Lincoln High School’s ride back to Yankee Stadium and the Public School Athletic League’s title game was derailed on Saturday afternoon when the team fell to Tottenville 21–8.
The Railsplitters won’t be going to its third straight title game, but coach Shawn O’Connor believes his team made a statement considering the team’s lack of experience and the loss of the school’s state-of-the-art football field to Hurricane Sandy.
“Just getting here is really something to be proud of,” O’Connor said. “A lot of people can’t say they’ve been here and we’ve been here for three years now. This time, we were just a game short.”
Lincoln (8–3) opened up the game looking like a team on their way to their third straight title game. Quarterback Javon Moore found tight end Darnell Phillips for a 14-yard score before connecting with Jamiek Davis for the two-point conversion to give Lincoln an 8–0 lead with 1:35 left to go in the first quarter.
But its offense failed to reach the end zone for the remainder of the game, as Tottenville intercepted Moore on four separate occasions. The Pirates (10–1) came out and scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter after going into the half tied 8–8.
Tottenville’s senior connection of quarterback Brandon Barnes and receiver Kevin Coughlin caused fits for Lincoln: the two went for scores of six and 20 yards and Barnes finished the day with 163 passing yards and three touchdowns.
The Railsplitters went into the postseason hoping that the team would give Hurricane Sandy-ravaged Coney Island something to rally behind.
Despite the loss, players took solace in knowing they helped their neighbors out in some small way in a time of need.
“When people saw us back playing football, it reminded them that life was back to normal,” O’Connor said.