It’s academic: Xaverian loses three key starters to grades

The losses are piling up for Xaverian, on and off the football field.

The Clippers wrapped up the regular season with a 29-0 loss to Holy Trinity Friday night at Kings Bay, and were without five regular starters, including three – star running back Zach Kearney and key receivers Zyrel Hardy and Will Badyna – to academic suspension, according to a school source.

“They were suspended for progress report grades,” said a source, who called the suspensions “indefinite.”

Clippers coach Joe DeSiena declined to comment about the trio’s absence, although all three were wearing their uniforms and jeans on the Xaverian sideline Friday night.

Xaverian was also without leading tackler Josh Lawrence, who suffered a sprained right ankle last week against Iona Prep and lineman Chris Jones, who broke his right leg two weeks ago. Lawrence is questionable for the Clippers Class AAA quarterfinal game next weekend.

“We were very limited with our answers today,” DeSiena said.

In the preseason, DeSiena lauded the X-Men’s collective team speed and explosiveness, but little by little things have fallen apart.

After opening the season with three straight wins, the Clippers lost sophomore receiver Kendall (Speedy) Thomas, who was expelled from the school following an incident during detention and has since enrolled at Thomas Jefferson. Now the Clippers are without Kearney, who rushed for 433 yards and six touchdowns in six games and two more receiving threats in Hardy and Badyna.

Without four offensive starters, Xaverian (4-4, 3-4 AAA), which was the third best offensive team in Class AAA after seven games, was held to just 81 total yards of offense.

“We did our best to get the kids to play with pride and I think they made some defensive stands in the first half,” DeSiena said. “They really played their butts off and kept us in the game in the first half, for sure, but it was just evident that they wore us down in the second half.”

While Holy Trinity (6-2, 5-2) bounced back following a blowout loss to rival St. Anthony’s last week, Xaverian limps into the playoffs following back-to-back lopsided losses. And it seems likely the Clippers will be matched up with the Titans in the quarterfinals next weekend.

After such a promising start to the season, Xaverian lost four of its final six games, not the best way to head into the postseason.

“They’re going to know exactly what they’re against,” DeSiena said of his team. “Early in the year we were looking at possibly playing as a better seed than we are now, but some of that is out of our control and some of that is due to the way we’re playing.”