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Garden City Defense Secures Nassau Football Title

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

November 20, 2009

The Garden City Trojans scored two rushing touchdowns in the third
quarter to defeat the Wantagh Warriors 14-0 on Saturday. The Trojans
move on to the Long Island championship game against North Babylon on
Nov. 27. (NNL video by Tim Robertson)

For the first time since 2005, the Garden City Trojans captured the Nassau County conference II title and move on to the Long Island championship next weekend.

Garden City and Wantagh locked themselves in a defensive battle in the first half, but it was Garden City and its field possession in the third quarter that turned the game in their favor.

Trojans running back Brian Fischer put his team on the board with a 30-yard scamper just two minutes into the second half. Fellow back Stephen Jahelka followed with a 2-yard run as he found the end zone untouched.

“I think we were in better shape physically, and we just wore them down,” Trojans coach Tom Flatley said after the game.

Fischer finished with 15 rushing attempts for 108 yards. The Trojans finished the game with 234 yards, all on the ground.

Garden City’s defense held Wantagh all game as the Warriors finished with 35 yards on the ground. Wantagh only drove deep twice. Once the Warriors failed on fourth down, and another the Trojans intercepted a pass at the 6-yard line.

That big interception by senior Chris Stapleford on third-and-11 kept Wantagh out of the end zone and maintained their 14-0 lead.

Wantagh senior quarterback Kyle Ambury finished the game 11-23 with 112 passing with no interceptions, and Garden City sacked him three times — all in the second half. Wantagh running back Mike Scully threw the Warriors’ lone pick.

“We got a much better pass rush in the second half that the first half, and that put pressure on them,” Flatley said.

Garden City will play North Babylon at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27, at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

‘Punch in the Face’: Hofstra Upsets No. 7 James Madison

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

October 3, 2009

Revenge, redemption and rushing.

The Hofstra Pride revenged a 56-0 drubbing against James Madison last season; redeemed itself after a 47-0 defeat two weeks ago against Richmond; and did it by rushing all over James Madison Saturday to preserve a 24-17 win in a rain-soaked CAA football affair.

“[Hofstra] played like an embarrassed football team. Their kids played hard,” Dukes coach Mickey Matthews said after the game. “They’re a better football team than what they showed against Richmond.”

Hofstra (3-2, 1-1) rushed for 154 yards on a Dukes defense that allows 133 yards a game – ranked 10th in the CAA coming into the game – and received a pair of touchdown catches from freshman tight end Dave Wilson, his first two of his career.

“Coach [Dave Cohen] put me in position to make plays, and I was right there and wide open,” Wilson said.

James Madison (2-2, 0-1) couldn’t solve Hofstra’s rushing attack, even after adjustments were made by the Dukes coaching staff.

“We couldn’t stop ’em. We threw every defense known to man at them,” said Matthews.

Hofstra quarterbacks Steve Probst and Cory Christopher rushed for 44 and 46 yards, respectively, while Everette Benjamin rushed 12 times for 58 yards to lead the Pride. It was Benjamin’s first game back after missing the past two weeks due to injury.

But it was also Hofstra’s daring offensive play calls that made a difference. On fourth down and a yard to go in the first quarter on its own 42, the Pride went for it and got a 22-yard run. Hofstra finished the game 4-5 on fourth down conversions.

“That was the whole game. We couldn’t get off the field,” said Matthews. “When did they miss one? Must’ve been sometime in pregame.”

In front of 2,751 fans, the Pride and Dukes swapped scoring possessions in the first half before a rare 47-minute weather delay due to lightning in the area sent both teams to their locker rooms with just 1:23 remaining in the first half.

When play resumed, Hofstra finished off a 15-play, 66-yard drive with a touchdown to a wide-open Wilson in the back of the end zone.

“[The defender] came right off me, I cut the out, and I was wide open. Right when I turned the ball was right there,” said Wilson, who finished with a team-high four receptions for 68 yards.

The home team’s defense also picked it up and held James Madison to an astoundingly-low 56 yards passing. Duke quarterbacks went a combined 8-14 with one interception. The majority of James Madison’s passing yards came on their last drive in a desperate attempt to tie the game. Quarterback Drew Dudzik hit Rockeed McCarter twice on the final drive for 42 yards.

“Our coaches did a great job preparing us for their different quarterbacks. [Our defense] made plays,” said defensive end Deron Mayo. The Pride had two takeaways, including a fumble recovery that led to a touchdown and an interception that led to a Hofstra field goal.

The Pride’s defense allowed 136 yards on the ground, including 127 to Dukes quarterback Justin Thorpe, who seemed to scramble at will around the Pride. Thorpe finished with a rushing touchdown as well.

Wilson said he thought the Dukes gazed too far ahead to their match-up against No.1-ranked, and CAA rival, Richmond next week.

“In my opinion they looked passed us, and we just punched them in the face and took it from them,” a grinning Probst said.

Hofstra will face Maine in the Pride’s Homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 10.