CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – Max Miraglia couldn’t wait to get back out on the field with his John Jay teammates.
After missing three games due to a torn ligament in his thumb, the senior returned and rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in top-seeded John Jay’s 45-20 rout of eighth-seeded Our Lady of Lourdes in the Section 1 Class AA quarterfinals on Oct. 25.
“Getting back out there meant the world to me,” said Miraglia, who was playing with a cast on his left arm. “All the support from friends, family and teammates was a huge boost after the devastating injury. I was just happy to be able to suit up and stand with the team.”
Miraglia and senior quarterback Luke Mercer combined for 412 yards of offense. Mercer rushed for 154 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries.
Unbeaten John Jay (8-0) started the scoring spree when backup quarterback Nick Giardina launched a 37-yard pass to Mercer down the right sideline. He went out of bounds at the 3-yard line but ran it in on the next play to make it 7-0 with 8:47 left in the first quarter.
A fake punt which Mercer ran into Lourdes territory set up the next score. Miraglia raced into the end zone around the right edge for a 10-yard touchdown to make it 13-0 with 4.1 seconds left in the first.
Ryan Brennan snagged an interception on a screen pass and Miraglia scored again on the next play, this time from 21 yards out. His touchdown made it 19-0 just 19 seconds into the second quarter.
“The biggest thing was to come out playing fast and execute a well made game plan,” Miraglia said. “We knew they were a strong team and that we had to play hard if we wanted to win.”
Jon Connelly’s (8 carries, 61 yards) 4-yard touchdown run extended the lead to 26-0 with 4:56 to go in the first half. His score was set up after senior lineman Shane Martinsen grabbed a botched punt and returned it to the 4.
“The whole team was super focused going into the game,” Martinsen said. “We just wanted to execute and do what we’ve been doing all season. Our tempo and our ability to run the ball really got us out to our big lead.”
Mercer added a 25-yard touchdown rush on their next possession to extend the lead to 33-0.
Lourdes’ offense couldn’t find much traction, especially in the first half. John Jay forced five three-and-outs in the first 24 minutes.
“Our front six has done a really good job of stopping the run this season and we did that against Lourdes,” Martinsen said. “We wanted to shut down the run game and not let them just push us down the field. We tried to make them beat us with the pass.”
Mercer added two touchdown runs in the second half.
The defending Section 1 champions will host fifth-seeded Yorktown in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1.
“It’s going to be a long week of preparation, we have a lot things to work on,” Miraglia said. “Yorktown is very strong program with a lot of great athletes. We’re all excited for what should be a great game.”
“We’re all super excited,” he said. “They’re our rival and a really good team. You live for these types of games, We’re all just ready to go.”