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Bayside storms past DeWitt Clinton for 31-10 win

The Bayside Commodores capitalized on several first-half turnovers and sailed to an easy 31-10 win over the DeWitt Clinton Governors Saturday in the Bronx. The victory improved Bayside’s record to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in PSAL league play.

Though the two teams had nearly identical offensive statistics — 266 for Bayside and 263 for Clinton — it was Bayside’s potent running back and an opportunistic defense that set the tone of the game early.

“It was a good win, a win we expected to have,” said Bayside head coach Joe Capuana. “The other team, they didn’t give up. There was no quit in Clinton.”

Bayside won the toss and deferred, electing to kick off and let its defense take the field first. And the unit held up, holding the Governors to just three plays before punting. The Commodores took over at their own 44 and went right to work.

A nine-play, 56-yard drive, highlighted by a big fourth-and-10 sweep by Drew Williams for 13 yards to the Clinton two-yard line, culminated with a two-yard plunge by Bayside quarterback Zanu Simpson, his first of two scores on the day. Bashkim Blaku kicked the extra point to make the score 7-0.

On the next possession, Bayside forced Clinton’s first turnover of the day, a fumble recovered by Williams at the Commodores’ 32, setting up yet another scoring drive.

Simpson again guided the Commodores downfield, orchestrating an eight-play 68-yard drive, which featured a 30-yard pass from the quarterback to wide receiver Jarrett Perry, putting the ball just inside the Clinton 10. On the next play, Unique Stowe Youman ran the ball in from nine yards out. The point after try was blocked, giving Bayside a 13-0 lead while still in the first quarter.

Bayside’s first possession of the second quarter saw Youman run the ball three times for 34 yards down to the Clinton 35 before a fumble on a hand-off exchange allowed the Governors to take possession. But the host school fumbled the ball right back on the ensuing play, recovered by James Dixon.

On the very next play, Youman ran the ball for a 36-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but Bayside was up 19-0.

Bayside’s defense held firm on the next possession, forcing a punt that Kenan Brogdan blocked. Darnell Forrester picked up the loose ball for Bayside and returned it all the way to the Governors’ one-yard line. Simpson took the next play in for his second score with just more than two minutes remaining in the half, making it 25-0 Bayside.

Things got not better for Clinton on the next possession when, after getting into Bayside territory, Brion Thorman was picked off by Simpson, who ran the ball back 65 yards for the score. The extra point failed, but Bayside had expanded its lead to 31-0 with time still showing in the half.

The turnovers to start the third — two by Bayside — led to Clinton’s lone offensive score, a TD-run by Antonio Mendez and subsequent two-point conversion that pulled the Governors closer at 31-8.

“It got a little sloppy,” Capuana said. “We didn’t play as well in the second half, obviously, as we did in the first half.”

Bayside was forced to punt from its own end zone on the next drive and a high snap sailed over Simpson’s head for a safety to close out the scoring.

“They had good field position the whole second half,” Capuana said. “The defense came up big. We just ate clock in the fourth.”

Next up for Bayside is Tottenville (2-1) Saturday at 1 p.m. at Bayside’s temporary home field at Jamaica High School. Tottenville, which beat Lincoln and South Shore, lost its lone game to Lehman.

“They’re a very good team,” Capuana said. “They have an outstanding running back named Lamar Coombs. He’s a really good back. He’s the guy we gotta stop.”

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, ext. 130.

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