Newsday goes deep with Long Island high school football.
Anderson will be featured Friar
It happened early in Wednesday morning’s team drills on the turf at St. Anthony’s. Running the Friars’ vaunted triple-option, quarterback Greg Galligan faked to fullback Anthony Anderson, half the defense bit on the play-action, and Galligan sprinted to the outside and raced, untouched, for a touchdown.
“Did you see that,” an enthusiastic St. Anthony’s coach Rich Reichert asked a reporter during the late morning break.
It was hard to miss. Anderson, who rushed for 804 yards as a junior, should exceed that total this season, as the Friars look to extend their 29-game winning streak and add another CHSFL title. They’ve won 10 of the past 11 Catholic league football crowns.
“Last year, I got my time in, but this year I feel like I can be a serious threat every time I touch the ball,” said Anderson, who said his first choice for college is the University of Massachusetts. “If I don’t touch it, Greg will make a good fake and open it up for others.”
Galligan, a junior who was third on the depth chart last season but wound up the starter, said Anderson makes his job a lot easier. “It’s one of our standard plays in the triple-option,” Galligan said. “If I make my read and the line blocks, I give it to Anthony and he’s gone. If I fake it, I wind up in the slot and it’s 2-on-1 on the linebacker. You’ve got to like those numbers.”
Anderson brings a combination of skills to the position. He’s powerful enough to pound it inside, fast enough to get to the corner and has the hands to be a receiving threat downfield. During at summer camp at UMass, he was used at fullback, tailback and slot receiver.
“We’re expecting a lot from him,” said Reichert, who enters the season tied with Bellport’s Joe Cipp Jr. at 211 victories, the most in Suffolk history. “This year, he’s gotten bigger, faster and stronger. He’s our featured back. In this offense, once you establish the fullback, everything else goes.”
Everything has gone well for St. Anthony’s lately. They have had two consecutive undefeated seasons and have won three straight CHSFL titles. However, the 29-game winning streak could be in jeopardy in the season opener against nationally ranked New Jersey powerhouse Bergen Catholic on Sept. 7 at St. Anthony’s.
“I know we can play with them, but it’s so early. Will we be at our best by the opener?” Reichert wondered. “But that’s why we booked the game – so the kids are focused right from the start and don’t take the streak for granted.”
No chance of that. “We definitely don’t want to be the team to lose,” Anderson said in acknowledgement of the longest winning streak in school history.
The opener will attract a big crowd. Not only has the streak fueled interest among St. Anthony’s students and alumni, but it has prompted Bergen Catholic to bring a large following as well. Portable bleachers will be added on the visitors’ side of the field for the game. “I’ve heard Bergen Catholic is calling it a school function and making it mandatory for everyone to attend,” Galligan said. “I’m looking forward to that game. I love the pressure.”