Chaminade's defense takes CHSFL title from St. Anthony's
Gregg SarraGregg Sarra
Gregg Sarra is Newsday's high school sports columnist and writer.
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So here is another testament to why defense wins championships.
Chaminade coach Stephen Boyd was left shaking his head in disbelief as his Flyers, all of the momentum on their side, were stymied on a two-point conversion run as St. Anthony's held on for a 24-23 win Sept. 28.
The Flyers were crushed in the aftermath of a memorable game in Mineola that left both sides anticipating a rematch in the CHSFL championship.
Boyd, resolute in his decision to go for two points and the win, never wavered in the wake of criticism. Instead, the classy Boyd complimented his team on a great effort and used the moment as a great motivator for revenge.
St. Anthony's coach Rich Reichert credited the Flyers' fourth-year coach with a brilliant, gutsy decision.
The two met again Saturday in the CHSFL title game, and St. Anthony's had captured 10 of the previous 11 CHSFL titles, including three straight.
This game also came down to a critical decision. Only this time, it would be by Reichert, the winningest coach in Suffolk history with 219 victories.
With St. Anthony's up 16-14 and facing fourth-and-inches at its 28 with 2:03 left, the Friars could close out Chaminade with a first down and earn a fourth straight crown. Just as Boyd chose to go for two and the win, Reichert chose not to punt and tried to seal a victory.
This time, it was the Chaminade defense that rose to the challenge and stopped fullback Anthony Anderson short of the first down. The enormous stop set up a Zane Wasp 33-yard field goal as the Flyers ended St. Anthony's reign with a 17-16 win for the ages.
Chaminade did what no Long Island team had done in the playoffs since 1991: beat St. Anthony's. It was the Flyers' first title since 1998 and broke an 18-game losing streak against the Friars. They'll be talking about this one for a long time.
Two other programs returned to the pinnacle this weekend.
It was a season for redemption at Lawrence, where the Golden Tornadoes were motivated by last year's 78-61 loss to Sayville in the Class III final.
Joe Capobianco threw for an L.I.-record 38 touchdowns and Eddie Robinson caught a record 19 as the Golden Tornadoes scored a record 581 points.
But the 21-20 Class III title win over Sayville came on a defensive play. Robinson returned an interception 30 yards for the winning score.
Then there's Tom Flatley. The Garden City coach is not very good with prognostication. He graduated 20 of 22 starters and thought a 4-4 record would be a success.
And he wasn't being coy. But Flatley and his outstanding staff molded a dynamite young core with an unflappable quarterback in junior Brett Stewart. It led to a 29-16 win over Riverhead for the Class II crown.
And the same can be said for Floyd and Paul Longo, who led the Colonials to a second straight Class I title behind star quarterback A.J. Otranto.