Fort Hamilton starts slow, but finishes fast

With less than a minute before halftime, Campus Magnet led Fort Hamilton by a touchdown — the first time the Tigers have trailed this year.

“It was a different feeling,” first-year coach Danny Perez said. “We hadn’t been in a close ballgame in a while.”

It wasn’t close for very long. The Tigers marched 89 yards in 11 plays over the final minute of the opening half and scored touchdowns on four of five second-half drives en route to a dominant 38-13 victory over Queens power Campus Magnet in PSAL City Championship division football Sunday in Brooklyn.

“We responded big,” Perez said. ‘The kids came out in the second half and played big.”

Brandon Reddish scored three touchdowns on runs of 50, 7 and 5 yards, quarterback Marvin Centeno connected with Travon Segure on a 21-yard scoring strike and Wesley Sumpter also found pay dirt from 25 yards out as No. 2 Fort Hamilton improved to 5-0 and extended its regular-season win streak to 28 games, dating back to Sept. 28, 2007.

“They gave it to their playmakers and their playmakers made plays,” Campus Magnet safety Jhaleel Oswald said.

The game actually turned late in the first half when the Tigers’ defense stopped No. 7 Campus Magnet (3-2) on 4th-and-1 from the Tigers 10-yard line. Fort Hamilton proceeded to march down the field. Centeno, the junior quarterback who missed the first two games due to injury, hit Segure for 10 yards, then Reddish for 53 down the right sideline. With just a few plays remaining he looked off the safety and hit Segure in stride on a post pattern with four seconds left before halftime. After Centeno hit James Howell with the two-point conversion, momentum had shifted.

“It showed we can score and they weren’t gonna stop us,” two-way lineman Ivan Foy said.

Clearly: Fort Hamilton scored touchdowns on five of six possessions, needed little time to find the end zone as the defense gave it premium field position, picking off quarterback Scott Gadsden three times.

The Tigers’ defense, in fact, took the air out of Campus Magnet before it started turning the ball over.

Three times the Bulldogs had the ball deep in Fort Hamilton territory – twice off turnovers when holding a six-point lead – and failed to score. The biggest stand came to start the second half when Howell flubbed the opening kickoff. Four plays gained a net of zero yards.

“We told each other let’s stay together,” said Segure, who had two interceptions and seven tackles on defense. Keith Stroud also had two sacks and Kevon Foster had 10 tackles. “It changed the whole game. That could’ve been a crucial touchdown.”

Instead, it was a crucial stop, and two plays later Reddish scooped up Sumpter’s fumble and rumbled 50 yards for his first of three touchdowns. The defense tightened, allowing only 91 yards of offense the entire second half, 90 on a late scoring drive in garbage time.

Fort Hamilton forced four consecutive Campus Magnet turnovers in the second half and scored touchdowns after each one, turning the tight contest into a rout. Compared to their first four victories, won by a combined 160-20, this was a nail biter.

“It brought us together,” Reddish said. “We had to depend on each other and that’s what happened.”

For a few moments, Perez had a game on his hands. The first-year coach actually broke a sweat, unlike the previous blowouts. He would prefer to avoid the former.

“Less stress [is] better,” he joked.

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