Today’s news:

Garcia kicks S. Bronx to Cup crown

The first field goal in South Bronx history was a memorable one.

Joseph Garcia’s 26-yard boot with 8:36 remaining in the fourth quarter was the difference in the second-seeded Phoenix’ first football championship, a thrilling 15-14 victory over No. 1 Automotive, at Midwood Athletic Complex Sunday morning in the Cup division final.

“It was like I was playing Madden or something,” the first-year kicker said. “Everything was in slow motion. I saw the [holder] put it down and I said, ‘Do or die.’”

In the first half, South Bronx (12-0) had moved into field-goal range, but coach Jose Cosme elected to go for a first down. After consulting with his players, he changed his mind. And Garcia made him look like a genius.

I knew he was going to make it; I have faith in him,” said senior running back Michael Drake Jr., who ran for a 45-yard touchdown in the opening quarter.

Drake, actually, was the Phoenix kicker last year before injuring his hip late in the season. As a result, Cosme had Garcia, a talented cornerback and return specialist, to kick.

The sophomore supplied the difference on the scoreboard, but his classmate, Arbely Soto, made it stand up. He picked off Automotive quarterback Maurice Edwards, who threw two touchdown passes to Zorey Lewis, with 15 seconds remaining and the Pistons (11-1) driving for a possible game-winning touchdown.

“I’m speechless,” the underclassman said. “When I caught the interception, I realized I’m a champion. … I wanted this [championship] for all the seniors. I felt they needed this.”

Said Cosme of the two sophomores: “I said it from the beginning of the year those kids would be money for us.”

It was a magical year for South Bronx. The Phoenix finished undefeated for the second straight year during the regular season, but completed the journey on Sunday, unlike a year ago when they lost to George Washington in the semifinals. They outscored the opposition, 442-66, but it was the defense, which had pitched seven shutouts, that came up big, forcing three Automotive turnovers.

The defense scored a touchdown in the second quarter when Demtrix Carraway drilled Edwards from behind and Ramon Ferreras recovered the loose ball in the end zone. The biggest turnover for the unit was defensive end Nebraska Huggins’ recovery of a James Clark fumble late in the third quarter and South Bronx trailing 14-12.

The Phoenix responded to the gift by driving inside the Automotive 10-yard line, the big play quarterback Michael Walker’s 31-yard completion to Devonte Arthur. After three consecutive runs that went nowhere, South Bronx lined up for a field goal. Cosme called timeout and sent Garcia out again.

He responded by splitting the uprights, the first field goal of his brief kicking career.

“It’s amazing,” he said.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

CNG: Community Newspaper Group