The junior halfback duo of Jordan Gowins and Naim Jones has been unstoppable this season. The two were at it again Saturday in the CHSFL championship game. Jones scored three touchdowns and Gowins added a 47-yard scoring run and 183 yards rushing as St. Anthony's beat Chaminade, 35-0, to claim the CHSFL Class AAA football title before a crowd of more than 6,000 at the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Hempstead.
It was St. Anthony's 11th CHSFL championship in the past 13 years. The Friars (11-1) unseated Chaminade (10-2) which captured its first crown since 1998 in a stunning one-point win over St. Anthony's in 2012.
"Call it a temporary thing for us not being on top," said Gowins, who finished the season with 2,003 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns. "Chaminade was no match for our line. Our guys came out, especially in the second half, and just created huge lanes to run."
The first half was loaded with big plays for both teams. Chaminade defensive lineman Ted Capsis halted a Friars drive at the Flyers 9-yard line when he lowered the boom on Gowins for no gain on a fourth-and-1 play.
On the ensuing play, Chaminade halfback Rob Speranza burst through the line and raced for the end zone. Only the pure hustle of defensive back Scott Arens prevented the Flyers from taking an early lead. Arens gave chase and after an 83-yard gallop hauled Speranza down at the St. Anthony's 8.
"That was one of those plays you never forget," St. Anthony's coach Rich Reichert said. "He never gave up and look what happened."
On first-and-goal from the 8, Speranza caught a bubble screen and was on his way into the end zone when the ball was stripped and went out of the end zone for a touchback.
St. Anthony's quarterback Greg Galligan then engineered a six-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. He completed 3 of 3 passes for 51 yards and put his stamp on the march with a 30-yard touchdown run.
Galligan faked Gowins into the line on third-and-1, and went on a naked bootleg around left end to fool the defense for the score. Rob Fuentes added the kick to give St. Anthony's the 7-0 lead with 1:03 left in the first quarter.
"He's improved all season," quarterbacks coach Alex Conlon said. "His timing on when to pull the ball and his reads were beautiful."
Galligan had the Friars on the verge of a two-score lead at the half but Capsis stopped Gowins at the goal line on a fourth-and-1 run to end a 13-play drive.
"We made some halftime adjustments," said St. Anthony's senior center Steven Fletcher, who is Princeton-bound. "We block- ed down on the tackles and got our guys out on the edge and it worked big time."
Gowins ripped off a 47-yard touchdown run on the first play of the third quarter and the Friars extended the lead to 14-0.
And from that point the Friars turned a competitive game into a rout with a 21-point third quarter and a 28-0 lead. Galligan capped a 43-yard drive with a 5-yard screen pass to Jones for the score and the 21-0 lead with 8:24 left. Galligan completed 13 of 22 passes for 142 yards.
"We were just relentless," Gowins said.
St. Anthony's widened the lead with a 13-play, 57-yard scoring march that took 6:01. The drive was highlighted by three fourth-down conversion runs before Jones took it in from three yards out for a 28-0 lead. Jones would add a 57-yard scoring run for the final margin as the Friars totaled 485 yards of offense. "The line is the key to everything," Gowins said. "We go with them."