fumbled four times and benched its starting quarterback Friday night. Few teams could recover from so many setbacks.
But with a historic winning streak and piece of the regular-season CHSFL title on the line, the Friars responded with two clutch plays in the final 3:06 to secure a 21-13 win over before a homecoming crowd of 3,700 in South Huntington.
St. Anthony’s (6-0), the top-ranked team in the NYSSWA poll, clinched a share of the regular-season CHSFL title and top seed in the Class AAA playoffs while extending its winning streak to 25 straight.
Senior running back Daryian Riley, playing just his second full game after injuries forced him to miss three-and-a-half games, led the way with 145 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. The latter, a 2-yard plunge with 1:22 left, was set up by his own 68-yard breakaway run.
Hero: Sophomore Greg Galligan entered the game with 7:05 left in the third quarter in place of benched senior . The St. Anthony’s offense, stalled for much of the first half, showed spark with Galligan under center. His 33-yard scramble on fourth-and-5 moved the ball to the Chaminade 3-yard-line and set up Riley’s 1-yard dive three plays later for a 14-7 edge.
Turning Point: Give second-year Chaminade Coach Stephen Boyd credit. The former NFL All-Pro linebacker showed real character opting to go for the win in the final minutes. After Chaminade (5-2) scored on quarterback Joseph Anile’s electric 25-yard run down the left sideline with 3:06 left, the Flyers opted to go for two and the lead rather than kick the extra point and tie.
Boyd put the ball in Anile’s hands once more. This time the quarterback was met by a wall of St. Anthony’s defenders, led by linebacker Dylan Cafarella who swarmed him to stop the two-point run short.
“Give them credit,” Boyd said. “They made the play. It comes down to that one play. Their defense made a helluva play.”
Quotable: “A lot is running through your head,” Cafarella said. “It’s homecoming. It’s a big game. We just had to stop him.”
Bottom Line: St. Anthony’s now has a quarterback quandary, hardly the type of distraction you’d want with one week remaining in the regular season. Coach Rich Reichert declared the competition open in the week ahead. Yet there’s so much depth in the backfield that no matter who earns the starting nod, the Friars will simply overpower opposing defenses with a versatile ground game.
“It’s going to be competitive this week for sure,” Reichert said. “It’s nice to have two. We have two running backs. There’s nothing wrong with splitting reps.”
Chaminade, coming off a 1-9 season, is headed in the right direction. The Flyers pushed St. Anthony’s to the edge and showed real moxie going for the outright win instead of taking the safe route and extending the game with a tie.
The Flyers capitalized on a turnover late in the second quarter to forge a tie at 7 on Daniel Fowler’s 1-yard scoring run with 1:43 left in the half. Chaminade’s fourth-quarter score was also set up by a St. Anthony’s turnover. That’s the mark of a team poised for success.
Key Stat: St. Anthony’s has won the last 19 meetings against the Flyers, dating back to 31-19 Chaminade victory in 1998.
Who’s Next: Chaminade vs. Xaverian at Kings Bay, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.
Teams.....................1.....2.....3.....4 – F
Chaminade..............0.....7.....0.....6 – 13
St. Anthony’s...........0.....7.....7.....7 – 21
SA – Anderson 14 run (Doktor kick)
C – Fowler 1 run (Graham kick)
SA – Riley 1 run (Doktor kick)
C – Anile 25 run (run failed)
SA – Riley 2 run (Doktor kick)