Dolphins Win Battle of the Rockaway Peninsula
The Beach Channel vs. Far Rockaway football game was a microcosm of Beach Channel’s season. There were ups and downs but it was the fortitude of Beach Channel (5-4) that led them to clinch a playoff spot with an 18-14 win at home last Sunday. Even with the loss, Far Rockaway made the playoffs with a 5-4 record.
The first play of the game foretold the hard times ahead for Beach Channel. Kamel Cosgrove’s kickoff touchdown return to begin the game was called back on a clipping play. That began a series of plays that could have clipped the Dolphins chances for a winning season and a playoff berth.
A fantastic one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone by Far Rockaway WR Leon Grant led to their first score at 6-0. It was Beach Channel’s Cosgrove who would eventually prove to be the one of the difference makers for Beach Channel.
On the next series, QB Cosgrove ran an inside draw for a 44 yard touchdown run and outraced 3 Seahorses to tie the score at 6-6. Cosgrove’s running and throwing ability stymied the Seahorses defense all day. Cosgrove who took over for starting QB Luis Santana in the middle of the season due to injury, threw for 108 yards and ran for 110 yards and scored two touchdowns.
"We took it one game at a time. We knew we had to win today and let the playoff thing speak for itself", said Cosgrove. "It’s for the bragging rights of the Rockaways. It’s a big game. We had to handle our responsibility".
Down 14-6, Beach Channel had played well but missed opportunities with penalties and mistakes to get the lead. The Dolphins would not waste any chances of winning the ballgame as they came out fired up in the second half.
With a high scoring Far Rockaway bogged down, the Dolphins capitalized with Tyrelle Johnson scoring a 6 yard touchdown run to make it 14-12 at 4:12 in the third. Far Rockaway fumbled as Santana, returning from an injury to play defense, recovered at the Seahorses 36 yard line. Cosgrove scored his second touchdown of the game and the Dolphins defense held the lead for victory.
"We just didn’t play well. One thing and two things change and the momentum changes", said Seahorses head coach Les Sabbah. "In the last four weeks, we have not come out to play 48 minutes. We got a lot of regrouping to do".
Dolphins’ first year head coach Victor Nazario’s goals were met with a winning season and a playoff berth even if everything hasn’t been smooth getting there. "There were ups, downs, emotional swings, a few screwups, but we fixed it", said Nazario. "The kids have been dealing with a lot of adversity all year long. They’re not new to it".
The players, who gave Nazario a Gatorade bath at the end of the game, were just as emotional as Nazario in hugging and crying tears of joy in winning the game. "I wanted to maintain a positive swing on the whole things. It would be easy for me to get upset but I didn’t want to take that approach", Nazario said. "We threw the ball more and we got the running game going. Regardless of what happens, I didn’t want my seniors going out with a losing season".
Before Sunday’s game, the Dolphins stood 19th in the final 16-team playoff standings. After the game, the PSAL informed the Dolphins that they were seeded 14th and will be on the road in a rematch against undefeated #3 seed Lincoln (8-0) this Saturday at noon. The second game of the season saw Beach Channel lose a close game to Lincoln 14-7.
The loss for Far Rockaway continued their swandive in the standings. Once a top 5 team in the city, the Seahorses backed into the playoffs with a #16 seed and will have their hands full against #1 Tottenville (8-0) in Staten Island on Saturday at noon. Tottenville has outscored their last four opponents, 155-49.