By Stephen Zitolo
Flushing had a shot at redemption against after Abraham Lincoln ended its season in lopsided fashion last season in the semifinals.
The seventh-seeded Red Devils were more competitive this time around, but five turnovers led to a 31-6 loss to the No. 2 and host Railsplitters in the PSAL City Conference football quarterfinals Saturday.
“Turnovers killed us,” Flushing coach Jim DeSantis said. “We just kept turning the ball over.”
Defending champion Lincoln (9-2) was able to jump out to an early 7-0 lead on the first possession when senior quarterback Paul Litvak hooked up with classmate Luis Rodriguez for a 15-yard touchdown. Rodriguez scored four times on the afternoon.
“We didn’t lose to any bums,” DeSantis said. “We got the score to 17-6 and had a shot at winning this thing.”
Flushing fumbled the ball on its opening drive, but luckily the Railsplitters couldn’t capitalize. The turnover bug still got to the Red Devils. Senior quarterback Terrence Chavis fumbled the ball at the 15-yard line and Lincoln would recover. This time the Railsplitters took advantage of the turnover as Rodriguez ran the ball in from two yards out for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
The Red Devils tried to get back in the game in the second quarter. They drove down to the Lincoln 29, but turned the ball over on downs. Rodriguez continued to have his way.
His 58-yard run set up Lincoln at the Flushing 13, but the Railsplitters managed just a field goal to make it 17-0.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” Chavis said. “We put ourselves in a good position and we lost the grip.”
Flushing’s defense came up huge in the third quarter. Senior Keron Hermitt grabbed an interception in the end zone and returned the ball over 100 yards to the Lincoln 1-yard line. Senior Marcus Mendez ran the ball in for a score to pull the Red Devils within 17-6. The momentum was short-lived. Rodriguez scored two more times, including a 65-yard touchdown from to put the game away.
Flushing may have lost the game, but Desantis will always have a special place in his heart for his senior class and what they accomplished the last two years.
“I love every one of those guys,” DeSantis said. “They were the reason we were here today. They worked hard throughout the whole season and did everything they were supposed to do.”