It was a repeat for Archbishop Stepinac and Cardinal Spellman high schools.
Stepinac defeated Cardinal Hayes, 29-18, to win its second consecutive Catholic High School Football League of Metropolitan New York AAA League championship at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale Nov. 16.
Earlier in the day, Spellman captured its second straight CHSFL A League title with a 19-12 win over John F. Kennedy Catholic.
In the AAA match, Stepinac scored the game’s final 17 points in the fourth quarter to win its fourth title in five years. It will host Buffalo regional champ St. Francis at 1 p.m. Saturday for the Catholic school state championship.
Stepinac, which won state titles in 2015 and 2017, has won six straight games after a four-game losing streak and a 1-4 start to the season.
Crusaders Shawn Harris and Joe Garbowski were named the game’s offensive and defensive most valuable players, respectively. Harris caught two touchdown passes and ran for a third touchdown.
In the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, Harris ran for a touchdown and Nick Henderson booted the extra point to give Stepinac its first lead, 19-18.
Henderson added a field goal and an extra point following Harris’ touchdown reception to close out the fourth-quarter scoring.
Spellman overcame a 12-0 deficit to avenge a pair of 21-7 regular-season losses to Kennedy Catholic and capture the program’s ninth championship.
“The odds were against us and to come away with the victory was awesome,” said Spellman coach William Cawley.
Cawley said the Pilots gained momentum after a 94-yard touchdown drive in the closing moments of the first half. Ethan Ortiz scored and Joseph Delgrosso booted the extra point to cut Spellman’s deficit to 12-7.
“The touchdown drive before the half built our confidence,” Cawley said. “They believed in themselves. The sideline came alive. Everyone was involved.”
The Pilots also changed their defense from a 4-4 to a 4-3 with a rover attacker to keep Kennedy Catholic’s running game inside the tackles.
“We didn’t want them to run the edge (against our defense). That is how they beat us in the first two games. We wanted to keep them in the interior,” Cawley said.
Kyle Maysonet and Sal Maida scored fourth-quarter touchdowns for Cardinal Spellman, which completed its season with a 6-4 record.
Maysonet, voted the offensive player of the game, ran for 95 yards on 12 carries and the touchdown. Ortiz, named the defensive player of the game, finished with 15 tackles and 55 rushing yards. Matthew Forti had eight carries for 90 yards on offense, and spurred the defense with 15 tackles. Nicholas Payne added nine tackles.
For Kennedy Catholic, Gary Kellogg ran for a touchdown, and Tyler Outhouse caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Selinger. The Gaels, who were appearing in their first championship game, finished the season with an 8-2 record.