St. Francis Prep football drops semifinal contest to Fordham Prep

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St. Francis Prep’s Matthew O’Donnell (r.) attempts to sack the Fordham Prep quarterback, during the CHSAA Class AA semifinal match between St. Francis Prep and Fordham Prep, at Jack Coffey Field.
William Manderson (r.) fights off a defender.
Christopher Auricchio throws pass.
Ricky Varruzzi jostles for position and hauls in a pass.

On perhaps the coldest evening of this season, the St. Francis Prep Terriers could not overcome their turnover issues and fell to Fordham Prep, 41-14, on the campus of Fordham University in the Bronx in the CHSAA Class AA semifinal football game.

Fordham Prep took advantage of five St. Francis turnovers, which led to 35 points for the home team.

The first turnover came on the Terriers’ second possession, when Fordham Prep’s Ryan Gilchrist intercepted a St. Francis pass on the 50-yard line and returned it for a touchdown, giving the Rams the 7-0 lead with 4:42 left to play in the opening quarter.

Fordham’s high-powered offense, led by Boston College recruit Matt Valecce, along with Will Loffredo, scored on its next possession, capping a 45-yard drive with a five-yard run to go up 14-0 early in the second quarter.

After scoring their third touchdown with 5:07 left in the second quarter, the Rams recovered a St. Francis Prep fumble on the kickoff that led to a 12-yard touchdown run by Loffredo, giving the Rams a 27-0 lead.

St. Francis showed some signs of life on their next possession, aided by an outstanding catch by Ricky Varruzzi. But the drive came to a screeching halt with another turnover, as Fordham’s James McGaughan intercepted the next pass with 3:02 remaining in the half.

With time running out in the first half, the Terriers had another chance to score with 13 seconds left on the clock. But once again, they failed to convert. Faced with pressure from the defense, Terriers quarterback Christopher Auricchio threw an off-balanced pass that resulted in an interception by Fordham Prep’s Matthew Kilduff, who returned the ball for a touchdown, giving the Rams a 34-0 halftime lead.

The Terriers tried to change their luck in the second half, but when their attempted onside kick failed to create a Fordham Prep turnover, the Rams used the good field position to find the end zone once again, taking a commanding 41-0 lead.

Despite the lopsided score, St. Francis didn’t show any quit, and rallied to score 14 second half points. Auricchio and Luca Capo each used their legs to find the endzone, making the score 41-14, which proved to be the final score.

With the loss, the Terriers end their season with a 5-5 record and have their eyes set on a bright future. Meanwhile, Fordham Prep advances to the CHSAA Class AA championship game against Kellenburg.

Posted 12:00 am, November 18, 2017
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