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Magnet scores dramatic OT win over Martin

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Whether the school is called Campus Magnet or Andrew Jackson, if there’s been one constant in the southeast Queens football rivalry with August Martin, it’s that no matter who is playing, no matter what the circumstances, the annual showdown is going to go down to the wire.

Courtney Jones and Eugene Liddie had never been on the winning end of this rivalry and despite August Martin roaring back to tie the game at 20 after a 20-7 half-time deficit, the Campus Magnet seniors were determined not to lose.

Liddie scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime and Jones secured the win with an interception at the goal line as Magnet spoiled Homecoming Day at August Martin Saturday with a 27-20 win.

“It was a hard game, but we weren’t going to leave here with a loss,” said Liddie, who scored on a four-yard keeper. “That was out of the question.”

But it appeared a very real possibility after Kavelle Gordon, who single-handedly brought August Martin (0-5, 0-4 PSAL) back in the game by returning the second-half opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, broke several tackles en route to a 23-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 20 with 1:19 left.

All that was left was Jeff Brooks’ extra point and the Falcons would have had their first win of the year. But Brooks, who nailed a pair of extra points earlier in the game, ran toward the holder too early and by the time the ball was snapped, all he could do was chip the ball well short of the goal posts.

“It’s his first year, in a pressure-filled game,” said August Martin coach Mike Greene. “But this team did the best it could.”

With all the momentum, August Martin won the coin flip at the start of overtime and elected to play defense. The Falcons stopped Jones and Ian Odom on the first three plays and Magnet (3-1 PSAL) faced fourth and 12 from the 22.

Liddie, who was woozy through most of the game after being rattled by a hit in the first half, dropped back in the pocket and fired a strike over the middle to Vaughn Davis, who also caught a 24-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, for a first down at the Falcons 9. Three plays later Liddie took the ball in himself for the touchdown.

August Martin took over from the 20, but led by Justin Mitchell, the Magnet defense stopped the Falcons cold on its first three plays. Jones then intercepted Jason Boyce’s attempted game-tying touchdown pass in the end zone on fourth down to secure the upset win.

“We knew they were going to key on me all game, they kept saying, ‘37,’ ” Jones said, referring to his number on his back, which was more like a bulls eye for Falcons tacklers. “But we also have a great fullback, another halfback and a quarterback. You might stop me, but I’m still going to work for my yards. You can’t shut me down completely.”

“A lot of kids grew up today,” said Magnet coach Jimmy Ryan. “The kids played with a lot of conviction, a will to win and they never gave up.”

Jones scored the game’s first touchdown on a 19-yard sweep down the right sideline with 8:02 left in the first quarter. Odom (100 yards on 17 carries) made it 12-0 on Magnet’s next possession with a 35-yard scamper up the middle.

On a quarterback sneak from the 1, Boyce cut Magnet’s lead to 12-7 with 8:11 left in the second quarter but Magnet answered back with 28 seconds left in the first half on a 24-yard pass from Liddie to Davis.

“We felt like the game wasn’t over, we talked about how we were going to stay together like we always do,” said Gordon, who gained a total of 189 yards on the ground. “We just have to put this game past us and worry about the next one.”

August Martin heads to Curtis Sunday at noon while Campus Magnet hosts James Madison at 11 a.m.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:24 pm, October 10, 2011
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