The backbone to every good team is a good defense, and on Saturday afternoon the Chaminade Flyers put their defense on display.
The 20th ranked football team in MSG Varsity’s Top 25 flexed its muscles as the Flyers knocked off Xaverian, 35-7, in CHSFL play.
Chaminade (5-1) led 19-7 at halftime, but the defense would really start to show why they are ranked so high in the Tri-State area. Four minutes into the half, Xaverian began their drive at their own 2-yard line, but Chris D’Ambrosio caught Laray Smith in the endzone for the safety. That defensive effort was the crowning jewel of a stellar day by the defensive unit.
“The whole game was close, but the defense really stepped it up. We shut them down the whole game,” says D’Ambrosio. “We gave up a few big plays, but we made up for it. The [defensive] line, it all started with them, they got penetration and stuffed them the whole game. The linebackers cleaned it up, and then the secondary did their job.”
In the first half, Chaminade limited Xaverian (1-5) to five punts and a turnover on downs.
However, the big play D’Ambrosio was referring to was a 7-yard touchdown run by Smith midway through the first quarter that gave the Clippers a 7-6 following the successful extra point.
“We never get down. We’re always looking forward. We know we can make up for it. We know we have a good offense that’s going to put up points, and our defense is solid,” said D’Ambrosio.
That dynamic Flyer offense was on display at the very get-go.
On the first play of their opening drive, Head Coach Stephen Boyd went with what can only be called as a wide receiver endaround lateraled into a flea flicker that got back into the hands of quarterback Sean Cerrone. With the defensive pressure imminent, Cerrone heaved a well-placed ball to Tom Zenker who corralled the pass and went 44 yards for the score.
The first quarter would be controlled by the Flyers though. After Chaminade regained possession at their own 37, a big 37-yard run down to Xaverian’s 8-yard line by Matt Correa would setup the go-ahead touchdown.
Danny Fowler took the hand off at the 8-yard line, was freed up by his big offensive line, and made his way in for the score immediately following Correa’s scamper to make it a 12-7 game.
“It was big. I was going both ways today, just trying to get out on the offense as much as I could. I got out there, we hit some nice blocks, they set up a nice little path for me, put it in, and it was pretty big looking back on it,” said Fowler.
That was all the Chaminade defense would need, but that’s not all the support they received.
There were no magical upsets in this one as Chaminade would rattle off 29 unanswered points. Rob Speranza scored two touchdowns (46 and 2 yards ) and finally Chris Gallic capped the scoring with a 36-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
“Today’s win was pretty big,” Fowler says. “Last year we came out winning four games in a row, lost to St. Anthony’s by a touchdown, and came out versus these guys at their field on Friday night and got embarrassed going down 41-0 at half. It was just important for us to come back out and make a statement, and it was more of a personal revenge type thing for us.”
D’Ambrosio concurs with his teammates opinion. “This is a big win because it’s our fifth win of the season, and because some of the seniors still have a bad taste in our mouth from last year. We just really wanted to come out and really lay it on right in the beginning and finish the game.”
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