Steven Rene plans on sending a thank you card to Campus Magnet linebacker Jhaleel Oswald sometime soon. Before Saturday’s PSAL City Championship division tilt, Oswald offered some choice words not suitable to print for the Syracuse-bound back.
Rene responded by running for 78 yards and two touchdowns in the Chiefs’ 28-12 victory in Cambria Heights.
“It turned a switch,” the senior said after Canarsie (3-2) won its second straight game. “I guess he learned a lesson %u2013 talk with your pads, not your mouth.”
Rene found pay dirt twice for the second consecutive week, but he had plenty of help from his teammates. Backup running back Andrew Stephen gained 49 yards on 10 carries, serving as a change-of-pace to keep the aggressive Bulldogs (3-2) honest. And quarterback Jarrel Turner completed 9-of-14 passes for 177 yards, threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to fullback Davon Dixon and had a touchdown run of his own.
“It’s important to be above .500,” Canarsie coach Mike Camardese said. “We got to keep winning.”
Turner set up each of Rene’s touchdown runs with long connections to wide receiver Sosha Callendar, who hauled in four receptions for 110 yards.
The 5-foot-7 senior signal-caller dedicated himself in the summer to improving. Last fall, he helplessly watched opposing defenses load up against Rene without making them pay. He worked on timing, arm strength and his pocket presence with quarterbacks coach Maurice Jones.
“I felt like I had something to prove,” he said.
Turner got Canarsie on the board with a well-designed draw from 11 yards out on its second possession. Canarsie didn’t trail the rest of the way. The Chiefs answered both Bulldogs touchdowns with scores of their own. After Campus Magnet’s Wavell Wint scored from 6 yards to make it 8-6 late in the first half, the Brooklyn squad went 79 yards in seven plays, capped by Rene’s two-yard dive.
Campus Magnet again got within one score in the third quarter, but Turner led the Chiefs on a nine-play, 68-yard jaunt. He converted two third downs and one fourth down to keep the drive alive before finding Dixon in the flat for a 6-yard touchdown.
“Last year it was stop Steven and beat the Chiefs,” he said. “I took that personal.”
“Everybody overlooks him because he’s 5-foot-7,” Camardese said of Turner. “Quarterbacks are usually 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3. But this kid can throw the ball.”
His maturation in tandem with Rene’s game-breaking ability has transformed Canarsie’s offense.
“We ran the ball when we had to run the ball, we passed the ball when we had to pass the ball,” Camardese said. “I think we have the most balanced offense in the city.”
After a slow start, Canarsie seems to be back on track. The Week 2 loss to Lincoln came as a shock, and the 30-0 beating the Chiefs took at the hands of Curtis was a wakeup call. Two wins later, the playoffs are very much in the picture.
“Once we put our mind to it,” Rene said, “there’s nothing that can stop us.”