For the second year in a row, Abraham Lincoln High School will head to Yankee Stadium to compete for a title. The No. 1 Railsplitters defeated No. 7 Dewitt Clinton, 30-14, in the Public Schools Athletic Leauge "Championship" division semifinals in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: In the first half, Lincoln (12-0) scored three times in 19 minutes.
Lincoln moved down the field on the initial drive, with senior Kareem Folkes punching in a 1-yard touchdown. Folkes went to work again a few minutes later, rushing for a 5-yard touchdown to put the Railsplitters on top, 14-0.
And with five minutes until the half, quarterback Jessel Jones connected with senior Tarik Pusey on a 9-yard pass in the corner of the endzone.
Although Clinton (8-4) did not do much offensively, the Governors finally managed to march down to the 6-yard line with less than two minutes to play. The drive would be wasted, though.
On third-and-four, senior Jeremiah Obeng Agyapong was tackled by senior Robert Kitching for a loss of 8. On fourth down, senior Rasheed Anderson sacked Ryan Camilo, allowing Lincoln to carry its 22-point lead into the locker room.
"Our defensive line is the reason we're 12-0 and going back to Yankee Stadium," Lincoln coach Shawn O'Connor said after the game.
Clinton finally got on the board on the second play of the third quarter. Junior Haleem Livingston ran 49 yards down the sideline for the touchdown.
In the fourth, Jones ran 8 yards for a touchdown, and Agyapong rushed 43 yards to post Clinton's final points.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Although Folkes (who accrued about 150 yards) is usually a go-to pick to receive Player of the Game honors, today belonged to Jones. On his 17th birthday, the quarterback rushed for a touchdown and threw for one, too.
Jones has really grown as a leader this season. When Camilo went down with an injury in the fourth, Jones was the one instructing his team to take a knee for the fallen quarterback.
O'Connor was fine with delivering the birthday pun regarding Jones: He matured a lot today, he said.
Jones didn't see much playing time in last year's PSAL title game against Fort Hamilton, with senior Andrew Vital at the helm for Lincoln, but he said he's ready for the start.
"I felt like at the beginning of the season nobody knew who I was," Jones said. "I tried to come out and make a big name for myself and catch people's attention."
UP NEXT: Lincoln lost to Fort Hamilton in the title game, 8-6, last year. Folkes, one of only two returning starters for the Railsplitters, said they are going to take it this time. They will face Erasmus Hall on Dec. 6 at 5 p.m. at Yankee Stadium.
"We're not going to get caught up in the bright lights," Folkes said. "We know what to expect."
Both Jones and Folkes wanted this all-Brooklyn showdown vs. Erasmus Hall.
"Brooklyn versus Brooklyn, that's the way to go," Folkes said.