New York High School: CHSFL

McDaniels shines in loss for Kellenberg

November, 19, 2011
11/19/11
7:01
PM ET
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Kellenberg quarterback Matt McDaniels didn’t have many words after the game. It’s understandable. His team lost a heartbreaker, 22-21, to Fordham Prep with 18 seconds left in the CHSAA Class “AA” championship.

There wasn’t much more he could do and nothing he could say. McDaniels had done most of his talking on the field anyway.

“He’s the real deal,” Kellenberg coach Kevin Hanifan said. “He’s an all-Long Island player if you ask me. He carried us today.”

McDaniels accounted for the majority of the Firebirds’ offense and on the plays that he didn’t run the ball himself, he served as a decoy. The quarterback finished with 343 rushing yards on 27 carries and scored all three Kellenberg touchdowns.

He blew open an 80-yard score on the first play of the game to jump Kellenberg to a 7-0 lead. After Fordham Prep tied the score, McDaniels started the second quarter with a 57-yard touchdown. Huge blocks by junior Brendan Fitzgerald and Kevin Liddy allowed McDaniels to run free, but whenever Fordham Prep made a mistake, McDaniels exploited them. He blew up a Fordham Prep blitz at the start of the third with for a 64-yard touchdown run.

“I have nightmares,” Fordham Prep coach Pete Gorynski said of seeing McDaniels even touch the ball. “The kid is a player and a half. He is just really, really good.”

Gorynski said he changed his defense hoping to contain McDaniels but nothing worked.

“He just made us look silly on a couple plays,” Gorynski said. “He’s just a talented kid, great athlete, and as a told him on the handshake line, I’m very happy that I won’t have to defend against him next year.”

In addition to McDaniels’ rushing total, he completed two passes and had a reception.

Fordham Prep beat Kellenberg by one point in overtime during the regular season on a two-point conversion and won the same way Saturday, when Fordham Prep’s Logan Williamson found Jarred Moorer in the end zone. Gorynski said that part of his decision to go for the win, instead of the tie, was to keep from giving McDaniels an opportunity in overtime.

“Everybody thinks that it was some sort of gutsy call,” Gorynski said. “It’s survival. He beats us if I put them back on the field so I wasn’t giving him that opportunity.”

CHSFL AA: Fordham 22, Kellenberg 21

November, 19, 2011
11/19/11
4:13
PM ET
UNIONDALE, N.Y –As soon as Fordham Prep took possession midway through the fourth quarter, coach Pete Gorynksi started going through his playsheet. He knew from then that if the Rams scored he would skip the extra kick and go for two.

In the end, he looked brilliant after Logan Williamson found sophomore running back Jarred Moorer in the back of the end zone for a two-point conversion with 18 seconds left that gave Fordham Prep a 22-21 victory over Kellenberg Saturday in the CHSFL Class “AA” championship game at Mitchel Field in Uniondale. It was the Rams’ first-ever ‘AA’ title.

“I had the play,” Gorynski said. “What was I going to do, go home with it?”

He wanted the win, not overtime. Gorynski refused to give Kellenberg’s Matt McDaniels the ball with any substantial amount of time on the clock. So when Williamson caught James McHale’s five-yard touchdown pass to put the Rams within a point, the coach already had the play ready.

“I knew he was going to call that play,” Moorer said. “We had been practicing it for three weeks.”

Moorer didn’t think the ball would come his way. Goranski called a halfback option. Williamson rolled out right. Moorer figured the ball would go to junior running back James Drago. But Kellenberg swarmed Drago, leaving Moorer all alone. Willamson found him but Moorer tripped and juggled the pass before securing it on his chest when he fell to the ground.

“I just heard the crowd roar and everyone picked me up,” Moorer said.

That’s how Moorer knew that he caught it.

Moorer, who stands 6-3, also plays on the varsity basketball team. When the game ended, Gorynski grabbed Moorer by the shoulders. Gorynski always teases Moorer about playing basketball. Gorynski’s daughter played at Lehigh. He calls it a girl’s sport.

