By Stephen Zitolo
The Beach Channel players will always remember their first game on their renovated field despite an ending to forget.
The Dolphins couldn’t defend their home turf in their season opener, falling 36-0 to South Shore in a PSAL City Conference football game last Saturday. It was a day two years in the making as Beach Channel got to play on their home field for the first time since Hurricane Sandy hit the area.
It is a venue the team really needed and one that was thoroughly deserved after the last two years of not having a true home field to call its own.
“The players loved being able to finally play on this new field.” Beach Channel Coach Victor Nazario said.
The inexperienced Dolphins were too sloppy to stay in the game vs. a more athletic South Shore team. The Vikings dominated the game from start to finish. It wasn’t the way Beach Channel wanted to represent themselves in front of their home fans.
“Playing on our new field was definitely bittersweet,” senior quarterback Darren Koomson said. “Sweet because we were finally on a field that we could call our own. We didn’t have that last season. It was bitter because we took our first loss.”
Koomson and his offense struggled all day. The Dolphins simply could not get anything right on the offensive side, some of this due to a lack of preparation and experience.
Beach Channel could only practice a total of two days in the week leading up to the contest. It had Monday off for Labor Day and on Tuesday the PSAL canceled all activities due to the death of Curtis football player Miles Kirkland-Thomas, who collapsed during a practice Monday on his Staten Island field.
Wednesday and Thursday were practice days and Friday was a walk-through for the game.
“We only had two days of preparation,” Nazario said. “We are a young, inexperienced team. We grew up today and we know we will be better. As long as we learned and gave 110 percent, I’m OK.”
Koomson knows his team has plenty of work ahead of them.
“It’s my job to bring this team together,” he said. “This week we have a lot of work to do. The offense starts with me.”
South Shore’s offense scored five touchdowns on the afternoon and the Dolphins allowed a punt to be blocked on their own 5-yard line that started their bad fortune.
“Special teams hurt us with that botched punt,” Nazario said. “We gave away 16 points alone in the first quarter,” Nazario said.
Beach Channel players and coaches know the talent and ability is there, they just have to be more committed to their assignments and play smart football. There is the belief that the team’s fortune will change next week.
“We go back to a full schedule this week,” Nazario said. “I have no doubt that we will be more prepared, next week will be different.”