Defending champion Lincoln hands Clinton first loss

Brandon Harris takes the ball downfield during the game against Abraham Lincoln in Brooklyn on Oct. 24.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

DeWitt Clinton wasn’t ready for primetime

The Governors first game against one of the PSAL’s elite football programs brought their first loss of the season. Costly early penalties and a first quarter fumble were an early turning point of an eventual 35-0 loss to defending champion Abraham Lincoln last Friday night in Coney Island.

“We are not as good as we thought we were,” Clinton coach Howard Langley said.

His club appeared to match up well will the Railsplitters early, but they didn’t help their own cause. Three penalties, two on third down, extended Lincoln’s first drive and allowed Luis Rodriguez, who scored three times, a chance to make it 7–0 with a 3-yard touchdown run.

Clinton (7-1) appeared ready to answer after a 33-yard run down to the Lincoln 28-yard line by Chauncey Murray on the ensuing drive. Lincoln (7-1) recovered a fumbled snap on the next play and three plays later were in the end zone.

“It’s a wake up call,” running back Edward Nunez said. “We let [the opportunity] pass right by us.”

Lincoln quarterback Paul Litvak connected on a 59-yard pass to Jordan Hannah and Kevin Medley had a 5-yard scoring run to make it 14-0 with 4:53 to got in the first quarter. The lead stayed that way until the Railsplitters found the end zone late in the third quarter as Clinton struggled to move the ball.

“If we clean up all the mistakes we had tonight, it would have been a close game,” Nunez said.

Clinton starting quarterback Brandon Harris got the opportunity to play again after being benched the last three weeks by Langley, who said it for disciplinary reason among other things. He felt Harris had been punished enough and had earned a chance to start again. He carried the ball 10 times for 74 yards, but Clinton never got its passing game going thanks to the Lincoln pass rush.

“Three weeks in the dog house is long enough,” Langley said. “You have to give him a chance to exercise his ability and work his way back into good graces.”

The coach felt his team wasn’t ready for the quicker speed of the game having not played against a team the caliber of Lincoln all season. Finally getting a taste of it will only help Clinton with the playoffs two weeks away.

“Our kids haven’t been in a high quality game like this,” Langley said. “Now we know what it feels like, what it looks like. That’s what we will prepare for moving forward.”

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