It’s been a while since St. Anthony’s had a signature victory. So when the Friars ended Stepinac’s 28-game CHSFL winning streak Friday, there was a Hancock imprint all over it, of course.
Andrew Hancock made a diving save on a rolling punt to down it at the 1-yard line, then he caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from fast-improving sophomore quarterback Greg Campisi three minutes later as host St. Anthony’s scored 17 points in the fourth quarter in a 38-23 victory over two-time defending CHSFL champion Stepinac.
“We’re a work in progress,” Friars coach Rich Reichert said.
There was plenty of progress and lots of players who shared the workload as St. Anthony’s improved to 3-2 overall, 2-0 in CHSFL play. Stepinac is 4-1, 2-1.
Campisi came out firing, completing 3 of 3 passes on the opening drive, finishing it with a 13-yard TD pass to Heron Maurisseau-O’Neal. It took the Friars exactly one minute to cover 70 yards and grab the lead.
Campisi completed 20 of 28 passes for 275 yards and four touchdowns, spreading the ball around. Tyler Palminteri was his favorite target, catching nine for 64 yards. Maurisseau-O’Neal grabbed four for 69 yards and Terrence Mooney caught a 69-yard touchdown pass.
Most of Palminteri’s yards came on one play, a 31-yard TD for a 21-16 third-quarter lead.
Hancock’s special-teams play forced Stepinac quarterback Mike Nicosia to throw from deep in Crusader territory. After one first down, Nicosia’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Steven Beseler, the third turnover for St. Anthony’s, at the Stepinac 38. Five plays later, Hancock (three catches, 50 yards) caught his TD pass.
But Nicosia hit Brandon Gasparre for a 30-yard score that capped a four-play, 79-yard drive. The Crusaders had crept to within 28-23 with 6:44 left.
St. Anthony’s needed at least one more big play, and it came from an unlikely source. Sean Bryan took a handoff, headed up the middle and made a cut that sprung him for a dazzling 64-yard touchdown and a 35-23 lead with 5:42 left.
On the next possession, the Friars’ defense stepped up to put down Stepinac on back-to-back sacks by Grayson Cherubino and Daniel Lord. The Friars had four sacks. Tyler LoCicero, who was 5-for-5 on extra points, drilled a 35-yard field goal for the final points on a night of exclamation points for St. Anthony’s.