Seton Hall Prep football team makes historic journey for its season opener

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SPRINGFIELD, PA. – On Thursday, August 30, the Seton Hall Prep football team left their campus in West Orange for an historic trip to play a football game to open the 2018 season. It is the first time in school history that the football program took a trip out of New Jersey and stayed overnight to play a football game. It is only the eighth time in school history that they played an out of state opponent. The last time was Sept. 12, 1999 when they traveled to Brooklyn, New York to play Poly Prep.

Current assistant coach and former All Stater Tony Woods (class of 1983) put it best when he said, “This is awesome, we didn’t have this opportunity when I played here but I am very excited for the school and the football program to be a part of it. I hope we can do this in the future.”

The team stopped off at Villanova University’s football stadium where they had a walk through to prepare for their game against Archbishop Carroll. Current Wildcat freshman and former Prep football players James Petrovcik ’18 and Andrew Perez ’18 stopped by to say hello to former teammates and coaches.

Following the walk through, they traveled to their hotel where they showered, had a team dinner and had meetings to close out the day. At dinner, senior co-captains Aidan Gilman and Tom Callahan commented on the trip. Gilman, a Brown University commit, said, “Amazing, this is awesome for the team. To be part of history is great for the team and the school. Callahan added, “It feels great. This is a great opportunity and we want to make the most of it.”

The following morning, the team gathered for breakfast together before leaving for Cardinal O’Hara High School where the game was played. First year head coach Bill Fitzgerald said, “This is my first game and there are a lot of firsts for me. To be the flagbearer for this storied program is a great honor. I would not want to do this with another group of players or coaches.”

This game was part of the Philadelphia/North Jersey Challenge.

Following an Archbishop Carroll touchdown on their first possession, Seton Hall Prep tied the score at 7-7 when senior quarterback Aidan Gilman hit junior wide receiver Nicholas Gullace with a 65-yard scoring pass. Archbishop Carroll scored three more touchdowns to take a 28-7 halftime lead.  In the third quarter following a Dominic Busby blocked punt and a recovery by Nick Eliades, Seton Hall took over on the Archbishop Carroll 15-yard line. Five plays later, Luca D’Emilio bulled his way in from the one-yard line for a touchdown to cut the lead to 28-14.

Following an Archbishop Carroll touchdown to make the score 34-21, Seton Hall scored when Gilman threw a 21-yard scoring strike to junior wide receiver Tim Macko to make the score 34-21 after three quarters. After Archbishop Carroll scored to make it 41-21 Gilman threw this third touchdown pass of the afternoon to tight end Busby from 22 yards out. Zach Hoban, a Rice University commit, kicked his fourth extra point of the day to make to 41-28. Archbishop Carroll closed out the scoring with two more touchdowns to make the final 54-28.

On the afternoon, Gilman was 17-37 for 260 yards and three touchdowns. D’Emilio had 18 carries for 67 yards and one touchdown, while Gilman ran eight times for 43 yards. Gullace led the receiving corps with three catches for 98 yards and one touchdown and Busby caught five passes for 69 yards and one touchdown. The defense was led by senior middle linebacker Vincent Henrich, who had 17 tackles, while safety Nick Eliades had 13 tackles. Defensive end Caseem Akinruli Dewitt had two sacks while defensive tackle Niko Diakides had one sack and blocked an extra point.

Next game: Seton Hall will host DePaul on Sept. 8 at 2 p.m.

Photos courtesy of Rich Morris