By Jerry Del Priore
No one would blame the Canarsie Chiefs for celebrating as if they won the Super Bowl after beating Brooklyn Tech, 23-22, on an extra point kick, in overtime, sealing a thrilling comeback win Saturday at home in a City Division affair.
After all, it has been a tough season for the young, inexperienced Chiefs, and head coach Kyle Allen said this type of victory was a sign of mental growth for the program.
“We’re still growing, we’re still maturing, and I think this was a growing up game,” an elated Allen said. “But people stepped up in big situations, and lo and behold, we won the game on a kick at the end. When does that happen around here? This just made this team grow up.”
Canarsie (2-6) had to battle adversity all game, including numerous penalties and a key injury to star running back Johnny Watson. But it went away when junior quarterback Eric Anderson connected with sophomore Adisa Isaac on a 17-yard touchdown completion to tie the score at 22 in overtime.
Allen sang the praises of Anderson, Isaac and senior Tyleek Lowe for their clutch performances.
“When Johnny got hurt, Tyleek stepped up big,” he said. “Adisa made a big, big play when we needed him to, and Eric Anderson played his behind off. I’m so proud of them.”
Expecting the ball, Isaac mentally readied himself for a trip to the end zone, twisting his ankle after the score.
“I knew I was going to get the ball before the play started, so I just prepared myself,” Isaac said. “I couldn’t let my team down, so I had to make sure I got that touchdown.”
Penalties plagued the Chiefs all game long, including an 80-yard touchdown reception by Watson, which was called back on their first offense play of the tilt. The flags didn’t cease from there; every big play seemed to be negated by a penalty, according to Allen.
However, Canarsie found a way to triumph in the end.
“Even though we got jerked a few times,” the fifth-year coach said, “we just fought through it.”
The Engineers (2-6) drew first blood on a three-yard rushing score, followed by a successful two-point conversion pass with 0:45 seconds left in the first half for an 8-0 lead.
Running back Lowe put Canarsie on the scoreboard on a short running touchdown, and Anderson knotted the game at 8-8 on the ensuing 2-point conversion rush with 1:50 remaining in the third period.
Brooklyn Tech, however, surged ahead again with a running touchdown and two-point pass play for 16-8 advantage midway through the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs refused to back down, though. With Watson on the sidelines with a leg injury, they marched down the gridiron and eliminated the deficit at 16-16 on another Lowe score and a 2-point conversion with a little over two minutes left in the affair.
The game wouldn’t go without a measure of controversy. The Engineers moved the ball down field, near the goal line, and seemingly scored to put the tilt away. But Allen repeatedly called timeout before the snap without being granted one. Admitting the mistake, the referees negated the touchdown and replayed the down.
Up to the challenge, the Chiefs’ defense stuffed the run on the final play of regulation, forcing overtime.
Brooklyn Tech scored on its first possession, but missed the 2-point conversion. Refusing to let the game get away, Canarsie came through when it mattered most, igniting joyous pandemonium on its own home turf.
A big reason for the win was Anderson, who said his confidence was low at times during the season. But his performance and the victory will do a world of good for his self-assurance going forward.
“Today was a game I built my confidence back up,” said Anderson, who completed five of 19 passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. “I’m ready to keep going and carry the team.”
Lowe ran for a season-high 120 yards on nine touches with a score and had a touchdown reception as well. Isaac led the Chiefs’ defense with eight tackles (two for a loss) and a sack.
Canarsie concludes the regular season Saturday at noon at Old Boys & Girls High School Field.