Both teams already knew that Iona Prep running back Sidney Weston was a remarkable athlete, but Holy Trinity got a close-up look Saturday in the CHSFL Class AAA semifinals.
Weston carried the ball 17 times for 306 yards and four touchdowns as host Iona Prep rolled to a 45-17 victory. Weston scored on runs of 64, 14 and 65 yards as well as an 80-yard rush near the end of the third quarter in which he resembled a human pinball on his way downfield,
"It's something else," Iona Prep quarterback Timothy Perley said of Weston. "I'll go to battle with him any day. Not one guy is going to bring him down."
Despite Weston's efforts, Holy Trinity was very much in the game in the first half.
After Weston opened the scoring on a 64-yard run 19 seconds into the game to give the Gaels an 8-0 lead, The Titans responded.
Holy Trinity (7-3) took the ensuing kickoff and held the ball for 6:06, driving to the Gaels' 2-yard line. But their drive stalled as rushes by running back Mike Williams and quarterback Christopher Laviano lost yardage before a pass by Laviano fell incomplete. The Titans settled for a field goal, with Patrick Dreiss converting from 25 yards to bring the Titans within 8-3.
After the Gaels increased their lead to 15-3 on a 46-yard run by Perley, the Titans scored again, this time on a 13-yard pass from Laviano to Nicolas Ferreiro with 1:29 left in the second quarter. Laviano lofted the ball to the back of the end zone and Ferreiro leaped to make the catch. After Dreiss' extra point, the Titans had pulled to within 15-10.
But there was no stopping Weston in the second half. He ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the third quarter, virtually cementing the victory for the Gaels (8-2).
"This is probably the best game he's had," Iona Prep coach Victor Quirolo said. "I think the offense just clicked and it's a byproduct of everything we do."
On Weston's longest runs, he blazed through the line of scrimmage nearly untouched, allowing him to approach would-be tacklers at full speed.
"They stood on their blocks," Weston said of his offensive line. "That's what opened the running lanes for me."
That, Perley said, helped put Weston in position to have the game of his life.
"They kept keying on me, maybe because I had a touchdown in the first half," Perley said. "I don't know. They kept playing me and Sidney took advantage of it."
But before Weston had a chance to do so, Quirolo said his team started playing more man-to-man pass defense and covering receivers more aggressively.
Laviano completed 21 of 40 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions for the Titans, but 130 of those yards were in the first half. His second touchdown was a 4-yarder to Nicholas Olson with 3:49 left in the game. Olson finished with 12 catches for 80 yards.