Many times your highest compliments come from your opponent. This season New Utrecht coach Adam Balkan called it “spot on” when he said, “Madison has the best balanced offense and defense in the division and should win it all again,” referring to the Knights’ two previous 2018 and 2019 championships. Having lost to Madison in the 2019 Bowl Championship and in the opening game of this 2021 season, Balkan’s assessment proved to be accurate.
As the undefeated (10-0) first seed, the Madison Golden Knights hosted the second-seeded (8-2) New Dorp Central Cougars at Lincoln High School on Nov. 27 in Coney Island. New Dorp opened the game on the Madison 30-yard line and scored first on a 2-yard rush by quarterback Abdiel Gonzalez for a quick 6-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Madison immediately answered when Willensky Nicolas grabbed a bouncing ball for a 75-yard “tuck and run” that put the Knights ahead 8-6.
Not to be outdone by Madison, on New Dorp’s next possession, Anthony Luna swept 70 yards down the left sideline until he was caught at the 3-yard line. From there Luna rushed for the touchdown to put the Cougars ahead 14-8 at the end of the first quarter.
After the Madison defense held New Dorp at midfield to force a punt, the Cougars executed a perfect kick to the 1-yard line. Operating with his back to the goal line, Madison quarterback Amir Cameron met the challenge with a 99-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a 30-yard screen pass to Asim Martinez allowing Madison to retake the lead at 16-14. The Knights struck once more before the end of the second quarter on a 30-yard end zone reception by Nicolas that put Madison ahead 24-14 at the end of the half.
Once the Knights reached midfield in the third quarter, Cameron again found Nicolas for his third score on a 46-yard pass play across the middle to substantially increase Madison’s lead to 30-14. Undaunted, Gonzalez drove the Cougars down to the 2-yard line, where Anthony Luna slipped across the goal line again to narrow Madison’s lead to 30-20 to end the third quarter.
Mid-way in the fourth quarter, the Madison defense made a critical stop on downs to halt the Cougars’ final scoring attempt. Regaining the ball at New Dorp’s 48-yard line, the Knights consequently found themselves in an apparent punting situation with five yards to go on fourth down. Instead of punting, Cameron scrambled for a first down with all of his receivers covered. Advancing the ball to the 2-yard line with time winding down, Cameron finally crossed the goal line on a keeper to make the score 36-20 for the Knights’ third consecutive championship win.
“I’m so proud to be on this team,” said the Stony Brook-bound senior captain Nicolas, who scored three of his team’s five touchdowns. “For all of the things that we went through as a team, this is the outcome – three championships back-to-back-to-back.”
Just as elated was coach Tommy Salvato, who held the championship plaque high over his head exclaiming to a cheering Madison squad, “This is what we played for this season.”
In other Brooklyn high school football news, the Dutchmen of Erasmus Hall also earned a three-peat of their own defeating rival Curtis 33-26 to win the PSAL City Championship Division.