By Marc Raimondi
Jim DeSantis didn’t find validation in his team’s 16-12 loss to Lincoln at home Friday.
Yes, his Flushing football team is in its first season as a Level 5 squad just five years removed from being a developmental program. And sure the Red Devils hung in — and even had a chance to win — against one of the PSAL’s flagship programs. But DeSantis denied it being symbolic.
“We knew we [belonged] anyway,” the coach said. “We don’t want that to be our barometer. We felt like we could beat this team today.”
Flushing (2-1) came close.
Talbor Campbell blocked a Lincoln punt late in the third quarter and, on the next play, sophomore Andrew King bulled his way into the end zone from three yards out. His two-point conversion attempt was no good, leaving the score at 8-6 in favor of Lincoln (2-1).
On the Railsplitters’ next drive, though, running back Doug Butler took over. He followed two solid gains with a 42-yard touchdown run as time expired in the third. Lincoln quarterback Andrew Vital ran it in for the two-point conversion to make it 16-6.
Flushing defensive lineman Jason Bromley, who is being recruited by Stony Brook, UConn and Rutgers, was beside himself after the touchdown run because he was taken out earlier due to cramps.
“I felt like I could have helped or something,” Bromley said.
The Red Devils came back with a 91-yard drive late in the fourth quarter that was capped with a one-yard touchdown dive by King. Jordan Beranger and Deon Frazier, who alternated at quarterback throughout the game, were integral on that possession, making one big play after another.
Lincoln recovered the on-side kick, though, and ran out the clock.
What hurt Flushing was its stagnant offense, especially in the first half. DeSantis admitted to using King perhaps too little. The Railsplitters were able to move the ball on the Red Devils’ defense, but Flushing was stout in the red zone. Jhaleel Mozie picked off Vital at the goal line on Lincoln’s first possession of the second half.
The final score actually came down to Lincoln just having two more two-point conversions than Flushing. O’Connor said there was no doubt the Red Devils deserved to be a Level 5 team. Wins against middling programs Columbus and James Madison to start the season still left question marks. It’s hard to doubt it now.
“We hung in there,” Bromley said, “and we proved that we belong here.”
Reach Marc Raimondi at email@example.com.