Fort Hamilton 26 New Utrecht 24
“This is the battle for .500 today,” said Fort Hamilton Head Coach Dan Perez as the 2-3 visiting Tigers warmed up at host (2-3) New Utrecht, but the game was never an “open and shut” contest for Fort Hamilton as New Utrecht traded four touchdowns with the Tigers down to the very last minute of the game.
After stopping an opening New Utrecht drive, the Tigers scored first as Varsity rookie sophomore Nick Wynter (six carries for 81 yards and one TD) started for the banged-up senior running back Troy Booker and drove 45 yards into the end zone.
The Utes countered after quarterback Miquin Davis gained 40 yards and pushed a one-yard keeper across the goal line to tie the score at 6-6 to end the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Tigers stopped the Utes’ next scoring attempt as Lifneyah Prescott recovered a bouncing New Utrecht fumble to set up Fort Hamilton’s next scoring drive. Driving down to the New Utrecht four-yard line, a scrambling Seba Nekhet (five of six passes for 52 yards and one TD) on fourth down found a leaping Jemar Hamilton (two catches for 15 yards and one TD) at the back of the end zone, followed by a Booker two-point conversion run that put the Tigers ahead 14-6 at the half.
Fort Hamilton opened the second half with a an early score as Nekhet (nine carries for 38 yards and one TD) swept to the left sideline for a 21-yard touchdown to go ahead of New Utrecht 20-6.
Continuously using running back Dan Barrow to fuel their ground attack, Davis managed to bring the Utes down to the 25-yard line where he surprised the Tigers with a handoff to Kevin Gutierrez who cruised down the sideline to cut the Fort Hamilton lead to 20-12 to end the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Utes forced a Fort Hamilton fumble at the 24-yard line that was followed by an immediate 15-yard slash into the end zone by Barrow to bring New Utrecht within reach of the Tigers, 20-18.
After playing the game mainly on defense, Booker (four carries for 70 yards and one TD) returned to his usual running back position to give the Tigers a much-needed score on a 45-yard run to put Fort Hamilton a little further ahead, 26-18.
Down but not out with two minutes left, the Utes put together their final drive as Barrow continued to chew up yardage until he scored for a second time on a 20-yard rush, narrowing the score to 26-24.
Facing overtime if New Utrecht’s two-point conversion was successful for a tie, the Tigers dug in at the three-yard and stopped Barrow’s final attempt to score when Joshua Porter pulled down the Utes’ leading rusher from behind the line to preserve Fort Hamilton’s narrow 26-24 win.
On stopping Barrow’s two-point attempt to tie the game, Booker commented, “We all came together to stop the two. If we’d gone into overtime, it would have been a battle and very ugly.”
The 3-3 Tigers take on the Red Devils of Flushing on Saturday, October 22 for Fort Hamilton’s last home game of the regular season.