BY LARRY FLEISHER
Flushing High School sophomore cornerback Kameron Walker walked off the football field toward the sideline Saturday, and said, to no one in particular, “One step closer to Yankee Stadium.”
Walker had just made a game-ending tackle and the Flushing Red Devils had advanced to the quarterfinals of the PSAL Championship conference playoffs with a 34-14 victory over South Shore.
“That’s good, because that’s got to be their goal,” coach Jim DeSantis said of Walker’s comment. “If it’s not their goal, then we’re just going through the motions. I really think that this year it’s wide open, and if we get a little bit lucky, we can be right there.”
The Red Devils are two steps away from reaching Yankee Stadium to play for their first PSAL championship. Their next step will be a week of practice and studying film in preparation for what could be their greatest obstacle − a visit to the formidable Lincoln High School in Coney Island.
Last year’s visit came a round later in the semifinals. Flushing had knocked off New Dorp and Curtis in the first two rounds when the Red Devils made the trip to Lincoln, where they lost in a 55-7 rout that saw them trail 41-0 at halftime.
That ended the deepest run of any team in the history of the program, which began in 2005 as a freshman-only team and four years later, moved from the developmental level to the Championship Division, which is the most competitive of the PSAL’s three-tiered alignment.
“That Lincoln team last year was a monster,” DeSantis said. “It was an elite team like I’ve probably never seen in the City of New York before and I’ve been doing this 20-something years. Now, I think there’s no real elite teams. I think there’s more parity.”
The skeptic would argue what else would you expect a coach to say? He’s not going to give his team no chance. But DeSantis certainly has conviction in his voice.
“I think this might be one of the better teams we’ve had,” DeSantis said. “We were pretty good last year, but we were kind of one-dimensional in that we had just a running back. Now we can kind of spread it around. I feel good about it.”
DeSantis would have every reason to feel good if some of the things that happened Saturday were to repeat themselves next week. Among them were three touchdown passes from senior quarterback Terrence Chavis, four different players scoring touchdowns and a steady stream of receptions from Keron Hermitt, including a 77-yard TD late in the second quarter.
If the Red Devils are going to Yankee Stadium, they will have to win on the road. Based on what DeSantis witnessed with his senior-laden team, the belief is that it can happen starting next week against an opponent that has won two of the last three city championships.
“Lincoln’s a good team,” Chavis said. “We’ve got to be able to play defense well and our O-line has got to play strong to get our running game running and our passing game going. That’s basically it.”