Dolphins Run Past South Bronx to Reach PSAL Title Game
But Nazario has seen the 14-year old Underwood improve on that aspect, and when it comes to playing football, Underwood has evolved into quite an impact player.
Underwood recorded a 41-yard touchdown run, and returned a 92-yard fumble for a score in the second half as first seed Beach Channel defeated No. 4 South Bronx, 24-6, to advance to the PSAL Bowl championship this Sunday at Midwood Field in Brooklyn.
“We was having the confidence that we was going to win,” Underwood said. “We came out [second half] and start blocking well. Coach was running good and smart plays and we started playing better.”
The Dolphins will seek their first ever championship against second seed Truman, who defeated August Martin 20-8, in the other semifinal matchup. The game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. following the PSAL Cup title game between McKee Staten Island Tech and Petrides.
“Diequan is a freshman who will stress us out with his decision making,” Nazario said. “He wants to handle the pressure. But at the end of the day he is a playmaker and that is what he did.”
The locker room at halftime was a busy place. Nazario told his team they had to return to basics after a shaky first half in which the visitors had the better of the play.
Then senior linebacker Demitrius Pelt, who had given the Dolphins an 8-0 lead with a 17-yard fumble return for a touchdown, urged the team to remember their early season success.
“I was like this is the time to give it all we got,” Pelt said. “I felt like it was 0-0 in the second half because I felt like we wasn’t playing like we are capable of.”
Beach Channel turned their fortunes around when Underwood intercepted Arbely Soto’s pass in the end zone on South Bronx’s first possession in the second half.
The Dolphins scrapped most of their offensive gameplan and relied heavily on the run to great effect in the second half.
On third and five at the Dolphins 46-yard line, RB Adekoyejo Odedere completed an important eight yard run that set up Underwood’s 41-yard touchdown run with 8:29 remaining in the fourth quarter as Beach Channel would take 16-6 lead.
The Dolphins defense held the scrambling Soto in check and Underwood finished the game off with a 92-yard fumble recovery with 1:47 remaining.
Beach Channel will battle an experienced Truman team, who are led by senior runningback Isayah Muller, who rushed for 166 yards last week and had 908 total yards for the season.
Nazario says his team is ready for the task to bring home the school’s first ever football trophy.
“It’s great for the program and these kids in particular. I’m just happy for them,” Nazario said after the win. “I’m enjoying this and we’ll get ready for the championship and try to win it.”