Stepinac Repeats as CHSFL AAA Champions.
Stepinac repeats as CHSFL AAA champion
Mike Dougherty, email@example.com 9:27 a.m. EST November 22, 2015
Stepinac defeated Cardinal Hayes 20-12 to win the CHSFL championship game at Fordham University, Nov. 21, 2015. (Video by Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News)
NEW YORK – Stepinac is enjoying the view.
After climbing the mountain last season and winning the school’s first CHSFL AAA championship, the Crusaders earned the right to linger atop the area’s premier league Saturday with a 20-12 win over Cardinal Hayes in this year’s final at Fordham University.
“It feels so good,” senior quarterback Tyquell Fields said. “The kids on this team, we’ve been together since we were 8 and 9 years old, so it’s a great ending.”
The season isn’t over yet.
Stepinac heads to Buffalo next weekend to play St. Francis High School for the state championship.
Fields is questionable.
He limped off the field at the end of the first quarter with a right ankle injury, got treatment and went back in. The dual threat was suddenly a pocket passer.Stepinac’s Kobe Miranda (5) gets tackled by Cardinal Stepinac’s Tyquell Fields (4) runs into the end zone Stepinac defea
“It really made the playbook smaller,” Crusaders head coach Mike O’Donnell said. “Tyquell did a great job of hanging in there. We had to coach on the go tonight because we had a number of kids get banged up.”
Fields capped the game’s first drive with a 4-yard touchdown scamper. T.J. Morrison set up Antonio Giannico’s touchdown late in the first quarter with an interception and return.
Stepinac also got two field goals from Liam Butler.
The Cardinals were a stubborn opponent and had two second-half scores, but were stopped late in the fourth quarter with a chance to move down the field and tie. The Crusaders got some hard running from Giannico and Malik Crawford to seal the win.
“I believe this one is even better than last year,” Morrison said. “The seniors on that team did most of the work. On this one, we had to step up this season and prove to the world this is us.”
Player of the game: Morrison. The senior defensive back came up with a pair of interceptions and set up a pair of scores. He brought the first one back 46 yards, and Giannico eventually got into the end zone. He brought the second one back 68 yards and Butler eventually kicked a 25-yard field goal in the final seconds of the half to make it a 17-0 lead.
“He is a game-changer,” O’Donnell said. “He’s a kid who can put this team on his shoulders offensively and defensively.”
Turning point: Justin Covington made it a one-possession game with 8:47 to go and Cardinal Hayes forced a punt, getting the ball back with 6:15 to go. Stepinac was impressive on defense, never allowing momentum to completely switch. Malcolm Koonce and David Melendez came up with a timely sack, making it second-and-26 for the Cardinals, who never recovered.
Stat line: Fields was a stationary passer, completing 7 of 18 attempts for 84 yards after the injury. He also threw one interception. … Butler hit from 25 and 23 yards, and suffered a leg injury on the latter field goal attempt.
Quotable: “It’s an unbelievable thing for our school, the alumni, the community,” O’Donnell said. “For a team from Westchester to win this championship two years in a row, some great teams have done that over the years.”