Giants win in the rain & mud as season nears end


As weathermen promised, rain pounded down on the Downtown Giants as they played their last game of the regular season against the Yorkville Eagles at East River Park on Saturday. Although parents were prepared with ponchos and umbrellas, no one escaped getting wet but still cheered as they watched their Giants give the Eagles a soaking before refs called the game shortly after the half. The Giants were awarded the win.

The Eagles offense was first to get the ball, successfully driving downfield. But the Giants defense stopped the Eagles on fourth and third on the Eagles eight-yard line, preventing the touchdown. Giant defenders, Sean O’Toole, Trevor Doebele, Michael Lenahan, James Halbert, William Watt, Avery Rivera, Spenser Kiehl, Jack McCabe, Ben Steinberg, Michael Morin, Sean Halbert, Aaje “Spike” Grayson, and Ry Cohen held tough.

The offense, Jack Vernon, Zachary Traussi, Spike Grayson, James Halbert, Michael Lenahan, Ry Cohen, Enrique Caballero, Brendon Farrell, Will Watt, Trevor Doebele, Spenser Kiehl, Ben Steinberg, and Jake Ourvan ignored the rain and quickly got to business, as Cohen and Lenahan took turns carrying. A penalty against the Giants brought the team back ten yards.

Just two plays later, Cohen saw an opening down the left side and ran for it! Running through Eagles players, over puddles, and sliding through mud, Cohen was able to stay inches inbounds and delivered a touchdown for the Giants.

Giants defense proved themselves yet again, with hard tackles against Eagles offense by Watt, Lenahan, Kiehl, Halbert, and finally, adding insult to injury, Jack McCabe sacked the Eagles quarterback.

As the rain fell harder, the Giants offense took the wet, muddy field. Vernon called a reverse, with Joseph Simmons getting the ball. Give this kid a football, and good luck catching him! True to form, Joe Joe Simmons was able to dodge and outrun Eagles defense to make a 33-yard sprint downfield, putting Giants at their eight yard line.

The teams left the field for the half. The rain came harder but the Giants remained determined to keep their momentum. Cohen again got the carry and found his spot down the left sideline for a 20-yard run touchdown! Spike Grayson, rolling off one Eagles defense after another, scored the extra point. The rain soaked fans screamed, “This is your game, Giants.”

As the rain and visibility got worse and sounds of distant thunder roared above, the refs were forced to call the game with the win going to the team with the most points on the board, the Downtown Giants

As parents tried to rush everyone off the field, Giants players wouldn’t leave their huddle until, one by one, they received their Giants Football cookie, hand baked by William Watt’s mom, Monica. “Several hours to bake all these, but one second to eat them!”

Downtown Giants will practice this week and play one last game in the Peanut Bowl scheduled for next weekend.

Giants play the Raiders tough

The Bayside Raiders had a reputation: “they’re tough, they’re fast, they’re well trained and have a good passing game.” The young Giants fought hard to beat the team that inspired this admiration but, in the end, accomplished more than putting points on the board; they earned their own respect — from the Raiders, their fans, and themselves in a game played Nov. 8.

Giants’ game captains Sean O’Toole, Brendan Farrell, Jack Vernon, and James Halbert stepped onto the rain soaked field and won the toss to begin the battle. Ry Cohen made several runs, only to be stopped short by the Raiders energized defense.

With the Raiders offense taking possession, quarterback Gregory Pierce tried twice to run the ball, but Giants James Halbert was all over him, squashing both drives. Giants Nate Hamoway, Spenser Kiehl, and Joe Simmons continued to put pressure on the Raiders offense. But the Raiders Nicholas “Cab Driver” Coveless eventually saw an opening and went in for a touchdown and the extra point.

Carries by Cohen and Michael Lenahan moved the Giants downfield, as did a face-mask penalty against the Raiders defense. But the drive was stopped with a Raider sack.

Tackles by Aaje “Spike” Grayson, Nate Hamoway, Ben Steinberg, and Michael “Shockey” Morin were able to hold the Raiders still, until Coveless again made the carry and scored another Raiders TD. The Giants Steinberg, Simmons, and Kiehl saved the extra point.

With the Raiders leading by two touchdowns into the half, Giants regrouped and Coach John gave a pep talk: “Dig down deep and find heart. That is what football is about, that is what school is about; that is what life is about.”

The second half belonged to the Giants. On the first play, Giants James Halbert intercepted the Raiders Gregory Pierce’s pass, which gave the Giants the burst of energy and confidence to turn themselves around. When Vernon called a reverse, the Giants executed perfectly, with Joe Joe Simmons running 45 yards for a touchdown.

The touchdown then sparked the defense — Sean Halbert, Jack McCabe, Zachary Traussi, and Trevor Doebele, who put the pressure on the Raiders, causing an incomplete pass and two fumbles. Crucial tackles by William Watt and Nate Hamoway then finished any Raider hope for another touchdown.

In tit for tat fashion, Raiders defense next held Giants at bay, as runs by Cohen and Lenahan were stopped at the line of scrimmage. The Raiders Salim Turner burst off the line for a 60-yard touchdown and the extra point.

Cohen then found an opening far left, and hugged the sideline as he ran it in for another Giants touchdown.

Giants defense then continued the good job, forcing a Raiders fumble, recovered by Giants Will Watt on the 30-yard line to put Giants back in the game! “Way to go Watt!”

With seconds left in the game, and rain pouring down hard, Giants fans were all standing, soaked and screaming, “You can do this Giants; you can do this!” Giants center Enrique Caballero made the snap, Vernon pivoted right for the handoff to Joe Simmons, who made the first down and Giants were on their 15. But the clock ran out and, with it, the Giants’ opportunity to score. I

“You played with true heart today,” said Giants coaches Chase, John, and Frankie. “Hearts of champions. That team was tough, but you gave them a run and now you have the respect.” Giants James Halbert won the game ball.

Both teams headed inside for bagels, cinnamon buns, medals and thank-you gifts. Athletico finished the season on an even note, with 4 wins, 4 losses and 2 ties. Sevilla celebrated a fun soccer season, noting that three seemed to be the magic number this year: they won three games, tied three games, had three shutouts and lost three of the games by only one goal. And of course, they had three hard-working and patient coaches in John Griffin, Chris Rohan and Bill Tsapalas. John mentioned that the dynasty (which started with Junior 6 team Arsenal) will continue to grow stronger, hopefully with Gabe Colon back on the roster.