Railsplitters advance to the semifinals

Javon Moore’s thrilling 26-yard touchdown pass to Jamiek Davis with 26 seconds remaining earned the Lincoln Railsplitters a 34–28 victory against the Port Richmond Red Raiders in the Public School Athletic League Championship division quarterfinals at Lafayette High School on Sunday afternoon.

Lincoln High School’s star players also hooked up for scores of 8 and 60 yards, but none was bigger than the winning connection, they said.

“We’ve been through adversity, and we’ve shed blood, sweat, and tears together,” Davis said.

With the score tied 28–28, Fourth-seeded Lincoln — the defending Public School Athletic League champs — went to a hurry-up offense. Moore rushed his team to Port Richmond’s 24-yard line. Davis ran a dig-route over the middle, and Moore hit him in stride. Then Davis ran an additional five yards to hit pay dirt.

“I knew I had a job to do,” he said. “My job was to go up and make the play, like I’ve been doing all year. So that’s what I did.”

Lincoln (8–2) began the stellar drive at their own 18-yard line with 3:10 left, after stopping Port Richmond on a crucial fourth and one. The Red Raiders (7–3) went for it on Lincoln’s 15-yard line, but Railsplitter Malik Darling sacked Michael Goffredo as he attempted to scramble for the first.

The Railsplitters moved the ball on the ground for most of the afternoon, using three different running backs to march 58-yards. Moore completed only one pass on the drive — but that’s all the Railsplitters needed, his coach said.

“We expect Davis to do those kind of things,” Railsplitter coach Shawn O’Connor said. “And Moore, a lot of people doubted him being a quarterback because of his size.”

The Railsplitters now are 2-0 at Lafayette, their home-away-from-home ever since Hurricane Sandy destroyed the team’s state-of-the-art field.

Lincoln High School athletic director Renan Ebeid said the field accrued $45,000 worth of damage during the storm, but O’Connor believes the tragedies the team has faced has only made his players stronger.

“Last week was rough and we’re practicing on a small space, but the kids put it behind them,” he said.

Lincoln now visits No. 2 seed Tottenville — who handed the Railsplitters a 29–28 loss in September — on Saturday. But the setting doesn’t matter to the Railsplitters.

“It’s just another field,” Moore said of Tottenville. “We’re going to do what we have to do to win.”

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