Big plays by the Brooklyn Tech defense and quarterback Elijah Rueda provided a comeback victory in a game that had been dominated in the second half by host Canarsie.
Rueda, who scored three touchdowns, connected with Alpha Gamby for a 21-yard score with 7:56 left in the game. It was the decisive touchdown in Brooklyn Tech’s 21–20 road to victory in Public School Athletic League football last Sunday. The score stopped a run of 20-straight points for Canarsie.
“We faced adversity, but that’s the one thing we build our family on, facing adversity and being able to respond,” Rueda said.
The go-ahead score was set up by a turnover produced by the Brooklyn Tech defense. Canarsie’s Shawn Cabbell fumbled on a hit from Ayinde Pope and Francis Cawog picked up the ball for the Engineers. Brooklyn Tech coach Kyle McKenna said his team bouncing back from a rough patch shows its character.
“We’re a next-play team,” he said “I think we practice what we preach, that you have to move on if you have a bad play.”
Canarsie junior Paltye Stubbs got the Chiefs on the board late first half with a nine-yard touchdown run to make it 14–6. Stubbs continued his success late in the third by rushing the ball into the end zone for a 21-yard score. Jeffery Killebrew hooked up with Leighton Wellington to complete the two-point conversion and tie the score at 14–14. Stubbs picked off Rueda and took the ball 35 yards for a touchdown to make it 20–14 on Brooklyn Tech’s next play from scrimmage.
“He played emotionally,” Canarsie coach Kyle Allen said of Stubbs. “He made some big plays on offense and defense, but he can’t do it by himself.”
Stubbs’s three consecutive touchdowns were in response to two scores from Brooklyn Tech (4–1) in the first quarter. The Engineers got a 58-yard touchdown pass from Rueda to Gamby. Rueda later found Donovan Ortiz for a 60-yard score to make it 14–0. Canarsie (3–2) had a chance to respond earlier, but Stubbs was stopped on fourth and goal from the two.
“Our defense comes up big in big spots throughout the year,” McKenna said. “That was a real big stop.”
Another break came when Rueda dropped back to pass from his own two-yard-line and was hit by multiple Chief defenders. They appeared to knock the ball loose before his arm came forward. Luckily for the Engineers the play was ruled a fumble instead of a safety, which would have netted Canarsie two-points.
Allen thought it was a safety, but if his team played the way he wanted them to, the game wouldn’t have come down to one play.
“It was a judgment [call], but it was pretty evident his arm wasn’t coming forward,” Allen said. “Sometimes you don’t get the calls. When you play flat and when you put yourself in a hole, plays like that become issues. If we came out the way we wanted to, that call wouldn’t have mattered.”