Fordham Prep’s Crossdale, McHale helped propel each other to Division I dreams

Fordham Prep senior running back Malik Crossdale (l.) and quarterback James McHale are going to play college football at Army and Holy Cross respectively next season.
Photo by Robert Cole

Malik Crossdale and James McHale wouldn’t be heading to Division I schools if it wasn’t for each other.

The Fordham Prep running back and quarterback made their respectful commitments to Army and Holy Cross official last week on National Signing Day. McHale played four years on the varsity and Crossdale three. They became inseparable in the offseason after their sophomore seasons working on routes and pass catching.

“I think if he wasn’t there I wouldn’t have gotten to play Division I football,” McHale said. “He pushed me and helped me get to where I wanted to be.”

Crossdale can say the same thing about his quarterback. He struggled catching the ball out of the backfield and McHale threw him hard pass after hard pass until he got the hang of it. It made Crossdale a complete player. The duo led the Rams to the CHSFL Class AA title as sophomores, but strived to improve under head coach Pete Gorynski.

“Sophomore year I couldn’t catch a toss much less a swing pass,” Crossdale said. “He was always telling me you have to learn how to catch. I want you to take one of my passes to the house.”

He was one of the CHSFL’s most versatile backs until a serve ankle sprain greatly limited him this season. It put more on McHale’s shoulders and forced the Rams, who struggled, to be predominantly a passing team. McHale, a first team All-Bronx selection by the Bronx Times, led the CHSFL in passing yards with 2,060 and threw for 10 touchdowns. Crossdale was limited to 452 yard on the ground, but believes better days are ahead.

“I know that everything is going to be fine if I keep working and I keep my eye on the prize,” he said. “I just can’t let it get me down.”

Mount’s Thomas picks C. W. Post: Kasim Thomas had to prove himself at cornerback because his time as his natural position was limited when he had to fill a need at quarterback at Mount St. Michael. C.W. Post saw all it needed at a CHSFL Senior Bowl practice and began recruiting Thomas heavily. He felt he covered well that day.

“You never know who is watching,” Thomas said. “You always have to go 100 percent.”

Mountaineer coach Mario Valentini praised Thomas’ unselfishness and wiliness to step in under center to lead Mount to the CHSFL Class AA title. He feels college coaches overlooked Thomas because they have a lot of film of him playing corner as a senior.

“He’s a real good cover corner,” Valentini said. “I think they got a real good player, someone who was under the radar.”

Thomas felt at home at Post, which features a strong contingent of New York City players. There was a family type atmosphere when he went on his visit in January.

“Everybody on the team is close,” Thomas said. “Guys are from New York. It is easy to adapt to the campus.”

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Mount St. Michael senior cornerback Kasim Thomas signed to play at Holy Cross.
Photo by Robert Cole

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