Hungry like the Wolves: Grand Street football confident after second-straight win

Out of his way: Jahquese Morris stiff arms a Midwood defender in Grand Street Campus’s 19–13 victory on Sept. 23.
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The plan was simple — convert on offense and hold strong on defense.

The Grand Street Campus football team held true to its plan on Sept. 23, grabbing a 19–12 victory over Midwood and handing the Hornets the squad’s first loss this season.

The victory — the Wolves’ second straight — was a far cry from the lopsided loss the team took in its season opener and, now, Grand Street is starting to get its confidence back.

“We’re getting our Grand Street swagger back,” said Wolves coach Brian Ellis. “We started out in week one, and we had a lot of stuff going on. We didn’t have that right swagger, but now we’re starting to get it back, and the kids are playing well.”

Midwood (2–1) got on the board first, scoring early in the second quarter as Tyshawn Young hit Matthew Thomas on a slant across the middle of the field, breaking through the Grand Street secondary with ease.

That’s when the Wolves (2–1) woke up.

Senior quarterback Chris Mattocks sparked Grand Street on the ensuing drive — and the squad took the lead when Kyle Brisfere hauled in an eight-yard reception in the back corner of the end zone.

“I just felt like I was letting my team down,” said Mattocks, who finished with 116 passing yards. “I know we need the ball to move the game, and that’s what we were able to do. It felt amazing.”

Grand Street, however, wasn’t quite satisfied with a one-point cushion heading into the break. The Wolves defense made its presence known in the waning minutes of the half, as senior safety Dale Morris picked off Young in the middle of the field and returned the ball 62 yards for a touchdown.

“I knew it was coming,” Morris said. “They were doing it all game, and so I just jumped it and took it for six.”

The Wolves added another touchdown — a 24-yard strike from Mattocks to Jahques Morris on fourth down — early in the third quarter, but Midwood was not about to go down without a fight.

The Hornets stung back on the squad’s next drive, flying down the field quickly. Dontae McGruff just managed to get his feet down in bounds to score and, suddenly, Midwood was back within striking distance and down just seven points.

But the Grand Street defense held its own, staging a big-time stand on the Hornets’ final drive of the game. Midwood came as close as the one-yard line, but a false start pushed the Hornets back to the six — and the squad wasn’t able to move the ball again, because Grand Street stuffed it at the line of scrimmage on each of its next four plays.

It was a difficult loss for the Hornets, but one the squad hopes to learn from quickly — particularly with Lincoln on the schedule for week four.

“The boys really didn’t come out for moral victories,” said Midwood coach Anthony Odita. “They really had their mind set on trying to come out with the win.”

Grand Street, meanwhile, is finally starting to feel like the reigning champions and, after another solid showing on the field, the Wolves are determined to send a message to the rest of the city.

“Our demeanor’s changed,” Morris said. “We just want it more now. We’ve got something to prove to the city.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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