How Grand: Late score lifts Wolves to thrilling win

Cutting corners: Grand Street’s Rahmel Ashby cuts the corner and gains five yards on the carry against Fort Hamilton on Sept. 12.
Photo by Steven Schnibbe

Kyle Brisfere didn’t lose his confidence when a sure-thing touchdown pass slipped through his fingers on the second play of the game’s final drive with Grand Street trailing.

Instead, the Wolves’ junior receiver vowed to not let his teammates down again if another pass came his way.

“He wasn’t depressed about it,” Rutgers-bound receiver Taysir Mack said. “He was like, ‘I’m going to make it up,’ ”

Brisfere didn’t miss his chance at redemption.

He hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass from junior Chris Mattocks in the front right corner of the end zone on the game’s final play to give the Wolves a thrilling 26–22 comeback victory over host Fort Hamilton on Sept. 12.

“I was wide open,” Brisfere said. “I knew if I didn’t catch it we lost the game. I had to step up and make a big play.”

The Wolves (2–0) needed several big plays to overcome its 13 penalties for 150 yards and a 14–0 halftime deficit in the Public School Athletic League City Conference football game.

Grand Street was down 22–20 when Michael Charles jumped a rout and intercepted Fort Hamilton’s Connor Fitzsimons on the Tigers’ 49-yard line with 2:30 to go in the game to give his team one final chance.

The Wolves didn’t let it go to waste.

“We finished the job,” said Grand Street coach Bruce Eugene. “Our defense, Michael Charles, great interception. He came up big right there.”

Brisfere’s grab was the fourth touchdown pass of the game for Mattocks, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 317 yards and also threw an interception. He filled in for the second-straight game for Fort Hamilton transfer Sharief Legree-Harris, who is awaiting a league ruling on his eligibility. Mattocks continues to got the job done.

“I think I’ve handled [the pressure] well,” Mattocks said. “Sharief has talked to me. All in all, we got the W.”

Despite one of Grand Street’s trio of stars left on the sidelines, the others delivered. Mack made the individual play of the game after an 73-yard kick return for a score by Fort Hamilton’s Seba Nekhet on the first play of the fourth quarter.

On Grand Street’s second drive following the score, Mack caught a pass at the six-yard line, bounced off two tacklers and kept running after being hit hard by Blake Smaw. He broke two more tackles and carried a defender into the end zone for an 18-yard score the pulled the Wolves within 22–20.

“I just had to get in,” said Mack, who made five catches for 82 yards.

He also got Grand Street on the board in the second half with a 20-yard catch and sprint that helped cut the Fort Hamilton lead to 14–8 with 6:05 to go in the second quarter. Ahmed Bah added and 18-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter and Rhamel Ashby added 81 rushing yards on 15 carries.

The big play eluded Fort Hamilton (1–1) after the break. Fitzsimons went four of six passing for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Nekbet complied 140 yards of total offense and Keyshaun Robinson hauled in a score.

But Fort Hamilton was stopped twice on fourth down around midfield, and both times Grand Street answered with scores. Tigers coach Danny Perez said his players were just trying to be aggressive, knowing how quickly Grand Street can put up points.

“We had these guys up until the last couple of seconds of the game,” Perez said.

That was when Brisfere ensured it was his team that got to celebrate.

“It is the best moment I’ve ever had,” Brisfere said. “After I dropped it, I was sad and too focused trying to make a big play. I just had to relax and get it next time.”

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