Losses have been non-existent at Garden City over the past three seasons. Real threats and deficits have been almost as scarce. Both of those things happened on Saturday as it hosted Carey. The Trojans reacted like the champions they’ve been and snuffed the Seahawks’ uprising.
Garden City reacted to its first deficit since the 2016 season by scoring a pair of quick second-quarter touchdowns and went for two more quick ones after their margin was cut to three in the third quarter. By the time it was over, the Trojans had a 38-14 Nassau II win and their place as the Conference standard setter remained untarnished.
The victory was the 28th straight for Garden City (4-0) as it pursues its third straight Long Island Championship.
“[Carey] started the game aggressively getting to the ball – they were more fired up than we were,” Garden City quarterback Colin Hart said. “But the way we saw it, it was like we were one block away on so many potential big plays. When we started making those blocks, the plays started coming.”
“That was the first real dogfight we’ve been in this season,” Trojans coach Dave Ettinger said. “At the end of it though we have some exceptional athletes that can put their mark on the game and they did.”
As it always seems this season the Trojans rode their three horses to the win. Hart threw for 103 yards and two scores and rushed for 49 yards and another touchdown. Trevor Yeboah-Kodie had 15 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown plus he threw an 18-yard pass on the option to Hart that proved one of the game’s bigger plays. Justin Coppola rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown of offense and made some of Garden City’s biggest hits on defense.
The Seahawks defensive plan called for removing Yeboah-Kodie – arguably the most dangerous player in the county with the ball in hands – out of the equation; he managed just 15 yards on his first five carries.
But Garden City is a complex equation, as Carey (2-2) would find out.
Garden City led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter before Seahwaks quarterback Jason Kessler scrambled away from pressure and connected on a 63-yard bomb for a touchdown and a 7-3 with 7:48 before halftime. Carey was also the last team to hold a lead against the Trojans – on Nov. 19, 2016.
Garden City answered in the most excruciating way – it took the lead right back. The Trojans scored and re-took the lead on the ensuing possession as Hart hit Coppola for a 63-yard touchdown. Garden City scored on its next possession as Hart found James Cashwell for a 35-yard score when the senior receiver came down with the ball between two defenders.
“We have so many weapons, it doesn’t matter if one of us is getting taken away,” Yeboah-Kodie said. “We got an anxious moment or two, but we did what we do: pull together and overcome.”
After Carey cut the margin to 17-14 in the third quarter on Patrick McGrath’s two-yard touchdown run, Garden City answered with a pair of spirit-crushing scores. Yeboah-Kodie threw the option pass to Hart for 18 yards on a third-and-19. On the next play he went 57 yards for a touchdown. On the Trojans’ next possession – after a Carey turnover – he carried five times for 24 yards before Hart took a one-yard sneak into the end zone for the 31-14 lead.
“Scoring right after they score is always a confidence-crusher,” Coppola said. “We’ve been seeing in games that we’re the better conditioned team and that makes a difference late in the game.
Kessler threw for 132 yards and the touchdown for Carey.
“After this I think we’re good,” Hart said. “We need to work on things. We’re not great yet, but maybe at the end of the season. And as usual, we’re very focused.”