By Joseph Staszewski
The attitude and season’s direction changed quickly at Campus Magnet.
The Bulldogs football team lost its first five games a year ago and this season appeared heading in a similar direction early after four defeats. Tired of losing and with some patience from Coach Eric Barnet, the Bulldogs have now won three straight after a 14-0 victory over visiting Port Richmond in a PSAL City Conference game Saturday. Campus Magnet is letting its play on the field do the talking now,
“We changed our whole mindset,” senior running back Roy Harvey said. “Before everybody used to talk to he talk. Now we are getting it together. We go harder in practice. We stay focused.”
Defensive lineman Kadeem Charles didn’t take his eye off the ball either after Justin Burns knocked it loose from Port Richmond quarterback Antonio Cotton. He scooped it up and returned it 10-yards for a touchdown. Que Ruan Mosby completed the 2-point conversion pass to Christopher Venture and Campus Magnet took an 8-0 lead with 3:18 to go in the first quarter. It was the first fumble return for a score of Charles’ career.
“I was excited,” he said. “Maybe coach will throw me a fullback.”
The play was the highlight during a stellar day from the Bulldogs defense. The closest Port Richmond (2-5) came to scoring was when it reached the Campus Magnet 34-yard line in the third quarter. The Bulldogs (3-4) recorded six sacks, including two from Burns.
The junior defense end was later carted off the field after suffering a back injury in the closing seconds of the third quarter. His teammates hope it isn’t serious because of how important he is to them.
“He’s one of the toughest pieces of our team,” Charles said.
Campus Magnet made it tougher on itself offensively. Three high snaps, including two in the first quarter, kept points off the board. They pushed past them and Bryan Mariner’s 3-yard touchdown run capped a 14-play, 84-yard drive that put the Bulldogs up 14-0 with 1:25 to go in the first half and send them into the locker room with a bounce in their step. Harvey carried the ball 19 times for 136 yards and Mosby completed 45 of 10 passes for 52 yards.
Barnet praised his seniors for the turnaround and a chance to make the playoffs. Charles’ temper got him suspended for two games and the coach had a long talk with Harvey after the team fell to 0-4.
“I’m proud of them for buying in,” Barnett said. “It’s not like I haven’t been pulling teeth with these guys.”
Three of their four losses are to some of the league’s top teams in Lincoln, South Shore and Clinton. The Bulldogs hope their three-game winning streak finally grabs them some attention and respect.
“By the end of the season Campus Magnet will be known,” Harvey said. “Three in a row. We are getting the ball rolling.”