Defense wins championships.
It may sound cliché, but the 2016 PSAL Cup final was dominated by defense as Eagle Academy III downed Frederick Douglass Academy 12-6 in overtime to capture the program’s first championship title.
“We hang our hats on our defense,” Eagle Academy III coach Kevin Williams said. “I knew going into overtime, they were never going to score. I’m very proud of them.”
In the overtime period, Frederick Douglass was stopped at the goal line on 4th-and-goal when junior Omar Morrisey stuffed Lions’ quarterback Omari Hill’s go-ahead touchdown bid. Three plays later, Eagles quarterback Gary Newman snuck in for the game-winning one-yard touchdown to bring the title back to Queens.
“We worked hard for this all year,” Newman said. “In camp, we had four days where we were waking up 4 o’clock in the morning and grinding. So to come out here and get clutch moments like this. Scoring the last touchdown and [Morrisey] coming out and scoring the first touchdown it really helped a lot and meant a lot.”
Eagle Academy III had an opportunity to take the lead with 7:28 to play. The Eagles had 1st-and-goal at the Lion’s 4-yard line and failed to convert on four straight run plays. Frederick Douglass’ best chance came late in the fourth quarter. On 4th-and-4 at Eagle Academy’s 10-yard line, Hill picked up six yards as time expired with the game tied at six.
“The defense held it down for us today,” Newman said. “We had key stops and clutch interceptions. We came up with a couple of good tackles. The offense did what they had to do.”
Eagle Academy opened up the scoring on the opening drive. Morrissey capped off 13-play, 77-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run to put the Eagles up 6-0.
“In that possession I was in the mode,” Morrisey said. “I had to get it for my team. I wanted it for my seniors so bad. I wanted it for [Williams]. He’s been through a whole lot with us From camp, from last year, our heart and school it’s everything.”
Frederick Douglass received a gift late in the second quarter. On 4th-and-27 from its own 19-yard line, Eagle Academy III’s Zeyad Lawal’s punt went backwards and gave the Lions four extra yards. On the ensuing play, quarterback Omari Hill marched 15 yards into the end zone to tie the game at 6.
The stats didn’t look pretty, Newman completed 3-of-5 passes for 27 yards and Morrisey rushed for 73 yards on 8 carries.
Eagle Academy III (12-0), knocked off East Harlem before downing Frederick Douglas (11-1) in the Cup final.
“There’s nothing they can’t do when they put their minds to it,” Williams said. “They play for each other, as you look up and down that sideline you see a lot of heart, but not a lot of numbers, but our heart is very big. I’d rather bring ten wolves than 100 sheep and that’s what we got.”