Students proudly wore their Stuyvesant Woo-Peg-Sooie shirts as they crowded into Pier 40, ready to witness an exciting homecoming and a game that could bring the Peglegs, Stuyvesant’s varsity football team, to a .500 record. The atmosphere surrounding Friday night’s game against the Lafayette Patriots was indeed electric—the results, however, were far from thrilling.
The Peglegs had the advantages of playing on their home turf in front of a multitude of faithful and enthusiastic Stuyvesant fans and having an opponent that was having a 32-game losing streak. The Peglegs were unable to emerge victorious from the gridiron, however, and suffered a devastating 9-7 defeat during the Homecoming weekend.
“Personally I feel that we didn’t show enough heart,” senior and lineman Athiththan Selvendran said. Whether it was heart or mere execution on the football field, the Peglegs lost a game that many believed was a must-win if the team was to have any hope of being in the playoffs.
Instead of pulling even at .500, the loss on Friday dropped the Peglegs to 2-4—a disappointing record for a season that started off with so much promise. The tone of the game was set on the very first play, when Lafayette senior and wide receiver Troy Greaves returned the kickoff for an impressive 76 yards, plowing through the Stuyvesant special teams until he was finally taken down at the Peglegs’ 15-yard line. Even with attempts to keep the Stuyvesant fans in the game, the life was sucked out of the crowd after Greaves’ lengthy kick return.
The Peglegs didn’t do anything to keep their fans entertained, racking up a total of 60 yards in penalties. “We made way too many costly stupid plays,” senior and kicker Michael Affuso said, referring specifically to a 3rd quarter unnecessary roughness penalty called on Selvendran.
It is difficult to pinpoint what exactly led to the Peglegs’ embarrassing loss to a team that had a roster of only 17 players. Whether there was too much hype and pressure to win on Homecoming, or the players felt that they would just coast with an easy win over the struggling Patriots, they were unable to convert. However, according to head coach Mark Strasser, none of these were the reasons for his team’s unimpressive performance on Friday.
“[The Patriots] went hard and had the will to win more than we did,” Strasser said. “We are a better team than what we showed Friday, we have to get back on track and show every team we aren’t a team to be made fun of.”
During any football season, a team will go through rigorous practices several times a week, whether they just lost to the New England Patriots or the Lafayette Patriots. The Peglegs, however, will also need to recover mentally from last week’s devastating defeat. Unfortunately, the team suffered another defeat to Petrides High School on Friday, October 16, 29-6. Although Petrides, a 5-1 team, was a much more talented team than Lafayette, it was still a crushing loss for the Peglegs as they struggle for a playoff bidberth.
If it wishes to win its next three games and finish the season at .500, the Peglegs will need to study what went wrong on Friday and try to correct any mistakes. The members of the team also feel that they need to put the game behind them if they are going to have a strong finish to the season. “We got to forget about homecoming and try to win all our last four games,” Selvendran said.
It will be difficult, though, for the Peglegs to put such a disappointing a game behind them. The Peglegs fell short in a game they should have won, scoring only once on a 2nd quarter rushing touchdown by junior Michael Bucaoto. Friday’s game seemed to be an indicator of Stuyvesant’s thus far disappointing season. The problem for the Peglegs has never been about a lack of talent or a lack of support from the student body, but rather an inability to translate that talent and support into winning on the field.
If there is one positive thing that the Peglegs can take from Friday’s loss, it is that no team can ever be counted out. If the Lafayette Patriots can muster a victory in the hostile environment of Pier 40 with several hundred Stuyvesant fans breathing down their necks, then the Peglegs can certainly finish off the 2009 season with pride.
“We aren’t a team to be made fun of,” Selvendran said. Perhaps he is right—now is the time for the Peglegs to convert the talent they possess into wins for the team.