MARC MY WORDS: Klass caps stellar collegiate career with all-American status

Gridiron standout combines brain, brawn at Maritime

BY MARC MATURO

Mr. Lou Klass of Nanuet, generally energetic and enthused about almost anything in life, was especially enthused and energetic as he discussed his son Chris and his latest and perhaps final accolade in football.

An outstanding four-year starter at Maritime College, following an equally outstanding stay at Nanuet High School, Klass recently was named by USA College Football to its 2014 Division III all-American team.

Klass, a cover corner and also exceptional as a return specialist, was tabbed to the second team.

“Are you kidding!” replied the elder statesman, when asked how he felt about Klass the Younger’s recognition. “He made all-America! The best part is, his daddy couldn’t make him all-America, his coach didn’t make him all-America, he made all-America; he earned it.”

This past season, Klass – who as a budding gridder was a Rockland County Junior Pee Wee champion, losing in the regional tournament —  set the Maritime single-season record for kick return yards with 461. He also had four punt returns for 60 yards on the year. On the season, he also had a year-best 83 return yards against eventual Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) champion Husson.

As a defensive back, Klass had 28 tackles and led the ECFC with six interceptions. He broke up seven passes and also had two blocked kicks, which was good enough for second in the ECFC and 20th in all of Division III. He was a two-time ECFC Defensive Player of the Week during his senior campaign, and also accomplished a rare feat in the ECFC as a three-time all-Conference honoree.

For his career, Klass led Maritime’s all-time interceptions list with 11. He is listed among the top five in the Maritime Football Records in a variety of categories, including tied for first in fumbles recovered with four, and also tied for first in interceptions returned for touchdowns.

He also finished his career second all-time in pass breakups with 20, third in interception return yards with 67, was also tied for third in blocked kicks, and seventh in all-purpose yards at Maritime with 1,538 to his credit.

“Not bad for a kid who is 5-foot-10 and a half and 160 pounds, and could have played baseball instead at a number of colleges,” enthused Klass the Elder Statesman.

At Nanuet, Klass and teammate Greg Caneparo, who joined him at Maritime, went 12-0 in their senior season under Coach Rich Conklin before losing an absolute thriller to Hornell, 16-14, in the state championship game. Klass and Caneparo also had been teammates in Pee Wee football, along with guard J.T. Kennedy, who would attend St. Joseph’s Regional in Montvale, N.J.

Following that spectacular schoolboy season, Klass earned a starting position as a freshman at Maritime. All the Privateers did that season was go 10-0, and followed up that unbeaten season with an 8-2 record the following year.

Best of all, noted Klass the Elder Statesman, Klass the Younger did all of this in his final season despite carrying 18 credits.

“That’s a lot, especially when you’re also playing football,” said Papa Klass, understandably proud and happy for his devoted son, whose older brother Steve also played football at Nanuet HS.

“You know the best part of all this? He also made the Admiral’s List, and you need at least a 3.5 (grade-point average) to make it,” said the elder Klass. “Forget about all this other stuff.”

Then the always energetic, enthused and anecdotal Klass the Elder Statesman closed with this quickie: “He (Chris) took a (hard) hit against Mass.-Maritime in early September making one of his two interceptions. Later he said to me, ‘After that, I remember everything!’ ”

Good thing, too, because now and forever he’ll have much to remember.

SCARINCI SHARP: Senior right-hander Michael Scarinci of Nanuet, a Pearl River HS graduate, struck out three over five innings of four-hit ball and got the win as the Manhattan College baseball team blanked Fairfield University, 7-0, to complete a doubleheader sweep at Houlihan Park in the Bronx. Sophomore southpaw Joe Jacques of Shrewsbury, N.J., finished with two innings of one-hit ball. Freshman Brendan Bisset of New City, a left-handed hitting outfielder out of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., appeared in three games without a hit for the Jaspers, who went 2-3 in their first five games and travel to West Long Branch, N.J., on March 28 for a noon twin-bill against Monmouth. The Jaspers then meet Marist College on April 2 at Dutchess Stadiumm, located on Route 9D in Fishkill, at 3 p.m.

QUICK HITTERS: Sophomore Peter Sharp of Airmont has seven points on the men’s lacrosse team at Pace University in Pleasantville, which went 3-2 to start the season. The Setters are home for back-to-back games against Franklin Pierce University on March 28 at noon and Le Moyne College on April 1 at 3:30 p.m. … Freshman goalie Alissa Silvestri of Congers and freshman midfielder Angela Kelly of Garnerville are helping the women’s lacrosse team at Pace University, which went 3-3 in its first six games. Kelly, an alumna of North Rockland HS, is third on the team in scoring with 13 points while Kelly, a Clarkstown North HS graduate, is seeing most of the time in the net, with a fine 7.28 goals-against-average. Silvestri allowed five goals as a starter in a 19-10 loss at Bridgeport before being replaced. The Setters meet Saint Anselm on March 28 at the Pace Soccer field in Briarcliff. … Coach Jordan Levine of Nyack has the Mercy College men’s lacrosse team off to a sparkling 6-1 start following a 13-7 victory in Oakdale against Dowling College. The Mavericks were powered by junior Connor McLachlan of Albany with four goals. Senior midfielder Anthony Accardi of Valley Cottage has appeared in every game for Mercy, starting six. … Infielder Anthony Simon of Suffern is hitting .361 for the nationally third-ranked Cortland baseball team, which lifted its record to 14-1 with a 9-2 victory over New Paltz in Port Charlotte, Fla.  The Red Dragons head to Fredonia on March 27-28 for a three-game series, and then travel to Bradford on March 29 to meet Pitt Bradford. … Senior right-hander Bryan Greig of New City struck out nine batters as the Mercy College baseball team came up short, 3-1, against LIU Post in Dobbs Ferry. … Junior Kaitlyn Lonergan of Stony Point is the starting goaltender and senior attack Samantha Lowney of Valley Cottage ranks second in scoring on the women’s lacrosse team at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill. The Lady Spartans host the University of Findlay on March 28 at 1 p.m. at its turf field off Route 340, and then visit local rival Nyack College on April 2 at 3 p.m. … Kristen Vitale of Thiells is a junior defender on the women’s lacrosse team at Purchase College, which is off to its best start in the third year of a new program. Make it four straight to open the season for the streaking Purchase College women’s lacrosse team. The Panthers, led by Coach Francesca Levine of Nyack, ran its record to 4-0 following a 15-8 victory at home against Massachusetts College. … The New Paltz women’s tennis team lifted its record to 10-6 after defeating Bethel (Minn.) in Orlando Fla. Freshman Brittany Grandville of Tappan won in singles while Sara O’Brien of Orangeburg and Allie Starke of Binghamton won in doubles action for the Hawks, who are scheduled to meet Northwestern (Minn.) on March 27. … Junior Josh Garran of Old Tappan, N.J., was named Northeast-10 Conference Pitcher of the Week after Pace University blanked Dominican College, 3-0. Garran is joined on the Setters by starting sophomore outfielder John Kukura of New City. … Stanley Susana of St. Thomas Aquinas College was named East Coast Conference player of the week in baseball. The Cardinal Hayes HS alum is leading the Spartans with a .472 batting average, and has 10 RBI, second-best on the club.

THIS & THAT: Yankees color commentator and former big-league backstop John Flaherty of Pearl River and John Filippelli, president of production and programming for the YES Network, will join a panel discussion and question-and-answer session on March 31 from 7-9 p.m. at the Sullivan Theatre at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill. Contact professor Michael McManus at 845-398-4091 or mmcmanus@stac.edu.