Hudson Valley

Gioia, defense lead Lourdes to title

by Kevin Devaney Jr. on
Sat, Nov 3, 2012 10:02 PM

Updated Thu, Nov 8, 2012 7:56 PM

In his 42-year career, Lourdes coach Brian Walsh has earned a reputation of being a trick-play mastermind, especially in big games. But in the second half on Sunday night, Walsh became the most predictable man on Earth.

And why not? When Bryce Gioia is running the ball the he’s capable, why give it to anyone else?

Walsh avoided a stunning upset by feeding his star running back on what seemed like every play in the Section 1 Class B championship. Gioia carried the ball 41 times, including 29 straight offensive plays in the second half, for 203 yards and two touchdowns as the Warriors rallied back to defeat Pleasantville 14-9 at Mahopac High School for the school’s first ever Section 1 title.

“They told me they were going to use me if they needed me,” said Gioia, who’s been fighting a groin injury for the last three weeks. “I was not expecting this.”

Gioia’s 41 carries is a career high and a shocking total considering he didn’t step on to the field for the first time until there was a minute left in the second quarter.

By then Lourdes (8-0) was down 9-0 to a Pleasantville team that forced three first-half turnovers. Gioia came in and took over the game, accounting for both scores, including the game-winner with 3:45 remaining.

The Warriors, who’ll face Section 9 champ Marlboro in the state quarterfinals on Saturday in Kingston, limited Pleasantville to 54 yards of offense in the game. In the second half, the Panthers (5-3) ran just five plays for two yards.

Pleasantville seemed to get every break and the benefit of good field position in the first half. The Panthers took a 7-0 lead when Anthony Godino hit Charlie Montgomery for a 21-yard touchdown.

A Lourdes turnover on the ensuing possession at its own 21 set up a 25-yard field by James Leyden, giving Pleasantville a 9-0 lead at halftime.

“It was pretty,” Lourdes senior lineman Brennan said sarcastically as he rolled his eyes.

“Their line was slanting a lot and it gave us some trouble. But we went in at halftime and discussed what had to be done. We made some audibles at the line it worked.”

Just before the half, Lourdes sent Gioia, Section 1’s leading rusher in the regular season, out for a series at running back. Gioia had played sparingly in the previous three games.

“I didn’t think he had it,” Walsh said of Gioia’s ability to carry the ball 41 times. “But he’s a great kid with high character and he’s a hard runner. He wasn’t 100-percent but he plays so hard.”

In his first action of the night, Gioia took the final four carries of the second quarter — then all 13 on Lourdes’ opening drive in the third. It resulted in his 15-yard touchdown run, cutting the deficit to 9-7.

Pleasantville went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, leading to a Warriors drive where Gioia touched the ball on the six plays. After another quick Pleasantville series and punt, Gioia ran the ball six straight times before his 29-play streak was snapped with a Dean Rotger pass to Chris Keenan.

Gioia resumed his jaw-dropping workload, setting up his go-ahead 18-yard touchdown to put Lourdes ahead. A Pleasantville fumble on the ensuing kickoff all but sealed the victory.

There was a sense of relief as Lourdes celebrated the win. And the Warriors, who expected a convincing win in the final, learned a lesson.

“When you get into a game like this, you know that everyone is playing well,” Walsh said. “We knew Pleasantville was a really good football team. We have to know that, whoever we play from here on out is going to be playing at the highest level.”

Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at Tweet him at @MSGVarsityKDJ


Section 1 Class B Championship
At Mahopac High School, Nov. 4

Lourdes 14, Pleasantville 9

Pleasantville (5-3)






Lourdes (9-0)






Scoring summary
Second quarter

Pv – Charlie Montgomery 21 pass from Anthony Godino (run failed)
Pv – James Leyden 25 yard field goal
Third quarter
L – Bryce Gioia 15 run (Chris Keenan kick)
Fourth quarter
L – Gioia 18 run (Keenan kick)

Offensive statistics
RUSHING (att-yards): Pleasantville
- Anthony Godino 8-16, Steven Sicignano 2-14, Rico Ruotolo 1-1, Nick Pedlow 3-0, Nick Greto 7-0, Charlie Montgomer 1-(-4). Totals: 23-28. Lourdes- Bryce Gioia 41-203, Andrew Bulson 11-40, Robert Dean 1-5, Danny Gastin 1-0, Dean Rotger 3-(-1). Totals: 57-247.
PASSING (comp-att-yards-TD-INT): Pleasantville- Godino 3-6-26-1-0. Lourdes- Rotger 3-5-19-0-0.
RECEIVING (rec-yards): Pleasantville- Montgomery 1-21, Greto 1-3, James Leyden 1-2. Lourdes- Chris Keenan 3-19.
TOTAL YARDS: Lourdes- 366. Pleasantville- 54.
Defensive leaders
TACKLES: Pleasantville-Patrick Bathon 8, Anthony Godino 8, Cameron Burns 6.5, Barrett Rosenbaum 6.5, Nick Greto 6.5. Lourdes- Jacob Wiegard 4.5, Nick Porter 4.5, Chris Grevas 3.5, Bryce Gioia 3.5, Joe Rhoades 3.
SACKS: Pleasantville- Greto, Jerry Argenio .5, Charlie Montgomery .5. Lourdes- Wiegard 3, Grevas 1.5, Devlin Brennan .5.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Pleasantville- Bathon, Peter Salzarulo, Rico Ruotolo. Lourdes- Grevas.


Scores / Schedules

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