2007-11-02 / Sports

Seahorses Saddened as Rules Give Forfeit Win To Bulldogs

By Elio Velez

Far Rockaway Seahorses defensive back Patrick Hernandez (#2) gives his teammates instructions during a timeout. Photo By Peter Borriello. Far Rockaway Seahorses defensive back Patrick Hernandez (#2) gives his teammates instructions during a timeout. Photo By Peter Borriello. Far Rockaway was up 14-0 in the fourth quarter at home against Long Island City last Saturday afternoon, when one play changed the outcome of two teams.

The Seahorses had just celebrated what would have been their third touchdown of the game on Garick Bailey's 29 yard touchdown midway through the quarter.

But the score, and most importantly, Far Rockaway's victory, disappeared when offensive lineman Earl Armstrong was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty during the would-be touchdown, and then ejected from the game.

The ejection left Far Rockaway one player short of the mandatory 18 players that a PSAL team needs to compete with. The referees convened at midfield and then gave Long Island City a forfeit victory.

Far Rockaway's five-game losing streak decreased their record to 2-6, as their final game against Beach Channel at home takes place on Sunday at 11 a.m.

The referees said Armstrong, who was playing left guard, had allegedly kicked a Long Island City defensive player on the ground while the apparent Far Rockaway touchdown score was taking place.

But the Far Rockaway senior player contends that he did not commit that cruel act.

"I blocked him and he twisted up on my ankle. I was just trying to shake him off," a visibly shaken Armstrong said after the game.

Far Rockaway had beaten a Long Island City that had twice the number of players than their opponents.

The Seahorses had taken an 8-0 lead when defensive back Dashawn Williamson intercepted and returned a 65-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Far Rockaway''s defense made a turnover when Gregory Ibe scooped up a fumble for a 25-yard touchdown return in the third quarter to go up 14- 0. Long Island City improved to 4-4 but coach Stephen Agresti said after the game that his team was outplayed by the undermanned Seahorses. He didn't want to take a victory that would be undeserved.

Agresti admitted he would call PSAL Football Commissioner Al Arbuse and insist that Far Rockaway secure their third victory of the year.

"Let's face it; we're going to do the honorable thing," Agresti, whose team will improve to 4-4 if the forfeit is held up, said. "They outplayed us for three and half quarters and they deserved the victory."

But Agresti's plea on behalf of the Seahorses to the PSAL was denied last Sunday. Seahorses head coach Walter Wilkerson was told by the PSAL that the rules must be upheld.

"It's frustrating that we were winning a game for three quarters that we were dominating and because of a technicality in the rules, we have to take the loss," Wilkerson told the Wave.

Wilkerson doesn't believe Armstrong, who he describes a quiet and hardworking player, could have done such a malicious act.

Even though Armstrong was ejected, he won't miss his final game of his high school career against Beach Channel. But Wilkerson was sympathetic to the plight of his player.

"He was just trying to make a block. They tripped on his ankle and he was just trying to break free," Wilkerson said. "It's very frustrating for us. These kids worked very hard. They played aggressive."

Their record may be disappointing but Wilkerson doesn't have to tell his players to be hyped up for Sunday's peninsula clash.

"I feel bad for the kids. But we got to deal with it and finish up against Beach Channel. They know they don't have to be extra hyped for this rivalry. It'll be fun for them."

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