Mike Lightfoot saw some things with Brooklyn Tech that he knew his team could exploit. But midway through an eventual 36-8 loss Sunday to the Engineers, the Grand Street Campus coach came to a realization.
“They really fixed a lot of mistakes that we were sort of anticipating on film,” Lightfoot said. “Every mistake we made, they capitalized on it in the worst possible way.”
The Wolves fumbled in the second quarter to set up Brooklyn Tech’s second touchdown, a 23-yard run by James Gales. On the next possession, Gales picked off Wolves quarterback Cristian Pena and ran it back 82 yards for a touchdown with 1:20 left in the first half.
Grand Street (2-3) was just starting to move the ball and making it a one-possession game seemed a definite possibility. Instead, Brooklyn Tech (3-2) held a 22-0 lead going into the break.
“Those mistakes really hurt us,” Pena said. “I was telling the guys after the game, ‘The first half really hurt us.’”
It didn’t get better after halftime. With the lead, the Engineers could continue to pound the ball play after play and drain the clock. The Wolves didn’t have an answer for their power running game, led by 5-foot-1 senior Gino Natela (137 yards, 22 carries).
“They were able to go to their bread and butter, iso and run the clock out,” Lightfoot said. … “They’re so talented on the line that it’s like when we see the run go in one direction, we almost have to commit our entire defense and then it sets up every boot pass, play action that they had off of it.”
Pena still had a solid day in the pocket. He was 12-of-25 for 210 yards with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Ismail Height (5 receptions, 99 yards) in the fourth quarter. But many of those complete passes came with Grand Street already well behind and the Brooklyn Tech defense focusing on the pass. The Wolves got down so quickly, they were never really able to run what has the potential to be a high-powered offense.
On defense, Randy Ollivierre had 16 tackles and a sack, Malcolm James had 12 tackles, Covorosier Mitchell had four tackles for a loss and Michael Alexander had three tackles for a loss and a sack.
It was an emotional loss for Grand Street against a team that it plays with in the Big Apple Games and is coached by former offensive coordinator Kyle McKenna. Next week, though, the Wolves can get back to .500 with a win against Lehman on Homecoming.
“Hopefully the guys don’t come out with the same intensity they came out with this game,” Pena said. “We’ll come out hard. Because this really sucks losing like this, especially in a game we all wanted to win.”