Biaggi, Gaels bounce back to rout Rams
Mario Biaggi was disappointed in himself in a Week 4 loss to Xaverian, but there was plenty of blame to be shared.
“Last week we told the guys it was everyone,” Iona Prep coach Vic Quirolo said. “We didn’t do a good job coaching, they didn’t come out with a lot of firepower. It wasn’t Mario. It was all of us not doing our jobs.”
The Gaels wanted to bounce back quickly and in a big way and they couldn’t have done so more emphatically than a 63-30 win against rival Fordham Prep Sunday night at Coffey Field in The Bronx.
Iona Prep scored early and often, leading 35-0 with 1:58 left in the first quarter.
“That was critical,” Quirolo said of the Gaels quick start. “Football is a rhythm game. When things are flowing, everything just goes well.”
Iona Prep (4-1, 3-1 CHSFL AAA) scored in all facets – on offense, defense and special teams. Even kicker Alex Kapp was a perfect 9-for-9 on PATs.
Biaggi, who was pulled at halftime against the Clippers last week, enjoyed personal redemption, going 9-of-17 for 162 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 10 carries for 71 yards and a 20-yard touchdown.
“Last week I wasn’t really into it, I’ll be honest,” he said. “But this week I was ready to go and play hard. It felt good when it finally paid off.”
The secondary rebounded in a big way, registering four interceptions, including one returned 50 yards for a touchdown by Matthew Berni that put the Gaels in front, 14-0, with 7:41 left in the first quarter.
On Fordham Prep’s next play from scrimmage, Michael Barbuto picked off James McHale (10-of-23 for 91 yards, one TD, three INTs) and returned it 58 yards to set up Biaggi’s 20-yard touchdown run two plays later.
“I read the quarterback over the top,” Barbuto said. “Coach told me to stay home. He threw it, I broke on the ball and I took it with blockers up field. I have to thank them.”
Dan Fischer and Aaaqil Sheppard also added interceptions for Iona Prep, which capitalized on short field position all game.
“I can’t even explain how good I felt,” Biaggi said. “Our defense steps up. They just perform.”
Shaquille Townsend had 13 carries for 106 yards and 3 TDs and Chris Copper had an 88-yard kickoff return for a score as the Gaels led 49-8 with 6:18 left in the second quarter.
From that point, though, Fordham Prep (3-2, 2-2), ranked No. 6 in New York City by MSG Varsity, outscored Iona, 22-14, something that irked Biaggi.
“The second half we got lazy,” he said. “I didn’t like that much. That’s why I want to come back next week, full game, play good.”
While Quirolo was pleased with a huge bounce-back win, he knows there’s a stiff test on the horizon when they head to Chaminade for a Week 6 clash.
“We practiced harder, we were more focused, but we still have a ways to go,” Quirolo said. “We’re still light years away from where we want to be, but we made strides, which was good.”
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