Boys Varsity Football
Game Summaries & Headlines.
On Saturday September 14th the St. Anthony’s Friars took on the Delbarton Green Wave from New Jersey at Metlife Stadium. It was the first annual Battle Of The Bridge featuring three teams from New York versus three teams from New Jersey. Friars Running Back SR. Mario Escobar Jr. said before the game, “It is really surreal, we get the opportunity to play here and take the same field as the players we look up to.''
The Friars came into the game suffering a tough loss 33-15 against Franklin High School, the defending Maryland AAA State Champions. The Friars viewed this game as a must win as they did not want to fall to 0-2 at the beginning of the season.
The St. Anthony fans were hyped to start the game, within minutes the stadium became quiet as cornerback SR. Nick Alvarado took a solid hit to the head. He was helped to the sidelines and was unable to return to action. Delbarton is always a tough opponent and now the Friars faced adversity by losing their vocal defensive leader. Alvarado was missed on the field, but his effect was still felt as he was running up and down the sidelines motivating his teammates. Coach Minucci said, “ I'm really proud of Nick, he did a great job of cheering guys on from the sidelines and making sure everybody knew what was going on.”
The game was scoreless after the first quarter as both defenses were solid. Delbarton would capitalize on a Friar miscue as they recovered a loose ball on a punt attempt in the endzone for the first score of the game. The defensive battle continued as both teams completely shut down their opponent’s offense.
The Friars caught a break late in the half as Delbarton muffed a punt setting the Friars up with great field position. SA would make the most of this opportunity as quarterback SR. Robert McGee scored on a two yard touchdown run on 4th and goal. McGee would later say, “ That play was all grit and determination and I just followed the great blocks by the offensive line.” The Friars would go into the half tied 7-7.
Delbarton received the ball to start off the third quarter. Looking to grab back the momentum, they took the kickoff and drove the length of the field; scoring on an 18-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-7 lead. The remainder of the third quarter was a defensive battle as neither offense could mount any drives. Friars punter SR. Jake Messina had some key punts as he pinned Delbarton deep in their own zone on numerous occasions. The quarter would end with Delbarton holding a 14-7 lead.
SA started the fourth with a third and goal situation but the defensive of Delbarton stood strong not allowing the Friars to score. Coach Minucci decided not to go for the tie and elected to kick the field goal. Kicker SR. Cameron Squicciarini knocked the ball through the uprights cutting the Delbarton lead to 14-10. The Friars strong defense continued as they shut down Delbarton’s offense once again. Now at eight minutes remaining in the game, the offense took over knowing a touchdown was needed if they were going to win.
McGee in just his second career varsity start led the offense down the field with a balance of running and passing plays which caught Delbarton off guard. With time running down, McGee found wide receiver SR. Justin Houston and hit him with a touchdown pass. Houston would later say, “ McGee put it there I made the catch and we celebrated.” Delbaton blocked the PAT keeping it a 2-point game. With 51 seconds left in the game the Green Wave began to drive down the field to the Friars 35 yard line. On the final play of the game they threw an incomplete pass deep down field giving the Friars a huge 16-14 win they fought so hard for.
This was a special game for coach Minucci as he tallied his first win as a head coach. He said, “ I'm thrilled to get the win and especially here at Metlife Stadium it just makes it that much better.'' The Friar's offense was led by McGee who completed 11 of 15 passes for 122 yards and 1 tochdown while rushing for 77 yards and a touchdown, Escobar Jr. with 19 carries for 73 yards and Houston with 4 catches for 55 yards and a touchdown.
The season continues and the schedule does not get any easier as the Friars will open up league play against Cardinal Hayes on Saturday, September 21th at 3:00pm as they face the number 1 ranked team in the state on the road.
By Senior Friar Alex Rocco