Football isn't dead in Ramsey, N.J. just yet.
Defending national champion Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)
, coming off a humbling defeat to Gilman last week, stunned No. 22 and host St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
20-10 in a battle of top national programs on Friday night.
Bosco (1-1) took advantage of numerous Aquinas miscues to capture the game in Fort Lauderdale played before a national television audience.
Don Bosco took a 3-0 lead with 3:40 left in the first quarter on a 28-yard field goal by Cameron Baels
After St. Aquinas went 3-and-out, Kyle Phipps
blocked a punt, Isaiah Hill
returned it three yards for a touchdown, making it 10-0 with 2:03 left in the first.
An Alex Knight 28-yard field and a two-yard touchdown pass from John O'Korn
to Jonathan Boozer tied the game at 10, heading into the fourth quarter.
But following a muffed punt, Don Bosco took over at the St. Thomas 2 and Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks
drove over the right side untouched to give Bosco the lead for good, 17-10, with 6:31 left.
Baels added his second field goal, a 30-yarder, with 2:41 to clinch it for the Ironmen, who lost 13-6 last week to an 0-2 Gilman squad. After the defeat, many thought that this would be a rebuilding year for Bosco, but it evidently rebuilt quickly.
Bosco athletic director Brian McAleer called it a landmark win for his school.
"A true Ironmen win," he said. "When everyone was counting Don Bosco Prep out, our young men came down to Florida again and represented New Jersey the way it should be represented. Coach (Greg) Toal stressed the importance of special teams and tonight it is a perfect example of how the little things come up big.
"This is as big a win as I have seen in the 14 years I have been a part of the Don Bosco Prep community."
It was bigger still considering the success Aquinas had in nationally-televised games over the last five years. According to Miami Herald reporter Andre Fernandez
, Aquinas had won nine straight. It certainly played well enough on defense to go 10-0. Aquinas allowed just 114 yards, but four special-team mistakes proved decisive.
Meanwhile, the home team gained 295 including 165 yards passing from O'Korn and 102 yards rushing by Fred Coppet.
"If you make mistakes like that on special teams,
bad things are going to happen,” St. Thomas coach Rocco Casullo told Fernandez. “The special teams have been great the past two weeks. We really didn’t
expect something like this to happen.”
Some information from this report was gathered from wire and Twitter accounts.