By Jim Dolan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Boys High 26 Fort Hamilton 21
The fog over Fort Hamilton High School football field lifted early last Saturday morning, but not this season’s cloud that’s hovered over the winless (0-6) Tigers. Hoping to win their first game of the year on Senior Day, the Tigers saw their lead slip away in the last minute of play of a see-saw battle, as the Kangaroos of Boys High (5-1) ran three quick plays from scrimmage to score the go-ahead touchdown over a once hopeful and finally deflated Tiger team.
“Let’s finish strong today for our seniors’ last home game,” said Assistant Coach Rodney Knight after he led his team in prayer under the goal post. The Tigers remained strong until midway in the first quarter, when Boys High Najee Champagne’s hauled in a 35-yard touchdown catch for the first score of the game. Undaunted, Lynell Robinson blocked the pass for the 2-point conversion as the Tigers came roaring back with a score of their own when Isaiah Washington ran the ball in from 35 yards out. With a PAT added by Rob Fiorito, the Tigers went ahead 7-6 for a score that would hold up until halftime.
Taking possession of the ball to start the second half, the Tigers capitalized on their narrow lead as Travon Reid Segure out leaped his defender on a 10-yard catch in the end zone as Rob Fiorito’s extra point was blocked putting Fort Hamilton up 13-6. Boys High responded with Najee Champagne’s second touchdown on the day as the running back burst 20 yards up the middle to put the Kangaroos back in the mix, 13-12.
As the fourth quarter lingered on, momentum shifted to Boys High as the Kangaroos mounted a drive that saw Najee Champagne score for a third time on 5 yard run behind a wall of blockers. With a successful 2-point conversion, Boys High took a 20-13 lead with less than 2 minutes left.
On the ensuing kick off it appeared that Tiger receiver, the previously injured Michael Brooks would let the ball bounce into the end zone for a touchback. However Brooks surprised everyone when he snatched the ball out of the end zone to run the ball back 90 yards down to the Boys High 10-yard line.
With 45 seconds left the re-energized Tigers moved the ball to the 4-yard on a pass interference call and scored on a pass in the corner of the end zone to Lynell Robinson. With Tigers down by one point (20-19) and emotions running high, Head Coach Dan Perez decided to go for broke to win the game with a 2-point conversion attempt. Perez’s gamble paid off when quarterback Edwin Lee slashed across the goal line on a play action option to go ahead of Boys High 21-20.
Taking advantage of squib kick that traveled shorter than intended, the Kangaroos managed to work quickly from midfield for the go-ahead score with 38 seconds left. On the third play from scrimmage, Kangaroo quarterback Akeel Marsh scrambled out of the pocket to find a wide-open Nathan Miller in the end zone for a 30-yard pass which proved to be the back breaker for Fort Hamilton.
“Holding Erasmus to 14 points last week gave us motivation going into this week’s game against Boys High,” stated Tiger Head Coach Dan Perez. “We had the lead twice but couldn’t hold it. Little things like that bad squib kick come back to bite you. We had hopes to making the playoffs but now that’s kaput.”
Next week the 0-7 Tigers travel to play at Grand Street Campus (0-6) where they will be looking forward to possibly their first win of the season. Meanwhile in the rest of the league, Brooklyn’s 7-0 Erasmus remains tied with Staten Island’s 7-0 Tottenville for the division’s top spot.