By Robert Cole
A stingy Eagle II (Brooklyn) defense used penalties, turnovers, and a blustery wind to stymie the powerful Eagle III (Queens) offense during their 20-6 PSALfootball quarterfinal bowl victory at Springfield Garden High School.
Eagle III’s inability to pass the ball into strong winds that blew across the field allowed Eagle II to crowd the line of scrimmage and stop Eagle III from running the ball.
After allowing Eagle II to gain an early lead at the 8:25 mark of the first quarter, the Eagle III kick return team put the offense in good field position at their opponent’s 46-yard line. But they could not find a way to take advantage of the strong field position and punted the ball back to Eagle II.
Eagle III had another opportunity later in the first quarter, though they didn’t make it easy on themselves.
Three consecutive penalties by Eagle III disrupted their offense from advancing the ball down the field. A holding penalty erased a 15-yard run, and a personal foul call on the next play moved the ball back an additional 15 yards away. Eagle III put themselves in a manageable third down situation, but a holding penalty moved them back once again.
Despite the errors Eagle III’s Gary Newman, running out of the wildcat formation, picked up 40 yards on the ground for an improbable first down.
Eagle III eventually moved the ball down to the 10-yard line, but a holding penalty pushed them back to the 30. Another personal foul call moved them back 15 more yards, and on a fourth-and-33, Dean Parham broke away for a 32-yard run, falling one yard short of the first down marker, keeping the score at 6-0 in favor of Eagle II.
Early in the second quarter, the wind blew in Eagle III’s favor, when on a fourth down and in punt formation, a strong gust forced an errant snap, giving Eagle III another prime scoring opportunity, this time inside their opponent’s 10-yard line.
Eagle III took advantage and scored a few plays later when Newman found the end zone on a five-yard run to tie the game at 6-6 with 8:59 left to play in the first half.
The wind continued to play a prominent role in the game, as both teams experienced difficulty snapping the ball from the shotgun formation. A bad snap by Eagle III, recovered by Eagle II, led to another touchdown with 2:26 seconds left, giving the Brooklyn squad a 12-6 halftime lead..
Eagle III continued to struggle on the offensive end in the second half.
Backed up near their own goal line as a result of a penalty and their inability to move the ball on offense, Eagle III’s deficit grew to eight when Parham had trouble handling a poor snap, which resulted in a safety, expanding the Eagle II lead to 14-6.
With Eagle III continuing to experience difficulty moving their offense, the Eagle II defense continued to tighten its grip on the game, shutting out Eagle III for the half.
Eagle II scored the game’s final points on a touchdown run with 15 seconds remaining in the third quarter, making the score 20-6, which would prove to be the final.
The loss marks the end of the season for Eagle III, while Eagle II advances to the semifinals, where they will face off against No. 1 ranked Lehman in the Bronx this weekend.