The Port Richmond Varsity Football team was on a 3 game win streak after opening up their season with a loss at Lincoln High School. They defeated Dewitt Clinton, New Dorp High School and then Midwood High School in a quadruple overtime victory with a final score of 43-42 (talk about a high scoring game!). When any sports team wins a tough game that goes into overtime, sudden death, a shootout, whatever, it shows a lot of character and the heart of a champion. One would think that such a team would be unstoppable for the rest of the season, however, considering they just won their third game in a row in grand fashion. Unfortunately, the Raiders have dropped their last two games, losing to island rival, Curtis High School 24-6 and then to another tough team, Thomas Jefferson Campus 28-0.
“It’s tough seeing these guys do so well in the beginning, and then losing against Curtis in a blowout! It’s very sad,” said Raider fan Ishmael King.“We just lost it. We got tired [by] the end of the game. We need to [improve our stamina],” said a disappointed Veron Jajaga, a senior on the football team. Port Richmond’s loss to Curtis High School was certainly a bump in the road for the season. The Warriors defense shut down the Raiders’ offense. “I think we had under 60 yards rushing,” said senior fullback Mark Clark. “We had no passing game” he added.
The Raiders’ defense was also not so special. Mark Clark, who is not only the starting fullback for the team, but is also the starting safety, believes Port Richmond “Played really hard.” Clark ended the game with an impressive 18 tackles. “I never gave up,” Clark added. While Clark did make his tackles and did do his job, Port still lost. Eleven players are on the field for defense in football, not 1. The defense had a disappointing game, and so did the offense.
Now it was off to the next week for the Raiders. Fans started to ask “How can they bounce back from a loss like that?” “We go on the road against a good (Thomas Jefferson) team and we leave [the school] with a W” said an enthusiastic Coach Vesce. The Raiders had some work to do. Their offense just did not show up against Curtis.
Port worked hard in practice, and genuinely believed that they were ready to battle against another competitive foe, the Thomas Jefferson Orange Wave. Port Richmond would be disappointed again. In their worst game of the season, the Raiders lost 28-0. They surrendered more points and scored fewer points compared to their previous loss against the Warriors.
“It was embarrassing. We could not do anything,” said Port senior offensive tackle and defensive end Peter Curcio. For the first time since September 26th, 2009, Port Richmond had been shutout. No running game, no passing game, pure domination by the crushing Orange Wave defense. If you can shut out Port Richmond’s offense, consider yourself good. Port averaged 28 points per game since their loss to Lincoln heading into this game against the Orange Wave. They now average 20 points per game.
Port Richmond’s defense needs to improve, and fast! They give up an average of 29 points per game this season. “Defense wins championships” is not a theory, it is a fact! The best teams shut down opposing offenses. That is why Lincoln, Jefferson and Curtis are all among the top 10 teams in the PSAL, which consists of 24 teams. Port Richmond is ranked 10th. Curtis, Jefferson and Lincoln are all ranked higher then Port. Jefferson is now ranked 6th after their victory over the Raiders, and Curtis is ranked 5th, but that could change because they lost to Campus Magnet this week. The dominating Abraham Lincoln High School is now ranked 2nd in the PSAL. Climbing the charts and sending a message, it’s no surprise why Port looked baffled when they faced Lincoln in week one.
Port has a tough 3 game schedule left to close the season. Starting off, they face a 6-0 Tottenville Pirates team next, under the lights at T-Ville on October 22nd at 7pm. “I hate them.” exclaimed a fired up Peter Curcio. “It should be a good game. If I had to guess, the game is going to be close and an emotional victory for the winner,” said Mark Clark. T-Ville is ranked 3rd in the PSAL poll. Port Richmond’s arch rival is Tottenville High School. Both teams hate each other. Compare this rivalry to Yankees vs. Red Sox, Ohio State vs. Michigan or Ali vs. Frazier! Ok, maybe it’s not at that level; after all it is only high school football, but still! Both teams will be fired up; it should be a great game.
After that high profile game, the Raiders have their Homecoming Game against Flushing High School who is ranked 11th in the PSAL poll. They wrap up their season at home against starting Raiders QB Ricky Cardenas’ former team, the Susan Wagner High School Falcons. It should be an exciting finish! The Raiders will make the playoffs; they just need to fight for position, more wins, better position, better position in the playoffs, the higher probability of getting to the PSAL City Championship Game. Will the Raiders win against T-Ville this week?! Will they finish the season with a record over .500? Those questions will only be answered by the exciting finish of the 2010 PSAL football season.