Flyers hoping to repeat magic year

Dylan Butler

Sean Cerrone reached the pinnacle of high school football last year, leading Chaminade to the CHSFL Class AAA championship, its first since 1998. 

The icing on the cake was that the historic victory came against archrival St. Anthony’s, snapping a streak of 18 consecutive defeats to the Friars. 

However the senior quarterback, who was 9-1 as a starter, is just one of two returning starters from that magical team that went 10-1 and avenged a one-point regular season loss to St. Anthony’s in the memorable final at Mitchel Athletic Complex. 

Cerrone is joined by running back Rob Speranza on an essentially new team this fall. 

“It was a new year, a new team because we have the juniors now,” Cerrone said. “We have that mindset and we’re just trying to work for this year instead of last year.”

Indeed, the Flyers aren’t resting on their laurels. The elation of winning the championship is over. The work continues in Mineola. 

“They don’t even talk about it. It’s all a new year,” Chaminade fifth-year coach Stephen Boyd said. “It’s been a good mindset. They’re hungry. They had a taste and they want more, which is good.”

Cerrone, who rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown and threw for a TD in the title game, has a new group of receivers with senior tight end Jack Graffagnino and senior receiver Matt Isnardi replacing Tommy Zenker, now a freshman lacrosse player at Duke University. 

While Cerrone said he’s improved his passing and option reads, Boyd said he’s been impressed with his leadership skills. 

“He understands what is expected,” Boyd said. “I think he’s worked extremely hard and he really enjoys playing the game of football and I think he has fun. That’s the most important thing.”

Speranza will be joined in the backfield by junior running back Jack Tigh, who along with linebacker Jack Fowler and quarterback David Jaskolski, are making the jump from junior varsity this fall. 

“They’re good athletes who have done some good things,” Boyd said. “I’m looking forward to watching them play.”

In fact, although it’s a largely new unit, Boyd said he has been impressed with the overall mentality. 

“I think they work extremely hard and their preparation has been extremely good up until this point,” Boyd said. “We’re just trying to get better every day. They’re very teachable, very coachable. I like what I see so far.”

While Chaminade will certainly have a bulls-eye on its chest heading into the season, the talk, as it usually is this time of year, is that St. Anthony’s is considered the favorite to win the Class AAA title this year. 

That would serve as motivation for any defending champion, but Cerrone said the attention is squarely on his team. 

“We don’t really focus on the other teams,” Cerrone said. “We’re just out of camp and a lot of things are going on with us. Since we’re a new team, we’re trying to get better each day at practice.”

That’s the mentality heading into a season-opening non-league game against Kellenberg Saturday. 

“It’s definitely exciting,” Cerrone said. “We haven’t played in a while so it’s going to feel good to get back on the field.’

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Dylan Butler

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