Stepinac Football Rallies For Turkey Bowl Win Over White Plains

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Stepinac's, from left, Ryan Burnett, Daniel Hoffer and Chrystian Lopez helped to rally the Crusaders to a 19-18 win over White Plains in the 42nd annual Turkey Bowl on Thursday. Photo Credit: Tony Pinciaro
Teammates congratulate Brandon Williams (#12) after his touchdown. White Plains lost to Stepinac, 19-18 in the final minute of the 42and annual Turkey Bowl Thursday. Photo Credit: Tony Pinciaro
White Plains' Ari Shamery is tackled by Stepinac's defense in the Crusaders' 19-18 win in the 42nd annual Turkey Bowl Thursday. Photo Credit: Tony Pinciaro
Stepinac's Ryan Burnett and White Plains' Brandon Williams were selected as their respective team's MVP in the 42nd annual Turkey Bowl Thursday. Photo Credit: Tony Pinciaro
Robbie Lorden of White Plains tackles Stepinac's Ryan Burnett. Stepinac scored in the game's final minute to pull out a 19-18 win in the 42nd annual Turkey Bowl. Photo Credit: Tony Pinciaro

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Stepinac High wide receiver Chrystian Lopez and quarterback Daniel Hoffer collaborated on an 8-yard touchdown pass with about 32.5 seconds left in the game for a 19-18 win over White Plains in the 42nd annual Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving Day.  

This was Stepinac’s third consecutive win in the series and sixth in the past seven years as it overcame an 18-0 deficit in the third quarter. It reminded Lopez of another memorable win a couple of years ago.

“We did it together in the city JV championship game,” said Lopez, a Bronx resident. “Dan and I have been together for four years, so once I made eye contact with him, I just wanted to get to an open spot and I knew he would get me the ball.”

Lopez turned out to be the third option. Hoffer rolled right and found his primary receiver and second option covered.

“Once I saw Chrystian one-no-one with a cornerback, I made the corner jump at me as if I was going to run the ball, and once he did, threw the ball over him,” said Hoffer, a Yonkers resident. “It’s definitely a great way to go out.”

Malcolm Major set up Stepinac’s 48-yard winning drive by intercepting White Plains quarterback Brandon Williams with 2:04 remaining.

Williams, along with Stepinac halfback Ryan Burnett, were chosen as the most valuable players for the game. Burnett had 94 of his game-high 130 yards in the second half as he jump-started Stepinac’s offense. He credited Major with the defensive play of the game.

“He came up big for us in the clutch,” said Burnett, a Mount Vernon resident. “He is only a sophomore so I am happy for him.”

Hoffer, who also had a 3-yard scoring run and connected with Justin Thomas on a 24-yard touchdown pass, said the team was relaxed going into the final drive.

“We stayed composed and we stayed positive and we said we were going to win the game,” said Hoffer, who completed seven of nine passes in the second half for 92 yards and two scores.

During the winning drive, Stepinac had it first-and-10 from the White Plains’ 36-yard line. Hoffer dropped back to pass, avoided a sack at the 45, took off running and evaded a few tacklers at the line of scrimmage and finished with a 6-yard run.

“Hoffer is a great player and we knew he would be the X factor,” White Plains coach Skip Stevens said. “He made the plays when they needed him to make plays.”

White Plains took an 18-0 lead on a Josh Renfroe fumble recovery in the end zone, a 23-yard scoring run by Brandon Williams and a 26-yard field goal by Murilo Rosendo.

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