By Joseph Staszewski
Campus Magnet coach Eric Barnet has never questioned the talent of his current roster, calling it one of the best he’s had in recent years. He is, however, beginning to wonder after a second straight loss if this group has the intangibles to succeed.
“My last two years’ teams weren’t as talented as these guys,” Barnet said. “These guys are talented. It’s just that everybody is waiting for the next guy. They don’t want to be the guy. When you get that, you lose.”
The Bulldogs were outmuscled in a 36-20 loss to host DeWitt Clinton in PSAL City Conference football last Saturday, a week after falling to Midwood 20-6. Campus Magnet missed a chance to recover a fumble inside the 5-yard line on Clinton’s opening drive and played from behind the rest of the way.
“We all need to have a hunger mentality,” said senior reciever Bryan Mariner. “That’s what coach preaches. We can’t have two or three guys. We need everybody.”
The game comes after a tough two weeks for the team. Defensive coordinator Rufus Dunton’s mother died last week and the funeral was held Monday. Barnet’s 80-year-old mom had a bad fall and suffered a spinal injury. Barnet thought the program had weathered through it. Senior Bryan Mariner called it very emotional, but not the reason for the loss.
“That’s still no excuse for the way we played on the field,” he said.
Mariner, who compiled 134 yards of total offense, did his best to rally his team after it fell behind 14-0 with 6:59 to play in the second quarter. On the next play, he connected with quarterback Que Ran Mosby for a 58-yard touchdown over the middle to make the score 14-6. Mariner later ran a kickoff back 65 yards for a score to pull the Bulldogs within 28-20 midway through the third quarter. Jesuaha Darnell added a scoring run and Mosby threw for 130 yards.
“Every game, I try to put the team on my back,” Mariner. “I’m a senior. I’ve been on varsity for four years. Coach says it is my time.”
Despite Mariner’s efforts, the Bulldogs couldn’t stop Edward Nunez and the Clinton running game. The Governors senior carried the ball 16 times for 234 physical yards and three scores, including two of 50 yards or more. Clinton quarterback Dashown Wilson Jr. also scored twice.
Nunez’s final scoring scamper put the game away, just one play after Mariner’s kickoff-return touchdown. He ran through the initial tackler, made one cut and went for a 55-yard score that put Clinton ahead 36-20 with 3:25 to play in the third. Campus Magnet saw its next drive stall at the Governors 16-yard line.
Campus Magnet knows it needs to get things right in a hurry as it enters the meat of its schedule. The Bulldogs host unbeaten Tottenville next week, and then face Grand Street and South Shore on the road.
“We should have beaten Midwood. We should have beaten this team [Clinton],” Barnet said. “Now were are going into our juggernaut schedule.”