Don Bosco stopped a two-point attempt with 1:16 left to beat St. Joe’s (Montvale), 10-8, and advance to the Non-Public finals next week against St. Peter’s Prep.
First Quarter: Not much happened, except a lot of penalty flags. The defenses ruled and the overall play was not pretty for spectators.
Second Quarter: Early in the quarter, Joe’s began with ball on their 15. An 11-yard run Audric Estime gave the Green Knights a first down, their first of the game. The game’s first big play occurred on the following play when Michael Alaimo connected with Blake Wypler, who fumbled with Bosco’s Arsheen Jiles picking up the ball and returning it 39 yards for a touchdown. On the following possession, Constantino Borrelli intercepted for Bosco over the middle on the 50, returning it to the 27. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Ironmen after the play moved the ball back to the 42. A sack by Frankie Monte on third down moved the ball back to the Joe’s 48 and the Ironmen were forced to punt.
Third Quarter: Joe’s came out with the ball and consumed six minutes, starting off with runs of 9 and 11 yards by Estime. Alaimo then found Albert Serrano for 21 yards to the Bosco 46. The Green Knights picked up another first down, but were forced to punt. A pair of Bosco penalties backed Bosco up to its 2-yard line and a run up the middle by Emmanuel Laracuente was stopped short of the goal line for a safety and the Green Knights were on the board.
Fourth Quarter: After a Joe’s punt, Bosco took over on their 20 and Jalen Berger proceeded to run 52 yards down the right sideline to the Joe’s 28. A 15-yard pass to Berger went 14 yards to the 5 for a first-and-goal. The Joe’s defense stiffened and Justin Frey kicked a 25-yard field goal to make it 10-2. After a Bosco punt, Joe’s had one last chance with 3:49 left. Alaimo found Nuri Robinson for 25 yards and scrambled five yards to the 45 to make it fourth-and-less than a yard. An illegal procedure on the left tackle brought it back to the 50. Alaimo then faded back, evaded the rush, spun, and found Serrano down the field for a touchdown with 1:16 left, making it 10-8. The two-point try was a run by Estiem that was stuffed by Claudy Robinson – a scrum of players tried pushing it forward, but it wasn’t enough.
Summary: The game was not pretty, but the last drive of the game will make it a classic. If someone likes a lot of big plays by the offense, this was not for them. In fact, 18 points were scored in the game and half of them came from the defense.
Bosco’s defense won the day for them, led by Colin Ramos, Michael Courtney, and Jahmir Greene. It was Courtney who forced the fumble that was picked up by Giles and returned for the touchdown. With Kyle Monangai hobbled from last week and playing in spots, it was a gut-check game for the Ironmen and they passed the test. While the offense didn’t shine, Berger picked them up with a run of 50 yards and a reception for 14 to set up what became the game-winning field goal. This is a team that may have found itself after a heart-breaking loss to St. Peter’s Prep and now they have a chance to avenge that next week at Giants Stadium.
Joe’s played very well, defensively, with Frankie Monte and Elijuwan Mack coming to mind. But the offense could not sustain drives; the Bosco defense had something to do with that. Their offense didn’t score until the late touchdown. On that drive, Alaimo was brilliant and I have not been a big fan of his as a quarterback – punter, yes. His pass to Robinson was one example. Avoiding sacks and buying time on both his scramble for a near-first down and his touchdown pass to Serrano were huge.
One thing that annoyed me before the game was a player on Joe’s who will go nameless. He kept yapping over to Bosco in warm-ups that they “didn’t want it.” But on fourth-and-inches, he was the one who moved early; he was the one who drives coaches crazy with those kinds of mistakes. I can say he choked, but I won’t. Since he will be back next year, I suggest he just shut up and play – just worry about his own team and his own play.