Smothered by Sheepshead Bay’s suffocating defense while the offense ran the ball down their throats, Flushing was unable to catch its breath during it 33–6 loss on Sunday in Brooklyn.
“We pressured them on both sides of the ball today,” Sheepshead Bay running back Ricardo Appleton. “It feels good to win the way we did today.”
The way Appleton played, it would be impossible not to feel good. Behind solid offensive line play, the star senior rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries, leading Sheepshead Bay.
After being handed a game MVP trophy, Appleton refused to pose for pictures by himself, insisting his offensive lineman be included in every shot, a testament to how well the men in the trenches for Sheepshead Bay (3-1) played on Sunday and in previous weeks.
“The offensive line is everything,” Appleton said. “They’re the best, I’m nothing without them.”
Observing the cheers and camera flashes, Sheepshead Bay coach Fred Snyder echoed his bruising back’s statements.
“They each know what the others lined up with them are thinking, the chemistry there is awesome,” Snyder said. “They’re brothers out there.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Sheepshead Bay’s band of brothers allowed Appleton to score untouched from two yards out five seconds into the second. After a 49-yard touchdown run by Flushing running back Andrew King, Sheepshead Bay (3-1) also had success with running backs not named Appleton, as Romerio Vincent scored from 28 yards out after multiple jukes and broken tackles with 3:16 remaining in the second quarter.
“They can’t prepare for all of us,” Appleton said of his fellow ball carriers. “If they focus or key on me, the bruiser, the next speedy guy is going to beat them.”
No matter how well Flushing prepared, they couldn’t stop Appleton at any point during the game. After running for 87 yards and a score in the first half, the 220-pounder picked up right where he left off. With 9:01 remaining in the third quarter, Appleton broke three tackles around the line of scrimmage and eluded the secondary on his way to the end zone 76 yards away, essentially sealing a win for Sheepshead Bay.
“It was a big team win today,” Snyder said. “We ran the ball well but the defense was solid all day as well.”
While the Sharks were able to score with ease, Flushing (2-2) struggled to move the ball all game long. Red Devils quarterback Jason Gonzalez found it difficult to find receivers nearly every time he dropped back to pass. The second-year starter completed only 3-of-16 pass attempts for a mere 21 yards, including an interception.
He was pressured by a swarming Sharks defensive line on nearly every drop back as if there was blood in the water, resulting in inaccurate passes. The speedy quarterback tried to make plays with his feet instead, but was held to just 47 yards on 10 carries.
“The guys studied film and the quarterback’s tendencies for sure, but they also study what’s being said about them in the media,” Snyder said. “They all love the bulletin board material and they responded today.”