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X-Men on the right track - Xaverian’s varsity squad jumps out with two early wins

With two victories in this young season, the varsity football team at Xaverian High School is on the right track in having a turn around season and possibly going all the way in the Catholic High Schools Football League.

Known as the X-Men, Xaverian’s latest victory was against St. Francis Prep of Queens this past Saturday at the Kings Bay Field in Sheepshead Bay, where all of the Clippers’ home games are scheduled.

The 33-17 win was due to a team effort led, on offense by quarterback Najee Tyler, Gerald Mistretta and the rushing of Chris Lebano and Jaquan Bethune and some good all-around defense.

Mistretta tallied three touchdowns on a 35-yard pass platy from Tyler with 1:07 left in the first quarter, on a 15-yard pass helped by a 70-yard pass from Tyler with 34 seconds left in the second quarter, and on a 10-yard pass with 9:20 left in the third chapter. This combination was really hot all during the game.

Other highlights included Jaquan Bethune rushing 16 yards with 10:37 remaining the fourth quarter, Wesley Sumpter on a 15-yard run with 1:54 left in the fourth quarter, and a key interception from Joe Castiglione’s in the fourth quarter.

Four-year varsity player Mistretta piled up 235 yards on 10 receptions in one of his best games at Xaverian. With Lebano grabbing two passes for six yards, the Clippers, especially Mistretta, were very hard to stop in the air.

On the ground, the Clippers were led by Sumpter, who carried eight times for 55 yards, and Bethune, who had 12 carries for 75 yards.

And Tyler completed 12 of 27 passes for 241 yards and passed for three touchdowns to turn in a tremendous game.

St. Francis Prep is a big rival for Xaverian in a league stretching into the five boroughs as well as Long Island and Westchester. All the talk about the game and its practices thus paid off. The players watched films all week and evaluated their opponents to prepare.

Joe DiSiena, in his first year as head coach, and his staff were proud of the effort turned in by the offense, defense and special teams.

“After we got caught off guard early in the game, we stayed strong and answered,” DiSiena said. “These were the keys to the game. We focused throughout the game and toward the end came out successful.

“As of now we’re enjoying the combination that we knew would be good,” the coach added.

The 6’6” Tyler has been doing very well this season, his last one in a Xaverian uniform. He would like more games like this one to happen.

“My receivers ran great routes and coaches called great plays and the young kids stepped up in a big way,” Tyler said. “Our running backs just did a great job. Hard work paid off. We have to do the same thing in our next games.”

Tyler actually resides in Queens, three blocks from St. Francis Prep, and knows most of the Terriers. But he’d rather be playing at Xaverian.

“Xaverian is a great school to attend” the team captain said. “The ride takes an hour and a half each way to and from school. It’s a big ride but it’s worth it.”

Tyler is also on the school’s varsity basketball team, as he is a two sports athlete. But football is his main sport.

“Basketball is secondary,” he said. “It’s not a big thing for me. I’m more of a football player.”

Donald Binckes, president of the Kings Bay Football, is indeed delighted to host the Xaverian home games.

“A lot of our kids grow in the Kings Bay leagues and end up going to Xaverian High School,” Binckes said. “Xaverian has a great program and has good coaches. And the academics are second to none.”

In other games, involving Xaverian football last Saturday, the freshmen squad lost to St. Joseph’s-of-the-Sea of Staten Island, 34-22, and the junior varsity team lost to St. Francis Prep, 22-20. Tushaun Plummer scored two touchdowns for the junior varsity, and Lieseh Benzel had a big interception in the second half.

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