Bayside defense shuts down South Shore in 12-6 win

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Zanu Simpson and Andre Lewis stood side by side after leading the Bayside Commodores to a 12-6 victory over the South Shore Vikings Saturday at the Bayside Athletic Field. The quarterback and wide receiver both wore ice packs on their right wrists and both were exhausted, but happy nonetheless.

Bayside’s hard-fought win moved the team one step closer to the playoffs, upping its league mark to 2-4 with only two games remaining, against Beach Channel and August Martin, a fact not lost on the Commodores.

“It’s big because it’s going to help us get to the playoffs,” said Lewis, who scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:38 remaining in the first half. “We can’t afford to lose any games.”

Though South Shore came into the game with a 1-4 record, Bayside coach Joe Capuana was sure the Brooklyn team would not be an easy opponent. Almost a mirror image of the Commodores, the Vikings also play a tough schedule against some of the city’s best teams, but have come up just short all season. It was a make or break game for both clubs and Bayside wouldn’t be denied.

It was the Vikings, however, that took the early advantage, scoring on the team’s first possession of the game.

Starting from their own 33, South Shore coach Tom Salvati called on star running back Kareem Thompson, who carried twice for three and five yards. After teammate Martin Pascal picked up the first down with a three-yard run, Thomspon’s number was called again, taking a sweep right, bouncing off tacklers to the outside, where he found a seam down the sidelined and outraced the Bayside defense to a 56-yard touchdown.

The two-point conversion failed, but the Vikings had taken the early lead 6-0, with 9:34 remaining in the first quarter.

“Except for one play, the defense played a good game,” Capuana said. “They settled down after that first drive. [Thompson’s] got a lot of speed. He’s one of the better ones there are.”

Bayside proved it could move the ball against South Shore on its first possession, marching down to Vikings’ 39 before failing to convert on fourth-and-1. But after holding South Shore to three-and-out, the Commodores really got its offense going the next time it took over.

After featuring the running of David Coleman on its first possession, Bayside changed things up. A run by Drew William for no gain on first down was followed by back-to-back passes from Simpson to Coleman and Lewis for gains of 12 and 30 yards, respectively, moving the Commodores inside the Vikings’ 40.

Lewis moved the ball down to the 15 with a 21-yard run, but the drive seemed to stall there with two incomplete passes and a run of no yards. On fourth-and 15 from the 20, Simpson found Williams, who ran a short curl at the 10, broke a tackle at the five and dove into the end zone for the touchdown.

The two-point conversion failed, but Bayside had tied the game at 6-6 with 11:42 remaining in the first half.

“In the other games, my team wasn’t turning it up in the first quarter and we just didn’t know how to put it together,” Simpson said. “And now we got the wake up call. I think we know how to do it. I think we’re the big team right now. We’re going to the playoffs. They’re going to sleep on us.”

Bayside’s Kevin Forrester scooped up a Pascal fumble later in the second quarter at the Viking 32, setting up Bayside’s next score.

Simpson hit C.J. Okogeri for 15 yards, bringing the ball down to the 20 and — on fourth-and-9 — South Shore was flagged for roughing the passer, which put Bayside at the Vikings’ 9-yard line. On fourth-and-goal from the 10, Simpson connected with Lewis on a crossing pattern over the middle and Lewis waltzed into the end zone for the touchdown.

“They force you to throw,” Capuana said of the South Shore defense. “They put six men on the line of scrimmage and eight in the box the whole game. You have to throw.”

Capuana praised the play of Simpson, a junior in his first year taking snaps. Simpson was 11-for-23 for 173 yards.

“He’s getting better and better,” the coach said. “That was his best game so far. He played a hell of a game.”

The Commodores could not convert several golden opportunities to put the game away in the second half, turning the ball over twice while deep in South Shore territory, but the Bayside defense held the Vikings in check, holding the team without a first down over the final two quarters.

The game ended with Simpson taking a knee inside the Viking 5-yard line.

Controversy erupted at game’s end when Salvati stormed off the field with his team, refusing to take part in the traditional hand shakes.

“You guys knew that guy,” Salvati screamed toward the Bayside coaching staff, alluding to one of the game’s officials. “I know you do. I’m protesting the game.”

The outburst was lost on Capuana.

“Our players played very clean,” Capuana said “I don’t know. Tommy and I are friends. I think what he did was wrong. We’ve had problems with the officials. You’re always going to have problems with the officials, but don’t take it out on the other team. He lost control. It takes away from the sportsmanship of the game.”

Up next for Bayside is 5-1 Beach Channel (5-1), another must win for the Commodores if they are to keep their playoff hopes alive. The contest, Bayside’s Homecoming Game, will be played at the Bayside Athletic Field on Saturday at 11 a.m.

John Adams 18. Bryant 14. Quarterback Kyle Picerrello went 11-for-16 for 260 yards and three touchdowns, including a 37-yard pass to Derrick Marshall with less than two minutes to go to lead the Spartans to victory. Gelani Mills, who had a 40-yard touchdown reception, had six catches for 147 yards. Tristan Leefoon also had a 76-yard touchdown catch for Adams (2-4) who host Flushing (0-6) Saturday at 11 a.m.

Campus Magnet 40, Boys and Girls 12. Courtney Jones rushed for 161 yards and four touchdowns on 11 carries as Magnet (5-1) returned to the win column. Raheim Bazile added a 90-yard kickoff return and had garnered 88 yards on the ground. Andre Snaggs had 10 tackles for the Bulldogs, who host neighborhood rival August Martin (3-3) Saturday at noon.

Beach Channel 45, Long Island City 14. The running tandem of Ricky Richardson and Paul Washington combined for 289 yards in Beach Channel’s rout Saturday at Far Rockaway. Washington scored on touchdown runs of 36, 52 and 41 yards while quarterback Ben Nieves rushed for 42 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Long Island City (2-4) hosts John Jay Saturday at 11 a.m.

August Martin 36, Tilden 6. Quarterback Jason Boyce ran for a two-yard score and threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Shane Smith (four catches, 99 yards) to lead the Falcons. Anthony Pittman (eight carries for 107 yards) scored on runs of 37 and 24 yards and kicked a field goal and extra point. Defensively Trevor Shamblee and Smith had nine tackles apiece.

Far Rockaway 36, Flushing 0. Marlon Rodriguez returned a pair of punts for touchdowns and also scored on a 20-yard touchdown run to lead Far Rockaway (6-0). Rashid Peterson (10 carries for 150 yards) and Aaron Pegues (six carries for 70 yards) also scored for the SeaHorses.

John Jay 38, Springfield Gardens 14. Hannibal Fleming rushed for 137 yards on 11 carries, including a 46-yard touchdown run and Jude Primus was 7-for-10 for 116 yards and threw for four touchdowns to lead John Jay (3-3). Springfield Gardens (0-6) hosts Boys and Girls Saturday at 3 p.m. at Campus Magnet.

—Dylan Butler contributed to this story

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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