Shaw Sends Far Rock To Second Round
Far Rockaway was clinging on to a 27-21 lead in the fourth quarter and with their playoff lives hanging in the balance at Erasmus Hall Campus last Sunday, one of their youngest members pulled off a veteran play that saved the season.
Michael Shaw, a 14 year old sophomore, received a kickoff at the 15 yard line, ran across the field and raced down the sidelines in a thrilling 85 yard kickoff return that gave Far Rockaway a 33-21 victory.
They’ll advance to the semifinals of the PSAL Bowl playoffs at Brooklyn Tech on Sunday, which will start at 12 p.m.
“I was hungry. I saw one of my blocks and the man coming after me and I just keep running and running,” Shaw said as he described the kickoff return.
If one play can decide a game, Shaw’s electrifying kickoff return did just that. In a season which began ominously at 0-2, the Seahorses improved their record to 7-3 and will play another week.
Shaw, who also recorded two interceptions on defense and returned one for a 35 yard touchdown to make the score 27-0, believes that the turning point of the season was after their Week 8 loss to Bayside. The Seahorses were defeated 35-14 and broke a five game winning streak.
“We had our ups and downs. We had to get back up and win.”
The Seahorses had jumped off to 27-0 lead in the second quarter and seemed on their way to cruise to victory. Far Rockaway‘s offense consisting of mix of seniors and first year starters came together to play their best half of the season.
Senior RB Jeremy Pruitt snatched quarterback Balkar Singh pass over the middle and rumbled for a 50 yard play to the Erasmus Hall 21 yard line. First year player Steven Flake got open up the middle and caught a 20 yard pass on third down to make it 6-0. In the Seahorses second series, Singh once again found Pruitt on a crossing pattern up the middle for a 30 yard touchdown run to make it 14-0. Pruitt continued his impressive day by making the Erasmus Hall defense stumble on a spin move to finish off a 37 yard run to increase the lead to 21-0. Pruitt is more than happy to be advancing to the second round.
“It feels very good. We haven’t gone past the first round in a long time,” the senior captain said.
“We still represent Queens and lot of teams from Brooklyn has been bounced out. I’m enjoying this. It doesn’t matter where we are. I’m just glad to be part of it.”
Erasmus Hall cut the lead to 28-14 with 10:01 in the fourth quarter on a Sheriff Makun four yard touchdown. After a three and out series by the Seahorses, a special teams breakdown allowed Makun to block a punt and return the ball to five yard line. QB Quintin Sumpter dived in for a one yard score to decrease the lead to 27-21 but Erasmus Hall’ comeback was foiled by Shaw’s late game heroics.
“There were some breakdowns in the second half but all that matter is that we got the win,” head coach Anthony Miele said after the game.
Shaw comes out of nowhere on a kickoff. He just turned 14 the other day and he goes back 85 yards and he looked pretty good at it.”
Miele knows there still has a lot to worked on to beat a tough defensive team in Brooklyn Tech. The Engineers only lost 13-6 to Bayside and held a high scoring South Shore offense to 14 points.
But he’s confident that his young teams, which start 10 sophomores and juniors in key positions, will come out and compete.
“It feels great. We still got a lot to work on mentally and physically as a team. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t perfect. In the second half, frustration started to happen but that’s what happens in a football game. But as coaches and players, we’re getting better every week,” the second year head coach said
“I’m proud of our guys. I can’t remember the last situation that we’ve gone this far. We’re a playoff team. For our program, this is good place for us. This is a big win for our program.”