IBy John Hance ‘17
In August of 2012, the Class of 2016 began their athletic careers at Chaminade when they arrived at Ott Field for freshman football tryouts. Entering as boys who mostly did not know each other, they spent the next four years together growing into men and building an unshakable bond as a team. Through victory and defeat, jubilation and heartbreak, the squad was a band of brothers. When the Flyers lined up on the side of the Ott Field for the start of their game against Iona Prep on October 24, the Flyers had even more motivation than the fact that this was their last game on the field.
The team wore decals on their helmets honoring Thomas Miloscia ‘15, who passed away on Thursday, October 15. His brother Matt, a senior, wears #21 and is a defensive back for the Flyers. There was an electric energy emanating from the tunnel of the locker room as the seniors ran out onto the field one last time last Saturday, hoping to honor their fallen brother’s memory by beating the Iona Prep Gaels.
In its last home game, the team was playing with a passion and fire not seen before in the season, wanting to go out with a bang.
The Flyers won the opening coin toss and elected to receive with Matthew Chmil ‘17 leading the offense as quarterback. The Flyer’s offense got off to a rocking start when junior running back Francesco Tangredi sped through the Iona defense for a 44-yard run. A few plays later, Chmil rolled out to his right and threw a beautiful pass into the end zone, where receiver Daniel McEntee ’16 made an impressive catch for a 31-yard touchdown.
Throughout the first half, the Flyers backfield, led by Tangredi, Matthew Maron ’17, and Chmil, ran swiftly and punishingly behind a powerful offensive line, and Chmil even found McEntee streaking down the field for touchdowns two more times. The Chmil and McEntee connection was spectacular in the first half, with Chmil commenting, “McEntee’s a great guy to have lined up outside. He’s always finding room behind the defense, and making catches with his great hands.”
Combined with a Liam Dvorak ’17 field goal and stifling defense by the Flyers, including strong performances by James Errante ’17, Jack Morris ’16 and a crucial sack by Peter Petersen ’16, the team enjoyed its finest half of the season as they returned to the locker room with a 24-0 lead. In its last home game, the team was playing with a passion and fire not seen before in the season, wanting to go out with a bang.
While the first half was all Chaminade, Iona Prep made some critical halftime adjustments and quickly marched down the field to score after receiving the opening kickoff. After quickly forcing a punt, the Gaels again moved the ball with ease, punching in with a quarterback sneak to make the score 24-16 by converting its second 2-point conversion of the day. All of a sudden, the Gaels were the team with the speedy runners and the monstrous offensive line winning the trench battles.
After getting the ball on the kickoff, the offense seemed to be regaining momentum after a first down catch and run by Tangredi, but a holding penalty reversed the tide again. Shortly after, Chmil threw an interception that was returned over 40 yards for a touchdown, and the subsequent two point conversion tied the score at 24, wiping out the superb first half performance by the Crimson and Gold.
Next the Flyer’s offense was quickly stopped, and the team had to punt the ball away. Two plays later, the Gael’s running back raced through the defense for a 75-yard run on the last play of the 3rd quarter that, after the two point conversion, gave Iona a 32-24 lead after a stunning 12 minutes of football.
The Flyers still had time to erase the ugly 3rd quarter from their memories, regain the energy from the sublime first half and mount a comeback to win the seniors’ last game on Ott. However, on the first play of the 4th quarter, a miscommunication led to a fumble on the snap, giving Iona Prep the football deep in Chaminade territory. Iona Prep rapidly scored on a 20-yard run, and despite failing on the two point conversion to keep the game only 14 points away, a Flyer comeback looked less and less likely with each play. As the clock ticked on, Chmil threw two more interceptions, and the Flyer defense allowed two more touchdowns. The game ended with a final score of 52-24, with the incredible first half performance by the Flyers being cancelled out by an even better second half by Iona Prep.
Despite the tough result, senior and starting offensive tackle Brendan Schick found much to hold his head high about. He praised the first half play of the offense, pointing out the success of the running game which “opened up throwing lanes for Chmil” to sling the passes to McEntee. Noting the strong defensive play, he specified their ability to “clog the running lanes and force punts and turnovers on downs,” mentioning the skills of Alexander Cappellino ‘16 and Errante in particular.
When asked about the seniors playing in their last game at Ott and with the Miloscia family in their hearts, he said the team had “extra motivation to come out and play hard from the get go.” Showing introspection, he cited his four favorite memories from his years of Flyer football as being: the first day of freshman football where he made new friends that he hopes to have for the rest of his life, playing in his first varsity game against Kellenberg last year, which was also the day of the Gold Star Stadium dedication, the trips to Camp Kweebec in the preseason with his teammates, and finally “being a part of the greatest group of guys I’ve ever met.”
The varsity Flyers finish the regular season this weekend against Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains, NY on Saturday, October 31 at 1:30 PM. Come out and support your Flyers!