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Matt Sluka leads Kellenberg past Chaminade

Matthew Sluka #10 runs for a long gain

Matthew Sluka #10 runs for a long gain during an NSCHSAA varsity football game against host Chaminade High School in Mineola on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Credit: James Escher

When this season’s CHSFL schedule was revealed, the players from Chaminade and Kellenberg all circled October 14. The meeting meant nothing to either’s title hopes — because they play in different classes — but it meant everything for area bragging rights.

“This is the chance to beat the kid who lives two doors down from you and nothing’s better than that,” Kellenberg quarterback Matt Sluka explained. Added running back Jordan Delucia: “[They are] our friends and neighbors — it’s a game we’re going to talk about all our lives.”

Sluka, Delucia and the rest of their Firebirds teammates will be dominating those conversations in that case. In a game marked by passionate play from both teams, Kellenberg was the dominant force in a 42-14 triumph before a near capacity crowd at the Flyers’ Gold Star Stadium.

Kellenberg coach Kevin Hanifan, who not only drives this bus from the sideline but also literally from behind the wheel to road games, said this was just the third time the Firebirds have defeated Chaminade.

Sluka carried 15 times for 281 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 7 and 47 yards, and he passed for 69 more yards. Delucia rushed 18 times for 164 yards and trio of scores on runs of 6, 2 and 67 yards. Linebacker Daniel Wilson had three tackles for a loss to headline a defense that allowed only 102 yards from scrimmage and no points in the first three quarters.

Kellenberg (6-0) has won 17 straight. Delucia has scored three touchdowns in three straight games.

“Every week is a new task for us, but this one felt a little more personal,” Sluka said. “It may not have meant anything in the standings but it’s been all the talk in both schools.”

Sluka had eight carries of 19 yards or more and one that went for 58 before he was pulled down from behind. Almost all of them were on the Firebirds’ “trap right” play that keys on blocks by senior linemen Thomas Cippolla and Kristopher LaForscia and gives Sluka a broad swath of daylight.

“When they understand who they are going against and execute the play, it’s hard to stop,” Sluka said. “Those guys had a good day.”

Kellenberg totaled 486 rushing yards, including Frankie Roder’s five carries for 21 yards and a touchdown. Sluka has over 700 total yards rushing and nine scores to go with more than 700 yards passing and six scores.

“Matt Sluka is one of the best — if not the best — football player on Long Island,” Hanifan said. “I don’t know how his numbers will add up against other players because we almost never need him in the fourth quarter. But to know what I say is true, all you had to do was watch him today.”

Brandon Janosko rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown for Chaminade (2-4).

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