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Campisi leads St. Anthony’s to comfortable win

Gregory Campisi, St. Anthony's quarterback, throws a pass

Gregory Campisi, St. Anthony's quarterback, throws a pass against Monsignor Farrell on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Credit: James Escher

The one thing St. Anthony’s quarterback Greg Campisi knew he absolutely could not do was take a sack. Not with his team at Monsignor Farrell’s 8-yard line in the final minute of the first half.

But Campisi, backpedaling on a called screen pass, was unable to elude a hard rush up the middle by linebacker Jake Valensi and absorbed a 17-yard loss. He was shaken but not deterred. On the next play, Campisi tempted the football gods by again dropping back to pass, but this time he sidestepped two blitzers, raced up the middle and cut to the outside for a 25-yard touchdown run that capped a dominant first half.

St. Anthony’s rode Campisi’s arm and legs to a 35-13 CHSAA victory over previously unbeaten Monsignor Farrell Friday night to delight a large home crowd in South Huntington.

Campisi completed 20 of 26 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown and carried 13 times for another 75 yards — a total reduced by four sacks — and two touchdowns as the Friars improved to 2-1 in league play and 3-1 overall. Farrell is 3-1.

Campisi’s dash just before halftime provided a 28-0 lead. The 5-11, 175-pounder showed off his speed and shiftiness on the game’s first touchdown, a 37-yard beauty on a quarterback draw.

The Lions received a gift when they recovered a fumbled punt by Makhai Murphy at the Friars’ 18, but Murphy made up for that gaffe by blocking a field goal five plays later. He also made one of St. Anthony’s three fourth-quarter interceptions.

The Friars made it 14-0 when Campisi looked deep, found his receiver covered and alertly dumped a pass off to Sean Bryan who took it 35 yards to the house. Bryan also made a huge play in the fourth quarter after Farrell had cut the deficit to 28-13. He exploded up the middle, stepped through a tackler and accelerated away from the pack for a 72-yard touchdown run. He finished with 102 yards on eight carries.

Julian Chung also was a dual threat for St. Anthony’s. The running back provided a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter with a 1-yard TD run, capping a 53-yard drive kept alive by Campisi’s 16-yard scramble for a first down.

Chung had 38 yards on the ground and was Campisi’s favorite target, catching eight passes for 90 yards. Heron Maurisseau-O’Neal, who recently committed to play football at Connecticut, caught three passes for 46 yards.

But the Friars’ offense bogged down a bit in the second half, mainly because Valensi had three more sacks that disrupted drives.

Farrell’s Michael Regan threw two second-half touchdown passes, the second one a 30-yard beauty to Patrick McSweeney after the Lions recovered a Campisi fumble. But Regan was victimized by the Friars’ pass rush and couldn’t bring his team all the way back. Grayson Cherubino contributed two Friars sacks and Anthony DePaul had one.

With time running out, Regan was forced to throw in the fourth quarter and Murphy, Phil Platania and James Errante secured the Friars’ victory with interceptions.

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