It looked as if August Martin football would give A. P. Randolph a competitive PSAL non-league football game, trailing 16-8 late in the first quarter, despite missing a few players who were benched for violating undisclosed school and team rules.
But the Cougars (2-0) went on tear, outscoring the Falcons 26-8 the rest of the way, for a 42-16 victory Saturday at Harry S Truman High School Field.
Despite the commanding win, A.P. Randolph Head Coach Eric Perlowitz feels there is plenty of room for improvement. But he is not overly concerned.
“We didn’t even play well, and we took care of business,” Perlowitz said. “In my eyes, we played a little sloppy, actually. A lot of work to be done. We’re not peaking too early. So on to the league (play) now. We’re not clicking on all cylinders yet. But we’ll get there.”
Cougar senior quarterback Nate Nurse completed a touchdown pass to increase its lead to 22-8 early in the second period.
Not known to run often, Nurse bolted and trucked a few August Martin (0-2) defenders on his way to a 51-yard TD, swelling the Cougars’ advantage to 35-8 after booting the extra point midway through the second quarter.
A. P. Randolph capped its scoring on a 26-yard touchdown rush and successful point after, for a 42-8 lead with 6:20 remaining in the third period.
“He surprised me a little there,” Perlowitz said of Nurse’s long TD rush. “He’s such an underrated runner, that he’s so big and powerful, even if he gets a couple guys on him, he has the ability to take it all the way.”
Falcon junior running back Hunter Gardner, who ran for over 100 yards, hit paydirt on a 64-yard rush.
Nurse ran for 55 yards on two carries while completing two passes on two attempts for 78 yards and a score. Junior backup signal caller and Cardinal Hayes transfer Jaden Haly, who also kicked a few extra points, went three for four with two touchdowns.
Senior Zahill Campbel led the Cougar ground attack with 129 yards on seven touches and a touchdown. 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior wide receiver Siba Aboudoulaye caught two TD receptions for 78 yards.
Falcon Head Coach Kyle Allen figured that his defense would have fared better, as it was not missing much. But his D guys did not come to play, he noted.
“I was a little hopeful that we were going to fight a little harder defensively,” Allen said. “The defense didn’t even show up today. We were only missing one person on defense today.”
As it looks now, August Martin will kick off league conference action next week shorthanded, but Allen said he will coach to that factor.
“We’ll be playing our season opener with some players out again,” he said. “But it is what it is. We have some things we have to clean up, and some prices we have to pay. It’s a learning experience, and we’ll play outmanned next week. But we’ll put it together and figure it out.”
The Falcons will face Grand Street on Saturday, September 24th at noon at a yet to be determined location.
— Jerry Del Priore