Tigers squeeze down Grand Street for the win

Fort Hamilton 22 Grand Street 20

This week’s game with the 5-2 Grand Street Wolves was one of the two remaining games that Fort Hamilton Head Coach Dan Perez referred to last week as the “rough stretch” that his 4-3 Tigers would have to face before the end of the 2016 regular season.

Playing last season’s 2015 PSAL Champion Wolves on their home turf, the Tigers squeezed by for the win on a missed field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter to gain some much-needed “power points” to improve their seeding position for the upcoming playoffs.

The Wolves struck first as Darius Thompson ran a 45-yard pass play down to the one-yard line that was followed by a Chris Mattocks quarterback sneak into the end zone. On their next possession, the Tigers exploded for their first score of the game on an 80-yard run by Troy Booker to give Fort Hamilton an 8-7 edge.

Booker (11 carries, 172 yards and two TDs) exploded again on a 55-yard touchdown run as he shed Grand Street tacklers at mid field until he reached the end zone for a 16-7 Tiger lead. On a completed pass that appeared likely to cross the goal line, the Tigers stopped the Wolves’ next scoring attempt when Chance Moment dislodged the ball for Isaiah Bruce to make a fumble recovery at the seven-yard line.

Despite the Tigers’ stop of Grand Street at the seven-yard line, the Wolves came back to score late in the second quarter as Mattocks scrambled to find an open Jahquese Morris in the end zone to cut Fort Hamilton’s lead to 16-14 at the half.

The third quarter remained scoreless until Grand Street broke the game open in the fourth quarter as Omar Robinson bullied his way across the end zone to give Grand Street a 20-16 lead. Fort Hamilton came back on the ensuing possession as Tiger quarterback Seba Nekhet (10 carries, 119 yards and one TD) blasted 77 yards through the Grand Street defense to regain the lead again, 22-20.

As time ran down to the two-minute mark in the fourth quarter, Mattocks brought the Wolves down to the 10-yard line where the Tigers held Grand Street scoreless on three downs. With a chance to win the game with a field goal on fourth down, the Wolves sent in their reliable kicker Adrian Diaz who just booted the ball wide to the left to bounce off the goalpost’s left upright to preserve the Tigers’ 22-20 lead for the win.

Commenting on the win, Perez stated, “We knew that Grand Street had a great squad with some good athletes, but this wasn’t about them. We knew what we had to take care of. It seems that every time that we play them, it always comes down to the final seconds. We were lucky to come out of this one on the up side of this game.”

For his players who stayed toe-to-toe with last season’s champs, Perez added, “I’m very proud of our senior group. They’ve been getting it done despite our struggles early in the season. The seniors have been stepping up and fighting back, and our younger players are maturing now and getting better.”

Looking forward to next week, the 5-3 Tigers will finish the regular season on the road on Sunday, November 6 at Sid Luckman Field against the 7-1 Dutchmen of Erasmus, a team that will present Fort Hamilton’s toughest challenge of the 2016 season.

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