“You’ve probably scored a lot of deuces in your life,” the coach said, “but wasn’t that the sweetest deuce you’ve ever scored.”

Moorer nodded. “It was coach. It really was," he said.

When the game started – McDaniels broke loose for an 80-yard score on the first play of the game – it showed all the makings of high-scoring game. But a huge defensive play set things up for Fordham Prep.

McDaniels had been practically unstoppable the entire game. The senior quarterback finished with 343 rushing yards and had already racked up 200 at halftime. Now he was marching the Firebirds downfield again with less than 10 minutes to play and his team up 21-14.

But Fordham Prep senior linebacker JC Sullivan stuffed McDaniels, on fourth down-and-4 for a 3-yard loss. It was the third time the Rams stopped McDaniels from gaining positive yards in the game.

Moorer might have come down with the game-winning catch but Williamson was the hero for Fordham Prep. The junior had two rushing scores, caught the touchdown pass that set up the two-point conversion, then made the pass to Moorer that won the game.

“It was just a relief,” Williamson said. “I mean, I’m not a quarterback. I like to think I can throw the ball but when he caugh that ball, I just knew it was over. I knew we had it."

There’s no wonder Moorer thought the pass would go to Drago, the same reason Drago was double-teamed in the end zone. The Rams’ junior carried the bulk of the offense, finishing with 27 carries and 141 yards. McHale completed 14-of-21 passes for 145 passing yards.

For Kellenberg, it makes the second straight season the Firebirds lost in the "AA" final. Last year, Stepinac tagged them, 41-7. This game left a little more sting.

“We weren’t in that game,” Kellenberg coach Kevin Hanifan said. “This game we were in it the whole way. We were right there with 18 seconds left and made one mistake.”

Game of the Week: St. A's vs. Stepinac

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
12:58
PM ET
Around this time a year ago, all the talk in the Catholic High School Football League focused on a game that would never happen.

Fans, coaches, teammates pondered who would have won a contest between the league's undefeated "AAA" champions, St. Anthony's, and undefeated "AA" champions, Archbishop Stepinac. Since the two teams didn't meet during the regular season and rules forbade them from meeting after their title games, talking was all anyone could do.

"I know a lot of people would have liked to see us play St. Anthony's since we were the two champions," Stepinac senior tight end/defensive end Austin Taps said. "They'll get their wish this year."

Yes, they will.

Sure, it's one year later and the circumstances are different, but the heavily coveted matchup from last year will take place this Friday night when No. 1 St. Anthony's takes on No. 2 Stepinac for the "AAA" title at 7 p.m. at Mitchel Field in Uniondale, N.Y.

It's the second time in league history the defending "AAA" and "AA" champions will battle for the "AAA" title, with it last occurring in 2009 when Holy Trinity took on St. Anthony's. The Friars will also be searching for their third straight title and look to defeat the Crusaders for the second time this season.

"I think it's great," Taps said of the teams matching up in the title game one year later. "It's going to be a great game. They're a good team and we're clicking. We got to come out and give it our all and not hold anything back."

Before each season, the CHSFL has its coaches align the 20 teams into two divisions, the "AAA-AA" division for the top 12 teams and the "AA-A" division for the bottom eight. The top 12 all have the opportunity to potentially play for the "AAA" crown while the bottom eight teams can only play for the "AA" title in the best-case scenario.

Last year, St. Anthony's was in the top 12 while Stepinac ended up in the bottom eight. Stepinac coach Mike O'Donnell said he had his team in the bottom eight because there were a lot of question marks surrounding his team and constant struggles to put together a big roster with the school's small enrollment.

Ultimately, both teams went undefeated all season and won championships on the same day—raising the chatter about which team was the best in the conference and who would have won a game had the two teams been able to meet.

"It certainly would have been a good game," St. Anthony's coach Rich Reichert said.

This year, the teams were both placed in the top 12 and there were no worries about them possibly not meeting. In fact, they already have meet this season, a 55-29 win by St. Anthony's on Oct. 7, which makes Friday's title game one of adjustments.

