WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - The Archbishop Stepinac High School football team faces a season-changing moment Saturday when it visits Catholic High Schools Football League rival St. Anthony's High School on Long Island in a replay of last years's Division AAA title game.
The Crusaders (1-3), have had trouble getting untracked this fall, most recently losing to Holy Cross High School 16-14 last Saturday. St. Anthony's is 2-2 after losing its first two games of the season and comes off a 24-23 win over Chaminade High School.
"We have had a tough stretch so far this season," Stepinac coach Miker O'Donnell said. "We have played some very good teams but have been hurting ourselves with turnovers and bad snaps on special teams. We very easily could have won both of our league games with a few less mistakes."
Quarterback Danny Hoffer leads the offense from Stepinac and has been effective at times, completing 45 of 92 passed for 511 yards and four touchdowns. The running game, with Ryan Burnett and Gavin Heslop leading the way, must improve on its production to give the Crusaders a chance.
Linebackers Tom Dedivani and Albert Mehaj and safety Narendra Itwara lead the defense that has kept the Crusaders in the games.
"St Anthony's is a very tough opponent and we are working hard to minimize our mistakes and go play a full game," O'Donnell said. "That is our goal this week to play hard and not make mistakes. Our defense has been the bright sport so far this year. They gave up 140 yards in offense last week & kept us in the game."