The St. Francis Preparatory High School football team has not hosted a game in Queens since 2006.
The Terriers usually plays home games at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Nassau County, adjacent to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. But this year the school was able to get permission to share the Martin Van Buren High School field in Queens Village for its homecoming game on Sunday, October 6.
So in their return to Queens a win was essential, and Prep did just that, routing the Nazareth Kingsmen, 49-20, led by three first quarter touchdowns by senior Justin Guerre.
“It was something completely new for us,” assistant head coach Rich Carroll said. “We haven’t had that in seven years. It was a good experience for our kids to actually play a game in front of their hometown crowd.”
The Terriers (4-0 in conference) were dominating the Kingsmen (2-3) from the start of the game. Guerre had four carries for 96 yards in the first quarter alone to help Prep to a 35-0 lead by the end of the first half. On one run he zipped passed defenders for a 69-yard run touchdown.
“I don’t really think that much when I’m running,” Guerre, a captain, said. “I’m just moving trying to put that ball in the end zone.”
The beating was so bad that by the second half Prep replaced most of its starters on offense and defense with second stringers.
Nazareth’s offense only came to life in the second half against Prep’s backup defense.
Kingsmen running back Tarif Keenan completed a 17-yard drive for a touchdown with about eight minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Kingsmen completed a two-point conversion to make the score 35-8.
But even Prep’s backups continued to inflate the score.
With just under six minutes left in the third quarter, Terriers quarterback Robert Einersen faked a pass and ran 41 yards up the sidelines with some help from blockers before he was knocked out at the one yard line. On the ensuing play junior Marquis Gordon ran in a one-yard touchdown and following the extra kick, the score was 42-8.
Five minutes later, after the Terriers allowed another Nazareth touchdown, Gordon completed a 38-yard run straight through the middle, breaking tackles and dodging defenders, to score his second touchdown. A successful extra point play made the score 49-14.
“It was a great experience, because usually I’m on punt returns, but I got a chance to get in today,”
Gordon said. “It was my time to shine.”
Despite the Kingsmen’s efforts, which yielded one more touchdown in the fourth quarter, Nazareth just couldn’t catch up to St. Francis’ looming lead.
With the win the Terriers are now tied for the top of the league, a cause for celebration, but also a reason to be cautious.
“We need you guys to stay focused,” Carroll told the players in the locker room after the game. “We have to work harder because teams know they will have to play harder when they play St. Francis.”
The next game for the Terriers will be against Xavier on October 12.