Ryan Walsh waited for his chance to be Chaminade’s starting quarterback.
“It was hard,” said the senior, who had taken only 27 varsity snaps before this year. “But I worked every day over the winter to be ready for this season.”
So when the Kellenberg defense decided to key on the Flyers’ talented running back, Mario Fischetti Jr., in Saturday’s CHSFL AA-1 championship game, Walsh was asked to help carry the Chaminade offense.
And carry it he did.
Walsh was 17-for-20 passing for 250 yards and two touchdowns — both to receiver Donovan Wood — as No. 1 Chaminade defeated two-time defending champ Kellenberg, 29-12, at Mitchel Athletic Complex Saturday night.
“They concentrated so much on Mario, so we asked Ryan to do something we haven’t done a lot, and that’s to throw the ball,” Chaminade coach Kevin Dolan said. “We had a lot of confidence in him, and he was tremendous.”
Wood had a great game, too, catching six passes for 140 yards en route to being named Offensive MVP of the game. His second TD, a 16-yarder, was on a fade route. He added the extra point to give Chaminade a 16-12 lead with 5:37 left in the third quarter.
After a Kellenberg drive stalled, Fischetti scooted 51 yards for a touchdown at the 2:21 mark as the Flyers pushed the advantage to 23-12. Later, the scatback added a seven-yard scoring run with 5:33 left in the game for Chaminade (8-2), which hadn’t won a CHSFL AA crown since 2014.
Jordan DeLucia had 110 yards of offense on 16 touches for No. 2 Kellenberg (6-4) which was attempting to become the first program to win three straight AA titles.
Fittingly, Chaminade’s Robert Booth — who had eight tackles, including four for a loss en route to Defensive MVP honors — made a stop on a fourth-and-6 with 2:38 to go and kept Kellenberg a yard short of a first down.
“This means so much to all of us,” said the 6-3, 220-pound Booth, who will attend Navy and play lacrosse. “We set out to do this after last season.”
Walsh had his own thoughts after last season. He became sentimental as he stared at the scoreboard in the far end zone thinking back to his time mostly on the Chaminade sideline the past couple of years.
“I just wanted to get my shot,” Walsh said with a smile. “I’m glad I waited.”
So was Chaminade.