Stepinac scored 40 points in the second half including four touchdowns in the third quarter to pull away from Canisius, 49-28, in the New York Catholic State Championship. Trill Williams scored three touchdowns, giving him seven in his final two games, to lead the Crusaders.
Stepinac racked up 520 yards of offense including 339 rushing yards, the highest total of the season for the Crusaders.
Stepinac trailed 14-9 after coming up empty inside the red zone three times in the first half, but the Crusaders came out flying in the third quarter. Michael Nicosia hit a wide-open Williams with a 61-yard touchdown on third down to give Stepinac a 16-14 lead on the third play of the second half. The Crusaders never trailed again. Malik Grant scored from 25 yards out on Stepinac's next possession and then Tyler DeCrecenzo stripped the football and raced 45 yards to the house giving Stepinac a commanding 29-14 lead in just 5:30.
Williams added an 18-yard run minutes later to effectively put the game away in the third quarter.
Defensively, Stepinac did a solid job containing Canisius' 6-foot-5 Wagner-bound quarterback Jayce Johnson. The defensive front led by Joe Garbowski, Doug Simmons, Matt Metrakos, and Nermin Metjajic sacked Johnson four times and pressured him relentless, especially in the second half.
Nicosia unofficially finished with 182 yards passing on the day and three touchdowns. That total gives him 2,689 yards for the year, second only to Iona Prep's Derek Robertson in Westchester County single-season history. His career total of 5,003 yards is third best all-time in the county behind Rye's Andrew Livingston and Briarcliff's Rob Higle.
Malik Grant led Stepinac with 130 yards rushing after not getting a carry in the first quarter. Shawn Harris added 86 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. He also caught three passes for 78 yards and another score. Trill Williams finished with 66 yards rushing on eight carries and 75 yards receiving on three catches.
New York Catholic State Championship
STEPINAC 49, CANISIUS 28
CAN: Jayce Johnson 1 yd Rush (TD) 0-6
CAN: Tristan Vandenberg (PAT) 0-7
STP: (SAFETY) 2-7
STP: Shawn Harris 75 yd Pass from Michael Nicosia (TD) 9-7
STP: Nate Henderson (PAT) 10-7
CAN: Jayce Johnson 46 yd Rush (TD) 9-13
CAN: Tristan Vandenberg (PAT) 9-14
STP: Trill Williams 61 yd Pass from Michael Nicosia (TD) 15-14
STP: Nate Henderson (PAT) 16-14
STP: Malik Grant 25 yd Rush (TD) 22-14
STP: Fumble Tyler DeCrecenzo 46 yd Return (TD) 28-14
STP: Nate Henderson (PAT) 29-14
STP: Trill Williams 18 yd Rush (TD) 35-14
CAN: RJ Brandon 7 yd Pass from Jayce Johnson (TD) 35-20
CAN: Tristan Vandenberg (PAT) 35-21
STP: Shawn Harris 13 yd Rush (TD) 41-21
STP: Player 54 (PAT) 42-21
STP: Trill Williams 21 yd Pass from Michael Nicosia (TD) 48-21
STP: Nate Henderson (PAT) 42-21
CAN: RJ Brandon 50 yd Pass from Jayce Johnson (TD) 49-27
CAN: Tristan Vandenberg (PAT) 49-28
|3rd Down Conv||5||11||2||9|
|4th Down Conv||0||2||0||4|
|15||Malik Grant||11||130||1||0||10||Jayce Johnson||20||92||2||0|
|3||Shawn Harris||10||86||1||0||3||Joe Nicholas||2||15||0||0|
|6||Trill Williams||8||66||1||0||5||Joe Jamison||5||-7||0||3|
|4||Michael Nicosia||9||18||182||3||1||10||Jayce Johnson||9||22||183||2||2|
|3||Shawn Harris||3||78||1||14||RJ Brandon||5||91||2|
|6||Trill Williams||3||75||2||2||Paul Woods||2||75||0|
|5||Jamal Dallas||1||17||0||15||John Minogue||2||17||0|