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For talented Campus Magnet, an important season waits

When Eric Barnett took over at Campus Magnet three years ago, he envisioned a day when the Cambria Heights school could boast the best public school program in the borough. That day, some say, has come quicker than expected.
Despite losing one game via forfeit, the Bulldogs went 5-4 last year, and reached the Bowl Division playoffs. This fall they have loftier goals.
They return their top two players - quarterback/safety Datalia Holness and 6-foot-5 wide receiver/linebacker Stephan Benjamin - and have added several other talented performers.
The only reason Barnett did not push to move up to the PSAL’s highest level of competition was they do not have the size up front.
“This is a real important season for the program,” he said. “I don’t think we will have this much talent on the field anytime soon after this year. This is what we built up for when we first came into the school. We had a three-year plan. Everybody is ready to flourish. We’re going to stay consistent and be good, but this team is bananas.”
It will feature of pair of lightning quick runners in Anthony Roberts and Will Bradley in addition to 6-foot-3 St. Francis Prep transfer Jason Weston. Benjamin, who caught six touchdown passes as a junior, 6-foot Jonathan Achab Syms, and Weston will team with Holness to stretch the field. The defense will be anchored by 6-foot-2, 220-pound lineman Paulson Maxime and linebackers Neakale Moreno and Martin Thomas.
When asked for one particular player to watch, Barnett could not pick one out. There was obviously Holness and Benjamin, but the running backs have come on strong, too, as has Maxime.
“We’re just like the New England Patriots when they were introduced at the Super Bowl and the whole team walked out,” he said.
Now, it is time to win like them.
Barnett and his players are quietly confident. They have worked and worked since the end of last season with this year in mind. They feel they are Queens’ best. “We know we are,” Holness said, cautioning, “we have to prove it.”
“I know what everyone is thinking,” Barnett said. “We’re pretty talented, I have some scholarship ballplayers, but it has to show on the field.”
“We want to go to the championship - that’s our goal,” Holness added.

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