NEW YORK — The situation sixth-ranked Friendship Collegiate was in Saturday afternoon was not one it would have been in four years ago, when Eddie Goldman and Albert Reid were freshmen at the school. Back then, the Knights wouldn’t have been on an all-expenses paid trip to play one of New Jersey’s best football teams — let alone be playing them so close.
But there they were Saturday, making dazzling plays as the Knights built a 32-28 lead against Bergen Catholic early in the third quarter. The Knights couldn’t maintain their advantage, ultimately being done in by miscues in a 48-32 loss to Bergen Catholic in the Bronx, but they found plenty of consolation in the mere fact that they were on the field in such a game at Fordham University.
Goldman and Reid have seen their school grow from one that didn’t have football until eight years ago to one that could contend with top teams from across the country.
“It’s big because when I first started we didn’t really travel too much, we just stayed in the area,” said Reid, a West Virginia recruit who finished with 107 rushing yards and two touchdowns. “And since, every year we got better and better. And Coach [Aazaar Abdul-] Rahim, he don’t have no sympathy for anybody in who we play. If it’s the number one team in the nation, we’ll play them.”
After trailing 14-12 early in the second quarter, the Knights scored two touchdowns to jump out to a 26-14 lead. The momentum swing started with a dazzling interception return by Goldman, a highly-recruited 6-foot-4, 315-pound lineman.
As Troy Morris tried to wrestle Bergen Catholic’s quarterback to the ground, he managed to get a throw off but Goldman nabbed the low throw with his left hand and rumbled 20 yards for a touchdown. Reid added a nifty 35-yard touchdown run less than two minutes later after a Bergen Catholic fumble.
Bergen rallied, but the Knights (5-1) pulled ahead again in the third quarter, 32-28, when Deandre Parker found Antonio Huff for a 34-yard scoring strike. Huff had a standout performance with 181 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Bergen (3-2) would rally once again, fueled by two Friendship Collegiate turnovers that it turned into touchdowns.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a moral victory but it is something that tells our program that we’re going in the right direction,” Adbul-Rahim said. “We’ve been past moral victories a long time ago, we expect to win.”
Added Goldman, “It’s going to open the door for future players hopefully and this program will rise even more than what it is now.”