Grand Street 26 Fort Hamilton 22
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of their football program with the return of founding coach Vince Laino, the 1-0 Fort Hamilton Tigers took on the 1-0 Grand Street Wolves in a game that was billed as an early season challenge for the Tigers. For the past two seasons, Grand Street has become a team on the rise, making it deep into the playoffs; and now has several players already committed to play in college.
Living up to their reputation as team on the rise, the Wolves scored 26 points in the second half and won on a last second touchdown pass after being held scoreless in the first half 14-0. “We saw how they were playing us and we made adjustments for the second half,” stated Grand Street Head Coach Bruce Eugene. “Kyle’s [Brisfere] catch on his fingertips was huge for us to win the game; and I don’t think that many quarterbacks in the city could have made the throws that Chris Mattocks made in the second half.”
There was no doubt that the Tigers were ready for the Grand Street challenge as both teams played to an intense scoreless first quarter. To open the second quarter, Fort Hamilton quarterback Connor Fitzsimons found Seba Nekhet on a 65-yard pass play over the middle, followed by a 12-yard roll-out pass to Keyshawn Robinson for a 14-0 lead to end the first half.
To open the second half, the Wolves held the Tigers scoreless as second string quarterback Chris Mattocks mounted a sustained air attack that resulted in two touchdowns to tie the score 14-14 at the end of the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff to start the fourth quarter, Seba Nekhet scored his second touchdown of the game as he returned the ball untouched streaking up the middle for a much-needed go-ahead touchdown to put the Tigers up by a score 22-14.
Grand Street countered with another Mattocks touchdown pass, but failed to make the two-point conversion, allowing the Tigers to maintain a tenuous 22-20 lead with four minutes left in the game.
Instead of keeping on the ground for the rest of the game, the Tigers gambled with a pass to the flat at midfield that was intercepted. Capitalizing on Fort Hamilton’s mistake, Mattocks once again brought the Wolves down to the 11-yard line on another passing series.
Although the Tigers, led by defensive captain Jayson Magnani, prevented Grand Street from scoring for three straight downs, Mattocks finally threw the closing scoring strike hitting an outstretched Kyle Brisfere at the goal line for the 26-22 go-ahead score as time ran out.
Commenting on the last-second loss, Fort Hamilton Head Coach Dan Perez stated, “We felt that the corners were biting hard on the play action and we took a shot downfield and it backfired on us. We told the kids that it takes a whole 48 minutes to win a game and they just beat us on the last play of the game. We just ran out of time.”