Clinton edges Fort Hamilton despite Brooks’ best effort
After injuring his shoulder during August training camp, Michael Brooks returned to the Fort Hamilton Varsity after being medically cleared on Wednesday for the Tigers’ home opener against visiting DeWitt Clinton Governors from the Bronx. With just three days of practice under his belt, Brooks carried the team throughout the game to keep pace with a high-performing Clinton team.
Instead of his usual position at running back, Brooks was eased back onto the team playing only in the defensive backfield and on the kickoff team, a move that the talented senior played in to his team’s advantage.
Normally, if a returning injured player simply contributes, that’s more than a coach could ask for, but Michael Brooks exceeded all expectations scoring two long touchdowns along with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
After Clinton scored first, Brooks took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards right up the middle following his blockers for the Tigers’ first score of the game. Clinton answered by chewing up yardage on a long drive to score again, making it 14-6 in favor of the Governors. Before the end of first quarter, Clinton threatened to score again until Jermaine Garner forced a fumble that Brooks recovered to stop the Governors’ scoring attempt.
Driving downfield again, Clinton opened the second quarter with another touchdown to put Fort Hamilton in a hole at 22-6. Regrouping on offense, Tiger quarterback Sharif Legree responded with a drive that saw Nekhet Seba gather in a 30-yard pass to cut the score to 22-14.
With the Governors threatening again inside the 20-yard line with 12 seconds left in the second quarter, Brooks intercepted a Clinton pass at the goal line for a 100-yard touchdown return that put the Tigers back into game, trailing 22-20 at the half.
The Tigers’ momentum carried into the third quarter as Keyshaun Robinson took a 25-yard pass play into the end zone to put the Tigers ahead of Clinton, 28-22. With Clinton on the move for another score, Brooks again upset the Governors’ drive with another inception at the goal line that he returned to midfield.
In the fourth quarter, the Governors took back the momentum and drove down field to the five-yard line where the Tiger defense chased the Clinton quarterback out of the pocket to force a fumble. But as quickly as the ball bounced out of Brandon Harris’ hand, Chauncey Murray was there to run the high bounce into the end zone to put the Governors up 30-28.
The Tigers launched one last drive on several carries by Troy Booker that eventually fizzled at the 20-yard line. After the Tigers brought the ball down to the 30-yard line on a punt exchange with two minutes left to go, Fort Hamilton finally surrendered the ball on downs to end the game to one of the better teams from the Bronx thus far this season.
Commenting on his team’s performance, Brooks stated, “I proud of my team, they really worked hard today; our 0-2 record doesn’t define this team.
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