Prep retains its Gaelic Football state title!
Mother Nature cooperated just long enough on Friday evening, June 23, for Fairfield Prep’s Gaelic Football Club to defend its state title, beating Fairfield Warde high school . Victory did not come easy, though. Like last year, Prep trailed throughout the match until the closing stages before ultimately walking off the field as champions.
The first quarter was a disaster for the Jesuits. The experienced, free-scoring opposition coolly racked up a formidable lead against an unmoored Prep side. The first-quarter whistle could not have come soon enough. A deep breath, a drink of water and a reminder that their athleticism far outweighed their lack of experience were just what Prep’s players needed. Led by seniors Jorge Aguilar, Jamie Becker, Andrew Rothe and Evensen St. Juste, they began the second quarter with a renewed sense of composure.
The second quarter, in stark contrast to the first, danced to Prep’s rhythm as Aguilar and man-of-the-match Jack Auray seized control of midfield and began to dictate play. Prep’s finishing remained a work-in-progress but the squad slowly chipped away at their opponents’ lead throughout the second and third quarters, paced by the steady beat of team captain Jack Feeney’s points through the uprights.
The players’ efforts finally bore fruit when they drew level for the first time in the fourth quarter with only three minutes remaining. The newfound pressure did not rattle the players; it galvanized them. Thunderous goals by Becker and John Starrett in the closing minutes left Prep with a comfortable-looking score that belied the tense 58 previous minutes of the match. But the result was the same; Prep’s squad was once again able to celebrate with the cup as state champions. A job well done for the Jesuits!