A look at southwest Brooklyn teams as football season kicks off

September 17, 2013 Jaime DeJesus
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School is back in session and high school football season is upon us. In fact, Brooklyn teams are already two to three games deep into their 2013-14 campaigns. Although there has been some early ugly display on the gridiron by some of the locals, it’s early enough for every team to feel optimistic they can enjoy some success in the near future.

Some of local varsity Brooklyn teams have much to be enthusiastic about including new players and new coaches.

Here’s a preview of some of the challenges and excitement the following locals may face.

Xaverian

            The Clippers are in a bit of a transformation mode. After a disappointing 2-7 record last season, Xaverian replaced former head coach Joe DeSiena with 43-year-old Mike Jioia, whose resume includes coaching football at Tottenville, Globe Institute of Technology and William Paterson University. He also played football at Hofstra University.

Though they’ve added a new coach, they’ve also lost some of their key pieces.

Starting quarterback Zach Kearney and offensive lineman Chris Jones, who were both ranked Second Team All-Borough, have graduated. These gaping holes will prove challenging for the Clippers to fill.

Although they have talented youngsters such as sophomore Justin Philip, Xaverian has gotten off to a rough start. They’ve lost their first two games to Poly Prep and St. John the Baptist by 42 and 49 points respectively. Things could get easier on 9/21 when the Clippers have their home opener against struggling Kennedy Catholic.

Bishop Ford

            After a 5-4 record in 2012, Ford is primed for some success this season. Though it’s a small sample size, three of the Falcons’ best players are currently ranked among the top of New York City varsity stat chart.

Junior QB James Espositio has already thrown for 327 yards and three touchdowns, which is good enough for the number one spot in passing. Dante Aiken, the senior tailback, is third in rushing with 233 yards off 40 attempts. And tight end Rodney Gonzales, the 6’1”, 210-pound senior, is currently first in receiving, with 11 receptions and 164 yards.

The Falcons’ first two games have been a mixed bag. They were victorious in their opener against St. Peters, 26-18. Then they followed it with a loss in a neutral conference game to Cardinal Hayes 18-12.

Regardless, head coach Jim Esposito has to like the weapons he has going forward. They have experience. If they can somehow find the depth they’ve lacked the last season, the Falcons will be in good shape.

Poly Prep

            The Blue Devils are off to a flying start, having won their first two games against Xaverian and Peddie, averaging over 38 points. If this trend continues, Poly Prep will be a nightmare for defenses all over the league.

6’5” senior offensive lineman Jay Hayes is ranked 27th best in New York and will be attending Notre Dame next season. 5’8” quarterback Chris Parker was magnificent in his second start of the season, throwing for three touchdowns.

But what was more impressive about Parker was his running game. He ran for a whopping 248 yards. Peddie had no answer. During week one, Brendan Femiano enjoyed similar type of dominance against Xaverian as he ran for four touchdowns and 89 yards.

Fort Hamilton

            Coach Daniel Perez must be pleased with his team’s chances this season to reclaim the glory days the Tigers enjoyed for many seasons.

Although they’ve lost first team all-borough offensive lineman Armani Garrick, who now plays for Stony Brook, the talent on the Tigers remains robust.

And that talent was displayed during week two, during the Tigers home opener against Brooklyn Tech. It was a resounding success as they took the 30-21 victory.

But the story was junior Michael Brooks, the defensive enforcer who picked up two interceptions that shifted the momentum in favor of Fort Hamilton. Both INTs led to touchdowns.

Quarterback Sharif Harris also showed some promising results. He made eight completions off 16 attempts, all resulting in 117 yards and one touchdown. Couple that with a week one victory over John Adams via early forfeit and the Tigers have a chance at every game on their schedule.

New Utrecht

            Head coach Alan Balkan has the Utes off to a solid 2-0 start. Their first win came from a shutout of Canarsie. The team complied 233 total offensive yards compared to Canarsie’s 144.Then, against John F. Kennedy, they piled another W.

The bigger picture for the upcoming season, however, is the play of Angelo Carrera, who has combined for 185 passing yards and four TDs in his first two games. His accuracy improved significantly from the first to second game.

Jaleel Brown has also looked solid, rushing for 101 yards on 25 attempts against Canarsie. If that continues, they’re going to improve last season’s 5-4 record.


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