CHSFL ‘AAA’ semifinal preview: Xaverian-Iona Prep

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At a Glance: CHSFL Class AA semifinal

Where: Iona Prep, New Rochelle, N.Y.

When: Saturday, 1:00 p.m.


Xaverian Clippers

Head coach: Joe DeSiena

Record: 7-3

Players to watch: Najee Tyler (QB), Gerald Mistretta (WR)

How they got here: The fourth-seeded Clippers defeated No. 5 St. Joseph by the Sea, 15-6, at Kings Bay last weekend.

Iona Prep Gaels

Head coach: Victor Quirolo

Record: 10-0

Players to watch: Jeff Mack (RB), Tyrae Woodson-Samuel (QB)

How they got here: The top-seeded Gaels defeated No. 8 Mount St. Michael, 21-12, in the quarterfinals last weekend.

Outlook: These two teams met in Week 5, with Iona Prep winning the high-scoring affair, 35-21, in New Rochelle. The Gaels were led by the speedy tandem of Woodson-Samuel, who was 15-of-28 passing for 218 yards and two touchdowns, and Mack, who rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries.

Since that game, speedy Iona Prep enjoyed a perfect regular season, including a huge win against seven-time defending CHSFL ‘AAA’ champion St. Anthony’s, which meets Long Island rival Chaminade in the other semifinal.

Xaverian, which lost to Fordham Prep in Week 6, won back-to-back games heading into the playoffs and had a solid defensive effort against St. Joseph by the Sea in the quarterfinals last weekend.

“It was the best time for our defense to have their best game,” DeSiena said.

An upset win against Iona Prep would send Xaverian into the ‘AAA’ final, capping one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of the CHSFL. Last year, one season removed from winning the ‘AA’ title, the Clippers went 0-10 in their first year in the ‘AAA’ division.

“The tough thing is to lose and lose with talent,” DeSiena said. “That’s what we did.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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