The mission wasn't simple for Susan Wagner heading into Tuesday's PSAL flag football city championship game, but it was crystal clear: Put the brakes on New Dorp's red-hot offense.
Behind a five-interception, five-sack effort from its defense, top-seeded Susan Wagner was more than up to the task as it posted an 18-8 victory at Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn for its second PSAL city title in three seasons.
"On offense we took care of the ball to avoid mistakes that could cost us," SW coach Bashkim Pelinkovic said, "and defensively stopping them inside the 10-yard line three times during a game that was only within four points ... what more can you say about the defense today?"
Senior Mirsade Pelinkovic had two of the interceptions, seven tackles and two sacks as the Falcons derailed a New Dorp offense that had outscored three previous playoff opponents 77-12.
"Our defense (had) five picks and that has been the story of this team all season," Bashkim Pelinkovic said. "The defense creates turnovers and the offense takes care of the rest."
SW sophomore quarterback and game MVP Jillian DeGeorge completed 11 passes for 135 yards and three TDs, with receivers Arianna Resiti, Lauren Persichetty and Kayla Collins on the business end.
"I'm ecstatic that Jillian DeGeorge will be with me for the next two years," the coach added. "She has a lot of work to do, but she has progressed from day one to just winning a championship. She has been lights-out all year, she has been learning and her being young has allowed her to be able to bounce back from any mistakes."
Both defenses had standout moments early, but Persichetty's TD catch put SW up 6-0.
The ensuing Central Cougars' drive resulted in a red zone interception on third and goal. DeGeorge connected with Resiti, who made a spectacular grab on a tipped to put Wagner ahead 12-0 at the half.
Despite the discrepancies in turnovers, the No. 6-seeded Central Cougars remained in striking distance. With 16 minutes left to go, defensive back Zha Monyku Davis shifted momentum New Dorp's way by sacking DeGeorge in the end zone for a safety.
Down 12-2, quarterback Olivia Kenny led the Central Cougars on a drive that ended with a TD pass to Samantha Lepardo that made it 12-8.
New Dorp had chances to take the lead several times with defensive stands and a late interception by Lepardo. However, Diana Halili picked off a pass which set up SW's final touchdown.
"Our entire concept is work hard every day, and try to outwork what you have done the previous day," Bashkim Pelinkovic said.
He added, "Our entire concept is work hard every day, and try to outwork what you have done the previous day."