Tigers crush Clinton to gain fifth playoff seed

Fort Hamilton 46 Clinton 14

It wasn’t the shutout that the Tigers were hoping for, but nonetheless Fort Hamilton pulled off a convincing win to beat Clinton to earn fifth place in the PSAL’ s City Conference, ending the season with an 8-2 record – the best since 2011.

Although the Tigers ventured to the Bronx ready to take on a traditionally tough opponent, the Governors shocked Fort Hamilton on the opening kickoff when Michael Santos ran the ball 65 yards down the sideline for a lightning-quick score.

Unfazed by the immediate 6-0 Clinton lead, the Tigers went to work as quarterback Connor Fitzsimons (10-11 for 134 yards) began two scoring drives that sent Troy Booker (eight carries for 87 yards) into the end zone twice, first on a five-yard rush and then on a forty-yard rush that put Fort Hamilton ahead 16-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Ahmed Ashraf’s interception over the middle quickly gave the ball back to the Tigers that set up a one-yard score by Noah Solano (12 carries for 52 yards). On the next Fort Hamilton series, Keyshaun Robinson (five catches for 75 yards) pulled down a 35-yard pass just short of the goal line at the one as Seba Nekhet followed with another one-yard score to put the Tigers up by a commanding lead of 32-6 at the half.

In the third quarter, Nekhet (six carries for 75 yards and four catches for 54 yards) followed with his second score of the game on a 30-yard sweep into the end zone to put the game out of reach of Clinton by the score of 40-6. Looking to make a last ditch effort to at least get some double digits on the board, the Governors made a push into the Fort Hamilton Red Zone that the Tigers managed to repel at the 10-yard line on four straight downs.

Starting a series deep in their own territory, the Tigers allowed the Governors’ only score from scrimmage when Fitzsimons fumbled the snap that the Governors converted for their second score of the game at 40-14. Not wanting to see another Clinton score, defensive captain Jayson Magnani plucked an errant Clinton pass for an interception at his own 40-yard line and made a return to the Clinton eighteen.

From the 18-yard line, it was junior Yousef Shehabbadin’s time to contribute for his first touchdown of the season, as he pounded the ball on three carries to score finally on a three-yard rush into the end zone for the final score of 46-14.

On the win that allowed 8-2 Fort Hamilton to jump ahead to a fifth seed for next week’s playoffs, Nekhet commented, “Clinton came out quick today to take the lead and we had to play four-quarter football to make our comeback.” Still looking for the team’s eighth shutout of the season, Nekhet added, “We’re looking for another shutout. We have to come out even stronger for the playoffs and put even more points on the board.”

Fort Hamilton will have its opportunity to go for that eighth shutout win next week when the Tigers host New Utrecht in the first of three playoff rounds.

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