Courier Life’s

Ayo shows Bayside the door, leads Sheepshead romp

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The game was tied at 12 early in the second quarter when a positive turned into a negative and spoiled Bayside’s upset plans.  The 12th-seeded Commodores had Ayo Isijola, No. 5 Sheepshead Bay’s talented senior running back, trapped in the backfield, set up for a six-yard loss.

If only they had kept him there. Isijola broke through D.J. Curry’s tackle, and the track star was off to the races, down the sideline 50 yards for the go-ahead and momentum-turning score in the Sharks’ 42-12, first-round PSAL playoff win Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn.

Isijola found the end zone two other times and finished with 209 yards rushing. Quarterback Joel Bowne threw a 7-yard scoring strike to Jared Andrew and Devontai Carlie also ran for 71 yards and a touchdown. But it was Isijola’s escape that will haunt Bayside (6-4).

“We couldn’t tackle him,” Bayside coach Jason Levitt said of Isijola. “That’s what it came down to.”

The first quarter went well for the Commodores. Strong-armed senior quarterback Damir Dukanovic threw touchdown passes of 75 and five yards to Kory Dildy and Onur Gurbuz. Then Isijola took over. At the end of the half, trailing 28-12, Bayside was driving, looking to cut the lead in half. But as Dukanovic dropped back to pass, the ball slipped out of his hands and into the waiting arms of Paul Fyffe who returned it 60 yards to the end zone.

“That was a dagger,” Levitt said.

While the poor weather conditions affected almost everyone in action Saturday, it hampered Bayside’s spread attack most. Bayside was having its way with Sheepshead (8-2) until the rains came, Levitt said. And although the Commodores kept throwing, the aggressive scheme wasn’t nearly as effective.

“We couldn’t really utilize our offense,” Levitt said.

The Sharks did have a role in that, too, particularly defensive backs Naquan Lawrence, Naquan Alexander and Bowen. It should be good practice if they meet No. 1 Port Richmond, a 41-0 winner over No. 16 Jefferson. Coach Fred Snyder compared Bayside’s all-out aerial assault to a game of flag football, airing it out two out of every three plays.

“They were up to the challenge,” he said of his defensive backs.

Sheepshead will meet No. 10 Boys & Girls, which upset No. 7 Campus Magnet, 27-20, earlier in the day. It is a rematch of their Week 8 showdown, won by the Sharks, 6-0.

“I think it’s always hard to beat a team twice,” Snyder said. “We got our hands full.”

But they are still playing, alive and well on a day two of the top four seeds – Curtis and Kennedy – were eliminated. For Snyder, that is good enough.

“We hung in there,” he said. “Our kids stayed in the game.

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