By Jerry Del Priore
With Canarsie on a four-game losing streak, head coach Kyle Allen said its game against Boys & Girls was a must-win if it wanted to stay in the playoff hunt in the PSAL’s City Conference, likening it to a patient on life support.
Fortunately for the Chiefs, they were able to breathe hope into its postseason aspirations, for the time being, with a 30-14 dismantling of Boys & Girls Saturday at home.
“If we lost this, it’s pretty much tanked, and our season’s done,” Allen said after the game. “Most people already wrote us off. I told the kids, ‘We should be able to try to maximize the opportunity that we still had life,’ and they were able to do that this week.”
Things didn’t begin well for Canarsie, however, as it fumbled on its first drive, handing the Kangaroos a short field to work with. Boys & Girls (1-5) took advantage of the muff, and jumped out to a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter.
But the Chiefs (2-4) rebounded with a safety and a touchdown to take an 8-6 lead late in the first quarter.
Canarsie added a score, with the extra point, to surge ahead, 15-6, midway through the second period. But the Kangaroos bounced back with a touchdown of their own and a two-point conversion that pulled them to 15-14 of the Chiefs late in the first half.
Canarsie’s defense took matters into its own hands in the third quarter, harassing Boys & Girls quarterback Jelani Bostick Oliver at every turn, and stuffed their run game regularly as well.
The Chiefs’ constant defensive torment paid off, as Damario Spalding and Devonte Malone both registered sacks during an important drive, forcing a Kangaroos’ fourth and 50 and a punt deep in their own territory.
With field position at Boys & Girls’ 30, Canarsie moved the ball down field, capping their scoring drive on an eight-
yard rushing TD by tailback Palyte Stubbs, for a 21-14 advantage midway through the third period.
Place kicker Ralph Foreste booted an impressive 37-yard field goal that extended the Chiefs’ lead to 24-14 with 6:08 remaining in the tilt.
Up by ten points, Malone intercepted a pass, and returned it 55 yards to end the game in triumphant fashion.
After a sluggish performance out of the gate, Allen feels the senior defensive standout seems to be hitting his stride at the right time.
“In the beginning (of the season), we all got off to a slow start,” Allen said. “He wasn’t playing up to his potential, but we lit a fire underneath him.”
Malone, who was moved from defensive line to linebacker, admitted that he wasn’t playing his best early on. But he took the time to breakdown film, and worked on the linebacker role in practice all week long in order to improve his play.
“I feel I got off to slow start. I wasn’t playing up to my full potential, and I was letting down my team,” Malone said. “I just didn’t want to lose today. I feel like my team was on the line. I just played my heart out. I have been studying all week for this.”
Though two games below .500, Allen believes the Chiefs are better than their record, but knows they need to back it up with much better play, something, he said, they’re capable of when it knuckles down, and limits foolish gaffes.
“We’re a whole a lot better than our record shows, and we got to show that,” he explained. “If we play together as a team, stay focused and minimize mistakes, which we made a lot of still today, we’ll be able to win games.”
Canarsie hosts Staten Island’s Curtis Saturday at noon in a tough challenge.