Grand Street rolls into PSAL football semifinals

By on November 23, 2014

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiJeff Bachner/for New York Daily News Kimani Talbot (r.) races past the Clinton defense to help Grand Street Campus rout the Governors Saturday and advance to PSAL semifinals.

It was the perfect Saturday for Grand Street Campus: ideal football weather, a star quarterback returning to the field, and a dominant, 28-8, win over Dewitt Clinton to advance to the semifinals of the PSAL Championship Division playoffs.

Justin Philip was also vital for the Wolves, causing two turnovers for Grand Street’s stout defense and helping to preserve a late lead.

Late in the third quarter, with the Governors (9-2) driving down the field with the help of several Grand Street penalties, the Wolves defense found itself deep in its own territory, nursing a 20-8 lead.

That’s when Philip scooped up a fumble in the middle of a scrum and broke free before taking it 76 yards for a touchdown, essentially sealing the win for Grand Street (10-1).

On the very next drive, Philip came up big again, intercepting Clinton quarterback Dashown Wilson.

“Justin is our guy that makes the defense go,” Grand Street coach Bruce Eugene said. “He just comes up with key plays in key situations. It really put the pressure on Clinton, which is something they’re not used to doing.”

Quarterback Justin White also had a big day for the Wolves in his first game back after being diagnosed with a concussion in the last game of the regular season. White threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kimani Talbot with 2:25 left in the first quarter, helping to fuel the rout.

“He’s the trigger man,” Eugene said of White. “He’s the guy everybody on this team looks to and we’re all comfortable with him back there.”

White was electrifying, keeping drives alive with both his feet and his left arm. Midway through the third quarter White showed how explosive he can be. On a third-and-41, White escaped a collapsing pocket and, while on the run, threw a dart to Taysir Mack, who caught it and, broke one tackle and took it all the way for six.

White finished the day with three touchdown passes, also completing a 16-yarder to Romilo Littlejohn with 5:58 left in the third quarter.

“(White) is the heartbeat of this team, the center of our team,” Philip said. “When he was down things felt different. It’s nice to have him back.”

In next Saturday’s semifinal, Grand Street will play defending city champ Lincoln, the only team to have beaten the Wolves this season. That came on Sept. 26 by the score of 21-18. Lincoln beat Flushing, 31-6, Saturday.

“We knew we would eventually see them again, whether it be in the semifinals or the championship,” Eugene said. “Right now, we’re just feeling confident, this team is rolling. We haven’t lost a game since Lincoln.”

HALL-ING OFF: Erasmus will host Curtis in the other semifinal next weekend. Erasmus beat Fort Hamilton, 26-14, and Curtis beat Tottenville, 20-6, in Saturday’s other quarterfinals.

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