Before the 2010 football season began, most of the talk surrounding the Garden City Trojans and their quest to defend their Long Island Championship focused on the return of two outstanding running backs, Brian Fischer and Steve Jahelka. It was assumed that the other vacated positions could be easily filled by a host of good athletes. Now, three games into the season and fresh off a stunning 26-14 loss to rival Carey that ended a 14-game winning streak, questions have developed.
In two of the three games, Garden City’s running attack has failed to generate yardage. The defense did the job against Mepham and things looked fine against Calhoun, although much of the Trojans’ rushing yardage came on Fischer’s 84-yard TD run. But last Saturday at Carey there were virtually no holes for the talented backs to run through. GC wound up with an anemic 33 yards on 21 carries. Late in the game they were forced to put the ball in the air on every down and that didn’t work either as the team completed just 12 of 32 passes for 122 yards and three interceptions.
Make no mistake, this is a talented Carey team which plays with passion and is very well coached.
Early on the Seahawks did a lot of stunting and blitzing to plug the holes that Fischer and Jahelka were seeking. Later, they rushed just three men and dropped eight in pass coverage. Despite having plenty of time to throw, Trojan quarterback Tom Gordon could not find open receivers.
When GC tried a pass off a fake quick kick, halfback Brian Fischer’s pass was picked off. That was one of five turnovers (two fumbles and three interceptions) that led to three Carey touchdowns.
“They took away our running game,” said Coach Tom Flatley. “They made us be a passing team and that’s not who we are.” Indeed, the 32 pass attempts were just one short of a school record.
The Seahawks (3-0) opened the scoring on their second possession when Juliano Bove ran for a 23-yard touchdown. After Gordon’s fumble was recovered on the Trojan 14, John Daddino ran twice to put Carey up, 14-0, early in the second quarter. The Trojans (2-1) rallied to close within eight points before halftime on two field goals (21 and 31 yards) by Ryan Norton.
It looked as if GC had righted the ship when Mark Ellis intercepted a Kyle Zahradka pass on his own 33 and returned it to Carey’s 34 yard line. Gordon then connected on consecutive passes to Brian Fischer and Patric Berkery to bring the ball to the one where Steve Jahelka blasted in for the touchdown. Gordon’s pass to Griffin Eilbeck for the two point conversion tied the score at 14 and quieted the big crowd at Marc Martone Field.
Six minutes later came the first of two big mistakes that turned the game. Juliano Bove picked off a Gordon pass on the Trojan 23 and returned it for a touchdown and a 20-14 lead. On the ensuing possession, Fischer’s pass on the fake quick kick was intercepted by Jake Robison to set up the drive that culminated with Rob Zorn’s 25-yard TD run that put the game out of reach.
The Trojans will attempt to bounce back this Saturday at Long Beach against the 2-1 Marines who topped JFK Bellmore, 34-32, last Friday night in the first game at the rebuilt Veterans Field at the Long Beach Middle School. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
EXTRA POINTS: Carey’s win over GC was just its third in 19 meetings, but all three have come since 2006…MSG Varsity televised the game which will be shown a number of times on Channel 14….The JV beat Carey, 39-7, to go to 3-0….GC’s 14 game winning streak was its fourth longest. Carey has won14 straight at Marc Martone Field….Steve Jahelka is now fourth on GC’s career scoring list with 170 points. Next on the list is assistant coach Steve Finnell who had 197.