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.”