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Joe DeSiena has seen Greg Rando take some heavy hits and then pop back up. The Xaverian coach watched his junior quarterback emerge from the St. Anthony’s line and scamper down the left sideline late in the first quarter, get brought down and reach directly for his right ankle.
“I saw him get rolled up on,” DeSiena said. “...He has been pretty resilient. We knew this one he went down pretty awkward.”
Rando spent the rest of the first half with his ankle heavily rapped and with crutches under his arms, before going to the hospital to get x-rays. DeSiena said he was told by the Friars sideline and the team’s trainer that they heard something pop.
“It was a big surprise for the whole team,” senior wide receiver Mario Tull said. “...[Rando] had a great week of practice.”
Seventh-seed Xaverian trailed by just a touchdown at the time, but was not the same team with Rando out of the game. The Clippers fumbled the ball four times in the second quarter leading to 28 St. Anthony’s points as the No. 2 Friars cruised to a 49-7 win over the Clippers in the CHSFL Class AAA quarterfinals in South Huntington, L.I., last Saturday night. St. Anthony’s (8-1) moves on to play No. 2 Holy Cross in the semifinals this Saturday night.
“It was a lot of pressure against one of the top ranking teams,” backup quarterback Sean Cunningham. “It was very hard. I had to try to keep my composure.”
It was Cunningham’s first time under center in a live game. He and the Xaverian offense struggled under the pressure of the Friars defense. It fumbled on runs, had a high snap and a bad handoff exchange, which Benny Aloi picked up and ran in 5 yards for a touchdown to put the Friars up 42-0 at the half. Xaverian (4-5) also lost two-way lineman Jamie Martinez late in the game to an ankle injury and defensive linemen Ed Fitzpatrick hurt his knee. Tull caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Cunningham with 10.8 second left in the game to avoid the shutout.
“We know he is an athlete,” DeSiena said of Cunningham. “We know he is going to be able to make some throws. In spots he was able to do some things, but it’s the lack of game experience.”
Colby Fiedler scored twice for the Friars, including a 45-yard run on St. Anthony’s second play from scrimmage and on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Tom Schreiber, back from a shoulder injury, which put the Friars up 28-0. Xaverian hung right with St. Anthony’s in the final week of the regular season, down by just two scores at the half, before losing 41-20.
The focus now for Xaverian is the Bowl championship round of the ‘AAA’ playoffs, where it will face Fordham Prep, which lost its quarterfinal game to Holy Cross.
“It was what it was,” DeSiena said. “Our guys finished the ball game. They played physical. They played regardless of the score...They deserve a good football game next week.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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