Canarsie 20 Fort Hamilton 14
The 5-4 seventh place Fort Hamilton Tigers hosted the 10th place 5-4 Canarsie Chiefs in this season’s first round of the 2018 PSAL playoffs at New Utrecht’s field this past Saturday in an evenly matched game of playoff hopefuls.
The Chiefs appeared to have the opening edge on the Tigers with a long drive to open the game until Javon St. John made a 30-yard interception return to set up Fort Hamilton’s first score of the game.
After Nicholas Wynter advanced the ball on a 25-yard run to the 18-yard line, Marquis Willoughby followed his offensive line over the goal line for a one-yard quarterback sneak to put Fort Hamilton up 6-0 in the first quarter.
The Chiefs bounced back in the second quarter as quarterback Nate Prophete connected with Timar Covington on a 37-yard pass play to tie the game at 6-6. Working with some quickly gained momentum, Canarsie’s Jalen Gordon darted for 40 yards to set up Lamy Constant’s one-yard rush to put the Chiefs up 12-6 at the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Tigers surged down to the 10-yard line on Wynter’s 30-yard run, as Willoughby finished the drive to tie the score 12-12 on another one-yard plunge to open the fourth quarter.
Willoughby then put the Tigers ahead 14-12 with a rollout pass to Arion Tenn for a two-point conversion to regain the lead.
Canarsie answered with another sustained drive down to the Fort Hamilton two-yard line where the Tigers made a brilliant defensive stand to stop the Chiefs on four downs.
After stopping two runs and two pass attempts, the Tigers took possession of the football dangerously deep in their own end with two minutes left in the game which proved to be their eventual downfall.
Attempting to keep the ball on the ground in order to run out the clock, the Tigers’ plan backfired when Chief defender Adisa Issac forced a fumble, allowing Jaden Farrow to make the recovery in the end zone to give Canarsie a 20-14 lead.
Deflated but not yet defeated, Willoughby quickly led the Tigers 55 yards downfield on a series of runs and short passes all the way to the 13-yard line with under a minute remaining as time finally ran out.
Addressing his emotionally drained team that just experienced an unforeseen finish to playoff elimination, Fort Hamilton Head Coach Dan Perez told his team, “I know this was a hard loss for us today. This will be the end of your football careers for some of you, but you will go on to do great things with your lives after high school and remember that football was a great part of it.”