It was a contrast of two halves for August Martin Football, as it fell behind, 30-6, in the first half in its PSAL non-league B Conference game against the Golden Eagles.
While the Falcons played better in the second half, scoring two touchdowns, it was not enough, as they went down in defeat, 30-12, to host Springfield Gardens (2-3) Saturday afternoon.
Head coach Kyle Allen said a young August Martin (1-3) team has been experiencing growing pains–with a few players still out due to suspensions–usually getting off to a slow start. But he said he is hoping things will change for the better when the Falcons are fully loaded, while playoff hopes are still alive.
“It was one of those games, tale of two halves,” Allen said. “We got started slow. Offensively, we tried a few new things, and it took a little time to get going. Defensively, we’re still missing people, and that’s really hurting us. The secondary is really hurting because we’re missing our best two defenders (Jared Alexader and Hunter Gardner) who now playing at Beach Chanell. So, that makes it harder. We got a lot of young kids out there. The good thing is they’re learning.
“But we’re still alive if we win both of our last two games,” he continued. “If we win one of them, we might be in depending on everything else. We still have a heartbeat; we still have a pulse.”
The Golden Eagles jumped out to an 8-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Springfield Gardens senior running back Orlando McClean, a track star who won the 100-meter race in Queens last year, found the end zone on a 31-yard touchdown run, followed by a successful two-point pass for a 16-0 advantage late in the first period.
The Golden Eagles went up 24 points after a 50-yard TD rush and a successful two-point play late in the first half.
Junior E.J. Salazar picked off the ball and nearly returned it to the house. But a Springfield Gardens player caught him from behind inside the 20-yard line to keep August Martin off the scoreboard and ended the half.
Needing an offensive infusion, Allen inserted 6-foot-6, 320-pound senior Audari Rookwood to spark the team. He proceeded to rush for a big gain, with a penalty tacked on, helping August Martin to advance to three-yard line.
Running back Richard Thomas II capped the drive on a three-yard running score to cut the deficit to 24-6 late in the third period.
For Golden Eagles head coach Charles Yarborough, he said the team went back to the fundamentals of the game as well as carring out the plays well to get the victory.
“We just really relied on our offensive line; we have a veteran offensive line, with three seniors,” Yarborough explained. “We stuck to the basics, nothing special. Run the stuff that we’ve been running all year. The difference is we have been struggling with it, and today they were able to execute really well. A lot of things we were practicing offensively and defensively, the tackling, the blocking, being in position, they executed.”
After August Martin scored, the Golden Eagles responded with a 57-yard TD rush to make it 30-6 at the end of the third quarter.
The Falcons marched down the field, and Rookwood, a Jamaican native, caught the ball at the one-yard line and rumbled into the end zone for a five-yard score to decrease the lead 30-12.
Junior running back Gio Faulkner rushed for a team best 103 yards on 19 carries while Thomas had 13 yards on three touches and a TD. Rookwood carried the ball for 27 yards on four touches, plus had two receptions for 13 yards a score. Salazar made three tackles and had interception.
August Martin will face host George Washington on Sunday at noon.
— Jerry Del Priore