Reichert, whose team is looking for its 10th title in 11 years, wants to see his team play better offensively and limit big plays when its on defense. The Friars have battled some injuries along the way and it's been far from an easy road to the title game but they once again have a great shot to end up as the league's beast.

"There's a lot of pressure that guys can be putting on themselves but we want them to think it's just another game," Reichert said. "Obviously, it's a championship game but we're going about our business like we've approached it week in and week out. It just happens to be our last game."

Stepinac, meanwhile, will be looking to win its first-ever "AAA" title and cut down on the turnovers that have plagued it in its two losses.

"We're extremely excited," senior fullback Caleb Gilligan-Evans said. "Especially with the way our semifinal game ended. It's just a good opportunity ahead and we have the chance to do something special. Our entire team can't wait."

Kellenberg's McDaniels does it all

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
12:20
PM ET
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – All the football lingo doesn’t describe Matt McDaniels. He gets the euphemisms that define a coach’s dream. The kid is all heart. His motor doesn’t stop. He thrives on adversity.

All the good stuff.

But proof is in his responsibility to Kellenberg’s offense. McDaniels is the guy. He’s the first option and the second and everyone knows it. But no one can stop it. McDaniels remained the constant light in the Firebirds’ season, one that started with five straight losses and could end in a CHSAA ‘AA’ division title on Saturday against Fordham Prep at Mitchel Field in Uniondale.

“There isn’t a coach in this league that doesn’t know he’s our only option,” head coach Kevin Hanifan said.

McDaniels, Kellenberg’s quarterback, has 1,678 rushing yards this season and averages about 165 yards per game with 15 touchdowns. He scored four touchdowns against Cardinal Hayes in the quarterfinals and broke loose for a 42-yard go-ahead score when Kellenberg earned a dramatic comeback win against Holy Trinity last week to advance to its second straight "AA" championship game.

The senior started as a wide receiver last year when Hanifan started utilizing McDaniels’ speed in wildcat-like offensive packages. The coaching staff quickly discovered that McDaniels is the team’s best athlete. So when Nick Fiore graduated last year, they taught McDaniels to throw in the summer during camp.

“Before, I couldn’t throw to save my life,” McDaniels said laughing. “I mean, I could throw a football but I learned how to really throw.”

At 5-10, McDaniels is not the average size for quarterback. But the senior is tough and strong. He has breakaway foot speed and invites contact like a running back. Hanifan said it took about three weeks before the league realized that McDaniels was an option on every down. At quarterback, McDaniels forces defenses to make a choice between crowding him, where he could throw over the defense, or playing back and giving him a cushion to run.

“I know that he’s always going to make the right read,” said senior tackle Kevin Liddy. “When he’s back there, I know that all I have to do is make my block and he’s going to make the right decision.”

The quarterback’s exploits had been buried behind a team struggling through the first half of the season with a 0-5 record. But the Firebirds have won three straight and 4 of their last 5 games headed into the final. Last year, Stepinac capped an undefeated season by thumping Kellenberg, 41-7. Hanifan considered winning against Fordham Prep for the "AA" crown as an excellent way to “salvage” the season.

McDaniels admitted his team was intimidated when they dropped the title game to Stepinac last year. This time, the Firebirds are playing their best ball and facing a team that they lost to by one point in overtime Oct. 2.

“Go to any coach in the country and say, ‘Coach, if you’re 0-5 and you end up winning five or six games at the end of the year and getting what a league will give you as a second-level championship, would you be happy with that? Would you think that’s a success?’” Hanifan said. “I think most guys would say yes. We could have easily bagged on any of the games between here and there and we didn’t.”

Game of the Week: St. A's 14, Iona 10

November, 12, 2011
11/12/11
11:20
PM ET
This was supposed to be the year that St. Anthony’s fell. The Friars once again entered the playoffs undefeated this season, but with so many of their victories being close games it seemed like they were finally ready to fall.

