South Shore’s season ended last Saturday with a 34–14 loss to Flushing in the opening round of the playoffs, but the Vikings’ 2014 champaign still exceeded most expectations.
After two straight Bowl Conference titles, the Vikings moved up to the Public School Athletic League’s top-tier City Conference this season and posted a 7–4 record. That record is a validation to Vikings coach Matt Ciquera, as was the team’s victory against local rival Canarsie.
“I had coaches telling me we weren’t going to win one game when we moved up,” said Ciquera. “That it’s a whole different story than the Bowl division. But we were able to come out and win seven-out-of-ten games, win the Battle of the Flatlands and bring that trophy back to South Shore.”
Nov. 15 was the second time No. 10-seeded South Shore faced No. 7 Flushing this season, and it was a very different game from the game three weeks ago where the Queens school won 41–14 after a week of internal turmoil for the Vikings.
“The kids responded today,” Ciquera said. “It started when [Flushing] beat us the first time. The two weeks leading up to this game, they were on point. They were focusing and listening to the coaches in practice. I think that’s a big reason why we were able to put up a much better fight this time around.”
Going into halftime with the score tied 14–14, it looked as if South Shore and Flushing would be neck and neck all afternoon. But gradually Flushing was able to capitalize on some Vikings miscues after the break.
“We were in the game,” Ciquera said. “Ironically, special teams, which have been one of our strengths this season, had two plays that really hurt us. Outside of a couple of plays here and there, we could have been in this game until the final second.”
The first quarter was a hard-fought defensive battle as Flushing was able to score only once for a 6–0 lead that would last until the beginning of the second quarter when both offensives started to open things up.
South Shore saw sophomore quarterback Jason Martin drop back and throw a dart to junior receiver Michael Watson, which he tipped in the air to himself, for a 42-yard completion. Martin would follow that up with a 17-yard touchdown pass to senior Kamauley Steadmen to tie the score at 6–6.
Martin and his offense couldn’t capitalize on two-straight Flushing turnovers. He threw an interception midway through the second quarter that resulted in score for Flushing that put it ahead 14–6.
Martin drove his team right back down the field however as he hooked up with junior Omar Jarrett for an 18-yard touchdown. The game went into the half with a tie score.
The second half was where things went south for South Shore. They gave up 20 unanswered points to Flushing, 14 of which came off special teams turnovers.
This was the final game for a South Shore senior group that hadn’t ended the season with a loss in the two previous years, and helped bring the program back to the top division in the Public School Athletic League.
“These guys, through their hard work, have brought us up all the way from the Cup division to the Championship division in just four years time,” Ciquera said. “I don’t know if that’s ever been done. These guys definitely have a special place in my heart. They worked really hard to bring the program to where it is today.”
Fort Hamilton 28, New Utrecht 6: Troy Booker carried the ball 15 times for 114 yards and a touchdown for No. 8 Fort Hamilton (7–4). Michael Brooks added a score on the ground and Seba Nekhet caught a touchdown pass from Sharif Harris. The Tigers visit top-seeded Erasmus at noon on Saturday in the quarterfinals. No. 9 New Utrecht finishes 6–5.
Franklin Roosevelt 34, Grady 20: Kaseem Morrison (170 yards) and Tristin Thomas combined for 188 yards and a touchdown each on the ground for No. 2 FDR (9–2). Morrison also tossed a 68-yard touchdown pass to Thomas. Ishmail Muhammed made nine tackles, including two sacks. The Cougars face No. 4 Bayside at noon on Sunday at Midwood Athletic Complex in the Bowl Conference semifinals. No. 7 Grady finishes 6–4.
Eagle Academy II 28, East Harlem Pride 14: Du Sean Barnett posted 128 yards of total offense and had a passing and rushing touchdown for No. 2 Eagle Academy II (10–1). Claude McCammon and Ramell Redd combined for 165 yards on the ground and a score each. Turin Heath added a 35-yard touchdown reception and Jamal Trotman made 10 tackles. Eagle takes on No. 8 Stevenson at noon on Sunday at Boys & Girls in the Cup Conference semifinals.