Brendan Femiano sure didn’t look like somebody still nursing a sore knee.
The 6-foot, 210-pound Poly Prep running back proved difficult to bring down in a Sept. 6 victory against Cardinal Hayes.
The senior shed defenders and was often carrying two and three Cardinals with him on the end of each run. His hard-nosed effort epitomized the physical and toughness advantage Poly created for itself in a convincing 39–22 win over the Catholic High School Football League power in a non-league football game at Macombs Dam Park in the Bronx over the weekend.
Femiano ran for 137 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries to set the tone for Poly, which led by as much as 32–0 early in the third quarter.
“He’s a real strong kid,” said Blue Devils coach Dino Mangiero. “He runs hard. He runs strong. That’s his MO. He’s a powerful running back.”
Femiano ran for 43 of the 58 yards on Poly’s opening drive, including a 6-yard touchdown scamper that saw him break three tackles. The Blue Devils (2–0) rolled on from there. John Argast blocked a Hayes punt on the next drive, and Fara’ad McCombs picked it up and ran 46-yards for a score.
Poly pushed its lead to 20–0 with 3:18 left to play in the first quarter when quarterback Chris Parker scampered into the end zone from 14 yards out just one play after a Devin Rose interception. Parker ran for 91 yards on 11 carries. He helped Poly make a statement win against last season’s Catholic High School Football League Class AA champion, which was playing without star running back Tim Poindexter, due to a shoulder injury. Hayes is playing in the AAA class this year.
“It’s a huge win,” Parker said. “It shows what my team can do. We can play at any level.”
Tegha Egbri ended Poly’s first half by scoring with a three-yard touchdown run to make it 26–0 at the break. Rose ended any hopes of a comeback for Hayes (0–1) when he took the opening kickoff of the second half back 87 yards to end zone to increase Poly’s lead to 32–0. Rashaun Bailey added a late touchdown run.
“As you can tell we are all pretty dynamic with the ball,” Femiano said.
Mangiero wanted to see his team close out the game better, despite its early success. Hayes, which had its passing game stifled almost all afternoon, got a rushing score from Isaiah Covington. Juwan DeVone stripped Parker and ran the fumble back 85 yards for a score that pulled Hayes with in 32–14 midway through the third quarter.
“We need to learn how to finish,” Mangiero said.
Fast starts haven’t been a problem. Poly did the same against Fort Hamilton a week ago, and blitzed Hayes before you could blink.
“It’s nice, comfortable feeling,” Femiano said. “We try to set a fast pace.”
So far, the other teams haven’t been able to keep up.