Knights win wild game in homecoming finale
By Andy Gross
In their final homecoming football game, the John F. Kennedy High School (JFK) Knights fit four years of drama, excitement, great plays, mistakes and jubilation into a game not likely to be forgotten any time soon.
JFK (5-3) won its third straight game on Oct. 25, defeating the tough and physical Canarsie High School Chiefs 34-28 in overtime.
JFK had the game safely in hand, but committed four costly penalties in the fourth quarter that negated a touchdown and another potential score before finally triumphing.
After the game, JFK coach Andy Lancberg told his team, “I’m proud of the character you showed me and it’s great we got the win, but we made a ton of mistakes.”
“Bananas,” was Lancberg’s reaction to the game. “If it wasn’t the craziest game I’ve seen, it’s way up there.”
The victory virtually assured the Knights a place in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) football playoffs. JFK is currently ranked 13th. The top 16 teams qualify.
JFK jumped to a 12-6 lead at the half as senior quarterback Anthony Cruz ran 13 yards for one score and senior tailback Caine Caldwell took it in from the three-yard line with 56 seconds left in the half.
JFK appeared in control as Cruz hit senior Cristian Perez with a scoring pass at the 7:14 mark in the third quarter for a 20-6 lead after JFK converted the two-point conversion.
Cruz finished the night with four for 74 yards.
Cruz, who ran for 132 yards and passed for 181 more, was under pressure all night by Canarsie’s tough defensive line led by Kamari Jones Hunter and Glenville Bell, who sacked Cruz twice and hurried him into an interception. That led to a Canarsie score by senior quarterback Antonio Snell, knotting the game at 20-20 with 1:14 left.
JFK seemed to have the game locked in thanks to an electrifying kick return for a score by senior Quentin Daniels, who raced 85 yards down the left sideline with 41 seconds left in the game to give JFK an apparent 28-20 win following the two-point conversion.