Bishop Ford has gotten off to a fast start in the CHSFL with blowout wins over Cardinal Spellman and Christ the King and believe it can be a division title contender. But to do, the Falcons would need to make their late fourth quarter lead hold up with one last defensive stand.
Mission accomplished as Ford forced Eagles quarterback Billy Triglianos to throw an incomplete pass on fourth down. It allowed Bishop Ford to celebrate a 16-14 victory on the soggy Aviator Complex turf Saturday night.
Bishop Ford snapped an eight-game losing streak against St. Peter’s dating back to 2005. Junior running back Dante Aiken gained 130 yards rushing on 27 carries and scored two first-half rushing touchdowns.
“We’re very similar teams and they matchup up very well with us so we knew it was going to be a tough game,” Bishop Ford coach Jim Esposito said.
The victory can be seen as an early statement for Bishop Ford (3-0 CHSFL AA-A), which is older and wiser a year after just missing out on making the Class AA playoffs. The Falcons rebounded to beat St. Francis Prep in the Class A title game last November.
“It’s a senior team. We have experienced guys out there. We know how to play through adversity,” Esposito said. “These guys have bought in. Two years ago we were a JV team basically playing high school football. We just had sophomores out there. Now they’re seniors, and we got a good junior class now playing.”
St. Peter’s (1-3, 1-2) led on a defensive safety in the back of the end zone early in the second quarter. Bishop Ford then got to work with a steady dose of Aiken, who has been lights out so far this season replacing former star rusher Devon Mitchell.
Aiken showed off his burst of speed in dashing down the sidelines, and cutting back to the middle at the 15-yard line for a 41-yard score to put Bishop Ford up 8-2 with seven minutes left in the half.
Ford scored on its next offensive series as a pair of passes from Xaviah Mattocks to fullback Raykwan Williams put the Falcons on the 1-yard line. On third-and-goal, Aiken pushed through the pile for the touchdown with 41 seconds remaining in the second quarter, which put up Ford 16-2.
“The win today was just phenomenal” Aiken said. “We feel excellent and we came in with an extremely hard practice and we wanted more than they did.”
The Eagles responded on a quick strike on the last play of the first half. Triglianos rolled to his right and heaved a cross field pass to a wide open James Ball streaking own the middle of the field for the 50-yard score.
John Noone cut the deficit to 16-14 with 2:51 left in the third quarter on a two-yard touchdown. But the Bishop Ford defense stood tall and withstood the strong arm of Triglianos (15-of-28, 175 yards, two touchdowns) and a late Eagles comeback attempt.
Linebacker Rodney Gonzales, who recorded a third-quarter interception, says Bishop Ford has to continue the momentum next Sunday night at Maritime College against Cardinal Hayes.
“It was hard,” Gonzales said. “I was nervous. I thought from the beginning of the game that I knew my coach wanted this win. Like I said before we are tired for settling for less.”