The Prep vs. McDowell football game is always one of the most heated high school football games of the year. The past three years, however, the score of game on the field has not lived up to the hype of the rivalry. The past three years, Prep has dominated the Trojans, with the closest margin being a comfortable two touchdown win last year 24-10.
That’s why last Friday, Sept. 18, Prep players and fans found themselves in an unfamiliar situation, trailing McDowell 7-6 late in the fourth quarter. The Ramblers had been struggling on offense all game, failing to reach the end zone all game. Two field goals were all that the Ramblers had showing on the scoreboard.
Quarterback Timmy Beveridge was able to complete a clutch pass to Adam Valerio with less than a minute left, putting the Ramblers inside the 10 yard line. The Ramblers were able to get it to the one yard line and take a timeout with two seconds left. The hearts of all of the Prep fans rested in the hands—or, perhaps more accurately, on the foot—of sophomore kicker Anthony Lupo. McDowell attempted to ice him by calling timeout twice before the kick, but Anthony stayed composed and drove the ball through the uprights, giving Prep the win and continuing their recent dominance over McDowell.
It not every day a sophomore gets to be the hero of a rivalry like Prep vs. McDowell. Anthony played grade school football at St. George before coming to prep for his freshman year. He has grown increasingly close to his teammates the past two years and says it’s a brotherhood like no other.
Anthony won the starting kicker job at camp and hasn’t looked back since. He was stellar against McDowell, hitting field goals of 32, 29, and 19 yards. Along with the rest of the team, he had been nervous, especially after being down after half. His last kick was easily the biggest of his career to date, either winning the game for the Ramblers as time expired or falling one point short.
“Obviously I was a little nervous with the whole game in my hands, but it’s I kick I practice all the time and knew I could make it,” said Lupo of his game-winning kick. “I knew I would be the hero or the zero, so I just gave it all I had. The rest after [kicking it] is just a blur.” The Prep Twitter community exploded post game, tweeting high praise of the sophomore kicker. Although he didn’t have a Twitter account himself, Anthony said he heard about the support secondhand and was just in awe of the whole experience.
The first thing people typically notice about Lupo standing on the sidelines is his height. Although he stands no more then 5’3″ he has never really had a problem with his height. “I’ve dealt with playing against bigger people my whole life, and I know that I can easily hang with the rest of them,” he said.
The 2015 Prep vs. McDowell football game will be one that he remembers for the rest of his life, but as a sophomore he’s sure to have plenty more game-winners in his career. Hopefully he can help Prep continue the winning trend in the future.