It turns out they just like winning close games.

“It's much better than blowing any teams out,” St. Anthony’s quarterback Greg Galligan of his preference to play in close games. “I love it, it's the greatest feeling ever.”

The St. Anthony’s Friars (9-0) beat the Iona Prep Gaels (6-4) in the semifinals of the Catholic High School Football League “AAA” division finals in yet another close game, 14-10, at home Saturday night.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Neither sides generated much offense in the first half of the game. It wasn’t until the second half when Friar’s quarterback Galligan settled down that anyone started getting any offense at all.

“He tried to do too much in the beginning,” St. Anthony's coach Rich Reichert said of Galligan. “It's his third start, I think you have to be patient, but it's hard to be patient in playoff football.”

Iona Prep actually struck first, picking up a field goal early in the second half, but with Galligan looking looser and more self assured it didn’t take long for St. Anthony’s to answer back. Galligan threw a 32-yard pass to running back Maston Ellerbe to set up a one-yard touchdown run by Ellerbe that put the Friars up 7-3.

About midway through the fourth quarter Anthony Anderson added a touchdown that made it 14-3, but the Gaels wouldn’t go down quietly. They quickly scored their first touchdown about a minute later on a three-yard run from Shaquille Townsend that made it 14-10. Unfortunately for the Gaels, that was the last of their offense.

TURNING POINT: Iona Prep certainly had an opportunity to add more points. After the Gaels scored their first touchdown they got St. Anthony’s to go three-and-out. With just about two minutes to go in the game, Justin Combs finally had the offense moving and it looked like they would have a good chance to take the lead.

The Gaels had the ball, momentum, and a first down at the St. Anthony’s 40-yard-line. However a screen pass from Combs to Austin Jones lead to a fumble that was recovered by Pat McHugh at 33-yard-line and the Gael’s offense was stalled.

PLAYER OF THE GAME:
The Friars offense really wasn’t impressive Saturday night, but luckily they have a very strong defense to back them up. It wasn’t even one single player that stood out either, it was an entire team effort.

McHugh’s fumble recovery was the single biggest play of the game, but sacks by Bryan Rhodes and Harry Passante were also impressive.

“They were unbelievable,” Galligan said of his defense. “Every week they come up with big plays. They really are unbelievable. They are the best defense in the league, the best in the state.”

BIAGGI HOBBLED: Iona Prep’s Mario Biaggi sprained his ankle last week against Chaminade. He didn’t start this game, but he came in briefly in the second quarter. That didn’t last long though as he clearly was having trouble getting around and came out after just one drive.

STAR WATER BOY:
The Gaels had a rather famous water boy. Combs’ father, rap mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs served as the teams water boy during the game. He was often giving his son encouragement and did a very good job helping out the team during breaks. After the game he even lined up with the team to shake the hands of the St. Anthony’s players.

“I didn’t even know he was at the game,” McHugh said. “I only found out when he shook my hand after the game. I didn’t expect that, I think I did a triple-take.”

UP NEXT: The Gael’s season is over, but St. Anthony’s heads to the finals next week to take on the surprising Stepinac Crusaders.

Bishop Ford wins CHSFL Class "A" title

November, 12, 2011
11/12/11
10:51
PM ET
Now that's a classic title game.

No. 2 Bishop Ford scored a touchdown with six seconds left to win the CHSFL Class "A" title as it defeated No. 1 St. Francis Prep 22-18 on Saturday night at Mitchel Field in Uniondale. The Falcons (5-5) overcame a 12-0 deficit in their win over the Terriers (5-5).

"Our kids don't quit and they just kept on playing," Bishop Ford coach Jim Esposito said. "If you keep on playing, good things can happen and that's what they did. They were fortunate to make a couple of plays at the end of the game to win the game."

Trailing 18-14 with about 10 seconds remaining, Bishop Ford faced a fourth-and-10 at the 11-yard line. Quarterback Xaviah Mattocks hit tight end Rodney Gonzales in the back of the endzone for the touchdown. The Falcons converted the two-point conversion to make the final score and win their first Class "A" title since 2004. It was their first Class "A" title game appearance since falling to Cardinal Hayes in 2005.

