The St. Francis Prep Terriers are playing their best football of the season. and it couldnt be happening at a better time, on the eve of the AAA playoffs.
In what amounted to a tune up for the post-season, the Terriers (5-2) dominated the winless Fordham Prep Rams, 36-0, at DaSilva Memorial Field Sunday. The Terriers washout win puts an exclamation point on an impressive regular season.
Were really excited that our kids are playing well, head coach Vince OConnor said. After three early-season losses, to come this far is a credit to them and something to feel good about.
After dropping three of their first four games, the Terriers regrouped and spun off four consecutive wins to climb the division power rankings.
Our goal was to make the AAA playoffs and we did it, Zambrano said. It doesnt matter who we play now. Were ready for anyone.
St. Francis used a simple formula to save its season: play strong defense, convert turnovers into points and run the ball. The Terriers followed the same formula for success to jump the Rams.
Brian Forman, a major factor in the teams turnaround, opened the scoring with an electrifying 52-yard touchdown run at 7:27 of the first quarter. He made it look easy, exploiting a hole in the right side and picking up steam as he neared the sideline.
On the Terriers next possession, Zambrano put the icing on a nine-play, 65-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run. Forman rushed for 26 yards on the drive, as the Rams were helpless against the run. The running duo of Forman and Zambrano only played three quarters, as the starters were pulled when the score got out of hand.
Trailing 14-0 after the first, the game spun out of control for the Rams in the second. Terriers lineman John Kay dragged down quarterback Robbie Krusz after he released an incomplete pass. A back injury forced Krusz to leave the game at halftime. Leading receiver Matt Goldhagen also departed at halftime due to injury, leaving the Rams with only 27 players in uniform.
Were a very young team, depleted with injuries, said Fordham head coach and Bayside resident Peter Gorynski . The game pretty much turned out the way one might expect.
The Terriers defense was all over the field, causing seven turnovers. It set up two easy scores in the second and recovered one fumble in the end zone in the third. In the second, after the Terriers pounced on a loose snap at the Rams four, Zambrano scored on a run up the middle at the 8:17 mark to increase the lead to 21-0.
Later in the quarter, Zambrano caused a fumble when he drilled replacement quarterback Mark Kozicky in the end zone. The ball popped in the air and into the hands of Richard Magliore at the one. One play later, Michael Conigliaro scored on a one-yard touchdown plunge. Adam Tanalski booted his fourth extra point in as many attempts to make the score 28-0 at the half.
We didnt give them a chance to get their offense together, OConnor said. That was the basic difference in the game.
Forman finished with 80 rushing yards and a touchdown. Zombrano tallied 24 yards on the ground and a pair of touchdowns. The two seniors and team leaders will be expected to carry the load in the playoffs, on both sides of the ball.
Now the moment the Terriers have been waiting and working for has arrived. The players are excited and confident.
Our main focus was to make the playoffs, Forman said. Now that were in the playoffs, our goal is to go to the championship game and win it.
St. Francis Prep moved up to the No. 3 seed with the victory and will host No. 6 Monsignor Farrell Sunday at 1 p.m. at St. Johns University. The Terriers defeated the Lions 21-12 on Oct. 21.
Monsignor Farrell 28, Christ the King 7. The struggling Lions manhandled the Royals, moving up to the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, while CK dropped back to No. 5. Christ the Kings struggling offense will pit itself against Holy Trinity in the first round of the playoffs this weekend on Long Island, Saturday at 1 p.m.
Holy Cross 21, Chaminade 20. The Knights upset AAA playoff-bound Chaminade Saturday, propelling the team to the No. 3 seed in the AA playoffs and a first-round date with winless Fordham Prep Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Bayside Athletic Field.
Anthony Bosco contributed to this story
Reach contributing writer Adam Martini by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2001 Community News Group
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