By Jim Dolan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Fort Hamilton had been there before. Just last week, the 0-7 Tigers let the game slipped through their hands in a last minute loss to Boys High. This week the Tigers found themselves in similar straits with Grand Street at the 4-yard line on a first and ten with 10 seconds left on the clock. The difference this week was the goal line stand led by Fort Hamilton's returning safety Travon Reid Segure.
After coming back from his ACL injury in mid season, Segure provided the defensive leadership late in the game for the Tigers to earn their first eagerly anticipated win of the season. "Travon gives us the things needed to win, plus the intangibles," said Fort Hamilton Head Coach Dan Perez just two weeks ago upon Segure's return to the team. Besides making two 30-yard receptions to set up Fort Hamilton touchdowns, Segure made a crucial solo stop on Grand Street quarterback Tony Deese at the 3 yard line with 4 seconds left to save the game.
Playing to win the game from the outset, the Tigers scored quickly in the first quarter; first on a 7-yard keeper by quarterback Edwin Lee and then on a 5-yard run by Isaiah Washington to give Fort Hamilton a 12-0 lead. The Wolves broke onto the scoreboard in the second quarter when Grand Street's elusive quarterback Tony Deese scrambled down to the 10-yard line to set up Kai Bryant's touchdown run.
With Fort Hamilton leading 12-6 to begin the second half, Michael Brooks recovered a squib kick at midfield to give the Tigers the ball. The Tigers capitalized on the recovery as quarterback Edwin Lee scored on a 5-yard run as Rob Fiorito kicked what would be an all-important extra point through the uprights for a 19-6 lead.
After taking a penalty that pushed the Wolves back to the 40-yard line, Deese came right back and found Brandon Townend for a 60-yard pass play right up the middle to narrow Fort Hamilton's lead to 19-12 by the end of the third quarter. A hungry Grand Street defense then forced an Isaiah Washington fumble that the Wolves converted to another score as Desse hit Markese Elliot for a long touchdown on a 65-yard pass play. With the score 19-18, two-way player Edwin Lee made a crucial tackle as he denied Grand Street's attempt at the 2-point conversion by knocking Markese Elliot out of bounds at the 3-yard line.
A Grand Street interception late in the fourth quarter at the 35-yard line set up the Wolves for their final drive and a chance to win the game. Wasting no time Deese passed to Elliot, which brought the ball down to the 4-yard line for a first and goal. With no timeouts and seconds to work with, Deese threw an incomplete pass on first down. On second down, Deese was caught at the line by Segure, which forced the Wolves' quarterback to spike the ball on third down to stop the clock. On the last play of the game, Deese's pass sailed out of the end zone ahead of his intended receiver to the relief of the Tigers.
Commenting on Fort Hamilton's first win of the season, Coach Perez stated, "I've won many a game in my career, but none this tough. They [Grand Street] had big play potential and threw a lot on us, but never really stopped us on offense. We moved the ball pretty well today." Taking a sigh of relief, Perez added, "It's just been one of those seasons for us this year!"
Next week the 1-7 Tigers meet rival Lincoln, the 2011 PSAL champs for a game of "Friday Night Lights" at the Railsplitters' home field in Coney Island for the last game of the regular season.