"It was like a dream come true for the kids, they really worked hard," Esposito said.

Bishop Ford fell behind 12-0 early in the third quarter before mounting a comeback. Two touchdown runs by running back Devon Mitchell gave the Falcons a 14-12 lead with about eight minutes to go. St. Francis Prep retook the lead and was forced to punt the ball with about 40 seconds left.

While the Falcons initially returned the punt for a touchdown, a holding call nullified the score and they instead took over at St. Francis Prep's 45-yard line. After a 34-yard pass, the Falcons had their opportunity to take the lead. After killing clock on the first play, the Falcons had three plays to try to win the game and finally did on the last play.

Bishop Ford avenged a 21-12 loss over St. Francis Prep in the final week of the regular season.

"It's an honor to play against St. Francis Prep and Coach (Vince) O'Connor, who is one of my idols. I've known him for a long time and he's always been great and he's a gentleman and his kids are just the nicest kids in the world," Esposito said. "It's an honor to be on the field against him and his guys. It was just a great game and their kids played really hard and we just had the ball last and were fortunate to score at the end and get a win."

Rapid Reaction: Stepinac 27, Xaverian 21 (OT)

November, 12, 2011
11/12/11
6:33
PM ET
In the span of a minute, silence turned into sheer jubilation and excitement for the Archbishop Stepinac football team.

After missing its extra point in the first overtime of Saturday's CHSFL semifinal against Xaverian, Stepinac forced and recovered a fumble at the two-yard line to secure a 27-21 victory Saturday in White Plains.

The win put Stepinac in the "AAA" title game for the first time in school history and left some players talking about it as the best game that they have ever played in.

"This is the best way to do it," quarterback Mark White said of the finish. "I've waited my whole life for this moment right here. I wish I could have this moment for life right now."

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: No. 2 Stepinac (8-2) led 21-7 late in the third quarter and outplayed Xaverian for most of the game but kept making offensive mistakes and No. 3 Xaverian (7-3) eventually tied the game with 7:52 left.

Stepinac lost four fumbles, tossed an interception, missed an extra point and a field goal and also had a high snap on a field goal attempt that led to sack. Those errors almost canceled out a great defensive effort by the Crusaders.

In overtime, Stepinac started with the ball and White (17 rushes for 114 yards) rushed in from seven yards out for his second touchdown of the game. Xaverian blocked the extra point, shocking the Stepinac sideline.

On Xaverian's first play of overtime, quarterback Isaiah Kearney (224 total yards, three touchdowns) ran up the middle for eight yards before Stepinac defensive end Austin Taps came over the top and ripped the ball from Kearney's hands. Teammate Shane Hogan hopped on the ball to seal the win and Stepinac's players rushed the field to celebrate.

"The one thing going through my mind was please don't let this slip through my hands, please don't," Hogan said.

He added: "Words can't describe how that felt."

TURNING POINT: Facing a fourth down at Stepinac's 43-yard line with 20 seconds left and the game tied at 21-21, Kearney hurled a bomb down the field toward receiver Tu Shaun Plummer, who had a step on the Stepinac defensive back. The ball had too much air under it and Plummer barely got his fingertips on it, bobbling it for a second before it fell incomplete.

Had Plummer hauled in the ball, which would have been a hard catch, his team would have been in field goal range with 12.5 seconds left.

"We saw two safeties high with about 18 seconds left and we said, 'Oh my God, this is it' and we have a play that defeats that coverage," Xaverian coach Joe DeSiena said. "We saw him come open and the wind kind of took the ball a little bit and it went right off his finger tips. I haven't seen too many balls got that guy's way that don't come down in his hands."

PLAYER OF THE GAME: White is part of a two-quarterback system but he was the one mostly under center Saturday. While he lost a fumble and saw a high snap go off his fingertips and lead to another turnover, he was getting nice chunks of yards each time he ran. His first score gave Stepinac a 14-7 lead in the third.

