Carlo Calabrese had 11 solo tackles in Verona's 27-3 victory over a good New Providence team, and the Hillbillies are now one game away from the State Title contest. The eleven stops by Calabrese gave him 113 for the season, breaking the previous school record held by former Notre Dame standout and current Miami Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano.
"I knew I was close, but I didn't know it was going to come this game," Calabrese said. Verona improved to 9-1, and New Providence ended the season at 7-2. "I was excited, beating Anthony Fasano's record and everything, and seeing how far he came."
A win next week, and Calabrese and his teammates will play in the NJSIAA/Gatorade North Jersey, Section 2, State Championship Game at Giants Stadium.
Calabrese played in the title game as a freshman, and looks to end his career in the same place.
"Last game was awesome," Calabrese stated. "Everyone played their hearts out. We did awesome the whole game.
"This team, we're like a family. We always do stuff with each other. We're always with each other hanging out."
Calabrese played quarterback and linebacker in that loss to Hoboken at Giants Stadium three years ago. This fall, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Calabrese has of course played linebacker, along with quarterback, tight end and running back.
"I'm getting a lot of tackles on defense and playing a lot of positions on offense, so I think I'm doing good this year."
Calabrese will take his official visit to Notre Dame the weekend of the Banquet. He was going to try and come to the Syracuse game this coming Saturday, but the state playoffs take priority.
Calabrese has been following his future team.
"I think they're doing good," Calabrese began. "They still have young players, but they're stepping up, all of them. They're going to be great next year and the year after that, and just keep going from there."
Calabrese is good friends with Fasano's younger brother and the family. He hasn't had a chance to catch up with Anthony about breaking his record yet.
***E.J. Banks: Season is complete.
***Alex Bullard: It's been an up and down season for Bullard and his Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy teammates. Ranked nationally in the preseason to begin the year, the Eagles lost four games and limped into the playoffs at 6-4.
Two wins later, Brentwood Academy will be playing for the state championship.
On Friday night, the Eagles defeated previously unbeaten Ensworth, 27-24, to clinch a spot in the Division II-AA championship game. It will be Brentwood Academy's (8-4) 24th-ever state final.
The four-star Bullard and the rest of the offensive line helped pave the way for running back Victor Caro to rush for 223 yards and three touchdowns.
***Tyler Eifert: In what was supposed to be a tight game, but it turned into a rout. Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Dwenger, ranked No. 2 in class 4-A, hammered No. 5 Delta, 49-20, to win the 15th regional title in school history. That tied an Indiana state record.
Eifert and his teammates will play in the semi-state for a third straight season.
"We were ready for them, and I guess the scoreboard is a result of it," Eifert told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. He had a 23-yard touchdown reception in the win. "You see a team that averages 47 points, and it is scary. You know you have to stop them and score every time you get the ball."
Dwenger improves to 13-0, and Delta ends the year at 12-1.
***Shaquelle Evans: Evans caught four passes for 50 yards and two touchdowns, in Inglewood (Calif.) High's, 30-14 victory over rival Morningside.
Evans and his teammates improved to 5-5 on the year, and now hope for an at-large bid when the state playoff pairings are announced on Sunday afternoon.
***Dan Fox: Following an exciting 8-7 victory over Glenville last weekend, Cleveland St. Ignatius got back to smashing its opponents.
Fox and the rest of the rest of the Wildcats defense pitched a shutout, defeating Strongsville, 37-0, to improve to 12-1 on the season. St. Ignatius advances to the state Division I semifinals next weekend. The only loss of the campaign was the season opener to Glenville.
***Jake Golic: Northwest Catholic defeated Berlin 8-6, to improve to 7-2 overall, 6-1 in the conference.
***Zach Martin: For the eighth-straight year, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard advances to the semi-state. The top-ranked team in class 3-A, defeated No. 3 North Montgomery, 42-20.
Martin and the rest of the offensive line paved the way for Ari Pappas to rush for 227 yards and five touchdowns.
"We knew we were going to pound it and give it to Ari," Martin told the Indy Star. "I don't mind the cold and it is fun to play in the mud."
Bishop Chatard (12-1) is gunning for its third-straight state championship.
***Zeke Motta: Motta recorded his 100th tackle of the season in Vero Beach (Fla.) High's 56-14 dismantling of Olympic Heights. The Indians are 8-2 heading into next weekend's state playoffs.
***Nyshier Oliver: Oliver and St. Peter's Prep (8-2) won its eighth game in a row, a 17-15 victory over previously unbeaten Red Bank Catholic.
***Marlon Pollard: Cajon ended the regular season perfect in San Andreas League play, defeating San Bernardino 55-6. Pollard and his teammates improved to 9-1 overall with eight consecutive wins, and look forward to the CIF State Playoffs beginning next weekend.
***Theo Riddick: Denied a state championship by Holy Spirit last fall, Immaculata High flipped the script this season. Riddick blocked an extra point attempt in overtime to preserve a 21-20 first-round playoff victory.
"Whoo-we finally got by them," Riddick told the Courier News.
"I got a good jump on the snap, I was able to beat my man."
Riddick rushed for 154 yards on 31 carries, including a one-yard score to put his team up 21-14. Earlier in the game, Riddick had a 29-yard touchdown, the 50th time he found the end zone in his prep career.
***Tyler Stockton: Season is complete.
***Nicholas Tausch: Season is complete.
***Ben Turk: The future Irish punter had one boot for 38 yards in another huge victory for St. Thomas Aquinas (10-0). The nation's top-ranked team blew out Miramar (8-2), 49-2. Turk's punt was inside the 20.
***Chris Watt: Glenbard West (12-0) advances to its first state semifinals since 1983, following a 35-7 victory over Downers Grove North.
***Cierre Wood: Without the five-star Wood, Santa Clara (9-1) was still able to hold off Carpinteria, 14-13, to claim second place in the Tri-Valley League behind Oaks Christian.
Wood injured his ankle in the loss to Oaks Christian last weekend.
"It's still very sore, but I'm hoping to be back for the playoffs next week," Wood told the Ventura County Star.