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Bosco’s Corner: HS football returns to quell nerves


On a scale from one to 10, I’d have to rate the two football games I saw this weekend 10s on both accounts. The Bayside-Wagner game I witnessed Saturday and the annual Christ the King-Holy Cross battle I saw on Sunday were among the most…

By Anthony Bosco

Just in time.

On a scale from one to 10, I’d have to rate the two football games I saw this weekend 10s on both accounts. The Bayside-Wagner game I witnessed Saturday and the annual Christ the King-Holy Cross battle I saw on Sunday were among the most competitive games I can remember seeing in all my years in this humble post.

And, to be honest, they couldn’t come at a better time. With the city and nation still reeling from the attacks of Sept. 11, it felt good just to stand in the sun and watch some football.

Not often do I come across games like the two I saw this weekend, two games featuring four evenly matched teams that both went down to the wire. I could not have asked for a better antidote to all the ills of the world than walking the sidelines at the Bayside High School Athletic Field.

Now and then a plane would fly overhead, which was the only reminder for me. being a lifelong Queens resident, seeing planes fly out of flight patterns can be a tad disconcerting these days, but those distractions lasted only a moment.

Every down of both games seemed important. In the Wagner-Bayside game played Saturday, it was a story of two halves, with Wagner holding the edge in the first ,courtesy of two big plays, and Bayside taking over in the second half.

In the third quarter, Bayside pulled to within a score, 12-6, setting up one of the most dramatic conclusions to any game I have ever seen. With just one second left on the clock, Zanu Simpson found Andrew Lewis for the touchdown, tying the game at 12 with no time remaining.

Leave it to special teams to mess up a perfectly good game. Bayside should have walked off the field winners Saturday, but Simpson’s extra point missed by less than a foot just right of the posts. I couldn’t believe it.

On to overtime both teams went, but Bayside could not keep the momentum. Wagner scored on their second try from the 20 and made the two-point conversion to go up by eight. The Commodores needed another miracle, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

Voices from the crowd echoed the sentiment felt along the Bayside sidelines. It was a heartbreaking loss for coach Joe Capuana’s team, but one Bayside should certainly be able to build on.

Every year the most anticipated game for me to see is the annual St. Francis Prep-Holy Cross match-up. But as good as that storied rivalry has been over the year, Christ the King-Holy Cross is quickly catching up.

You could feel the tension on both sides of the field before the game. And that carried over to the actual play, with Holy Cross taking advantage of a still stiff Christ the King defense when Wood Aime broke free for a 77-yard touchdown on the game’s very first play.

Of course, any gain like that against a defense as tough as the Royals’ are hard to come by. And Holy Cross never truly threatened again, thanks mostly to the play of CK’s Steve Shell and Rolando Garcia.

Unfortunately, neither team generated much offense after the first series, but that too added to the game’s allure. It was a game of inches and mistakes, the last of which was made by Cross, when Shell picked off Dan Meara for a 60-yard interception returned for a touchdown. The successful two-point conversion gave CK a one-point lead it would not relinquish

All the action I saw this weekend only re-enforced my belief that regardless of what lies ahead, everything will turn out fine in the end. This country may be at a crossroads, the world may never be the same again, but, when it comes to football, especially last weekend, America seems as good as ever.

Last week was one of the more difficult I, and most of us, have ever had to endure. Everything was put on hold, from out daily routines to our long-range plans for reasons I don’t think anyone knows entirely.

When the smoke clears, I believe it is things like high school football that make it all worthwhile.

Actually, watching the Jets this weekend and following the Mets and Yankees down the stretch have also lifted some of the weight of this tragedy. And I suspect they will continue to do so in the months and years ahead.

You can count on the fact that when the Super Bowl rolls around or the NBA kicks its season into high gear, tensions around the office, on the highway and in the home will seem that much lighter. At least I hope so.

So, for the next couple of months I plan on attending every single sporting even I can. It may be my job, but it make life a heck of a lot more tolerable these days.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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