Sheepshead Bay has always been a bit of a resilient team. After it started last season 0-3, it won four out of its final five games to sneak into the playoffs and even beat a tough Jefferson team once there.
This year’s team is a much different squad, with only three players returning from last year, but it t0o is proving to be resilient. It started on the first day of practice when just 13 players showed up. The players and coaches got the word out that they needed help from the school and the roster quickly went from 13 to 30.
That alone doesn’t make the Sharks resilient, but the way they came from down 17-8 at halftime against Brooklyn Tech to beat the Engineers 32-17 to pick up their first win of the season at Brooklyn Tech on Saturday was certainly a good demonstration.
“The kids rose to the occasion today,” said a proud Sheepshead Bay coach Fred Snyder. “They called some plays on their own and came together. I told them yesterday to believe in themselves, I told them at halftime to believe in themselves. They were down. They were ready to crack at halftime. They thought everything was going to go wrong, but I told them that they needed to believe in themselves.”
The first half of the game was all about Brooklyn Tech’s Tristan Brown. Brown is a senior with great legs and he showed them off as he helped to set up an early field goal, ran for a 65-yard touchdown and then followed that up with a 38-yard touchdown. At halftime he had over 120 yards rushing to help his team build up the 17-8 lead.
It looked like there was little Sheepshead Bay could do to stop Brown and the rest of his team going into halftime, but coach Snyder refused to let the Sharks get down on themselves.
“That’s a lot of what we talked about at halftime — not to worry about what the score was,” Stephan Garrick said. “Just keep coming, keep making plays and eventually we knew it would turn around.”
That message was heard loud and clear as Sheepshead Bay came out and scored on the first drive of the half on a quarterback sneak by Imani Vincent.
On the next drive, Brooklyn Tech broke out for a 45-yard run that seemed to set up another touchdown. But Sheepshead Bay somehow managed to stop them at its own five-yard line. The offense picked up from there and marched 95 yards down the field to go ahead 24-17 on a 30-yard run by Jim Campbell.
On the following drive by Brooklyn Tech, Vincent made a spectacular play to intercept a ball thrown by Tech’s quarterback Elijah Rueda. Sheepshead didn’t score in the following possession, but it came just at the start of the fourth quarter and seemed to demoralize Brooklyn Tech who had thought the game over at halftime.
Using a combination of backs, Vincent, Campbell, Garrick and Joshua McClean, the Sharks managed to not only run down the clock for most of the fourth quarter, but also added another touchdown in the final four minutes of the game. Garrick took it this time for a 25-yard run that made it 32-17 and put the game out of reach for the Engineers.
“At halftime coach just told us, keep running keep running,” Vincent said. “We know that we’re a young team and that no game is going to be given to us. We have to try even harder to make up for that. It’s not easy, but we gotta keep doing. That’s what coach always tells us and after hearing something so many times you start to believe it.”
Stephan Garrick led with 114 yards rushing and a touchdown, Imani Vincent had 81 yards rushing, two touchdowns and an interception, Jim Campbell had 61 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Joshua McClean had 81 yards rushing. Tristan Brown finished with 163 yards rushing for Brooklyn Tech with two touchdowns.