When Dan Fowler fell asleep he had a dream, one that was shared by generations of Flyers, past and present. He had dreamed that Chaminade would beat St. Anthony’s in a night game.
“It was like a month or two ago,” the senior fullback said.
As close to Broadway Joe’s prognosticating as you can get without actually making a guarantee, there would only be one night game for Fowler and the rest of the Flyers against St. Anthony’s in the 2012 season: the AAA CHSFL championship game.
Saturday night at Mitchell Field in Uniondale, that dream became reality and a dynasty was ended.
Chaminade: 17, St. Anthony’s: 16. Their first title since 1998.
It has been sort of a dream season for the Flyers, who were 1-9 in 2010, improving to 6-4 the following year and putting up a 9-1 record during 2012, their only loss being to St. Anthony’s.
“It kind of made me reevaluate what I was looking for,” Fowler said of the 2010 season. “I was looking for a good team to play with… I’ve been winning my whole life. Then last year we picked it back up and this year’s been unbelieveable. I have no words to describe how I’m feeling right now.”
For the Friars, it was the other side of the coin, seeing their win streak snapped by Bergen Catholic, their league one too the following week, going 0-2 to start the season but having to claw their way back and to go 8-0 the rest of the way to the championship game. They only had two left: their 3 straight championships, 10 of the last 11, and a win streak against the Flyers going back 18 games.
Chaminade was only too happy to oblige in snapping both of those.
The Friars had gotten on the board in the first 22 seconds thanks to Naim Jones returning the opening kickoff to the 1-yard line before punching it in. The Flyers however would be much more methodical in their march down the field with QB Sean Cerrone willing a 7-play, 71-yard drive that he capped himself with a 38-yard touchdown run to tie it. Two minutes later the Flyers would recover a fumble on the 17 yard line and Cerrone would find TE Michael Walsh in the endzone from 11-yards out to go ahead.
“The whole season we knew we had a great team and then we had great chemistry to start off so every practice, every week we were just getting better and better,” said Cerrone, who had almost 200 rushing yards in the contest.
The Chaminade defense would hold St. Anthony’s scoreless until the third when on an Anthony Anderson 11-yard touchdown run.
While the Friars have strategies of beating teams seven different ways from Sunday, their most potent weapon is momentum shift and the psychological damage they can inflict.
With 10:33 left on the clock, Friar senior captain Dan Carlone had tackled Cerrone in the endzone for a safety, putting the Friars up by two, just about driving a stake through the droves of Flyer Faithful.
“Originally I was down on myself and then a bunch of my teammates, great guys, just came over to me, tell me there’s plenty of time left in the game, just picked me right back up,” Cerrone said.
The Flyers would be able to eat up much of the clock on two changes of possession before DB John McDaid recovered a fumble with less than 2 minutes left.
Yards felt like inches.
The Friars were putting up walls of Black and Gold as Chaminade got into field goal range, calling on Zane Wasp to come in. He handled the pressure well, nailing the 33-yard attempt.
“I’ve been put in that situation so many times in practice. In my head, every single kick I take in practice is game-winner vs. St. Anthony’s with 4 seconds left on the clock. It’s honestly the most awesome moment of my football career, maybe even my life,” he said. “I’ve been prepared for this moment since I was a freshman.”
Now the defense just had to hold.
“Our defense was just playing so good all game and I knew with Zane’s leg, if we could stop them we’d have a shot to win the game,” Chaminade head coach Stephen Boyd said. “Our defense is really, the last four or 5 weeks gotten better every week.”
Yards felt like miles as St. Anthony’s QB Greg Gallaghan threw long completions, getting into field goal range himself with less than 5 seconds left. Joshua Bacon was called in to nail the game winning kick.
That’s when Fowler lept up over the pile, the ball hitting his hands and then falling to the turf.
“Not a lot of thinking, just reaction, he said. “Ran through the line, cut through, jumped up, I think it caught part of my shoulder. It still feels like a dream right now. I’m pinching myself. It’s really almost a storybook ending on us coming and beating them now.”
Like something out of a dream.1 2 3 4 F Chaminade 14 0 0 3 17 St. Anthony’s 7 0 9 0 16
Scoring Summary 1st Quarter CHS-SA St. Anthony’s TD Naim Jones 1-yard run
Musgrove kick 0-7 Chaminade TD Cerrone 38-yard run Wasp kick 7-7 Chaminade TD Cerrone 11-yard pass to Walsh Wasp kick 14-7 2nd Quarter CHS-SA Chaminade FG Wasp 40-yard attempt kick failed 14-7 3rd Quarter CHS-SA St. Anthony’s TD Anderon 19-yard run Musgrove kick 14-14 St. Anthony’s S Carlone sack of Cerrone
14-16 4th Quarter CHS-SA Chaminade FG Wasp 33-yard attempt kick good 17-16 St. Anthony’s FG Joshua Bacon kick attempt kick blocked 17-16