Michael Bronzo nearly found the end zone returning the opening the kick of the second half, running 69 yards to the Xaverian 23-yard line. The Fordham Prep senior defensive back got it right the second time
He highlighted a huge day with 61-yard punt return for a touchdown that swung the momentum to the Rams in anTeventual 34-14 victory in the CHSFL Class A title game last Friday night at Coffey Field. The score pushed the Fordham lead to 20-7. Bronzo, who was singled out by Rams coach Pete Gorynski as the game’s star, also collecting two interceptions and recovering a fumble.
“He played off the charts,” Fordham freshman quarterback Matt Valecce said of Bronzo. “He was electric. He is the quickest kid on the football team. He helped us and gave us so many breaks.”
Valecce also did his part helping the Rams earn just the second CHSFL title in program history. Fordham Prep (10-2) won the AA crown in 2011.
In just his second start of his career, Valecce showed both he and the program’s future is bright. He went 12 of 24 passing for 240 yards and three touchdown passes.Valecce shrugged off a slow start to the second half to toss two fourth quarter touchdowns to put the game away. a
“It’s crazy,” Bronzo said of Valecce’s play the last two weeks. “What he is doing is shocking all of us, not the we don’t think he was capable. To come in here as a freshman and do what he’s been doing is amazing.”
Xaverian was able to hang with the Rams early behind workhorse running back Brandon Peterson. The Clippers answered a 23-yard touchdown pass form Valecce to Baeli Polanco with a 44-yard scoring run from Peterson to but the Rams lead to 7-6 with 9:59 to go in the first quarter. Just before halftime Valecce put together a 16-play, 95-yard drive that as capped by a 7-yard touchdown run by Joshua Johnson. The Rams took a 12-7 lead into the break.
Bronzo put the game out of reach when he zig and zagged his way through the Xaverian defense for the punt return score with 8:24 o go in the third quarter. Phil DePaulis connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Murnan with 6:12 remaining in the frame, but Xaverian (6-5) never got closer. Valecce, who also threw and interception, hooked up with Michael Wagner and Will Randell for scores in the fourth quarter.
“I think I bounced back well,” Vallece said. “The team really helped me with that.”
Fordham’s season is far from over. The Rams have another tropy to win when it faces rival Xaver 10 a.m. at Coffey Field on Thanksgiving Day in their annuel Turkey Bowl meeting. They plan on taking plenty of confidence into that conestest, trying to end the year on hight note.
“We are excited to win the champioship,” Bronzo said “But we have a lot of momentum going into Thanksgiving now.”