The outcome was simple for St. John the Baptist Friday night.
Win, and the program arrives as a force in the CHSFL.
Strong quarterback play from Kevin Pilewski and Michael Wheat, along with DJ Lisbon’s star power at wide receiver and the physical play on both lines of scrimmage provided exactly what the AA-I Cougars needed to defeat the AAA Chaminade Flyers, 34-7, at West Islip High School.
St. John the Baptist improved to 2-1 and Chaminade fell to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the CHSFL.
“This game was a staple game for us because it showed that we are here,” Wheat said. “…This isn’t a debate, this isn’t an upset. We are the better team, and we are going to have an amazing season.”
“This is probably the biggest win, maybe, in the last 30 years of the school,” coach Philip Alba added.
The St. John the Baptist students flooded the field following the AA-1 Cougars’ upset victory over the AAA Chaminade Flyers. pic.twitter.com/YJJYs6MOwy— Ben Dickson (@bendickson__) September 23, 2023
The game was initially supposed to be played at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Chaminade. But with inclement weather in the forecast and no lights at the Flyers' home field, the game was moved to West Islip. Chaminade was technically the home team Friday night, but St. John the Baptist created an advantageous environment in its hometown.
The Cougars took advantage of a Chaminade missed 30-yard field goal on its first series. They drove 80 yards in nine plays, capped off by a 19-yard touchdown pass from Pilewski to Mikey Conza.
Chaminade tied it at 7 on a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Peter Gerbasi early in the second quarter, but then St. John the Baptist took over.
Wheat connected with Lisbon for a 52-yard score down the left sideline, giving the Cougars a 14-7 halftime lead.
“Me and Mike have great chemistry, every day working since the end of sophomore year, just working constantly,” Lisbon said. "I knew where he was going to put it, and it came there.”
Lisbon doubled the Cougars' lead on the first drive of the third quarter, catching a laser from Pilewski in stride and finishing the run for an 83-yard touchdown reception.
St. John the Baptist forced two fourth-quarter turnovers, including a turnover on downs (finished with back-to-back sacks) and an interception by Joey Rivera. Both defensive plays led to rushing touchdowns, a 17-yard run and a 9-yard run by Andrew Simmons.
The offensive line called the plays for both touchdowns, according to offensive line coach Tim Asbell.
“A lot of people doubted us that we couldn’t play AAA teams," Lisbon said. "And we showed definitely tonight that we can compete and we could beat AAA teams."