NEW YORK -- The script had been set accordingly on the first drive of Sunday's
matchup between two undefeated teams - Xaverian's explosive offense against
Fordham Prep's resilient defense.
Laray Smith, Xaverian's sophomore running back, finessed his way on a 33-yard run
into the end zone, giving the Clippers a momentum setting 7-0 lead, just 27-seconds
into the game.
"The team was rattled before we kicked off," Fordham Prep head coach Pete
Gorynski said. "I'm looking at that situation and I don't know what it was - the hype
of the game, TV, whatever it was - the kids just came out of the gate on their heels."
On their second possession of the first quarter, Fordham Prep quarterback Max
Kinder was sacked by Zyrel Hardy, with the ball popping into the arms of Ray
Iannacone who ran 67-yards for a 14-0 lead, stunning the home crowd.
But that was it for the Clippers as Fordham Prep rewrote the script, pulling out
a well-balanced, come from behind 27-17 victory over Xaverian in the Bronx Sunday
evening. The Clippers (2-1) couldn't find any room for their devastating backs after the
first quarter, as the Rams (3-0) defense regained their composure and bunkered in.
Anthony Bronzo, Fordham Prep's senior defensive back, but more effective utility
player in reality, led the charge with six tackles, three high-sky punts that averaged
49.7 yards and a forced fumble.
"Every game he shows up and plays every position," Kinder said about
Bronzo. "Punting, defense, kick returns, anything. You ask him to do it, he'll go one
hundred and ten percent."
As if that wasn't enough, Bronzo picked up two touchdowns of his own, the first one
pulling Fordham Prep back into the game at 14-7.
"That got us all the momentum," Kinder said. "They went up 14 nothing, which is a
heartbreaker. If you stay with it, it kills you. We didn't."
Kinder connected on 18-of-29 passes for 290-yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. After
he found Bronzo in the right corner for the first score, his play-action pass for 24-
yards to wide receiver Devin Rice in the left corner tied the game at 14. Xaverian
would add a Michael Marando 34-yard field goal to regain the lead with 5:34 left in
But with 1:34 left in the half, Bronzo found himself finishing off a drive he started.
Deep in their half of the field, Bronzo was hit after his punt, penalizing Xaverian with
a roughing-the-kicker penalty and leaving some fans to applaud the utility-man for
his acting job. Kinder would work the chains downfield, until his senior running
back Michael Seminario, 27 carries for 107-yards, brought the ball at the Clippers
two, and an easy touchdown for Bronzo on the ensuing possession. The drive gave
Fordham Prep a 21-17 lead to close the half, and the game.
"We started to see some gaps in there and executed," Seminario said. "We stepped
up our game in the second half. We stopped them every time."
Fordham Prep's defense is the best statistically in three weeks so far, giving up just
31 points to the opposition. Gorysnki's team held Xaverian quarterback Greg Rando
to 11-23 for 63-yards. More importantly, the defense shut down the two-headed
beast of sophomore's Smith and Isaiah Kearney. Smith ran for 83-yards on ten tries,
most of it coming in the game's opening drive.
"First drive they caught us," Gorynski said. "I thought it was going to be a long night,
but we stepped up. I'm very proud of this group."
At 3-0, Fordham Prep will look to continue the momentum against Kellenberg at home this Friday, while the X-Men will have to regroup for a clash on Friday at league-favorite, St. Anthony's.
Matthew Lawyue is a contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.