2006-05-26 / Sports

Big Plays Carry FDNY To Fun Bowl Win

By Elio Velez

The New York City Fire Department football team has gone through some changes the past few years not to mention locations with their annual Fun City Bowl game with the New York Police Department.

For the 34th annual game, the heated rivalry moved to the brand new turf field of the brand new Aviator Sports Complex at Floyd Bennett Field last Saturday afternoon. Celebrities such as actors Colin Farrell and Noah Emmerich present and the ongoing 75th anniversary of Floyd Bennett, combined to make a potentially exciting atmosphere.

On the field, the FDNY has not been treated well by their counterparts as they've lost 23 times to the NYPD. The 34th matchup was kinder to the FDNY as they made enough crucial plays to turn away their rivals 16-6 in front of an estimated 2000 people.

The FDNY was holding on to a tight 10-0 lead entering the fourth quarter when the NYPD narrowed the gap in their only scoring drive of the day. On a first and 10 from the 15 yard line, QB Randy Litrell, who was the main source of the offense in the ground and the air for the NYPD, had lots of time to sit back in the pocket.

As he scrambled to his left, the southpaw flinged the ball across his body and found wide receiver Dave Niskanen, who leaped over his defender in the end zone for the touchdown.

The exciting play cut the score to 10-6 but the missed extra point attempt was a microcosm of the lack of execution the NYPD showed for most of the afternoon. It can be debated down four points whether the NYPD's Finest shouldhave went for the onside kick. Since they did not, the ball would fall into the hands of returner Gordon Tunison at the 30 yard line. The 5 foot 8 defensive back sidestepped tacklers and found an open lane at the 50 yard line to coast to a 70 yard kickoff return and the game clinching 16-6 leads.

The NYPD tried one last gasp scoring drive and made it to the 19 yard line but FDNY safety Matt Quinn intercepted Litrell's pass in the end zone. The FDNY remained undefeated with a 4-0 record in the National Public Safety League and face the Phoenix Thunder (Police Department) in Arizona on June 10 for the league championship.

WR Andrew Brown, the 6 foot 3 FDNY wide receiver who caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter to make it 7-0 was adamant to make up for last year's loss to the NYPD.

"New field, the fans are packed and you couldn't ring this up any better. We had two great weeks of practice, we weren't antsy. We found a way to win and that's the bottom line."

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