Dolphins Get Picked Off By Storming Cougars
It was a big play, but as the Dolphins lead increased to 14-8 on Saturday, the visiting team at New Utrecht High School's football field wasn't performing on all cylinders. And that worried Beach Channel coach Victor Nazario, who knew there was plenty of time for the home team to make a comeback if his team didn't fix their mistakes.
FDR had enough time, especially on the next series, to make the Dolphins play. Mario Johnson's 68-yard interception touchdown return with 2:40 in the third quarter opened the floodgates. The Cougars went on to complete a 24-point turnaround in the second half and easily won in the PSAL Bowl Division opener, 32- 14.
Beach Channel heard plenty of talk throughout the preseason that they were one of the title favorites in a revamped Level 3 PSAL Bowl Division.
"Poor tackling and sloppy play," Nazario said.Our rally cry the rest of the year is Remember FDR. Whenever they are walking around and think its ok to miss a block, miss a tackle or miss a practice, it isn't."
The Cougars' defense recorded four interceptions and two sacks in total for the game. Dolphins QB Patrick Burrello's was hit by an FDR linebacker and his pass was deflected and picked off by Johnson, as he ran untouched to give the Cougars a 16-14 lead.
Burrello was replaced in the next series by backup Darryl Sanford, but he wasn't as effective. Sanford replaced Burrello in the fourth quarter and his pass intended for Wayne Harris was picked off by DB Bryon Joseph at the FDR 28-yard line and returned to the 47-yard line to end the rally.
The Cougars used six minutes of the clock on offense to drive down the field and score on RB Oscar Key's two-yard touchdown. Joseph, who was also playing quarterback, ran up the middle to convert the two-point conversion as FDR took a commanding 24-14 lead with 5:26 left.
The Beach Channel running game was effective only in the first half as they took a 12-8 lead. RB Jahleek Austin ran for a 51-yard touchdown run and Turran Rhodes completed a 15-yard touchdown run with 2:00 left in the first half.
The loss may turn out to be a blessing in disguise according to Nazario. The Dolphins head coach knows his team just can't step on the field and expect to win based on reputation alone.
When they play at Long Island City High School (0- 1) on Saturday (11 a.m.), Nazario expects his players to perform to the expectations that befit a title contender. He still has that belief.
"If you give a good team too much field position you're going to be beat," said Nazario. "If we play the way we're capable of, we win that game.
"Even after watching the film, I will say the better team won that day but I still won't say they are the better team. If we play FDR three times, I like to think we win two of them. That's my attitude."