Two plays into the battle of undefeated teams in the CHSFL ‘AAA’, Xaverian led on a Laray Smith 33-yard touchdown run. A few minutes later, Zyrel Hardy sacked Fordham Prep quarterback Max Kinder, the ball popping into the hands of Raymond Iannocone, who rumbled for a 67-yard score.
The rout seemed to be on, which is one reason why Clippers quarterback Greg Rando was so bewildered after a 27-17 loss Sunday at Coffey Field in the Bronx.
“I’m speechless. I thought we had it right out of the gate,” said Rando, who was 11-of-23 for 63 yards and one interception. “We just have to pick up the intensity, I don’t know.”
Fordham Prep (3-0, 2-0) turned the game around on its next drive, three times converting on third-and-long, including a 20-yard touchdown pass from Kinder to Anthony Bronzo. The momentum swung to the Rams and they never let go.
“I think for the first time this year our youth was exposed, not even physically, just our demeanor on the field,” Xaverian coach Joe DeSiena said. “We had one blown coverage and then the rest of the plays we were in position and their guys made the play and our guys didn’t. That kind of deflated us.”
A week ago, Xaverian (2-1, 1-1) was sloppy, but survived to defeat Chaminade, 20-14, on the road. On Sunday, DeSiena said, the Clippers didn’t respond to adversity the proper way. Xaverian was 1-for-10 on third down conversions.
“We didn’t make the big play we needed to get ourselves back in it and change the momentum,” he said.
One player who already forged a reputation as being a game-changer for Xaverian, No. 6 in The Post’s New York City football rankings, is Kendall (Speedy) Thomas. But, according to DeSiena, the explosive sophomore receiver was expelled from the school on Thursday for disciplinary reasons. This was the first game the Clippers played without him.
“There are really no words to explain what he meant to our team,” DeSiena said. “As a team we played poorly enough tonight that with or without him we would have lost. However, there’s no arguing the impact he makes on a game and also the impact he makes on our team. He developed into one of the guys who was a fierce competitor and make a play for us to get that emotion back into the team. That’s what we needed to get — a shot of life back into the team.”
After opening the season with back-to-back wins, Xaverian tasted defeat for the first time on Sunday. The Clippers have little time to sulk, though, with a game against defending CHSFL Class AAA champion St. Anthony’s on the horizon Friday night in South Huntington.
“We had a crisp week of practice and we didn’t expect this to happen,” Rando said. “This week we have a big test with St. Anthony’s. We have to be even better in practice because we don’t want this to happen again. We feel we’re better than this team and we should have won.”