Backfield in motion. That’s the St. Anthony’s way.
With a nearly unstoppable triple-option rushing attack, the Friars have made a full-house backfield their calling card. The names change through the years but results remain the same.
Yet this season has been different. Backfield in motion referred to the myriad of injuries to starting quarterback Greg Galligan and running backs Jordan Gowins, Anthony Anderson and Naim Jones.
The backfield was finally at full strength Saturday night as top-seeded St. Anthony’s steamrolled Staten Island rival Farrell, 42-0, in a CHSFL Class AAA quarterfinal in South Huntington.
“I feel like that three weeks off got everyone healthy,” Anderson said. “We came out itching to win.”
St. Anthony’s ran for 296 yards on the night, led by Anderson, who finished with 103 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in a little more than three quarters.
It was the first time since the opener against Bergen Catholic that Galligan, Gowins and Anderson played a complete game together. And No. 8 Farrell (2-7) felt the full fury of the Friars’ running game.
Anderson’s 15-yard touchdown run capped the Friars’ seven-play, 49-yard opening drive and put them up early. The Friars led 21-0 at the half and never let up.
“That was the best game we’ve played – all three phases,” St. Anthony’s Coach Rich Reichert said. “We played good.”
The Friars hadn’t played since Oct. 26. With three weeks between games as a result of Hurricane Sandy and a nasty nor’easter, the Friars used the time to heal.
“We got healthy for the first time,” Reichert said. “Now I like our chances.”
Farrell kept it interesting in a 42-34 loss Oct. 12. Friars linebackers John Puckhaber and Anthony Leggio were missing from the first meeting with Farrell. They were back Saturday night and the defense swarmed.
Farrell was held to 133 yards offense and got beyond midfield only at the end of each half. The Friars recorded five sacks and an interception.
The Friars (7-2) will play the winner of Sunday’s Stepinac-St. Joseph by the Sea game. The semifinal date and time has not been set.
“We want to get to the championship real bad,” said Galligan, who ran for a touchdown and threw for another.
The Friars, winners of 10 of the last 11 CHSFL titles, are two wins away from another championship. They look rested and ready to defend their crown, something that should scare the rest of the league.
Some things never change. It's November and St. Anthony's is playing championship-calibre football.
CHSFL Class AAA QuarterfinalTeams 1 2 3 4 F Farrell 0 0 0 0 0 St. Anthony's 14 7 14 7 42
SA – Anderson 15 run (Bacon kick)
SA – Russo 30 pass from Galligan (Musgrove kick)
SA – Galligan 1 run (Bacon kick)
SA – Gowins 1 run (Musgrove kick)
SA – Jones 1 run (Fuentes kick)
SA – Femiano 10 run (Fuentes kick)