The Sewanhaka Indians and Garden City Trojans traded big plays and turnover opportunities on Saturday, Sept. 26. But the high-scoring affair, a game that saw the first career start for an Indians offensive signal caller, was claimed by the Trojans claimed 41-31.
Down 10-0 early in the second quarter, Sewanhaka (1-2) began on its own 30-yard line, fumbling on the first play, giving the ball right back to Garden City who started their drive in Sewanhaka territory for the fourth straight time. On third down, senior running back Brian Haeffner scurried 21 yards for his ninth touchdown of the season to keep the Trojans rolling.
After a short ensuing drive, Sewanhaka pinned Garden City (3-0) in its own half of the field but it didn’t matter, as the visitors marched 83 yards, capped off by a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tim Schmelzinger to receiver Jamie Atkinson, to extend the lead to 24-0.
With just two minutes to work with, Sewanhaka would respond, as a 30-yard reception by Stephane Eugene helped set up a 28-yard strike to fellow receiver Yvans Oscar from the arm of Indians quarterback Christian Tenorio. Garden City added a field goal by Marc Ventre to post a 27-6 halftime lead.
“I think these guys are a little stunned when we play some of these big-name teams…and they get a little deer in the headlights,” said Sewanhaka head coach George Kasimatis. “So they came out and I was like, ‘ Hey, they’re humans just like you. Go out there and have some fun,’ and we made some adjustments.”
On Garden City’s first drive of the half, Eugene intercepted Schmelzinger’s pass. A 36-yard catch by senior captain Elijah Tracey put Sewanhaka in range to take another shot at the end zone as Tenorio connected with Nikolas Rullo for a 20-yard touchdown.
But Garden City would add touchdowns on consecutive drives, reaping the benefits of their second blocked punt of the game to go ahead 41-12.
Tenorio continued to lead the offense though, hitting Eugene for a touchdown along the left sideline with 10:16 remaining in the game. Sewanhaka recovered a fumble early in Garden City’s ensuing drive and converted on 4th-and-4, as Tracey a huge 25-yard score.
Tracy—the season’s starting quarterback—played role of receiver behind Tenorio, who made his first-ever start at QB after being voted game captain by his team in last week’s practice.
“The pressure came in, I just had to get the ball out of there quickly and do what I have to do,” said Tenorio, who threw for 155 yards and four touchdowns. “We made it pretty close but we just came up a little short.”
After Tenorio’s final touchdown, a Garden City fumble was picked up by Sewanhaka’s Alexander Chery and returned for a touchdown to cut the lead to 41-31 with 4:57 left. The Trojans used their sharp run game to kill the clock and seal the victory.
“Toward the end there, the thing that was great is the kids just never gave up,” said Kasimatis.