Lions Improve to 3-1
Senior kicker Chris DiGiacomo (25), hit a 28-yard field goal in the first quarter and the game-winning 42-yard field goal with 3:33 left in the game.
September 23, 2023
The Lions improved to 3-1 overall (1-1 CHSFL) before a sold-out crowd in Coach Dennis Barrett Stadium. They will travel to Iona Prep on Saturday, September 30th to face the Gales. Kickoff is set for 1:00 pm.
Heading into week 4, the Lions were ranked #6 in the MaxPreps NY State rankings. Iona was ranked #2 behind the state's top-ranked team, Archbishop Stepinac, who the Lions nearly defeated in week 2, 21-16 in The Den.
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Chris DiGiacomo’s late, 42-yard field goal the difference as Farrell squeezes by Moore, 13-10
There was Monsignor Farrell’s side of the story, Moore Catholic’s side of the story and then there was the wind.
Placekicker/punter Chris DiGiacomo, as much as anybody at Dennis Barrett Stadium, understood the wind played a major factor during the CHSFL encounter between the Staten Island rivals.
Fortunately for DiGiacomo, when he lined up for the go-ahead, 42-yard field goal in the waning moments on Friday night, he had the wind at his back and his booming kick easily split the uprights as the Lions escaped with a 13-10 victory over the visiting Mavericks in Oakwood.
The Lions' defense shut out Moore in the second half. (Staten Island Advance/Annie DeBiase)
“This is a huge win for our program,’' said second-year head coach Rocco Del Priore. “(Moore head coach Nick Giannatasio) does a great job. He has excellent ballplayers who are big and tough and we relied on great defense and special teams to stop them and offensively, we put the ball in (senior quarterback Cristian Pinto’s) hands to help get us enough points against a tough Moore defense.’'
“Our program is a brotherhood."
- Defensive Lineman Louis Martinez '24
With a steady wind blowing toward the end zone closest to Amboy Road, the team driving toward the scoreboard had one heck of a time moving the ball. What’s more, punting the ball proved to be a nightmare as kicks into the wind produced gross yardage of minus-4, 10, minus-2 and 1 yard, for instance, between the teams.
The Lions' defensive swarms, Yasire Dejesus #40 and Mike Barzal #87 take down the Moore ball carrier. (Staten Island Advance/Annie DeBiase)
Farrell took a 10-0 lead less than two minutes into the second quarter thanks to DiGiacomo’s 28-yard field goal and Pinto’s 32-yard TD run, but the Mavs knotted the score thanks to Boakai Veikai’s 58-yard TD reception from frosh QB Tommy Zeh and Giovanni Bennardo’s 40-yard field goal with just 1:04 left in the half.
Then it became the ultimate defensive battle between the teams. The Lions, who didn’t allow a point after halftime, rode the play of defensive linemen Louis Martinez (2 sacks, TFL), Yasire DeJesus (2 TFLs) and Seth Clarke (TFL, TFNG), as well as linebackers Mikai Gamble (2 sacks, TFL, TFNG) Gerard Sheehan (2 TFNGs, interception). Farrell limited Moore to 75 total yards (14 after halftime), including minus-22 rushing, and just four first downs.
“Our program is a brotherhood and when the offense is down, you got to step up,’' explained 6-foot-1, 215-pound Martinez. “We were really physical up front, like we always are, and the bottom line is we executed what we wanted to do defensively.’"
But after a scoreless third quarter, a wind-aided punt gave the Lions a first down at the Moore 21 midway through the final stanza. Although Farrell running back Nafis Muhammad gained 8 yards on first down, Vanterpool (TFL) and Mendez (sack) pushed the Lions back 12 yards and Del Priore called on DiGiacomo to try and break the deadlock.
“I had all the confidence in the world that he’d make it."
- Head Coach Rocco DelPriore '05
“He’s been aces all year long and there was no doubt we were sending him out.’'
With holder Michael Zaremba taking the snap, the ball was placed on the right hash and DiGiacomo proceeded to nail the 42-yarder with room to spare to make it 13-10 with 3:33 left.
“I try not to think about distance when I’m kicking a field goal. I kick it the same way, regardless of how close or far I am, to take the pressure off,’' explained the senior kicker. “With the wind at my back, I was confident. But even if I had missed, I was also confident that our defense would do its job and I’d get another opportunity later.
“But hitting it felt great,’' DiGiacomo admitted.
Moore received two possessions in the waning minutes, but it started at its own 20 and 10, respectively, and was going against the wind. Farrell, meanwhile, led by the continued pressure of Martinez, DeJesus, Clarke and CJ Palazzola (sack), kept the heat on every time frosh QB Zeh dropped back and Sheehan sealed the victory with an interception as time expired.