After edging Brooklyn Tech 14-13 on the second week of the football season, there was every reason for the Kennedy Knights football team to feel optimistic traveling to Brooklyn for an encore in both teams’ first playoff game of the season.
Kennedy, after all, had clearly improved over the course of the season, winning four of its last five games, with a strong defense and a rhythmic offense.
What no one expected was that Kennedy’s offense would shut down, its defense would become porous and that they would lose 36-0.
“Gentleman, this one is going to sting for a while,” coach Andy Lancberg told his sullen troops after the game.
The Knights were only trailing 8-0 after one quarter, but that deficit quickly mounted to 23-0 at halftime.
Kennedy mounted a drive in the latter part of the second quarter, as Mathew Evora took the ball from midfield deep into Engineer territory. But the Knights fumbled the ball. What could have been a turnaround touchdown became another disappointment.
During halftime, Kennedy coaches and players tried to pump up the team and instill the belief that the game was not over.
The Knights got a glimmer of hope early in the third quarter when Evora picked up a fumble and returned it to the Tech 19. But Kennedy was not able to complete the drive and remained dejected.
The Engineers scored another 13 points in the second half to put the game away.
“The toughness was there, so was the heart,” said Evora, a senior, following the game. “They just executed better than we did. We weren’t disciplined when we got near the goal line.”
Simon Gordon, another senior, called the game a tough loss. “I hope that the underclassmen learn from our mistakes for next year.”
Despite the loss, the Knights have shown substantial improvement over the past two years, making the playoffs both seasons.
“I am very proud of all of you,” Lancberg told his players after the game.
Looking forward to next season, he said, “I’m happy for next year. I’m excited.”