Iona Prep had planned this night, seeing it go their way for a while. They had set it up for a prime-time audience, strategically placed the cameras to capture the action in its full HD glory and warmed up the stantions for their first night game in the school’s 96-year history. They had even had the draw of Chaminade, who had defeated them 24-21 the previous time the two had met in the 2011 regular season on a fieldgoal, and whom they had held off in the ensuing playoffs, ready to play patsy.
This was, after all, a team that had just the prior week added to St. Anthony’s collective misery, keeping the Friars winless on the still-young 2012 season. This was, after all, the Gaels’ home turf. This was, after all, the No. 2-ranked defense in the CHSFL, one that would like to have the Flyers’ trip back across the Throggs Neck Bridge to be as long and as solemn as possible.
Less than a minute after kickoff it was 7-0 Iona on a rushing touchdown after a Chaminade fumble from 35-yards out. Eleven minutes later it was 14-0. This was going to be easy. Right? Because last year the Gaels were a young team. They had matured over the course of the long winter and short summer. Older, wiser, bigger. At least, that’s what they kept telling themselves. Like Chaminade had been doing to their now it was their turn to be on the receiving end. Right?
Maybe that particular text message got lost in between the cell towers as it was travelling from one sideline to the other.
Chaminade RB Robert Speranza made the Gaels (2-1) sit up and take notice as he ran 79-yards on a kickoff return in the second to put the flyers on the board, the second straight week that Iona had allowed such a feat. A chink in the armor had been found, now you just had to chip away.
The Gaels would make that as difficult as possible, holding the Flyers to 19 points over the first 3 quarters while they scored 31. But if anything can be considered an Achilles’ Heel, it is their special teams.
With less than 4 minutes left on the clock Chaminade (3-0) would be able to return a pair of punts that the Gaels failed to get deep into the backfield, including the final drive from about the Chaminade 40-yard line that set up a reverse to senior WR Thomas Zenker from 15 yards out that put them ahead. The Flyers would then go for the 2-point conversion, succeeding after a failed attempt in the prior quarter.
Funy how the trek up the hill back to the Iona locker room felt a lot longer than coming down. At least the trip back south over the Throggs Neck was a lot shorter.1 2 3 4 F Chaminade 0 13 6 15 34 Iona Prep 7 14 7 3 31