Here’s a pretty good way to guarantee a win — don’t let the other team score. Here’s one even better — don’t let the other team touch the football. That’s practically what the St. Anthony’s football team did during the second quarter of their 35-7 victory over Iona Prep in a CHSFL AAA semifinal Friday night at St. Anthony’s High School.
Thanks to three St. Anthony’s kickoff recoveries, the Friars limited Iona Prep to one offensive play in the second quarter. That play? An Iona Prep fumble with 5:25 left before the half.
St. Anthony’s (9-1) will face the winner of Saturday’s Cardinal Hayes-Archbishop Stepinac game in the CHSFL AAA championship game, scheduled for Nov. 18 at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale.
Sean Bryan scored three rushing touchdowns for St. Anthony’s in a game in which they dominated every facet.
“It feels amazing,” he said. “All those spring, summer, and late-night practices paid off and led us to this win.”
The Friars turned all that second quarter time of possession, nearly 12 minutes worth, into three rushing touchdowns. Bryan scored on a 2-yard run with 8:37 left to break a scoreless tie. The rush was set up by a 67-yard, offense-awakening scamper by quarterback Greg Campisi.
Nearly two minutes later, Campisi’s 1-yard touchdown run capped an 8-play, 66-yard drive. St. Anthony’s went to halftime with a 21-0 lead after a 1-yard TD run by Bryan off left tackle.
Continuing the trend, St. Anthony’s opened the third quarter with the ball and — thanks to three Iona Prep personal fouls that totaled 40 yards — scored easily. Bryan had his third touchdown on an 8-yard rush with 9:30 left in the period that gave the Friars a 27-0 lead.
“I saw the holes nice and hit them 100 percent,” he said. “I wasn’t going out there tired. My offensive line did a great job blocking. Without them, none of this would be happening right now.”
Makhai Murphy scooped up an Iona Prep fumble with 8:57 left in the third quarter and rumbled 45 yards for a touchdown and a 34-0 lead. Murphy also intercepted Iona Prep quarterback Derek Robertson with 3:22 left in the third.
All this scoring was done under clear, but frigid skies. With temperatures in the high 20s at kickoff, players might have struggled to keep warm, but they had little trouble scoring.
“We didn’t even think about it,” Bryan said of the conditions. “We just played through it. We all came prepared and kept running out there.”
Next week, it’s a chance at a championship for the Friars. No doubt, they hope it’s a little bit warmer. They’re also hoping they stay hot . . . and keep the ball in their hands.