Christian Brothers Academy’s Pete Luizzi scores the touchdown that pulled thr Brothers within a point of Guilderland in last Saturday’s Empire Division game in Colonie. Luizzi then threw the two-point conversion pass that gave CBA a 26-25 win.
The Christian Brothers Academy football team passed its first major test of the 2011 season.
The Brothers (4-0) rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final six minutes to edge Guilderland 26-25 in last Saturday’s Empire Division game in Colonie.
“The kids showed courage in coming off the mat and scoring those two touchdowns,” said CBA coach Joe Burke.
Pete Luizzi came up big for CBA during the rally. He caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Cillis to cut Guilderland’s lead to 25-24 and then threw a two-point conversion pass to Tory Williams to give the Brothers the lead.
The decision to go for two points and the win instead of an extra point and overtime came from the players, said Burke. And the play call – a reverse with an option pass – was one that everyone was comfortable with.
“We really work on it all the time,” said Burke. “It’s a regular piece of our scheme. It’s a safe play. From an offensive standpoint, it was a situation where the other team just gave up two touchdowns, and they knew that no matter what had just happened, if they could stop this one play they would win the game. They were scrambling around, though.
“They bit hard on the first handoff, so when we gave it to Pete [Luizzi] there was only one defender between him and Tory [Williams]. Pete could have actually ran it in himself, but he saw Tory was open,” added Burke.
Guilderland (1-3) built a 25-12 lead when Tony Stanish capped a third quarter drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, but that was the last time CBA let the Dutchmen get in the end zone. The Brothers took away Guilderland’s short passing routes and kept the Dutchmen contained on the ground.
“Our goal [going in] was to stop the run, and their plan was to throw it,” said Burke. “It took some time for us to make the adjustment.”
CBA pulled within a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter when Cameron Wynn scored on a 10-yard run. The Brothers missed the extra point, though, which left them down 25-18.
The Brothers got the ball back a short time later and mounted another drive that Luizzi capped by catching a short pass from Cillis and running untouched into the left corner of the end zone. It was the second touchdown for Luizzi, who also scored on a 64-yard punt return in the second quarter.
“You certainly need a game where you’re challenged,” said Burke. “Not only were we challenged, we were down two touchdowns. A come-from-behind victory really prepares you for the home stretch.”
CBA’s schedule only gets tougher from here. The Brothers travel to Saratoga Springs (1-3) Friday night and then visit Shenendehowa (4-0) Oct. 8 on the night where the Clifton Park school honors retiring head coach Brent Steuerwald. CBA finishes the regular season Oct. 14 against Ballston Spa (4-0).
“We will take it one at a time and see what happens,” said Burke.
In other Class AA foot-ball action last weekend, Shaker suffered a 21-14 loss to defending Section II Class A champion Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Friday, while LaSalle blew out Colonie 48-6 in a Liberty Division contest.
Shaker (2-2) had a hard time containing BH-BL running back Thomas Ruppel. The senior began the game with a 76-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give the Spartans (3-1) a 7-0 lead. He then caught a 12-yard scoring strike from quarterback Ryan McDonnell in the third quarter to put BH-BL ahead 14-7. Ruppel capped his evening with a 6-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Tyler Oppelt rushed for a touchdown, and quarter-back Chris Landers con-nected with Adrian Valen-tino on a 15-yard touch-down pass for the Blue Bison.
On the other side of Colonie, a disastrous se-cond quarter doomed the Garnet Raiders (0-4) against LaSalle. The Cadets (2-2) scored four times in the period, including Stephen Martinelli’s 29-yard interception return that put the visitors ahead 20-0. Colonie slowed down LaSalle’s attack in the second half, but the damage was done.
L-Iquan Ward led La-Salle with 110 rushing yards and a pair of touch-downs. Martinelli added a 12-yard touchdown run to his 29-yard interception return.
Colonie hosts Guilder-land Friday in a cross-divi-sional game, while Sche-nectady visits Shaker.