By Robert Cole
Playing under the lights for the first time this season, the Long Island City High School football team relied on its offensive explosiveness for a second-half comeback and a 36-18 victory over Mott Haven Campus, in the Bronx.
“This team never stops fighting,” head coach Joseph Houghton said. “They know the ability they have on offense and how explosive we can be with our wide receivers, our running game, and our quarterback, so we never lose hope.”
The Bulldogs looked as if they started the game in the dark, allowing a Mott Haven receiver to go uncovered for a touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage. Long Island City drove down the field to tie the score at 6-6 on a touchdown run by Austin Campbell.
After Mott Haven regained the lead at 12-6, the Bulldogs battled back when running back Brian Castro broke away for a 25-yard run. Quarterback Chris Miraba then scrambled to his right and found the end zone on the conversion attempt, giving Long Island City a 14-12 lead.
Mott Haven scored again late in the second quarter. Needing 30 yards on third down, Mott Haven connected for a 35-yard touchdown pass to give the squad an 18-14 lead heading into the half.
Trailing to start the second half, the Bulldogs came out with more focus and intensity and played a lights-out second half.
The Long Island City offense scored 22 points in the half, while the defense pitched a shutout.
The Bulldogs put together a 70-yard scoring drive on their first possession of the half, capped off by a 12-yard touchdown run by Castro. The visitors held a 20-18 lead.
Long Island City overcame a 65-yard interception return by Mott Haven’s Wilmer Rodriguez when Castro jarred the ball loose during the run. The Bulldogs recovered.
With 1:10 remaining in the quarter, they introduced their “heavy package,” giving the ball to lineman Dennis Jakubauskas for the touchdown and conversion, making the score 28-18.
The Bulldogs scored one more time in the fourth quarter on a 20-yard pass to Naseem Henderson, giving them a 36-18 advantage, which stood as the final score. With the win, the Bulldogs improve their record to 3-1.
Cardozo 36, Bryant 2: Spurned on by a strong defense, Cardozo overpowered Bryant 36-2 in PSAL Bowl division action at Flushing Field. The Judges’ defense would force two turnovers for touchdowns and constantly power into the Bryant backfield, making life miserable for the Bryant offense.
Armed with an 8-0 lead, Cardozo’s defense ended the first quarter with a strip sack. Justin Allen picked up the loose ball and returned it for a two-yard touchdown to put the Judges up 14-0. Not to be outdone, the Cardozo offense scored their second touchdown of the half on a pass from quarterback Nicholas Germanakos to Yaron Taylor, giving the Judges a 22-0 halftime lead.
Continuing their stingy ways, the Judges’ defense continued to prevent Bryant from moving the ball consistently. Meanwhile, the offense marched the ball down the field to score on a run up the middle by Christopher Taylor, increasing Cardozo’s lead to 28-0.
Rodney Gill would not allow the defense to be outdone. He recorded an interception that he returned for a touchdown that put the Judges up 36-0 in the fourth quarter.
Bryant scored late in the fourth quarter when Cardozo was flagged for assisting the runner while in their end zone, resulting in a safety.
“They played very well as a team, but they still have a lot to work on,” head coach Joseph Kaso said about his team’s performance. “They are a learning club.”
Bayside 29, Springfield Gardens 8: Bayside won the battle of unbeaten teams as the Commodores scored a 29-8 victory over Springfield Gardens. Both teams entered the game with a record of 4-0, but it was Bayside who came out on top.
Springfield Gardens took an 8-7 lead into the third quarter. However, the Commodores scored in the third to take a 15-8 lead. They tacked on two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
Tequan Evans led the way for Bayside, completing 5 of 11 passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns through the air. David Loayza caught both touchdowns and recorded 37 receiving yards. Evans was also a factor on the ground, rushing 10 times for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Rashad Wilson eclipsed 100 yards on the ground (101) on 13 carries and also scored a touchdown.
The Bayside defense shot down the Golden Eagles’ offense and kept them out of the end zone all game. The Commodores limited Springfield Gardens’ passing game as Christian Judge failed to complete a pass in three attempts. Jalanni Springer led the Golden Eagles with 47 rushing yards.
Springfield Gardens’ only touchdown came on a 65-yard kickoff return by Senai Haywood. A safety gave the Golden Eagles two more points for a total of eight.
Far Rockaway Educational Campus 34, Automotive High School 14
Susan Wagner 24, Flushing Campus 22
St. Peter’s 37, Christ the King 15