NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The Iona Prep football team lost its only game of the season to Chaminade in week three when the Flyers edged out the Gaels, 34-31, in New Rochelle.
Iona Prep will have a chance to avenge that loss in the semifinals of the CHSFL Class AAA playoffs Sunday at 1 p.m. Gaels head coach Victor Quirolo said his team learned a few things from that first meeting with Chaminade.
“We just know they’re a tough team,” Quirolo said. “They’re physically a tough team and ... that’s a big challenge at this point in the season.”
The second-seeded Gaels and third-seeded Flyers will meet in New Rochelle once again after Iona Prep smacked Xaverian, 41-20, in the quarterfinals. Wide receiver Chris Cooper caught eight passes for 179 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
Iona Prep’s defense allowed a season-high 34 points to Chaminade in week three, but the Gaels have locked down opponents since then. In fact, Iona Prep has allowed a little fewer than 10 points per game in that span. Xaverian’s 20 points were the most scored against the Gaels since week three.
Despite all that, Quirolo said his defense would face one of its toughest tests of the season when it matches up against the Flyers’ offense again.
“They just run the ball right at you. It’s tough, you know?” Quirolo said. “They’re going to try to just ground it out and keep our offense off the field.”
The Gaels’ offense also has been a powerhouse this season. Iona Prep has averaged almost 40 points per game and has scored at least 30 points in every game.
Quirolo credited the ground game for the Gaels’ success despite the aerial prowess they have showed this season.
“We get a running game going, we get in a rhythm,” Quirolo said. “Everything else kind of falls in place. ... It kind of just takes form.”
If that happens again on Sunday, then the Gaels will more than likely be in the finals.