must be on guard for Kelly's every move since he can scramble effectively when he sees an opening.

Because of the star power in this matchup, the difference could be made when the Little Irish have the ball. Aquinas boasts a talented wideout in Jahmahl Pardner, but with 14 returning starters across both sides of the ball for the Marauders, it's safe to say that the game will be a lot a closer than last year's 48-21 victory for the Little Irish.

Check back here on Tuesday for a recap as well as thoughts from Kelly in the first installment of his senior diary.

On Wednesday, the Kangaroos were without a coach after dismissing Barry O'Connor for reportedly receiving un unsatisfactory rating from administrators, according to this New York Post article. Two days later, Boys & Girls handed assistant coach Clive Harding the keys to its football program.

The in-house move should allow the Kangaroos to maintain some continuity, especially with its season opener against Curtis just a week away on Sept. 10. For more on the story, check out this article by the folks over at ESPN New York.

Jordan Allen could endure quite the culture shock when he heads from New York to Arizona soon. But the junior has good reason.

After netting 16 goals as a sophomore, the talented midfielder has opted not to play for Aquinas Institute this season and instead enter the Real Salt Lake Youth Development Program. Such a move is nothing new, of course, as talented soccer players across the nation choose similar routes. And Allen certainly fits that category, as he spent time at the IMG Academy this past spring for soccer development.

The move is a unique win-lose for Little Irish coach Howard Allen, who loses his best player but gets to witness his son advance his soccer career, according to this MPNnow article.

Speaking of Allen, stay tuned for October magazine, which features this year's All-State soccer team. And let's just say this: Allen's name can be found in those pages.

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.