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Scholastic Roundup: Football is back at Nazareth High

September 8, 2023 Andy Furman
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Football is back at Nazareth Regional High School.

It was just about a year-ago when the school announced the program would be scrapped.

“It wasn’t really a surprise,” Desmond DeFreitas, a former Nazareth footballer who served as head coach for the Kingsmen 10 seasons, told Scholastic Roundup. “We just didn’t have enough kids.”

That was then. But now….

Now, third-year principal Robert DiRe has different plans. “We hope to have a team playing an independent schedule this year with freshmen and sophomores. And perhaps a varsity schedule next year.”

DiRe is a football man — he coached at Holy Cross High School.

So, the Kingsmen had some 30 youngsters at Roy Wilkins Field in Queens, Saturday and met Holy Cross in an exhibition.

The Kingsmen suffered a 38-0 loss. “I expected that, and that’s OK,” said coach Gary Gooden. “We have 30 kids on our roster, and 25 have never played competitive football. In fact, this game was our first real contact.”

Gooden played his high school football at Nazareth, attended Indiana University and is the first Nazareth grad to play in the NFL — he was drafted in the ninth-round by the Los Angeles Raiders in April 1989.

Gooden has also been at Nazareth for 15 years coaching track and field.

The Kingsmen will go at it again Saturday with a scrimmage at New Utrecht.

As for DeFreitas, he played on Nazareth’s first freshman championship team in 1981.

He starred as a running back for Nazareth from 1987-91 — and was a member of the CHSFL championship teams his freshman and sophomore seasons.

He reportedly is coaching this fall in Nassau County at Kellenberg Memorial High School.

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Quarterback Luca Stanzani started the final four games for LIU in 2022 and went undefeated. He completed 21 of 33 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown, but the Sharks fell 27-10 in their season opener to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, Saturday.

Davon Wells caught the 15-yard touchdown pass from Stanzani midway through the fourth quarter. Eric O’Neill led the defense with 13 tackles — six solo — one interception and three-and-a-half tackles for loss.

The Sharks play in Rhode Island Saturday against Bryant University.

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John Downey and Dino Mastropierro have been named the head coaches of the St. Joseph University (Brooklyn) baseball and softball programs, respectively.

Downey’s baseball background includes coaching travel teams and Little League organizations, notably his seven-year stint at South Shore Little League on Staten Island.

South Shore’s 11-year-old All-Star team won a New York State title with Downey at the helm in 2015.

In 2017, he served as an assistant coach for the junior varsity squad at Saint Peter’s Boys High School before joining the varsity coaching staff at McKee High School. Downey ultimately became head coach of the Poly Prep Country Day School junior varsity in September, 2019.

A former pitcher at Molloy College, Downey served as head coach for the Jersey Shore Stallions of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League. He also served as associate scout with the San Diego Padres for three years – evaluating college and high school student-athletes in the New York metropolitan area.

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Mastropierro became the head coach of the junior varsity softball program at Sacred Heart Academy in 2019. Two years later, he weas elevated to lead Sacred Heart’s varsity team, holding the position for three seasons.

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The Lady Bears soccer team of St. Joseph’s University (Brooklyn), opened their season with a 4-0 shutout over Yeshiva University. Sophomore Katherine Barrios scored twice and Casey Hobbs and Bethany Perez added scores for the Bears. Ashley Chimborazo made her collegiate debut in goal with a shutout.

Junior Siena Sujitno scored nine minutes into the 2023 season, but the Pratt Institute women’s soccer team suffered a 6-1 setback to Bard College Saturday. The Pratt Institute men’s soccer team fell on the road to Clark Summit University, 2-0, in their season opener, Saturday.

Pratt Institute’s cross-country teams began their 2023 campaign Friday racing at the Adelphi University Panthers Invitational at the Bethpage Polo Fields. Senior Christina Sancho-Spore led the women to an eighth-place team finish — third among Division III teams — while junior Dominic Paolini paced the men to a 13th-place finish.

Sancho-Spore covered the 5K course in 20:29.9, the fifth Division III runner across the line and 17th overall. In her first collegiate race, first-year Finn Powell turned in a time of 23:35.8, second across the line for the Cannoneers in 44th place. Gabriella Testani was third for the gold and black in 27:20 (62nd place.)

Paolini posted a time of 30:13.00 to take 63rd overall, while senior Nikolas Proptopapas followed in 85th in 32:39.50. Senior Daniel Bhopaul rounded out the top three finishing in the top 100 completing the 8K track in 34:01.3. The Pratt harriers return to racing Saturday at the Purchase College Invitational.

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Brooklyn College’s women’s soccer team fell in their season opener, 6-1 at SUNY Maritime, Friday. Brooklyn midfielder Sage Bernstein scored her first goal as a Bulldog to avoid the shutout.

The LIU women’s rugby team celebrated history last Saturday.

The Sharks won a 15s NCAA Division I match for the first-time in program history, blanking Mount St. Mary’s 18-0 at Robert Blitz Field. Sophia Gaddis converted two penalty goals.

And meanwhile, from a scrum, the Sharks tallied their first try, courtesy of Kori Fields. LIU’s second try came on an interception from Tai Sherman.

The youthful Sharks had six freshwomen make their collegiate debuts in the victory: Fields, Ella Minici, Maia Milito, Margaret McPherson, Mani Boyd and Lara Burger. LIU plays at Quinnipiac, Saturday.

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The Cougars of Medgar Evers College began their 2023 men’s soccer season with an 8-0 non-conference loss to the Bears of Ursinus College at Aviator Field, Friday night.

As non-conference play winds down, the LIU women’s soccer team earned a 0-0 draw with host Manhattan College Sunday at Gaelic Park.

Stephanie Schubert had the best scoring chance for the Sharks, with her shot from beyond the box hitting the crossbar in the 56th minute. Paige Letourneau’s shot off the rebound then was saved.

Goalkeeper Keely Thomas earned the shutout with one save. Manhattan also hit a crossbar late. LIU outshot the Jaspers, 13-8, including 6-1 in shots-on-goal.

LIU moved to 2-2-1. The Sharks complete nonconference play at VMI, Sunday. Northeast Conference action opens Sept. 14 at Stonehill.

Ethan Zirh was once again a force in net as the LIU Sharks picked up their first water polo win of the season, against Washington & Jefferson in the W&J Invitational last Sunday.

In the first match of the day, LIU fell to Gannon 16-8. Zirh picked up 10 saves while goals were scored by Sam Odenkirk, Riyad Shehadeh, Josep Jodra Munoz, Karl Lovett and Charlie Downey.

The afternoon match was when the Sharks were really able to show their talents against the host school.

Ben LeClair opened up the scoring, but soon LIU trailed 2-1 early. That’s when the team woke up and rattled-off five unanswered goals. Four of those goals were scored by St. Francis College (Brooklyn) transfers Shehadeh and Jodra Munoz, and Tony Franco added his first career collegiate goal.

Ethan Zirh was the story of the match. The Sydney, Australia native recorded a combined 38 saves.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR

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