"I came out nervous in the first half and my team picked me up in the locker room and the team said everything they needed to say to me and I performed," White said. "I put the team on my back. The coaches called great plays and the line did everything they could and so did the defense. I'm just happy right now."

UP NEXT: Stepinac will meet the winner of the Iona Prep vs. St. Anthony's semifinal game in the "AAA" title game next week. Xaverian's season is over.

"It's unbelievable," Hogan said. "Nobody believed we were going to make it this far except for the coaches and us and we're still not done. We still have one game to go."

Game of the week: St. Anthony's 39, Fordham Prep 14

November, 12, 2010
11/12/10
10:30
PM ET
St. Anthony's 39, Fordham Prep 14

No. 1 St. Anthony’s beat No. 4 Fordham Prep at home Friday night, 39-14, in the CHSFL AAA semifinal. It was St. Anthony’s head coach Rich Reichert’s 200th victory in his 24 years as head coach at St. Anthony’s. It’s also his 12th straight trip to the championship final.

How the game was won: Fordham Prep simply couldn’t stop the Friars. St. Anthony’s scored on its first three drives, the second of which came when quarterback Charlie Raffa scrambled right and found running back Dariyan Riley for a 61-yard catch and run that made the score 14-7. Raffa finished with 161 passing yards, completing six of eight passes on the night.

St. Anthony’s barely allowed the Rams to run the football. Fordham Prep totaled 18 yards on the ground and when forced to throw, quarterback Max Kinder was intercepted three times.

Turning point: Fordham Prep tied the scored at 7 with 1:45 left in the first, but on St. Anthony’s first play on the ensuing drive, Raffa hit Riley for the 61-yard score. That play snatched any momentum the Rams were building. On the Friars next drive, running back Brian Sherlock took a pitch from Raffa on an option play and went for 34-yard touchdown that gave St. Anthony’s a 20-7 lead.

Sherlock later turned a fourth-and-four into a 20-yard sprint on the same option play that culminated in an 11-yard touchdown catch for Brian Kensil that made the score 26-7.

Stars of the game: Everyone took part in the rout. Raffa threw for two touchdowns, both to Kensil, who caught four passes for 92 yards. Sherlock thrived in the option, totaling 84 yards on six carries, including rushes of 21, 34 and 20 yards.

“They really couldn’t stop that option play,” Raffa said.

Biggest surprise: That Fordham Prep fans were bold enough to echo chants of “Over-rated” in reference to the Friars before the game, even though Fordham Prep hadn’t played any of the three teams seeded ahead of them in the regular season.

Next week’s game: The Friars (10-0) will play the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 3 Holy Trinity and No. 2 Iona Prep in the championship final.

Quote of the game: “Just look at this place,” Fordham Prep head coach Pete Gorynski said. “I told my kids that they were playing the College of St. Anthony’s today.”

CHSFL Playoffs Preview

November, 3, 2010
11/03/10
11:41
AM ET
After eight weeks of play, the Catholic High Schools playoffs start this weekend. There are plenty of exciting games on tap for this weekend. Let’s take a look at each of the divisional matchups.

AAA PLAYOFFS

SCHEDULE

No. 8 St. Joseph by-the-Sea at No. 1 St. Anthony’s (Saturday, 7 p.m.)

No. 7 Holy Cross at No. 2 Iona Prep (Sunday, 1 p.m.)

No. 6 Mount Saint Michael at No. 3 Holy Trinity (Sunday, 1 p.m.)

No. 5 Xaverian at No. 5 Fordham Prep (Saturday, 7 p.m.)

BEST GAME: No. 7 Holy Cross vs. No. 2 Iona Prep

These two teams met earlier this season on Oct. 3 at Holy Cross and Iona Prep won in a rout, 38-13. While Holy Cross was picked to finish fourth, it slumped to a 3-5 record and finished sixth in the league. Iona Prep, meanwhile, finished second with a 6-2 mark, but is coming off a loss in its final game to St. Anthony’s.

