- Last Updated: 4:14 AM, November 28, 2011
- Posted: 1:20 AM, November 28, 2011
It was stellar defense that kept second-seeded South Shore in the game until the unit was eventually beaten in the the last second.
A 26-yard touchdown pass from No. 1 McKee/Staten Island Tech's T.J. Ferranola to Charles D’Onigbinde was one of the only hiccups for an otherwise solid South Shore defense in a heartbreaking 20-14 loss Sunday in the PSAL Cup championship at Lincoln HS in Brooklyn.
“Just one little second killed us,” safety/wide receiver Jhamel Cohen said. “Everybody showed up and worked hard, everybody battled. We could have done a little better, but my team still fought and I’m proud of them.”
After trailing 8-6 early, Vikings quarterback Rayon Jeffrey ran in a touchdown with 28.8 seconds left in the first quarter and then ran in a two point conversion to give his team an 8-6 lead. That’s when the defense took control, not allowing the Seagulls (11-0) to reach the end zone again until the fourth quarter.
The Vikings (9-2) defense ended the first two drives for MSIT in the second quarter with a sack of Ferranola on a fourth-and-goal on South Shore’s 3-yard-line and a big interception by cornerback Joshua Atkins. MSIT would get close to the end zone on ensuing drives, but would always be shut down by the pesky and fast South Shore defense.
“I gotta start with my defensive coaches,” Vikings coach Matt Ciquera said. “They really put together a great game plan and we were successful at stopping their running game. Our guys played their assignments and did what they were supposed to do. We held them down for the most part on defense.”
With just 2:30 left in the game, the Vikings defense finally let up on an eight-play drive that culminated in a 29-yard touchdown pass from Ferranola to Phillip Ojo to give MSIT a 12-8 lead. The South Shore offense responded just three plays and 31 seconds later on a touchdown by Cohen on a 26-yard pass from Jeffrey to draw the Vikings even at 14.
They, however, didn’t have any timeouts left, and it proved to be costly on MSIT’s final drive. South Shore’s defense was on the field for a lengthy amount of time on a 10-play series that culminated in that final play. It was one of the only drives South Shore couldn’t make the stop, and it cost them the title.
“Our defense gave up a little bit,” Atkins said. “But you gotta put your best foot forward. I think we needed a breather, but we had no timeouts left. Better luck next year.”
While they lost in the Cup final, the Vikings can still be happy that they made it to the game after struggling in the Bowl last year.
“I’m very proud of our kids,” Ciquera said. “Everyone in that locker room has been working for five months to get to this date. We had the win in our grasp today and it just slipped out. We just look forward to continue to get better in the future. While it’s a little disappointing, we had a very successful season.”Follow @NYPostsports