Star running back Dariyan Riley was on the sideline nursing an injured ankle he tweaked again in practice Friday.
On most teams that would be a major concern. But most teams aren’t St. Anthony’s, which has an 88-man roster and can just go down the depth chart to the next guy and the guy after that.
“When we go down a starter, we have so much depth that anyone can play as good as us starters do,” senior running back Brian Sherlock said. “It’s a great thing to have.”
It proved beneficial Saturday night at Coffey Field in The Bronx in a 51-0 win against Fordham Prep in a rematch of last year’s CHSFL Class AAA semifinal, also won by St. Anthony’s.
Nine different players combined to rush for 356 yards with four scoring touchdowns.
“Everyone can run the ball, everyone runs the plays right and we just finished today,” said Sherlock, who rushed for a pair of touchdowns.
Junior Anthony Anderson paced the ground game, rushing for 121 of his game-high 136 yards in the first half. St. Anthony’s coach Rich Reichert said he considered bringing Anderson up as a sophomore last year, but that wasn’t necessary once Riley transferred in from a school in Louisiana.
“That guy Anderson, he can play and he’s only a junior,” Reichert said. “He’s a little different style, but he’s really good.”
Like a good running back, Anderson deflected the praise, putting it on his offensive line and the rest of his teammates.
“Everyone was blocking, everyone was doing their assignment and that’s how it clicks,” he said. “When everyone is doing their job, everything goes good.”
With the running game so successful, Peter Carew didn’t need to throw the ball much. But when the senior quarterback did, he found Jack Poetzsch three times for 93 yards, including a pair of touchdown passes.
“Everyone always says I should be upset because we don’t pass as much, but it’s great,” Poetzsch said. “They help me out, they take all the attention off me. It helps.”
St. Anthony’s (2-0 CHSFL AAA) led 17-0 at the half, but Reichert was upset that his team was playing “sloppy.”
“There were a lot of penalties in the beginning and that kind of stuff drives me crazy,” he said. “We’ve just got to clean that up. We hurt ourselves.”
The Friars did that in the third quarter, quickly capitalizing on two of Fordham Prep’s four turnovers to score a pair of touchdowns – a 15-yard run by Sherlock and a 59-yard pass from Carew to Poetzsch – to take a 30-0 lead.
By the time the third quarter was over, the Friars extended their lead to 44-0 on a 38-yard TD run by Anthony Duggan and a 2-yard score by Masten Ellerbe.
“We knew we were making some mistakes coming in at halftime,” Carew said. “We wanted to clean everything up and show everyone what we really, truly have.”
What the Friars have is a team that has a 21-game winning streak and is clearly the favorite to win their 10th CHSFL Class AAA title game in 11 years.
“We told this group from Day One, on paper we’re as good as we’ve been in a long, long time,” Reichert said. “But it’s all about chemistry and cleaning up all the mistakes and if we do I think we’re really going to be good. I know we’re going to get better as the weeks go one.”
Fordham Prep (2-1, 1-1) looks to bounce back next Sunday when it takes on Kellenberg at Hofstra University, while St. Anthony’s takes on Holy Cross at Bayside Athletic Field.
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