Engineers that could: Tech wins wild, 2-OT affair with Jefferson

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The season was just about over for Brooklyn Tech. The Engineers hung tough for four quarters and an overtime period, but were going to fall short again to Thomas Jefferson.

Facing a 4th-and-18 and down six points, there was no possible way they could convert. Quarterback Kevi Shyti found Babatunde Adeyemi for a long gain, but he was still short of the marker. It was going to be the final play of Tech’s season.

But Adeyemi dug deep, spun away from defenders and dived forward to somehow earn his team the first down. A few plays later, James Gales rushed for a touchdown and went in for the 2-point conversion and No. 11 Brooklyn Tech pulled off an incredible, 30-28 win over sixth-seeded Thomas Jefferson in the first round of the PSAL City Championship playoffs Saturday afternoon at Moe Finkelstein Field.

“He’s staring at his season being over right there,” coach Kyle McKenna said of Adeyemi. “We talked a lot this week about extending the season. That play was like, ‘we’re not going anywhere yet. We’re still here.’ We knew when we got that first down, anything is possible.”

The first time Brooklyn Tech (6-4) met Jefferson (7-3), it was another wild affair with the Orange Wave scoring a late touchdown to win 40-38. This game even topped that in terms of drama. McKenna said both teams were absolutely gassed by the time the second overtime came around. Afterward, players from both sides exchanged pleasantries.

“It was definitely one of the wilder games as a player or coach that I’ve been a part of,” he said. “I’m gonna sleep like a baby tonight because I’m so drained. They played their hearts out. … It was like eight-plus quarters of a heavyweight fight between those two teams. Everybody had a great deal of respect for everyone on each team.”

Gales started the scoring for Brooklyn Tech and Shyti got in on a quarterback sneak in regulation. But Jefferson was able to respond to both touchdowns. Shyti hit Adeyemi for a score in the first overtime and the game could have been over then, but the Orange Wave refused to quit.

After Jefferson scored to start the second overtime, Adeyemi put together his heroics and Gales, the emerging superstar sophomore, completed the remarkable victory. Brooklyn Tech will now travel to No. 2 Fort Hamilton for the quarterfinals next weekend. The victory marks McKenna’s first postseason win.

“Words can’t describe how good it feels,” the second-year coach said. “It’s a group effort. I’m happy for the program. I’m happy that the program is where it is today. … We’re real happy to still be in the mix.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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