Peter Corbett personally finished off Holy Trinity.
The junior defensive tackle charged through and recorded two sacks on the final drive, dumping Titans quarterback Cameren Hayes for a 3-yard loss on fourth-and-6.
Jordan Gowins ran for two touchdowns, but it was defense that defined St. Anthony’s Saturday as the Friars beat Holy Trinity, 27-14, before a crowd of 1,000 in Hicksville.
“I thought our defense played outstanding the whole game,” St. Anthony’s Coach Rich Reichert said. “We were really physical. We had a goal-line stand. That’s a turnover for us.”
The Friars (1-1 overall, 1-0 CHSFL) dropped Holy Trinity for a loss 12 times, highlighted by five sacks. St. Anthony’s also stopped Titans' drives cold on fourth down five times, including a goal-line stand late. A John Thomas Caputo interception ended another push into St. Anthony’s territory.
“When everyone does what they have to do, we make big plays,” said senior outside linebacker Joe Sotomayor, who had a sack and three tackles for a loss.
He led the charge on fourth-and-goal from the Friars’ 2-yard-line with 4:52 left. Holy Trinity senior captain Ryan Rossi (two touchdowns) got the ball and was immediately swarmed, stopped for a 1-yard loss.
“He’s coming like a train and he’s making tackles,” Reichert said of Sotomayor, who often crept to the line and blitzed. “He’s very athletic for a kid his size.”
The Catholic league opener for both teams was the first meeting between rivals since 2010, a 38-13 Friars win.
It offered St. Anthony’s an opportunity to hit the reset button after a non-league loss last week. Buffalo-St. Joseph’s led 20-7 en route to a 20-14 victory. St. Joe’s Nigel Davis ran for 218 yards and three touchdowns in the upstate rain.
This time it was Gowins who ran wild. He shed would-be tacklers to finish with 132 yards and two scores on 16 carries against the Titans.
“I’m going to have to start practicing that,” St. Anthony’s quarterback Greg Galligan joked. “I don’t know how he does it. He just has such determination and such will to fight for that extra yard.”
Gowins looked at home in the new spread offense, capping a 9-play, 80-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown run just 2:23 into the game.
“This game showed me I’m back to where I was and a little better,” Gowins said.
Gowins was limited by injuries the second half of last season, but felt better than ever against the Titans. Holy Trinity even stacked the box to limit the powerful back in the second half.
“He’s starting to really come on,” Reichert said. “He had some real powerful runs.”
A great kickoff return allowed Holy Trinity (1-1, 0-1) to answer. It marched 48 yards, finished off by Rossi’s 1-yard score.
Then it was Galligan’s turn. Galligan (18 of 29 passing for 220 yards) hit wide-open Nicholas Esposito for a 52-yard scoring strike. Kicker Robert Fuentes drilled the extra point to put the Friars ahead for good, 14-7, with 1:35 to go in the first quarter.
Fuentes also converted field goals of 29 and 27 yards.
Gowins’ 14-yard sweep with 1:44 left in the half gave St. Anthony’s a commanding 24-7 edge.
“We played terrible in Buffalo,” Galligan said. “Today we had good team play. It wasn’t me, me, me. That’s what we needed to do.”
St. Anthony’s continues its three-game road trip next Saturday at Stepinac.
Teams………..…..….1…..2…..3…..4 – F
St. Anthony’s.......14…10…..0…..3 – 27
Holy Trinity…....…..7…..0…..7…..0 – 14
SA – Gowins 16 run (Fuentes kick)
HT – Rossi 1 run (Russo kick)
SA – Esposito 52 pass from Galligan (Fuentes kick)
SA – Fuentes FG 29
SA – Gowins 14 run (Fuentes kick)
HT – Rossi 6 run (Russo kick)
SA – Fuentes FG 27