Two mistakes and a stubborn defense on the other side of the ball stopped Stepinac’s run for a Catholic High Schools Football League AAA championship Friday night as Long Island power St. Anthony’s defeated the visiting Crusaders 14-0.
The Crusaders finished their first season in the AAA division with a 8-3 record, falling to the unbeaten Friars (12-0), who won their 29th consecutive game and third straight title.
St. Anthony’s used an interception and fumble recovery to score both if its touchdowns. Crusaders quarterback Dan Hoffer was picked off in the first quarter leading to a short touchdown run by Friars fullback Anthony Anderson and the champions led 7-0 at halftime.
The Friars turned the game momentum around in the second half after Stepinac stopped a fourth down play and took over at midfield. The Crusaders ran reverse to Vin Narog, who was hit and fumbled the ball into the waiting arms of Friars linebacker Anthony Leggio who ran it back 59 yards for a score and a 14-0 lead.
The Stepinac defense, led by Narog, who forced a fumble to give the Crusaders good field position in the second half, Austin Taps, Caleb-Gilligan Evans, Nick Shaw and Angelo Narcise, was tough all night, holding St. Anthony’s to 270 total yards. But the Crusaders offense gave up the ball twice to flip the momentum.
The Crusaders will complete the 2011 season in the annual Thanksgiving Day game at White Plains High School Thursday at 10:30 a.m.