Knights defeat Campus Magnet

Neither coach was pleased with how his team played. And neither coach was really happy with the outcome in John F. Kennedy’s 20-18, double-overtime victory against Campus Magnet on Saturday afternoon in Cambria Heights.

JFK’s Alex Vega thought his Knights should have won by a much greater margin. After all, Campus Magnet (2-1 PSAL) did commit six turnovers.

“I felt like we let them hang around,” the coach said. “We didn’t capitalize on their mistakes.”

Campus Magnet’s Eric Barnett was obviously upset with the mountain of turnovers his team built and that the Bulldogs “ran out of gas” in the second overtime. But he saved his biggest displeasure for the referees. Barnett feels like Campus Magnet is being officiated as if it is supposed to lose games. The Bulldogs carry a chip on their shoulders due to being from a borough not knows for its public-school football (Queens).

“We gotta earn our respect,” he said. “We were far superior than them.”

Vega didn’t think quite like that. He’s just perturbed by the lack of consistency demonstrated by Kennedy (2-1). After the game, he spoke with his assistant coaches and the words coming out of his mouth were almost contradictory.

“We could easily be 3-0,” he told them, “and we could easily be 0-3.”

Instead, both teams left the field somewhat dissatisfied. But not entirely. For their efforts, the Knights, ranked No. 7 in the PSAL football rankings coming in, get a victory and don’t fall to 1-2. They got good play out of quarterback Ozzie Garcia and Penn State-bound, do-it-all senior Stephen Obeng-Agyapong. Thyeen Taylor had an interception and fullback Jamel Lane carried the offense in overtime.

JFK also has a relatively light schedule the rest of the season. Not that it’s any consolation for Vega.

“The way we’re going, nothing’s coming easy,” he said.

As for the Bulldogs, who were No. 10 in the PSAL football rankings coming into Week 3, they didn’t get a win, but they gained a bit of self-awareness. Campus Magnet, in its first season as a level-5 team, stayed in the game with a traditional powerhouse despite coughing up six turnovers.

There were good contributions from senior running back Anthony Roberts before he got hurt in overtime and sophomore quarterback Scott Gadsen. But more than anything, the defense was key – the Bulldogs didn’t allow the Knights to score after their first drive until overtime.

“I didn’t know we were good until today,” Barnett said. He’ll find out just how good in the coming weeks. After hosting Columbus next week, Campus Magnet will go on a Staten Island road trip. The Bulldogs will play Port Richmond and then Wagner in succession.

“We just gotta bust our [butts] and get in the playoffs,” Barnett said. “We’ll see how things go from there.”


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