Bayside Romps Over Seahorses For Best In Queens
In three seasons on the varsity level, Bayside runningback Jovan Leacock has never felt the sting of a loss against a Queens team. Season after season, teams have felt the sting from a powerful Commodores’ squad.
This year, it’s been a tough stretch for Bayside as they’ve lost to five of the best teams in the city, which gave them a 3-4 record. Far Rockaway has emerged as the top team in Queens with five consecutive victories and shot up past their rival for a 5-2 record coming into the game.
But before the Seahorses could stamp themselves as the best, Leacock and his teammates made a powerful statement that they’re still the team to beat.
Leacock rushed for 2 touchdowns and caught a TD pass from QB Luis Toro as Bayside crushed Far Rockaway 35-14 last Saturday at FRHS.
“We didn’t act like they wasn’t a good team. They played their hearts out today and they have a better record us and they played harder,” Leacock said.
“People got to understand we played 5 of the top 6 teams in the city. We didn’t lose to any cupcakes teams. We lost close games. Queens is ours. We showed today that it’s ours.”
Bayside dominated physically on both sides of the ball and their experience overwhelmed Far Rockaway. For one quarter, the Seahorses were up to the task when Jeremy Pruitt took the handoff and threw a 63 yard option pass to a streaking Steven Flake to tie the game at 7.
Starting in the second quarter, Bayside rediscovered that the best way to win was to display their running game, which rushed for more than 200 yards.
FB Richie Parker displayed his toughness when he bowled over three Far Rockay defenders and plowed in the end zone with a 31 yard touchdown run for a 14-7 lead.
The Seahorses could not get their profitable running game of Karl Allwood and Jeremy Pruitt on track and their lack of success began to frustrate them. On a few occasions, the defense lost their mental focus by arguing with one another in plain sight of head coach Anthony Miele.
When Bayside didn’t unleash their running game, which also featured Jon Morrison gaining 100 yards, they went to the air. Toro made up for his two prior interceptions in the game and found Leacock on a 38 yard fade pattern for a touchdown to make it 21-7 just as the half expired.
It was a huge blow and eroded the Seahorses’ confidence in the second half. Though Jeremy Pruitt would muscle his way to make a 20 yard touchdown catch late in the third, the score was only cut to 28-14. And by then, Far Rockaway’s chances of a comeback were all but over.
Miele had spoken prior to the game that the Seahorses would have to click on all cylinders to have a chance to beat them. He isn’t disappointed the loss but in the performance of his team. “They were bigger, stronger and they beat us up. In the first half, we self destructed. We needed to play inside ourselves and work harder,” Miele said after the game.
“They got great athletes. I wasn’t shocked what happened. I just wish we didn’t self destruct. I was more upset that we lost it mentally in the first half.”
The win turned around Bayside’s chances to advance to the city championship. A victory gave them a 4-4 record and moved them up to the 14th spot out of 16 teams who will play for the PSAL city championship. The result also changes Far Rockaway’s playoff hopes. Before the game, they were in the sixteenth and final playoff spot to participate in the city championship. Now, they are 5-3 and are on the outside looking in at 19th place.
With a win in Sunday’s last regular season game at home against Campus Magnet (1 p.m.), Far Rockaway could be in either the city championship or the newly created PSAL Bowl playoffs.
Miele has said all year that his team wants to qualify for the championship playoffs but they must take care of business first. Once they win, then the Seahorses can make some calls and find out their fate at the end of the day.
“We did the best we could do but they were the better team. We knew what we were getting into today. Bayside is the better team in Queens plain and simple,” Miele said.