McKee-Staten Island Tech Seagulls’ running back Andrew Blandino proved himself a home-wrecker on Saturday night, crushing the Madison Knights’ hopes of a homecoming victory with three touchdowns in the Staten Island school’s sweeping 22–0 victory.
The loss left the Sheepshead Bay football team, high on all the homecoming fanfare, in woeful disbelief
“We had a big ego coming into this game,” said senior linebacker Kevin Eng, fighting back tears. “With our record and this being homecoming and all, this loss is just a big wake up call.”
The Madison players huddled around their coaches after the game, heads hung in disappointment. The coaches were as upset as anybody, but glad to see how much this loss unsettled their team, telling their boys they wanted them to remember the feeling. It will serve as motivation moving forward as Madison looks to repeat last season’s Bowl-division victory.
“This loss is going to help us,” linebacker Erick Tinsley said. “All these other games are ours, they’re W’s.”
The Knights (5–1) were undefeated in its first five games thanks a hard-nosed defense and the offense making a few key plays when needed. The defense shut out three of their first five opponents, and held a fourth to only a touchdown. McKee-Staten Island Tech (3–3) proved early that trend would not continue. The Seagulls jumped out to a 14–0 lead in the first quarter behind touchdown runs of 35 and 15 yards by Blandino.
“They just beat us,” Madison head coach Thomas Mobilia said.
His defense then returned to form, only allowing one more score in the fourth quarter. The offense never found its rhythm, going three-and-out six times throughout the game. Despite the growth sophomore quarterback Daniel Martinez showed in his previous games, the offense struggled. However the performance did not shake Mobilia’s faith in his young signal caller.
“He’s learning,” the coach said. “He’s been getting better every game, and building confidence along the way. He’s picking up the offense as we go along.”
The loss, seen as hiccup, does not change the Knights’ ultimate goal of repeating. To do so Mobilia said they would have to rely heavily on its defense and cornerstones Eng and Tinsley. The pair showed their leadership by not making any excuses for the team’s poor performance against McKee-Staten Island Tech and instructing their teammates to not wallow in the defeat, but grow from it.
“We won’t sit around and sulk about this loss,” Tinsley said.