Fort Hamilton

Fort Hamilton looks to recapture football glory days

September 5, 2014 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sharif Legree’s older brother Jeffrey Legree helped Fort Hamilton win back-to-back championships eight years ago and now he wants to return the Bay Ridge school back to its former glory.
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Sharif Legree grew up on the sidelines of Fort Hamilton and watched its glory days when his brother, Jeffrey Legree, helped the school win back-to-back city championships.

That was nearly 10 years ago. Over the past two seasons, the Tigers have paled in comparison to those teams, but Legree and his team think that he’s the perfect person to return Fort Hamilton to glory.

“I have pictures of Sharif on the wall in my offense from when he was a little kid,” Fort Hamilton’s head coach Danny Perez said. “Now he’s grown and he’s a key cog of our offense. Having him at the helm is very exciting because he’s such a good leader.”

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Despite Fort Hamilton’s last place finish a season ago, many Tigers expressed optimism for the coming season. They may have lost their final four games last year, but they still believe they have the pieces in place to win another city title.

More than any other year in recent history there is excitement at Fort Hamilton because, despite the fact that it finished last season on a four-game losing streak, the Tigers feel that they have the pieces in place to win another city title.

“We really want to restore it because over the last two years, we really haven’t been playing Fort Hamilton football,” said senior Devon Watts. “This year we want to bring a championship back because everybody in the city things we’re gone and we want to show them that Fort Hamilton is still here.

“This is the year to do it too because we have had a lot of guys playing together for four years, we have that right mix of players and chemistry. This is it. This will be special.”

Legree was one of the top quarterbacks in Brooklyn as a sophomore last season and after a winter of working out, he’s bigger, faster and thinks he’s ready to lead the team.

“I feel very confident— my footwork has been better, my arm strength has improved, we’re working together as a team,” Legree said. “This could be a championship offense. I’m not trying to brag. We have the potential.”

Fort Hamilton might just have all the right players at the right positions. Two-way players Michael Brooks and Juan Tejada are returning, as is receiver Mohammad Masoud and safety Devon Watts. Sophomore Seba Nekhet excelled in a few positions as well.

“Our offense is really balanced,” Brooks said. “It’s not like we only run the ball or only pass the ball. We can do both it’s evened out.”

With so many players returning at the skill positions, the only real question mark at Fort Hamilton are its offensive and defensive lines after so many of those players graduated.

“Our offensive line is rebuilding,” Brooks admitted. “They have worked worked really hard in the offseason and up in camp. They have looked good so far and in the scrimmage against JFK they looked really good. The offensive line coach has done a good job working with them and they should be much improved this year.”

If they can get that line going then things might click into place for the Tigers. Perez said he would like to see the team learn from their mistakes last year after splitting their first eight games.

“We got our heads gassed too much and when that happened we felt like we didn’t have to work as hard and started slacking here and there,” Tejada admitted. “When that happens where you start slacking in practice, you play bad in games too. We’re motivated, though, because that really hurt and nobody wants to go through that again.”

The Tigers will once again have its work cut out for them as they have one of the toughest schedules in the city as they open their season against Curtis, Clinton and Tottenville, three of the top teams in their respective boroughs, and then finish against Erasmus Hall and Lincoln in their final weeks. So they’d better be ready.

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