Winning for Rod: Xavier victory dedicated to fallen Brooklynite

Doing it for Rod: Flatbush running back Trey Solomon ran for 313 yards and five touchdowns as the Xavier High School player honored Gerald “Rod” Walker, the Manhattan school’s athletic director who died of cancer last week.
Photo by Joseph Staszewski

Flatbush running back Trey Solomon ran for 313 yards and five touchdowns as Xavier High School beat Cardinal Hayes 41–14 at Aviator Sports and Events Center on Saturday afternoon — a victory that honored the memory of Gerard “Rod” Walker, the Manhattan Catholic high school’s beloved athletic director who died of cancer on Sept. 25.

The team had gone to Walker’s funeral on Friday and promised to dedicate the win to the 59-year-old Brooklyn Prep alumnus.

“To lose him is huge,” team coach Chris Stevens said. “To win for him is huge.”

But the victory couldn’t have happened without Solomon. The junior picked up chunks of field at a time early in the first quarter, scoring on a 2-yard run to cap a drive that began with an interception by running back Jimmy Wolfer. He then snatched up a Cardinal Hayes fumble and ran 17 yards for another touchdown, giving Xavier a comfortable 14–0 lead. Solomon was also credited for making an astounding 45-yard touchdown pass over the middle to put Xavier ahead 21–0 in the second frame.

Walker never coached Solomon, but the fellow Brooklynite’s positive outlook had a lasting impression on the star running back.

“He was always walking around with a huge smile on his face,” Solomon said. “Even when he came in he didn’t have any hair because of the chemotherapy. It was sad to watch, but he was always happy.”

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