WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Archbishop Stepinac’s Catholic High School Football League AAA playoff season continues Saturday at 1 p.m. when the Crusaders host Xaverian at the school’s campus in a semifinal matchup.
Stepinac (7-2), the No. 2 seed, eliminated No. 7 Holy Cross last Sunday to earn the right to face No. 3 Xaverian (7-2) at home on the Crusaders new turf field. The Crusaders used a 28-point second quarter and the defense held Holy Cross at bay for most of the first three quarters before allowing 13 late points.
Quarterbacks Mark White, who is an option running threat, and Dan Hoffer, who is the passing arm of the team, form a formidable tandem. White is super-quick with more than 800 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, Hoffer, who threw two touchdown passes to right end Austin Taps last week, has thrown for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Stepinac defense is bolstered by Austin Taps, Caleb Gilligan-Evans and Vincent Narog and will have to slow Xaverian’s speed backs.
Xaverian’s running back Laray Smith (940 rushing yards and nine touchdowns) and quarterback Isaiah Kearney are quick and Sean Binckes is a big target at wide receiver at 6-4, 220 pounds. Kearney has accounted for more than 2,000 yards of offense and 23 touchdowns, so the Crusaders know who they must stop to win.
Stepinac is on a roll, playing as well as it has all year and on its new home turf. Look for the Crusaders to win here and advance to the finals against the winner of the other semifinal between Iona and St. Anthony’s.