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Chaminade finally gets the best of St. Anthony's

Chaminade players celebrate after their 17-16 win over

Chaminade players celebrate 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

Zane Wasp had prepared for this moment every single day at the end of practice.

Before finishing each practice, Wasp lines up for one final kick. "Every time we get out there, I picture in my head that this is the game-winner against St. Anthony's," Wasp said. "This has been my dream for the past four years."

Wasp got to live out that dream Saturday at Mitchel Athletic Complex.

Trailing by two points, the senior lined up a 33-yard field-goal attempt with 52 seconds remaining. And just like in practice, Wasp drilled the ball through the uprights, giving Chaminade (10-1) the last three points in a 17-16 CHSFL AAA championship game victory over St. Anthony's (8-3).

Chaminade came into the game having lost 18 straight to St. Anthony's. It was also the first league title for the Flyers since 1998 and first championship game appearance since 2002. St. Anthony's had won the three previous championships and 10 of the last 11.

Things looked bleak for Chaminade when quarterback Sean Cerrone was tackled for a safety early in the fourth quarter to give St. Anthony's a 16-14 lead.

It was one of the few bad plays on the day for Cerrone, who carried the offense on his back despite a subpar passing game. He ran 18 times for 145 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown run on Chaminade's first drive.

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

Neither team moved the ball much in the first half. After both scored on opening drives, Chaminade's Michael Walsh caught an 11-yard TD pass to give the Flyers a 14-7 lead at the half. But bruising back Anthony Anderson led St. Anthony's to the tying score to open the second half. He caught a pass for 10 yards and rushed for 52 more, including a 19-yard TD run.

So it came as no surprise when the Friars -- up by two points and milking the clock late in the fourth quarter in their own end -- turned to Anderson to deliver the final blow.

St. Anthony's faced third-and-1 on its own 28-yard line with just over two minutes remaining. Chaminade, down to its last timeout, knew its dreams would be dashed if it couldn't stop Anderson from gaining 3 feet.

Anderson plunged into the line, coming up inches short of a first down. After Chaminade used its final timeout, St. Anthony's lined up and ran the ball. And again the Flyers' defense responded. Brian Dunne brought down Anderson and kept Chaminade's championship hopes alive. From there, the Flyers moved into position to give Wasp his shot at the winning field goal.

Despite a final drive by St. Anthony's that took the Friars to Chaminade's 25-yard line, the Flyers' defense held strong again. Dan Fowler was able to get a hand on a last-second 42-yard field-goal attempt to secure the victory.

"I think it makes it special for anybody to beat St. Anthony's because they're the team that dominated the past decade," Chaminade coach Stephen Boyd said. "No matter who you are, if you can beat them, it's a great thing."

It was an instant classic that will go down in Chaminade lore.

"Oh my god, it's surreal," Dunne said. "Ever since freshman year, we've been working our butts off every day. We've lost close games to them every time and to just come together at the end is surreal."

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