Zane Wasp's field goal gives Chaminade first CHSFL title since 1998

Chaminade kicker Zane Wasp, center, celebrates with teammates

Chaminade kicker Zane Wasp, center, celebrates with teammates after their 17-16 win over St. Anthony's in the NYCHSFL varsity football Class AAA championship game at Mitchel Athletic Complex. (Dec. 1, 2012) (Credit: James Escher)

A season that will go down in the books came down to a field goal.

Chaminade's Zane Wasp lined up from 33 yards with 52 seconds left. The Flyers trailed by two points to rival St. Anthony's, which it had not defeated in the previous 18 meetings.

Wasp's kick was true, and a late defensive stand gave Chaminade its first CHSFL championship since 1998. It was as good a high school football game as you'll ever see, pitting two prominent programs and rivals on a cold blustery day. It was the ultimate way for Chaminade to punctuate a 10-1 campaign.

"When you're able to preach team to a bunch of young men like this and they get it and grasp it and run with it and believe in it, there's no better feeling," Chaminade coach Stephen Boyd said after the championship game.

It took everything the Flyers had to knock off a St. Anthony's program that had won three straight CHSFL championships and 10 of the previous 11.

"You have to give St. Anthony's credit, that's an outstanding football team and an outstanding football program," Boyd said.

Quarterback Sean Cerrone put up a valiant effort in the victory, with 145 yards on 18 carries -- including a 38-yard touchdown run early in the game -- and helped convert critical third downs and keep the Chaminade offense rolling.

"I just try to do what I can to help my team win, whatever I can do to try and make a play," Cerrone said. "If the pass isn't there, I just try to run the ball and get as many yards as possible."

The strong ground effort came just one week after a dominant aerial attack that led the Flyers to a 41-16 victory over Iona Prep in the semifinals. Cerrone threw for 204 yards and four touchdowns, hooking up on three of them with star wide receiver Tom Zenker, who caught six passes for 151 yards and three of those touchdowns.

That was on the back of a dominant defensive effort in the quarterfinals when Chaminade beat Holy Cross, 21-0.

The only team that was able to defeat the Flyers in 2012 was the same St. Anthony's team it knocked off in the final. And of course, that game came right down to the wire, with the Flyers failing to punch in a two-point conversion with less than two minutes remaining that would have given Chaminade a one-point lead. Instead, the Flyers fell, 24-23.

It seemed fitting that both teams met for a second time, with a championship at stake and that it was a close, hard-fought battle.

"St. Anthony's makes everybody else around them play up to them," Boyd said. "I have nothing but respect for them -- they're a great team and a great program but tonight was our night."

And 2012 was Chaminade's season.

Said Boyd: "I knew with Zane's leg, if we could stop them, we'd have a shot to win the game and we did just that. We made a heck of a fourth-and-short stand to get the ball back and we protected the football and put it in the middle of the field and Zane made a great kick.

"Our defense, the last four or five weeks, has really gotten better every week and defense wins championships. Their faith is their first priority and then there's academics and athletics and I've never seen a bunch of young people be able to balance that the way these young men do. I learned from them -- coaching these kids, it makes me a better person.

"I hope this is a springboard into their future and what they're going to do later in life. It's all about commitment, hard work, consistency and team cohesion and it's about really laying it on the line for the next guy."

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