Sep 09, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For the Christian Brothers Academy football team in 2008, nothing less than a complete restoration of its dynasty is acceptable.
Though it fielded a young roster last fall and went through lots of injuries, the Brothers’ 5-4 record was still a shock to fans accustomed to undefeated regular seasons and championships of various kinds.
So with lots of determination and focus, CBA announced its intentions last Saturday with a commanding defensive performance and a relentless running game in a 21-0 victory over Henninger at Sunnycrest Field.
Even though the Black Knights had plenty of team speed in the form of skill players Greg Spears, Chris Gainey and Shaquille Leggett, it also had an inexperienced quarterback in Kihary Blue and a young, small offensive line that had to break in.
That proved to be dangerous against the ferocious Brothers’ defense. Up front, highly-touted 288-pound senior Andy Phillips led the way, at times bowling over linemen to get to the backfield to make plays, with Greg Thomson and Chris Bersani providing the main support.
Linebackers Garrett Barnard, John Greacen and Will Chapman made just as many forays into the backfield, creating tackles for losses whenever they weren’t blocked. Bryant Moore, Tre Williams and John Petosa led a strong secondary effort.
All through pre-season practice, head coach Joe Casamento juggled the quarterback situation, debating whether to start sophomore Tyler Hamblin or junior Jared DePalma — and he had a third QB, Joey Battaglia, close behind.
In the end, Hamblin got the start, with DePalma seeing extensive action late in the third quarter. Regardless of who took the snaps, though, CBA mostly chose to run the ball — a far cry from the pass-happy spread offense that made the Brothers famous in recent years.
And though Henninger did a good job containing that ground game for a while, CBA took a 7-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter when Tom Trasolini scored from five yards out. A dropped punt snap at the Black Knights’ 35-yard line set up the touchdown.
Given good field position by the defense, CBA came right back minutes later and used a 25-yard pass from Hamblin to Yosh Karbowniczak to set up Fajri Jackson’s two-yard scoring run that doubled the margin to 14-0.
At times, the Brothers got frustrated, due to its inability to sustain long drives against a stubborn Henninger defense. Much of that had to do with penalties, which thwarted some scoring chances as both Hamblin and DePalma tried to avoid mistakes.
Early in the fourth quarter, Henninger got its best chance to score, driving to CBA’s 15-yard line, but once again the defense made a stop, turning the ball over on downs.
Then, with 6:41 to play, Trasolini iced it, running through the middle, then speeding to the sidelines while getting a huge block from Phillips downfield. The touchdown covered 71 yards, accounting for most of Trasolini’s production as he had 121 yards for the afternoon.
CBA will be heavily favored when it meets Baldwinsville Friday for its home opener at Alibrandi Stadium at 7 p.m.
B’ville took a 32-12 loss to Liverpool in its first game of the season and might have several players out due to a sideline brawl that broke out in the third quarter of that game.