The Skyhawks, owners of a seven-game winning streak and a powerful passing game, came to Kissena Corridor field looking to avenge an early season 38-0 Bayside victory. Head coach Tony Griffin, defensive coordinator Doug Rowen and Raider executive director Steve Fotiadis went over hours of Skyhawk game film and came up with a game plan that the team executed perfectly. The film was available due to the unselfish efforts of assistant coaches Cliff Barker and Tony Marden.
Bayside scored first as quarterback Darrius Pritchett scored the first of his two touchdowns. AJ Griffin had a 40-yard run for a touchdown and Jahkeem Galloway added a 35-yard run to lead Bayside to a 30-0 victory. All-star cornerbacks Michael Marden and Pritchett, along with first-time starter safety Jordan Endubueze, stopped the passing attack supported by a strong pass rush by Frankie Guerrero, Tyquel Wells and Dahquan Edrington. Middle linebacker Shyheim Wingate did a great job stopping several Skyhawk draws up the middle.
The Raiders then took on the Springfield Rifles, who defeated the first-place Forest Hills Falcons to make it an all Queens championship game for the second year in a row. Bayside High School was the site of another great defensive battle between these two teams. Springfield pulled out a 6-0 victory in the final 38 seconds the first time these teams met.
Springfield scored first on a long run to take a 6-0 lead. Offensive line coach Jared Campbell had his boys ready for the challenge. Led by all-star Sam Rowen, Wells, Randel McCray, Eric Gaal and Kirk Williams, Bayside marched down the field as the half was ending. Springfields great defense bent but was not broken, and Bayside came up just short, trailing 6-0 at halftime.
The third quarter saw Baysides Myles Carter go 30 yards to tie the score at 6-6. Bayside dominated the ball in the second half, driving up and down the field, but could not cross the goal line. Coach Griffin, who is usually very conservative, kept several drives alive with fourth down plays. Big games are won on big plays, he said.
With a minute left in regulation play, Bayside stopped Springfields offense four times at the 10-yard line. Defensive ends Shawn Sampson and Lance Gray each made key stops to send the game into overtime. The first shootout saw both defenses rise to the occasion.
In the second round, league MVP AJ Griffin powered in the touchdown behind Sam Rowen, the leagues top offensive lineman. Behind Tyquel Wells, the leagues outstanding defensive lineman, and two great stops by corner Darrius Pritchett, Bayside stopped the Rifles to win the championship, 12-6, and set off the celebration.
Coached by Enos Stevenson, Springfield played a great game and had another fine season. This was the second year in a row the Rifles lost the championship in overtime.
©2004 Community News Group
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