Far Rockaway Defeats Beach Channel
“You play a team like Beach Channel and this like an Army-Navy game and the records don’t mean anything,” head coach Anthony Miele said.
The Seahorses, who finished with an overall record of 5-4, came out firing on their first possession to set the tone early in the game. WR Shiloh Brown outjumped over CB Lemonte Attles to streak down the sidelines on a 45 yard touchdown run to make it 6-0.
Brown is always confident about his ability to catch the ball.
“We were watching the film and they couldn’t hold me and I fore stated it last week that I would score over the cornerback and that’s what I did.”
The Seahorses’ Lawrence Whitehead helped out the attack with a 15 yard touchdown run to make it 18-0. He also felt the burden on finally a winning a game against their crosstown rival.
In the fourth, the Dolphins woke up and fueled optimism that they could steal a win. QB Lemonte Attles scrambled on a bootleg for a 1 yard touchdown run to narrow the score to 18-8. On the onsides kick, the Dolphins recovered and WR Valery Valembrun snatched a 16 yard touchdown to narrow the gap to 18-14. With 2:50 left in the fourth quarter, what was once thought of as an easy victory for Far Rockaway became a nailbiter. Miele noted how Beach Channel kept fighting throughout that quarter
After recovering an onside kick, Far Rockaway’s James Romain decided to end the drama. Arguably the best overall player on the team, Romain used his speed to score on a 48 yard touchdown run on the first play of scrimmage to make it 26-14.
“In the beginning of the season, I felt that it wasn’t my job to run the ball,” says Romain, who finished in the top ten in the city in rushing yardage. “But as my coach moved me, I felt more comfortable and stuck with it and now I’m shining like I never did before.”
Senior quarterback Chris Howard has been on the losing end to Beach channel in his four years on the varsity team. The win ended four years of maddening frustration.
“It was motivation. More than half of the team is seniors and this would be our final game together on this field,” Howard said. “This year we started slow, and we wanted to end this season with momentum. I did not want to lose to Beach Channel. I’ve lost all four years and I owed them big time.”
Post Game Disappointment
After the game, head coach Anthony Miele and the team waited for the phone to ring from the PSAL. In winning their final three straight games and playing one of the toughest schedules in the city, those factors should have qualified them for one of the 16 PSAL playoff spots.
The call came but it wasn’t the good news Miele wanted to hear. Far Rockaway just missed the cut by finishing seven PSAL power ranking points behind #16 seed Jamaica. A senior laden team with all-city players such as Chris Howard and Ricardo Remy will now have to stay home
The PSAL Power ranking system selects playoff teams utilizing a structure that factors in such things as head to head matchups, strength of schedule and the quality of opponent.
After the game, Miele believed that Far Rockaway would be a playoff team. Close losses to playoff bound teams as defending city champion Tottenville and Bayside along with three consecutive victories at the close of the year would make enough of a case.
Of the 16 playoff bound teams, Jamaica, George Washington, Boys and Girls, Evander Childs and Grand Street Campus played a softer overall schedule than Far Rockaway. Those teams had a power rating of three and didn’t have to face perennial playoff contenders such as Bayside, Wagner or Sheepshead Bay.
In his first year as head coach, Miele wanted to play a tougher schedule in order to make the playoffs.
“We knew with this schedule we could play with everyone. We fought a good game with Tottenville and Lehman. We were up 12-10 at halftime against Tottenville thinking we can win that game and we lost 14-2 against Lehman in a mud bowl. It showed we can play with anybody.”
“We could have taken a three type schedule and we would’ve had a 6-1 team and got blown out in the first round of the playoffs.”
Miele takes nothing away from teams such as Jamaica making the playoffs but is disgusted that his team fought through a tough schedule and did not get their reward of making the playoffs. He does not want to switch to a lesser schedule but this season’s outcome may give him something to think about during the offseason.