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Flushing falls to Adams in PSAL opener, 23-6

Coming off a winless season, the Flushing Red Devils were eager to start anew against the John Adams Spartans at Flushing Memorial Field on Saturday. John Adams knew the feeling, smarting from a no-win campaign of its own.

The game presented a chance for both teams to sweep away the memories of last season’s losses, as the Spartans walked away with the long-awaited victory, beating Flushing 23-6.

Running back Tristan Leefon jump-started the Spartans’ offense with a 65-yard touchdown burst on the team’s first possession. Leefon broke through the line, eluded the Flushing secondary and sprinted down the sideline for the score. It was a prelude of plays to come, as the Spartans’ offense rolled behind the exceptional running of Leefon. He finished with a game-high 142 rushing yards on 17 carries.

“I just want to come out and make plays,” Leefon said. “I want to make a name for our team this year. After last season, we have something to prove.”

Flushing bounced back on the ensuing possession with an impressive 50-yard, seven-play scoring drive. Running back Pedro Garcia, who accounted for most of the Red Devils’ offense, dashed 15 yards for a touchdown. On the drive, Flushing moved the ball on the ground behind Garcia and fullback Kenny Nelson, but it was the only score the Red Devils would muster on the afternoon. Garcia finished with 65 rushing yards, most coming in the first half.

With 1:30 remaining in the secong quarter, Leefon stunned Flushing again, this time on a pretty catch-and-run touchdown. The speedy running back turned a short pass over the middle from quarterback Kyle Piccerrello into a 40-yard completion. Fullback Robert Knight, who piled up 92 ground yards of his own, scored the two-point conversion for a 16-6 Spartans’ advantage.

Under pressure from the John Adams’ defense, Flushing quarterback Lutrell Brisbane was scrambling most of the game. He did not complete a pass in 10 attempts and was sacked four times, including once for a safety. He gained some positive yardage on bootlegs and improvised scrambles, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Considering the Red Devils were not competitive in a few games last season, head coach Joe Kaso was pleased with his team’s effort.

“It’s a tremendous improvement from last season,” Kaso said. “We’re playing hard and improving. Win, lose or draw, that’s the bottom line.”

Play deteriorated in the final quarter, as both teams traded turnovers. Two fumbles and an interception accounted for three Flushing giveaways, while John Adams fumbled away possession twice. The highlight of the final period came when wide receiver Cheyne Charles caught a 48-yard touchdown pass with 4:00 remaining. Knight punched in his second two-point conversion of the day for the final margin of victory.

“This was a marvelous game,” said John Adams head coach Jerry Weitzen. “It showed our kids that they can win. This gives us something to build on for next week.”

The Spartans will travel to take on the Far Rockaway SeaHorses Saturday at 11 a.m., while Flushing will try to bounce back against Bryant, also at 11 a.m.

New Utrecht 14, Bayside 6. The Bayside Commodores were leading 6-0 heading into the fourth quarter, courtesy of a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by C.J. Okogeri in the third quarter. But the Utes battled back, scoring on a 35-yard touchdown run by T.J. Matthews, who ran for 202 yards on the day, and a 17-yard touchdown pass from Ronald Sears to Chris Nicholas. David Coleman led the Commodores (0-1) with 60 yards rushing on 12 carries. Bayside will host Fort Hamilton on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Bayside Athletic Field.

— Anthony Bosco contributed to this story

Reach contributing writer Adam Martini by e-mail at TimesLedgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

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