Heartbroken Seahorses Lose In Title Game
Far Rockaway made the journey to the championship game and they were only one touchdown away from extending their football campaign in overtime against George Washington. But their title dreams would be dashed on the Midwood Field turf.
QB Daniel Marc Sears' pass intended for WR Jevaughn Pinnock was intercepted by defensive back Chayanne Hidalgo at the Trojans 5-yard line, which gave George Washington a 20- 14 championship victory in overtime.
It was an emotional ending once the final whistle blew. George Washington (10-1) had avenged a season opening 38-8 loss to Far Rockaway (9-2).
The Seahorses had tied the game after being 14 points down in the fourth quarter. But their late comeback fell a few yards short.
Several Far Rockaway players dropped to the floor saddened and distraught.
A few players had loudly questioned the pass play, which was the first play for the Seahorses in overtime after Hildadgo, the Trojans starting quarterback, had scored on a 1-yard touchdown to make it 20-14.
Hildago had hurt the Seahorses all day by scoring three touchdowns on a gimpy right knee. He was inserted by Trojans coach Fred Caprista at defensive back to replace the injured Brandon Garcia, who had rushed for 157 yards on the Seahorses defense. Garcia broke through the Seahorses line for 157 yards on offense until reportedly breaking his left foot in the overtime.
Sears looked for Pinnock across the middle of the field after a play action fake to RB Gregory Ibe. Hildago stepped in front of the pass, which was thrown into double coverage, and made the game-winning interception.
Seahorses coach Walt Wilkerson understood the frustrating emotions the Seahorses had felt after the game.
Some players expressed their feelings that Ibe, the Seahorses' top runningback, who had scored two touchdowns on receptions, should have gotten the ball in the overtime.
But the actions some of the players displayed by screaming their discontent and throwing their helmets on to the turf, were examples of a lack of sportsmanship that Wilkerson didn't want to happen.
PSAL officials excused them from participating in any post-game activities scheduled for after the game.
"They're upset about the outcome of the game. It's understandable," Wilkerson said.
The Far Rockaway coach had said the play action fake was one of the most successful plays they had in the playbook. He doesn't regret goign to call which had worked all season.
"We lost only one game this season so its really hard for them. I wasn't too pleased with the way they acting. I understand and feel their pain. I'm upset too. It was a great game and the scene afterwards wasn't the right way to act."
Sears was one of the many Seahorses who fell to the ground and took the loss as hard as anyone. The senior quarterback had been crucial in throwing two touchdown passes Ibe, who broke two tackles in his 29-yard touchdown catch and run with 10:36 left in regulation to tie the game at 14.
"I made the decision and trusted my receiver to go up and get the pass," Sears said. "On my behalf, I think I did a bad pass and it was my fault."
Far Rockaway had done a tremendous job in adjusting to playing in a new division after suffering from consecutive seasons which they went 2-7.
"Our shirt said it was a season to remember. Last year, 2-7; the year before 2-7, and this year 9-2. Despite coming up short in the championship, we had a hell of a great year," Wilkerson said.
As the players trudged back to the school bus, Wilkerson sought out Sears, who with tears streamed across his face, tried to apologize to his coach.
With the Q train overhead rumbling, Wilkerson hugged Sears and said "Don't be sorry. You helped get us here." It wasn't the ending the Seahorses were looking for.