Wagner 36 Fort Hamilton 30
There was no question that this was an early pivotal game for Tigers to reach .500 as Co-CaptaIn Troy Booker shouted from the top of his teammates’ shoulders in the pre-game huddle, “You know what this game means to us – the difference between going 1-3 or being 2-2!”
However the recently surging 2-1 Falcons were more than ready to take on the host Tigers whom they had not faced for the last several seasons.
The Tigers put their pre-game motivation right to work on their first possession with a 50-yard keeper by quarterback Seba Nekhet, while the Falcons countered with 60-yard sweep by Arthur Stimus to end the first quarter with a 6-6 tie.
Fort Hamilton was first to get back on the board in the second quarter on a 40-yard slant into the end zone by Booker, while the Falcons countered again with a five-yard score by quarterback Matt Douyon. With the Falcons ahead 14-12, the Tigers made a final push before halftime in a drive that culminated with a 20-yard pass to Jenar Hamilton to put Fort Hamilton ahead 18-14 at the half.
Continuing to churn out the yardage in the third quarter, Booker broke free up the middle on a 48-yard run for his second score of the game to put the Tigers ahead, 24-14. Again the Falcons countered on their next possession as Derrick Edafe stunned the Tigers with a 70-yard breakaway run to cut down Fort Hamilton’s lead, 24-22.
The Falcons next forced a fumble at Fort Hamilton’s 40-yard line where quarterback Douyon engineered a quick drive to send Stimus again into the end zone on a three-yard run, allowing Wagner to take a 28-24 lead. Within the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, Fort Hamilton quickly returned with a 30-yard pass to Booker to re-take the lead at 30-24.
After the four-minute warning, the Falcons put together one last drive, which proved to be Fort Hamilton’s “backbreaker.” Not surprisingly, Stimus scored next on a 35-yard dash into the end zone for his third score of the game for a 36-30 Falcon lead.
With just 17 seconds left, the Tigers regained the ball by stopping a fourth down fake punt attempt at the 40-yard line. Consequently, Fort Hamilton’s final attempt to drive 60 yards downfield to tie the score was short circuited when the Falcons’ Stimus also made the difference on defense to intercept a tipped pass to end the game.
“We haven’t been over here to play Fort Hamilton in a real long time,” said longtime Wagner Head Coach Al Paturzo. “They gave us a real good game today. They’re a real well coached team.” However on the Fort Hamilton side, Tiger Head Coach Dan Perez saw the game differently, stating that Wagner played an opportunistic game to take advantage of number of his inexperienced team’s mistakes, especially several fumbles which led to good field position and scoring opportunities.
Next week, the 1-3 Tigers look to get back on the winning track as they take on Campus Magnet in Queens for their second road game of the season.