2008-11-07 / Sports

Beach Channel Dolphins Face Tough Travel Playoff Test

By Elio Velez

The Beach Channel Dolphins have kept to their stated goal of taking one game at a time. They haven't looked ahead and taken care of business every week throughout a successful 8- 1 regular season.

Opponents haven't figured out how to stop a potent offense from getting the football to the end zone. Beach Channel did enough to walk off the John Adams football field happy to improve to 8-1 in an 18-14 victory in the PSAL city championship regular season finale last Sunday afternoon.

This Saturday afternoon at 12 pm., the #15 seed Dolphins are about to take on an opponent in the 16-team city championship playoffs that are tougher than any team they have faced.

On the road in Staten Island against the #2 seed Curtis High School Warriors (8-1), the defending PSAL city champions are once again one of the favorites to return to the title game.

The Dolphins have heard plenty from the media and many others that they are the clear underdogs despite finishing ninth overall with 447 power points in the standings.

As a 3-rated team, Beach Channel faced only similar opponents in the regular season. The 3-rated teams like BCHS, Flushing and Thomas Jefferson Campus was reseeded and can only achieve the 14, 15 and 16th spots in the playoffs.

The 5-rated Curtis is the first opponent they'll face all season but Dolphins coach Victor Nazario is not about to change his approach that has garnered success so far.

"We could panic and think about installing a new offense, with trick plays and everything during the practice week to prepare against a 5-team," Nazario said.

"I'm not going to resort to changing anything. We're pretty confident with the system that got us here. We've seen it work many times this season so why change now."

The Dolphins know how dangerous Curtis can be. The Warriors won their first eight games before losing last week, 42-34, to #1 seed Port Richmond. Curtis is averaging 30 points a game on offense as QB Xzaviah Stone has stepped in nicely and senior RB Naykan Johnson is second in the PSAL in rushing yards with 1275.

Nazario has seen encouraging sings that his team is not about to lay down and not compete. Beach Channel will spread the football among their multidimensional rushing attack. RBs Jahleek Austin, Turran Rhodes and Jacquaan Matherson provide speed, versatility and power in the attack.

The defense, led by the 14 tackles and one sack Travis Scott recorded against John Adams, will have to contain Curtis' lighting quick offense.

The odds may be against them but Beach Channel is playing with the proverbial house money. The pressure Nazario says is on Curtis to win and fulfill the prognosticators' wishes on a potential city championship return.

"The kids don't seem to be feeling tight. We got nothing to lose. If we lose, we were supposed to lose to a better team," Nazario said. "We can't get nervous. If we execute the plays that we been successful with all season, then who the heck knows might happen." Far Rock Victory Sets Showdown In Regular Season Finale

With the PSAL Cup Division regular season coming to a close this weekend, Far Rockaway continued their winning streak in a nailbiter on the road.

The Seahorses improved to 7-1 with senior QB Marc Daniel completing all four passes for 91 yards and a touchdown in a close 22-20 victory over Springfield Gardens last Sunday afternoon.

Senior RB Gregory Ibe rushed for 110 yards on 10 carries to lead the Seahorses' ground game. WR Jevaughn Pinnock caught a touchdown pass from Daniel and Everett Harrison had five tackles on defense for Far Rockaway.

With the victory, Far Rockaway, who is in second place and with 193 power points, is assured a spot in the fourteam Cup Division playoffs that start on November 16. The Seahorses can secure a home game in the post-season with a victory at home on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. against Franklin D. Roosevelt.

It won't be an easy contest. Third place FDR, at 7-1 and with 182 power points, also need a victory to leapfrog over Far Rockaway and secure a home playoff game. Hillcrest Swoops In To Knock Out Dolphins

It as a customary habit the past three years for Dominic Stanco to prepare his Beach Channel boys soccer team for a PSAL 'B' quarterfinal playoff matchup.

Hillcrest had other ideas in their second round visit last Thursday. The Hawks upset Beach Channel's plans to advance as Joao Azevedo scored two goals in their 3-1 victory to end the Dolphins post-season.

This season, the Dolphins won their fourth straight division championship and were looking to repeat their path last season when they qualified for the PSAL 'B' title game. Hillcrest wasn't afraid to attack early on against the 20 mph winds. Hillcrest took a 2-0 lead on goals by Azeveo and Omar Edwards only ten minutes into the game.

Though Beach Channel cut the lead in the second half to 2-1 on Jose Baires' goal, Hillcrest pushed through late in the game when Azevedo scored his second of the game with few minutes remaining.

`Beach Channel will lose important players who helped them get to playoffs and the PSAL final last year before falling to John Adams. Leading goalscorer Carlos Mejia, midfielder Felix Luna and defenders Dustin Lara and Slawomir Wloch departs as a disappointed Stanco can only look on to next year to start again another playoff push.

"I think we were a little cocky starting the game by taking the wind. We can't go down 2-0 within the first ten minutes of the game," Stanco said. "We made some silly mistakes and our season is over."

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