South Shore football has earned a spot in top division

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The South Shore football program has already proved that the Vikings should be moved to the league’s top division next year — regardless of its postseason outcome.

A second-straight Bowl conference city title would make it almost impossible for the Public School Athletic League to deny South Shore the promotion, but the team has already made a convincing argument on the field so far this season.

It would complete an amazing three-year turnaround under coach Matt Ciquera.

The program won just two games in 2010. The Vikings have lost just three times during Ciquera’s tenure.

Ciquera thought last year’s crown and a trip to the Cup championship game the year before would be enough to get his team into the top City conference. A strong returning nucleus was also a plus.

The league’s criteria, however, takes into account the last four seasons. So the program’s past failings prohibited them from promotion.

“I knew we were prepared to make the jump, but based off their system we weren’t,” he said. “To me, what happened three years ago, those are kids that are gone.”

The current Vikings squad is surely making a strong case. It is unbeaten through eight games and won its last three contests by a combined score of 150–14.

South Shore features three of the best players in the division in junior running back and corner Timothy Bowers, senior quarterback Darrius Nichols and senior linebacker Dupreme Robinson. Bowers, who was benched against Tilden for missing practice, has scored 18 touchdowns, running, throwing, receiving, on defense and on a kick return.

“He’s really just doing it from all angles and he seems like he’s on another level than a lot of the kids out there,” Ciquera said.

South Shore has played just one close game with its full complement players, an 8–0 win over Grady in its season opener. It’s a shame that the seniors, which include Elijah Watkins and Equan Yunus, who turned the program around, didn’t get a chance to test themselves against the city’s best teams. We will never know just how good they are against top competition.

They will have to settle for making South Shore good enough to get to that level after the season, despite not having a chance to fully enjoy the fruits of their labor.

“We were considered almost like a joke the way the team had done prior to that,” Ciquera said.

The joke now would be if they are not rightfully promoted next season.

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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