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Joe Colucci loved watching Michael Viegas run on the Monsignor Farrell junior varsity football team last year. Now that they’re varsity teammates, Colucci is having even more fun checking out the spry sophomore.
“Oh my God, I love it,” the Farrell senior defensive lineman said. “It’s the most exciting thing to watch him run. When he breaks a huge run, the crowd and sideline goes nuts. He’s nice to have on your team.”
Colucci and the large crowd at the Lions Den witnessed a breakout game from Viegas, who scored three touchdowns to lead Farrell to a 26-0 win against Xaverian Saturday night.
The first-year varsity back rushed for 303 yards on 24 carries, including touchdown runs of 74, 77 and 78 yards.
“He was super, that kid. He’s explosive,” Farrell coach Ben Sarullo said of Viegas. “I’m glad he’s a sophomore. He’ll be here for a couple more years.”
The 5-foot-7, 155-pounder capped the Lions win when he burst up the middle untouched for a 78-yard score with 5:18 left in the fourth quarter.
“It starts with the offensive line,” Viegas said. “They created the hole and I just hit it as hard as I can.”
After Jake Barbaccia connected with Reinaldo Coriano for a 6-yard touchdown pass, Viegas broke down the left sideline on the Lions’ next play from scrimmage to put the hosts in front, 13-0, with 4:58 left in the second quarter.
Xaverian failed to field the ensuing kickoff, a mistake that proved costly as Viegas followed with a 77-yard touchdown and Monsignor Farrell (2-1, 1-1 CHSFL ‘AAA’) went into the locker room with a 20-0 lead.
“I felt confident coming in and I trusted my offense,” Viegas said. “It all started from offense. We went out, we executed the plays and made the big plays when we needed to. Our defense played phenomenal.”
By putting pressure on quarterback Greg Rando, the Lions neutralized Syracuse-bound wide receiver Mario Tull. Rando was sacked four times, including 1-1/2 sacks each for Colucci and defensive lineman Siddiq Iddrisu.
“Coach said it since Monday. It was five-on-five, their five guys against our five guys and whoever wins will dominate the game,” Iddrisu said. “That’s what we did from beginning to end.”
The Clippers only got inside the Farrell 20-yard line twice, both in the fourth quarter. Rando connected with Will Badyna on fourth down, but the wide receiver caught the ball out of the back of the end zone. Then Kevin Cormican recovered a fumble at the Farrell 18 with 3:37 left to seal the win.
“We can’t have Greg in predictable [situations] on the field,” Xaverian second-year coach Joe DeSiena said. “We stressed from Day One that we need to stay penalty free and we need to execute on first and second down because we’re not a 3rd-and-long team.”
Indeed, the combination of Farrell’s pressure, penalties and missed assignments doomed Xaverian (2-1, 1-1), which averaged 27.5 points in a pair of wins to open the season.
“If you lose up front on the road against a team like this, you’re going to lose pretty ugly and that’s what happened tonight,” DeSiena said.
In the home locker room, Farrell celebrated an important win and a rare shutout to boot.
“Since my JV year that’s been the ultimate thing to do and we haven’t gotten it until today and it’s the greatest feeling in the whole world,” Colucci said.
Added Iddirsu: “I’ve never had one before. It feels great.”
While it doesn’t carry the same weight of a victory against archrival St. Joseph by the Sea, there is no questioning there’s something special about beating Xaverian.
“We played St. Anthony’s last week and we had a tough game,” Viegas said. “But we bounced back and we gave Xaverian a beating and sent them back home.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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