St. John the Baptist is going for the gold.
Seniors Jerome Brooks III and Nicholas Cipolla, players whom coach Ralph Carusillo said have garnered interest from Division I schools like Stony Brook and Army, lead a run game that Carusillo hopes will propel the Cougars -- who reached the final last season -- to the CHSFL AA title this season.
Brooks, 6-0 and 180 pounds, ran for eight touchdowns and 1,100 yards last season and Cipolla, a 6-0, 175-pounder, had seven rushing scores and 700 yards.
"Our coaching staff feels we really have one of the top running back corps in the league," Carusillo said. "They can both run tackle-to-tackle, they can run outside. To have them on the field at the same time, it's a luxury."
Carusillo said his Wing T offense would also feature more "designed throws" to "keep teams a little more honest."
Kellenberg is also looking to push ahead in the AA division after its first-round playoff loss to Xavier.Coach Kevin Hanifan said his team's strength would be its offensive line, comprising five seniors and led by captain Kenny Mulkeen at center. The strong line will pave the way for junior running back Patrick Leahy, who is filling in for senior Jason Delucia, who, Hanifan said, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during the offseason.
"Four of them played every down last year," Hanifan said of the experienced line. "We're going to go with a younger running back so we need to make sure there are holes for him."
In the AAA division, perennial powerhouse St. Anthony's is the No. 2-seed behind Stepinac. The Friars lost to Iona Prep in the AAA semifinals last year, failing to reach the final for the first time since 1998.
Chaminade, led by senior lineman Alexander Cappellino and quarterback Nicholas Crennan, will also be gunning for the title.
ST. ANTHONY'S FRIARS
2014 record: 7-4
Coach: Rich Reichert, 29th season
Kyle O'Donnell, LB, 6-2, 215, Sr.
Russ Kohler, DE, 5-9, 235, Sr.
Jordan Williams, RB, 5-10, 185, Sr.
Kwesi Henderson, RB, 5-10, 190, Sr.
Tom Walsh, QB, 6-0, 200, Sr.
Josh Griskie, DB, 5-10, 185, Sr.
About the Friars: St. Anthony's failed to reach the CHSFL final last season for the first time since 1998. This team returns five starters. The Friars, who were limited by injuries last year, are strong at skill positions. The defense, led by O'Donnell, has depth.
2014 record: 5-7
Coach: Stephen Boyd, seventh season
Tyler Toussaint, WR, 6-1, 195, Sr.
Jack Morris, S, 5-11, 210, Sr.
Nicholas Crennan, QB, 5-10, 185, Sr.
Alexander Cappellino, DL, 6-0, 240, Sr.
John Coughlan, OL, 5-11, 220, Sr.
Brendan Finnerty, QB, 6-1, 175, Sr.
About the Flyers: The defending CHSFL Class AA champions return experience and chemistry, sparked by the Crennan-Toussaint connection. Crennan, a first-year starter last season, was 12-for-18 for 315 yards in the title game. Toussaint caught five passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
HOLY TRINITY TITANS
2014 record: 4-6
Coach: Tony Mascia, 25th season
Colin Moran, LB, 6-1, 205, Sr.
Keon Thomas, OT/DE, 6-3, 255, Sr.
Stefano Clerge, OT/DE, 6-1, 220, Sr.
Derick Eugene, WR/CB, 6-3, 165, Sr.
Dylan Villari, QB, 6-3, 190, Sr.
Dom Monaco, G/DT, 5-11, 260, Sr.
About the Titans: Holy Trinity's offensive and defensive lines are formidable with three returning starters on each. The Titans have depth, but lack experience at skill positions. Moran, who had 52 tackles last season, should be an anchor for the defense. They run a multiple offense.
2014 record: 8-2
Coach: Kevin Hanifan, 20th season
Kieran Fitzgerald, WR, 6-0, 175, Sr.
Kenneth Mulkeen, OL, 6-1, 235, Sr.
Patrick Dercola, SS, 5-9, 170, Sr.
Darrin Belotte, OL/LB, 6-1, 230, Sr.
Liam Deery, DB/WR, 5-11, 180, Sr.
Jesse Maglone, DB, 5-10, 160, Sr.
About the Firebirds: Kellenberg's experienced offensive line, led by captain Mulkeen, will be counted upon to help the run game. Varsity newcomer Patrick Leahy will be the main ball carrier in the spread offense. The Firebirds' primary receiver is returnee Fitzgerald, who had six touchdown receptions.
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST COUGARS
2014 record: 5-6
Coach: Ralph Carusillo, second season
Jerome Brooks III, RB/Safety, 6-0, 180, Sr.
Nicholas Cipolla, RB/LB, 6-0, 175, Sr.
Frank Guidice, OL/DL, 6-1, 250, Jr.
Jose Guzman, QB, 6-3, 210, Sr.
Michael Maliszewski, TE/DE, 6-4, 220, Sr.
Nicholas Maldarella, K, 5-11, 190, Sr.
About the Cougars: The Cougars return an experienced group after losing to Chaminade in last year's CHSFL Class AA finals. Running back and linebacker are this team's strongest positions. Cipolla should get the bulk of the carries on offense.
ST. DOMINIC BAYHAWKS
2014 record: 2-5
Coach: Ed Tini, third season
Max Mediavilla, QB, 6-4, 190 Sr.
Dan Isaacs, OL/DL, 6-3, 265, Sr.
James Doherty, OL/LB, 5-9, 205, Jr.
Nick Kiaer, RB/DB, 5-10, 165, Sr.
Victor Opara, RB/DE, 5-8, 170, Jr.
Ryan Kelly, WR/DB, 6-1, 175, Sr.
About the Bayhawks: St. Dominic is back in the CHSFL after playing an independent schedule last season. The team, which runs a spread offense, will look to throw the ball more frequently. The Bayhawks hope to be a playoff team behind veteran Mediavilla and several other seniors.