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Tricks yield no treats

Brooklyn Tech was nursing a lead with 35 seconds left in the first half. The Engineers were hoping to steal another score before the break, so coach Kyle McKenna reached into his bag of tricks and called for a halfback pass.

Quarterback Hisham Dola pitched the ball right to James Brown, who lofted it downfield. But instead of finding an open Tanber Zaman, the pass fell short and was intercepted by Jauvan John.

On the next play, Erasmus Hall got even.

“Calling the play, we didn’t think we were going to underthrow the pass,” McKenna said. “We practiced it all week. If anything, I thought we were going to overthrow it. The guy was wide open. What we didn’t think was gonna happen happened.”

It ended up setting the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Brooklyn Tech would not score again in a 34-14 loss at Erasmus Hall on Saturday in PSAL City Championship division football.

The Engineers mustered just three total first downs, though their defense either scored or set up two first-half touchdowns. Tarrance Taylor returned an Omari Matthews interception 60 yards for a touchdown with 6:41 left in the first quarter and Taylor scored again, on a 1-yard run, after Tech (3-2) recovered a Wayne Morgan fumble at the Erasmus 5-yard line with 9:44 left in the half.

“Our offense needs to definitely keep pace with our defense,” McKenna said. “Our defense is being asked to do too much.”

The defense contained the dynamic Erasmus (5-0) offense for most of the first half, but it’s hard to keep the high-powered Dutchmen off the board for long. John scored both of his first-half touchdowns on screen passes and they would score three more times after the break. Brooklyn Tech lost Taylor and Saiquone Shelby to injuries in the second half, too.

“We really don’t have a big margin of error for mistakes,” McKenna said. “When you’re playing against really good teams, you can’t have those mistakes.”

A tired defense certainly contributed to those mistakes and the Engineers offense couldn’t buy a third-down conversion all afternoon. Still, there were bright spots. Tech was up 14-0 on one of the best teams in the city for almost a half. And the only two teams it has lost to now are Fort Hamilton and Erasmus Hall, the lone undefeated teams left in the PSAL.

“I think we have a pretty resilient team,” McKenna said. “We’ve been a second half team a lot of time. Today we were more of a first-half team.”

If the Engineers put it all together, they should be fine.

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