By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
South Shore head coach Matt Ciquera and his team were a little miffed when they were not promoted to the Public School Athletic League’s highest division this season after they went 9-1 and won the Bowl championship last year. So they set out to prove a point this season that not only were the Vikings going to win back-to-back championships, but they would do it in such a convincing fashion that they couldn’t be denied a promotion to the PSAL Championship Division next year.
The Vikings completely dominated opponents this year, winning by an average score of 36-6 during a perfect 12-0 season. They beat McKee/Staten Island Tech 34-12 at Springfield Gardens on Sunday to repeat as PSAL Bowl Division champions.
“I feel we did,” Chiquera said when asked if they proved their point. “We ended up playing three games that were close games, but besides that we ended up winning the majority of our games in a pretty handled fashion.
“We were all on a mission this year, the kids worked hard from January. We were on a mission that we wanted to be (in the championship division). We won the championship and then they wouldn’t allow us to (move up). We were on that mission all year long, the kids worked really hard and I feel like we really did prove our point by winning back-to-back championships. It’s going to be tough for them to avoid moving us up next season.”
Some of Chiquera’s players were not as diplomatic as he was and said the fact that they were not promoted after last season was straight up disrespectful.
“I wasn’t happy at all,” quarterback Darrius Nichols said. “This season was a statement season. We came out the first game and just wanted to tell everyone that we are a (top) team. We can play with the top teams. We can play with E-Hall, Tottenville, and Lincoln, but they didn’t listen so we had to go out and win a championship.
“We felt extremely disrespected being left out,” Nichols added.
All of that served as great motivation for South Shore as it picked apart MSIT. Played in cold and windy conditions, senior Dupreme Robinson joked that it felt like Florida temperatures as he ran for 175 yards and four touchdowns.
“It was hot out there, I felt like I was in Florida,” Robinson said through a laugh. “I couldn’t feel my pinky for about eight minutes, but after a while you are out there running around, the adrenaline gets going and we were alright after that.”
South Shore scored early on and ran away with the game with a 34-0 lead by halftime, but the turning point of the game happened during a three-minute span about midway through the second quarter.
That series of plays started when Robinson ran the ball 15-yards to make it 18-0 with 7:54 left in the half. The following kickoff attempt was accidentally short, but South Shore’s Enoch Jemmottre covered for an onside kick. That set up a 49-yard touchdown run by Robinson with 7:35 left on the clock. 1:06 later, MSIT fumbled the ball to set up a 35-yard touchdown run by senior Equan Yunus that made it 34-0 with 5:05 left on the clock.
That’s three touchdowns on three offensive plays in under three minutes (2:49) to put the game out of reach for MSIT.
“It was great,” Ciquera said of the three-minute outbreak. “I think Dupreme scored the majority of them, just watching him today was great because as a senior it was his last game at South Shore and he was really the guy that helped turn this program around. I saw him running the football today and it looked like he could have ran through a brick wall. A couple of times it looked like he was caught up, but he broke through forearm tackles and he was gone.
“We wanted to keep feeding him the ball,” Chiquera continued. “It was very windy today, our passing game has progressed a lot from last year to this, but today was not an optimal day to throw the football. Besides, when he’s running like that you just have to feed the beast.”
South Shore has nine seniors on its roster including a number of its top players. However, Ciquera said that he expects that his team will compete right away if moved up to the PSAL Championship Division next year. He explained how the team’s core is very young and they can draw from the junior varsity team that allowed just six points during its own undefeated season.
“I’m very happy with my first three seasons and how they’ve gone, but I look forward to bigger and better things,” Ciquera said. “I look forward to going to Yankee Stadium and battling the Lincolns, the Tottenvilles, the E-Halls and that’s how we’re going to work. We don’t want to be a basement dweller, we’re going to do whatever it takes to be one of the top schools in New York City.”