In that game against St. Anthony’s, Iona Prep struggled in pass coverage. Which is why this game will be intriguing. Holy Cross has arguable the best receiver in the league in Stanford-bound Devon Cajuste. He’s a tall, strong receiver that can go up and get the ball. If he can catch close to 10 balls in the game, he can help Holy Cross keep it close on the road.

UPSET ALERT: No. 5 Xaverian vs. No. 4 Fordham Prep

This isn’t a knock on Fordham Prep. The Rams finished the season 8-0, only one of three teams in the league to not lose, Yet, the one knock on Fordham Prep has been its schedule this year. The Rams avoided St. Anthony’s, Iona Prep and Holy Trinity this season. You wonder if at some point the lack of competition will catch up to Fordham Prep.

Xaverian, meanwhile, has faced the best in the league. It’s losses this season came to St. Anthony’s, Iona Prep, Holy Trinity and Fordham Prep, which happen to be the top four seeds in the league. Clippers coach Joe DeSiena said in the past that he has the fastest team in the league, which could provide problems come playoff time.

While Fordham Prep did win the season matchup on Sept. 26, 27-17, this game could down to the final minute.

EHALT’S PICKS: I’m going all vanilla with the picks here. St. Anthony’s, Iona Prep, Holy Trinity and Fordham Prep all advance.

AA PLAYOFFS

No. 8 Cardinal Hayes at No. 1 Monsignor Farrell (Saturday, 6 p.m.)

No. 7 Christ the King at No. 2 Kellenberg (Saturday, 7 p.m.)

No. 6 Xavier at No. 3 Chaminade (Sunday, 1 p.m.)

No. 5 Archbishop Stepinac at No. 4 St. Francis Prep (Sunday, 1 p.m.)

BEST MATCHUP: No. 5 Archbishop Stepinac vs. No. 4 St. Francis Prep

We can call this matchup Part II because it’s a rematch of last year’s AA quarterfinal game between the two schools. In that contest, Stepinac came into the game 7-0 in the league, 8-0 overall, and lost in the first round to St. Francis Prep, the lowest ranked team in the AAA-AA Division.

This year, Stepinac again enters at 8-0 with a 7-0 league record. St. Francis Prep, meanwhile, is 0-8 overall. You can be sure that Stepinac wants to get revenge against St. Francis Prep for ruining its season last year, while the Terriers would like to get in the win column.

UPSET ALERT: No. 6 Xavier vs. No. 3 Chaminade

The home team, Chaminade, comes into the game without a win in its eight games and has scored more than 20 points in just one of its past five games. The Flyers never seemed to get over that opening week loss to Kellenberg, the first time they ever lost to Kellenberg.

Xavier, meanwhile, finished second in the AA-A division with its win over Christ the King in the season finale. Xavier has won five of its past six games since losing its first two games of the season. The Knights seem to be playing their best ball at the right part of the season

Let’s see if Xavier can pull out the win on the road against a former league powerhouse.

EHALT’S PICKS: I see more upsets happening here. Farrell and Kellenberg will win as the favorites, but Stepinac and Xavier will emerge in upsets.

A Playoffs

No. 4 Cardinal Spellman @ No. 1 St. John the Baptist (Sunday, 1 p.m.)

No. 3 Bishop Ford @ No. 2 St. Peter’s

Cardinal Spellman will be looking to win its first game of the season when it takes on St. John the Baptist. St. John the Baptist just missed the cutoff for the AA playoffs with a 3-4 league mark (3-5 overall) and won the season matchup, 25-20.

St. Peter’s finished 3-4 in the league, while Bishop Ford was 1-6 in league play. Bishop Ford’s lone win came against Cardinal Spellman. In the two team’s meeting on Sept. 18, St. Peter’s pulled out the road win, 13-6.

EHALT'S PICKS: Let’s go with chalk here. Final of St. John the Baptist vs. St. Peter’s next week in the final.

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