Hunt, Smyer power Royals past St. Pete’s

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There is a running joke between Terrel Hunt and Jayvaun Smyer dating back to their days as eighth-graders playing for the Valley Stream Green Hornets youth football team. Hunt, the Christ the King quarterback, usually finds the end zone more times in a game than Smyer, the receiver, does. The Syracuse-bound star had to make sure Smyer didn’t run away from him like he did the St. Peter’s defense.

“I was telling him he wasn’t going to get more touchdowns than me,” Hunt said. “But it happened. He beat me today.”

Not without the 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior getting in a shot of his own and the decisive score. Hunt dropped back to pass, but scramble left to take the ball 28 yards for a touchdown on the opening play of the fourth quarter. The Eagles found the end zone with 45 seconds left in the game, but host Christ the King was able to hold on for a 24-21 win in a CHSFL AAA game at Juniper Valley Park Saturday afternoon.

“I said it first because he gave me that look,” Smyer said of Hunt and his conversation after the fourth-quarter TD. “I was like, ‘I know, I know.’ We just try to have fun out there.”

The old friends had plenty of it at the Eagles expense.

CK (2-1, 2-0) opened the scoring with a 23-yard field goal from Anthony Pipitone. After St. Peter’s second straight three-and-out, Hunt avoided pressure in the pocket, a theme of the afternoon. He hit Smyer over the middle and watched him turn the ball up the left sideline for a 77-yard score to give Christ the King a 10-0 lead with 55 seconds left in the first quarter. On St. Peter’s next offense play, Dan Low connected with Pat Finnell up the right sideline for a 67-yard strike to send the game to halftime at 10-7.

“If you don’t catch him the first time, he is gone,” Hunt said of Smyer.

That’s exactly what happened on the Royals opening possession of the third quarter. Hunt again got away from the rush and scrambled to buy time. He hit Smyer over the middle and he turned it up field for a 68-yard score to make it 17-13. Allowing big plays and not wrapping up Hunt were problems for the Eagles. He completed 6-of-9 passes for 240 yards and carried the ball 18 times for 122.

St. Peters (1-2, 1-1) got a 10-yard TD run from Demetrius Owens (19 carries, 110 yards) and a 17-yard scoring grab from Brandon Bodd in the final seconds. Low completed 7-of-14 passes for 125 yards.

“Defensively, we let up three big plays,” St. Peter’s Coach Mike Cosentino said. “Offensively, second half we seemed to get our rhythm in our run game, but by that time they are up and we had to chase them with the pass.”

On the other end, the CK defensive line, led by Omar Hunter and Chris Hartney, pressured Low, controlled Owens and force interceptions by Hunt and Albert Ellison in the first half. The Royals could have won comfortably but Kevin Chin fumbled the ball in the end zone, though it appeared he had broken the plane.

The win gets the Royals off to a 2-0 start in league play with Bishop Ford on the schedule next week. But Higgins wasn’t happy with the way his team finished the game. He felt they should have put St. Peter’s away. There is joy in Middle Village, but no one is giddy quite yet.

“Anyone can beat us,” the coach said. “We have to come out ready to work on Monday. I can’t worry about confidence. We have to take it as it comes right now.”

Updated 6:31 pm, October 10, 2011
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