The JFK/Bellmore Cougars defeated the New Hyde Park Gladiators 21-6 on Saturday with touchdowns scored in the first and fourth quarter.
But both teams agreed that their toughest opponent was the weather. Temperatures were recorded in the low 30s with heavy snow falling throughout the game.
“It was a test of mental strength for everyone,” The Gladiators’ Ahmad Malik said. “Conditions were rough. It required us to come together as a team.”
“It was really trying,” Gladiators wide receiver Stephen Keane agreed. “We tried not to let the cold get the best of us, but sometimes there’s nothing anyone can do. Everyone was really worn out and could really feel the cold. The muddy field didn’t help us either. There are still no excuses though. We just have to hope for the best and try our hardest.”
The Cougars set the tone for the game with a 50-yard touchdown run by the Cougars’ running back in the first quarter.
The Gladiators closed to within one when quarterback Nick Perrone scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak in the second quarter, making the score 7-6.
Both teams kept the score constant throughout the second quarter as the cold appeared to get to the players.
The third quarter left the score in a standstill with no touchdowns made by either side.
The Cougars pushed hard the final quarter, scoring two touchdowns against the Gladiators in the last few minutes, bringing the score as 21-6.
“The outcome of this game was not attributed to anyone’s mistakes, and lack of execution. Although we lost, we came together as a team on an even deeper level than before, and it will surely bring us closer and make us an even more feared unit in the future,” said Malik.
The loss in the regular season’s final game brings the Gladiators’ record to 5-3, but doesn’t end the season. The Gladiators will enter the playoffs within the next few weeks.