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Knights are D-ynamite - Holy Cross blanks St. Francis Prep – QNS.com

Knights are D-ynamite – Holy Cross blanks St. Francis Prep

Holy Cross won the Battle of the Boulevard last September, a 56-45 shootout, but their defense had hardly anything to smile about after the three-hour plus marathon. They nearly blew a 21-point lead, allowing St. Francis Prep running back Jeff Aime, now a freshman at Hofstra, to obliterate them for 282 yards and six touchdowns.
One year later, in front of an estimated capacity crowd of 3,200 at St. John's University, the Knights resembled a completely different unit, blanking the Terriers, 20-0, spurred on by a tenacious defensive unit that produced four turnovers, including Spiro Cominos's 70-yard interception return.
&#8220We've had to live with that the whole year,” said the middle linebacker who registered 10 1/2 tackles and a sack of last year's effort. &#8220Our goal was to shut them out and we did that.”
St. Francis Prep, of course, isn't the same, not without Aime and quarterback Mike Garaufis. But as the Holy Cross offense, so dominant a season ago, slogged through a scoreless first half, harassed by the Terriers' all-out blitz, their defense held firm, even securing the lead when Cominos picked off Ray Sheehan's overthrown screen pass. &#8220It felt like it took forever,” he said of the 70-yard return. &#8220I was out of air, excited to help out my team and come up with points.”
The turnover, with the Terriers seemingly driving for the game's first score, served as a magic elixir for the Knights' dormant offense. Relying on a dominant running game after halftime, Holy Cross pounded the Terriers, scoring on consecutive clock-eating drives of 65- and 80-yards. &#8220At one point, they were gaining seven or eight yards a carry,” St. Francis Prep Coach Vincent O'Connor said. &#8220They were pushing our people back.”
On the first possession, senior running backs Kevin Williams and Tonev Abraham accounted for 58 yards on the ground, capped by Williams plunging in from the two. &#8220We're a one-two punch,” Williams said of the two backs that combined for 235 yards on the ground. &#8220Tonev is just fast, [with] moves, I'm just the power, straight ahead.”
The defending CHSFL AA champions, St. Francis Prep used last year's defeat as momentum to reel off 12 straight wins. O'Connor hopes his young and inexperienced team can now do the same. &#8220You learn against good people,” he said. &#8220Overall, we were pleased with the effort and we think the kids fought very well. As they gain experience, I think we are going to be a better football team in the coming weeks.”
Holy Cross, meanwhile, will need to improve quickly offensively - very quickly. Especially with a trip to Catholic League power St. Anthony's, the five-time defending champs, upcoming. With starter Dan Hussey, a transfer from Maine waiting on eligibility from the Catholic League, backup Mike Riley (4-6, 45 yards) was pushed into action.
If a trip to South Huntington wasn't daunting enough, they will be breaking in the Friars' new field Friday night. &#8220It's going to be fun,” Williams said. &#8220We're going to bring our ‘A' game, definitely. … They're the team to beat. We got to take out the big dogs, go right for the jugular. We got a lot to prove. And a lot to work on.”

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