Fort Ham upends New Utrecht to advance in playoffs
Fort Hamilton 28 New Utrecht 6
Finishing the regular season with a big upset over Lincoln in the last of three road wins to make the playoffs, eight seeded 6-4 Fort Hamilton hosted ninth seeded 6-4 New Utrecht in the first round of the 2014 PSAL playoffs. In a more competitive playoff format, this season’s lower seeded (#5 – #12) teams fought it out to advance, while the first four seeded teams, #1 Erasmus (9-1); #2 Lincoln (8-2); #3 Tottenville (8-2) and #4 Clinton (9-1) all earned a bye to meet their next week’s opponent.
From the opening whistle the Tigers showed they were ready for their “second season” as Troy Booker scored on one of his patented long returns going 80 yards on the opening kickoff. New Utrecht countered with a score of their own on their first possession with a 40-yard touchdown run by Dayquan Russell to make the score 6-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Booker then followed his first quarter touchdown with a 60-yard sweep from scrimmage that opened the scoring gates for Fort Hamilton.
On the ensuing kickoff the Tigers regained possession of the ball as Jayson Magnani forced a fumble that teammate Devon Watts recovered. Riding their quickly gained momentum, Coach Dan Perez inserted Connor Fitzsimons at quarterback who led the Tigers down to 6-yard line. From the six Michael Brooks easily scored to put Fort Hamilton ahead 20-6 early in the second quarter.
As the second quarter continued, the Tigers took advantage of an errant New Utrecht snap from center that sailed into the end zone for a Fort Hamilton 2 point safety. Working from midfield, quarterback Fitzsimons wrapped up the Tigers’ scoring with 20-yard pass to Keyshaun Robinson to put Fort Hamilton up 28-6 that would stand as the final score of the game.
Looking to narrow Fort Hamilton’s lead before the half, the Utes put together one last drive that was thwarted by a Brooks interception at the 10-yard line to finish the second quarter and virtually the game, as the second half went scoreless.
When asked how he continues to be Fort Hamilton’s top scorer each week with big scoring runs along with long punt and kickoff returns, Troy Booker quipped, “I just see green grass and keep running towards it!” In addition to his “green grass” formula the speedy sophomore running back also added, “I’ve also got to give credit to my offensive linemen as well.”
On his team’s first playoff win, Head Coach Dan Perez stated it was a great experience to have a playoff game at home after starting the season with a 0-3 record. After being the road to win his last three games in convincing fashion Perez stated, “Now we’ll take it back on the road again and I’m happy to still be in it for a chance at the City Championship.”
Next week in the second round of the playoffs, the surging Tigers play the first seeded Erasmus Dutchmen, a team that Fort Hamilton nearly beat a month ago during the regular season.
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