Tottenville has been one of the top teams in the PSAL season, but there were major questions going into the final game of the season with their starting quarterback, Brandon Barnes, out for the season with a torn ACL.
The Pirates heard those questions and it became their mission to prove everyone wrong. Consider it mission accomplished as they routed No. 9 Campus Magnet 44-13 in Staten Island on Saturday night. Brandon DiGirolamo, a quarterback who hasn’t started a game at any level in nearly four years, was under center for the Pirates.
“That was a big game and he was calm, really calm,” Tottenville receiver Pat Murphy said of DiGirolamo. “The way he was poised, he did whatever he had to do. I felt like he was out there all year long. It was a little weird how calm he was actually. I thought he would be at least a little shaky at first.”
WHAT IT MEANS: With the win, No. 2 Tottenville now finished the regular season record at 8-1. If Fort Hamilton beats Lincoln tomorrow, that would leave Tottenville with a chance to grab the No. 1 seed for the he playoffs. Campus Magnet is 6-3.
HOW DID IT HAPPEN: The teams traded touchdowns early in the first half. Tottenville added a field goal to take a 10-7 lead and then Tottenville scored a couple more touchdowns to take a 23-7 lead with just 43 seconds left in the first half.
Campus Magnet wouldn’t just let the Pirates run away with the game though as it scored a touchdown just before the half ended, on two passe stotaling 65 yards in a span of 12 seconds from quarterback Kahlik Greenwood.
Tottenville ran away with the game in the second half, though.
TURNING POINT OF THE GAME: Campus Magnet's last second touchdown at the half was a real momentum boast for it, but it wouldn't last long as its defense just couldn't stop Tottenville's running game.
Cornelius capped off the first drive of the second half by running a variant of the Wild-Cat that Tottenville calls the Out-Cat and the receiver found Murphy open in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown pass.
As if to prove a point that Campus Magnet wasn’t getting back in the game at that point, Cornelius picked off Greenwood on the next drive. Tottenville quickly turned that into another touchdown and a 37-13 lead.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: With Barnes out, it was important for somebody to step up in this game and Cornelius did his part. He had a passing and rushing touchdown as well as two interceptions. He showed that Tottenville is not a one-man show.
“Last year he wore No. 14, but this season we gave him No. 4 because that's a special number to Tottenville,“ Tottenville’s head coach James Munson said of Cornelius. “All of our best players have worn No. 4. That's why we gave it to him, he's Superman. He did everything we needed him to do for us to win tonight.”
TOO MANY INTERCEPTIONS: Campus Magnet actually did a decent job running the ball on Tottenville. It should have ran the ball more because Greenwood threw four interceptions.
DONE FOR THE YEAR: Barnes went in for an MRI last week and it revealed that he has a torn ACL and there will be no chance that he will return this season. The junior quarterback expects to be 100 percent healthy by the start of next season though.
UP NEXT: The regular season is now over and Tottenville and Campus Magnet will both be in. Where they are seeded is still to be determined. Tottenville has a chance to grab the No. 1 seed if Lincoln loses tomorrow, but who ultimately gets the No. 1 seed won’t be immediately clear. Campus Magnet likely won't fall below the No. 6 seed.
“It's too complicated to even figure it out," Munson said of the PSAL power point system. “We’ll be watching, but I don't care where we are.”