By Anthony Bosco
But the team's fate was sealed a week before, when the Commodores were sunk by the Campus Magnet Bulldogs, only no one knew it for sure. Bayside's record stood at 3-5 to end the regular season, but in the world of the Public School Athletic League power points system, mathematically the team was still alive, hanging its hopes on Springfield Gardens to upset Beach Channel.
“We made our bed now we have to lie in it,” the coach said after the game Sunday, not knowing what was in the south end of the borough. “You control yourself. Three and five might not be good enough.”
As it turned out, 3-5 was not good enough, barely. The Bayside Commodores finished 17th in the PSAL power points system, one spot removed from the playoffs. Three Queens teams made the postseason, including the two teams Bayside split with in the final two weeks, Campus Magnet as the 15th seed and August Martin as the No. 9 seed. Beach Channel finished as the No. 11 seed.
Capuana knew his team dug its own grave this season, as the Commodores lost close game after close game early in the year, including three to playoff-bound teams Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn Tech and Port Richmond, all by a touchdown or less. Bayside's one blowout loss came at the hands of No. 3 ranked JFK.
“We had high expectations,” Capuana said. “We had a tough schedule, but I'm not going to make excuses. We had our chances to win every game. The kids never quit.”
Knowing their backs were against the wall, the Commodores came to play Sunday, putting up perhaps the team's best defensive effort of the season in shutting out August Martin (5-3).
But it was the Falcon defense which gave the team its first scoring opportunity of the game, when Bayside quarterback Jamel Howard was intercepted by Devon Tyson at the Commodores' 33 on the third play from scrimmage.
Anthony Pittman ran the ball for 23 yards on two carries, setting up first-and-goal from the 10. Pittman got the call again, sweeping left and running untouched into the end zone for the apparent score. An illegal block below the waist nullified the touchdown, brining the ball back out to the 18.
A holding penalty and a false start set up fourth-and-goal from the 14. Quarterback Lyle Williams connected with Jerome Arrington at the 5, where the receiver was brought down, giving the ball back to Bayside.
Neither team moved the ball effectively until Martin's first drive of the second quarter. Starting at their own 20, the Falcons went back to Pittman, who carried eight times on the drive, as Martin got down to the Bayside 21 with 46 seconds left in the first half.
On second-and-6 from the 21, Pittman went left but was caught from behind by Bayside's Aadam Glenn, who stripped the ball free. Cornerback Andre Lewis scooped up the loose pigskin in full stride and ran unmolested down the Martin sideline for the score.
A botched snap foiled Bayside's extra point attempt, but the Commodores had a 6-0 lead and were kicking off with the wind at their backs with only five seconds left before halftime.
“The defense made some big plays,” Capuana said.
Bayside received the opening kickoff of the third quarter and went on its most impressive drive of the day. Starting at their own 22, the Commodores rolled of a 16-play, 80-yard drive to the Martin 2, mostly on the running of David Coleman and Jamal Dennison. But with first-and-goal from the 4, Bayside could not punch it in, settling for a 29-yard field goal attempt by Rupert Rickards that was wide right.
Martin's last drive midway through the fourth quarter started at the team's own 37. Pittman and Stave Hazzard carried the team to the Bayside 24, but back-to-back incomplete passes gave the Commodores the ball back with time ticking down. Howard scrambled for a first down and then took a knee three times to end the game.
Pittman ran for 90 yards on 17 carries to lead Martin, while Coleman ran for 92 yards on 17 carries for Bayside.
But while Bayside may have won the game, it is Martin's season that will continue, as the Falcons will travel to take on the No. 8 Lincoln Railsplitters Saturday in the first round of the PSAL playoffs.
“If they're a playoff team, what are we?” Capuana said.
LIC 26, Far Rockaway 0. Richard Akowuah rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Andre Brand rushed for 43 yards and one touchdown and Corin Erby ran back a fake punt for a 53-yard touchdown for LIC (6-2). The Bulldogs defense combined for six sacks.
Springfield Gardens 16, Beach Channel 6. Truesun Thomas rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown and Kashaun Williams added a 48-yard touchdown run for the Golden Eagles (5-4). Beach Channel advances to the playoffs for a second straight year. The Dolphins, seeded No. 11, will head to No. 6 New Utrecht Saturday.
Bryant 20, Flushing 8. Bryan English led the way for the Owls in the Battle of Flushing Memorial Field, rushing for 124 yards on 25 carries, including two touchdowns. Bryant quarterback Jimmy Raza scored on a quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Peter Vassalakis added 115 yards on 21 carries for Bryant (2-6).
– Dylan Butler contributed to this story