BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - They call themselves the Chunky Boys because Holy Spirit High School's five starting linemen say, "Big is beautiful."
Seniors Rocco Tabasso and Vinny Jiacopello, and juniors Nico D'Angelo, Dom Lafragola and Joe Bodenlos quietly lead the Holy Spirit offense every week. Those five give enough time for Joe Callahan to make his throws and provide enough space and leverage for Donta Pollock and Nigel Jones to get their yards on the ground.
"We feel like we're the leaders," center and school president Lafragola said. "They're following us."
The Chunky Boys led the top team in The Press Elite 11 to a 34-7 victory over host St. Augustine Prep on Friday night. Pollock had 189 rushing yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns and Jones had 75 yards on 11 carries with a pair of touchdowns.
"It's great to have running backs like that," Jiacopello said. "If you make a mistake, they pick you up."
Jiacopello never had a chance to finish that. The Chunky Boys are so close and understand each other so well, they finish each other's sentences.
"Because we're like family here," Tabasso said.
These guys are anything but quiet off the field, though, especially when they're eating their $9.99 all-you-can-eat pasta bowls at the Olive Garden.
They are loud, tall and big, ranging between 6-foot to 6-4, and from 258 pounds to 274. D'Angelo came up with the Chunky Boys nickname.
So what if they are bigger than everyone else? That's what they wanted to let everyone know with their nickname. They are embracing their size.
"Sometimes people think being overweight is a bad thing and think we're fat," D'Angelo said. "We're not fat. We're chunky. It means big and strong."
Their strength and size was apparent through the night as they led the way for Pollock and Jones.
Jones started with the bulk of the work on the ground for Holy Spirit, getting the first six carries. He scored on a 13-yard run with just more than a minute left in the first quarter to make it 7-0.
St. Augustine came back on the next drive with good field position. The big play for the Hermits came when freshman quarterback Joe Gatto hit sophomore Justyce Politt for 29 yards. Junior John Barillo took the ball the remaining 3 yards to tie the game at 7-7.
From there, however, it was all Pollock.
The Holy Spirit junior broke tackles and ran over Hermit defenders.
He set up the next touchdown when he broke five tackles, twisting and turning for a 59-yard run. On the next play, Jones took it 11 yards for a 14-7 lead.
The Spartans' two running backs are dynamic, but they have different characteristics, of which the offensive line is aware. But they don't change their game much based on who gets the ball.
"Nigel likes to pop to the outside at times," D'Angelo said. "Donta is more of a north-to-south runner. But that doesn't change what we have to do."
Pollock set himself up for the next two scores. On a 32-yard run in the second quarter, he was hit at the line of scrimmage but stayed up and found an opening cleared by his line. He ran through it and went 32 yards before being taken down. The next 5 yards for the touchdown were a little easier.
He was then methodical and took chunks of time out of the clock the rest of the way.
Even though Pollock and Jones were getting the high-fives at the end, the Chunky Boys weren't too worried about getting the glory.
The five of them walked off the field together as they patted each other on the backs and made jokes. Nothing but smiles for these guys as they greeted their parents before they got back on the bus to head back to Absecon.
"We're like brothers," Bodenlos said. "We're that close."
Contact Susan Lulgjuraj:
Holy Spirit 7 13 7 7 - 34
St. Augustine Prep 0 7 0 0 - 7
HS-Jones 13 run (Worthington kick)
SA-Barillo 1 run (Gough kick)
HS-Jones 11 run (Worthington kick)
HS-Pollock 5 run (kick failed)
HS-Pollock 8 run (Worthington kick)
HS-Beck 42 pass from Callahan (Worthington kick)
TEAM STATISTICS HS SA
First downs 5 6
Rushing 255 4
Passing 87 37
Turnovers 1 1
Penalties 16-90 7-83
Rushing-Holy Spirit, Callahan 2- (-10), Pollock 19-189, Jones 11-75, Rassman 2- 1. St. Augustine Prep, Kunze 4-14, Barillo 15-28, Gatto 3- (-25), Pollitt 1-0, Gerald 3-(-10), Deal 1-(-3).
Passing-Holy Spirit, Callahan: 6-11-0-87, Hehre 0-1-0-0. St. Augustine Prep, Gatto 4-12-1-37.
Receiving-Holy Spirit, Sarnese 2-20, Beck 3-54, Rubino 1-13. St. Augustine Prep, Gerald 2-8, Pollitt 1-29, Barillo 1-0.
Records-Spirit 8-0, Prep 2-6.