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Great comeback on memorable Senior Day

Posted Saturday, October 18, 2008 by John Fatuzzo
The St. John the Baptist Cougars (5-2, 4-1 league) defeated the Cardinal Spellman Falcons (3-4, 3-3 league), 39-34 on Saturday.  The Cougars have now won three straight games and are on top of their game entering the final two weeks of the regular season.

It was a cold, windy day in West Islip but St. John's offense stayed red hot, putting up another 39 points on the board thanks to Matt Pryzby's 225 passing yards and two scores.  However, the win didn't come easily as the fiesty Falcons led most of the first half and almost pulled off the upset late in the fourth quarter.

Spellman got on the board first, scoring on their first drive, a 1-yard Trumaine Rose TD run.  But St. John's stormed right back, putting up six points on Thomas Beverly's 33 yard TD run.  The extra point was missed however and at the end of the first quarter, Spellman led 7-6.
 
On their first drive of the second quarter, a 42-yard touchdown run by quarterback Matt Pryzby put St. John's ahead.  A successful two-point conversion on Pryzby's run made the score 14-7 Cougars.  But after this point, the rest of the first half was all Falcons.

Cardinal Spellman put up 21 unanswered points on three touchdowns.  The Falcons made key stops on defense and moved the ball efficiently, running it into the endzone twice.  Spellman also recovered a fumble deep in SJB territrory for a defensive touchdown.  At halftime, the Falcons led 28-14 and looked on their way to upsetting St. John's.

Whatever Keith Schweers and his coaching staff said in the locker room at the half clearly had an impact on his players.  A 25-yard touchdown pass to Mike Gangitano late in the third quarter closed the gap to 28-21.  Midway through the fourth quarter, Vincent Iacono ran the ball into the endzone from 6 yards away to make it 28-27 after a missed field goal attempt.

The clock clicked closer to the end of regulation until a 72-yard touchdown pass to Mike Gangitano put St. John's ahead for the first time since the start of the 2nd quarter.  The two-point conversion failed however and the Cougars had 33-28 lead.  This momentum was broken up when Spellman's Devon Osei scored on a 10-yard run, the Falcons first score since the second quarter.  Spellman led 34-33 after a missed conversion with just around two minutes in regulation.

It seemed like St. John's was under almost no pressure facing a 1-point deficit with less than two minutes to play.  Vincent Iacono, who filled in for the injured Beverly put SJB ahead 39-34 on a 9-yard TD run with 1:03 left on the clock.  The St. John's defense then sealed the deal, forcing a 4-and-out series deep in Falcons territory.

It was a cold, exciting and memorable day at St. John the Baptist.  Although it was the last home game and naturally, the annual Senior Day - it was the juniors who stole the show in the victory.  5'6" junior Mike Gangitano had 134 yards on 6 catches and two touchdowns.  Junior Vincent Iacono had a career-high 83 rushing yards on 9 attempts, including two touchdowns on the ground.  Junior linebacker and second year varsity athlete Gary Harrison led the SJB defense with 13 tackles and two blocked punts.

The win was exactly what St. John's was looking for, starting the final third of their regular season schedule.  Although the Falcons gave the Cougars a tough battle, SJB showed why they were ranked #1 in their division at the start of the year.  The Cougars would like to thank the support of their friends and families on Senior Day 2008 and for the spirit in thr grandstand which factored in a memorable, thrilling 39-34 win.

Next Week:

Week 8
@ Cardinal Hayes Cardinals
Friday 7:00 pm at SUNY Maritime

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