Bayside Commodores tame Lehman Lions, 30-6

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A question of power ultimately found its answer in the principle of finesse Saturday in Bayside’s 30-6 victory over Lehman at Jamaica High.

The Commodores, who entered the game ranked 13th in the PSAL, faced the league’s second highest-rated team, a Bronx program that went undefeated last year until losing to Sheepshead Bay in the city championship. With only three weeks left in the regular season and the playoff chase in full gear, the match-up boiled down to one statistic: power points.

On the turf, though, finesse took over as Bayside’s backfield slashed through Lehman’s defense for 292 yards.

“We feel we have the best backfield in the city, and we have a great offensive line to go along with it,” said Bayside coach Joe Capuana. “We have three guys who at any time can run for big yardage, and then after that, if you want to add in the quarterback, he has the lowest average per carry with seven yards.”

Sparked by the quickness of the Commodores’ offensive line, Drew Williams racked up 118 yards on 14 carries, scoring one touchdown and a pair of two-point conversions. In the second half, the junior intercepted a pass and returned it 45 yards to set up Bayside’s final touchdown — a two-yard blast up the middle from freshman Unique Stowe.

Williams gained most of his yardage by turning the corner on outside linebackers neutralized by two of his running mates.

“My man Richie Richards, and my man Unique Stowe, they were sealing the blocks for me so I could get outside,” said Williams, who leads the team in rushing with 545 yards on 60 carries. “It’s the best game of my career. I proved today that I’m the best back in the city, and my team is number one.”

On the game’s opening drive, Williams rushed three times for 49 yards, closing the sequence with a nine-yard touchdown followed by a sweep for two points.

The Lions cut their deficit to 8-6 midway through the second quarter on a one-yard plunge from Jonathan Ortiz. But the Commodores stuffed Ortiz on the two-point attempt to keep the lead intact, after which their offense marched 67 yards in seven plays to take a 16-6 lead. Quarterback Zanu Simpson culminated the drive with a 37-yard touchdown run, scrambling off right tackle before reversing across the grain and sprinting untouched to the left pylon.

“I used to play running back, so I have the eye to see the field,” Simpson said. “I’d seen all my players and all the D-backs flushing the zone, so I cut it back.”

Bayside (4-2 PSAL) tacked on two touchdowns in the second half to deliver only the third loss to Lehman (4-2 PSAL) in the past two years.

“A lot of people have been questioning whether or not we could win this kind of game,” Capuana said. “I think we answered a lot of critics today — and in an emphatic way.”

The Commodores dominated both sides of the ball. Their defense, which recorded four sacks, held the Lions to 82 yards on the ground and 64 through the air. Richards returned a fumble 27 yards for a touchdown to give Bayside a 22-6 lead early in the fourth quarter, and defensive end James Dixon finished with two sacks.

“They’re a playoff team, no question about it,” said Lehman coach Carmine Colasanto. “I also think they’ll probably do well in the playoffs. I don’t think it was a freak that they beat us. They’re a good team.”

Bayside will host Campus Magnet Saturday, in the penultimate weekend of regular season action. The Bulldogs (4-2 PSAL), who sat atop the borough standings in power points headed into their 21-19 loss to Midwood on Saturday, have won four of their last five games.

“We have a legitimate shot now to be in a really good standing for the playoffs,” Capuana said. “But we’ve got to come to play against Campus Magnet, and they’re a tough club. They’re going to play us very tough.”

Reach reporter Joe Whalen by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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