JFK Mustangs’ Victory Over Colonia Patriots in Overtime


Photo 1: Courtesy to Dawn Hein. Senior Captian Michael Hein and the Captain of the Colonia Patriots preparing for the coin toss for overtime.

Yumna Khan and Stephanie Yu

“I went out for the coin toss again, and it felt like everything we have just done didn’t matter; it was like a fresh page almost,” Michael Hein, a senior captain, stated. “Because once again, I was standing face to face with the captain of the Colonia team.” 

On Friday Nov 13, the JFK Mustangs played an intense last home game of the season against the Colonia Patriots. Pushing all the way through overtime, the Mustangs came out victorious. Not only was this the first win of the season, but it’s also the first time they beat Colonia in over 11 years. With a new head coach and coaching staff coming into this unpredictable season, there were many obstacles that they needed to overcome before defeating the Patriots. In an interview with Coach Holman and two of the senior captions, Michael Hein and Kimani Carrington, we were able to gather insight about what it’s like to play football during COVID-19. 

The team were obligated to follow certain state guidelines in order to protect themselves and others engaged in the game. 

“The games kinda change without notice often,” Coach Holman stated. “ Because of the constraints, we probably missed about a month of practice time, so we had to have a lot of zoom meetings, a lot of virtual workouts. The guys on the team, they fought through all the adversity.”

In addition to the physical setbacks, there was also a lack of emotional connection between the athletes. 

“Being that we had new coaches and a handful of new players, and the fact that we couldn’t go into the locker room, that’s where the bond is usually formed, so it’s much harder to form a team bond because of COVID,” Hein stated. 

Despite all these challenges, the Mustangs prevailed and came through with a historic win. According to Coach Holman, the game against Colonia had a completely different atmosphere compared to previous games. With the foggy weather and enthusiastic crowd, many supporters would say it was a scene straight out of a movie. 

“If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I think it would’ve been a really really good environment for the entire student body to kinda be out there and witness,” Holman stated.

Game Highlights

The game began with Colonia winning the coin toss and kicking off the ball. In the first quarter, Keyshawn Dixon had a 14-yard run and his fellow teammate, Kimani Carrington, had a 45-yard touchdown reception. By the end of the quarter, both teams were tied. In the second quarter, Michael Hein had a 13-yard reception, giving the Mustangs a first down. After stopping the Colonia offense, an impressive 85-yard punt return touchdown was scored by junior Isaiah Cherry. 

During halftime, unlike previous years where they went to the locker rooms, the team rallied up near the baseball field and made a few adjustments to the game.

“Our guys kinda see the light at the end of the tunnel, and one thing I didn’t have to do was ever motivate them,” Holman stated. “They were always excited and we were always lucky to play the game.”

The third quarter was where things really began to heat up. 

“It was just a battle every play and the thing that I saw with our guys is that we came out and gave that effort to win.” Holman stated.

The Colonia Patriots had a 3-yard rush touchdown with a missed extra point which gave them the lead, 20-14. However, quarterback Connor Heaney threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to junior Justin Suero. This unbelievable catch put the crowd in a frenzy. Coach Holman even said it himself; he probably closed his eyes, put his hands out, and the ball was in Suero’s possession. Going into the 4th quarter, the score was tied at 20-20, bringing extreme focus on both sides.

 “Part of me, you know, I was going to be in the fourth quarter and be looking around taking it all in, and it was really going to hit me like senior night normally would,” Hein stated. “But what actually happened during the game was going so fast that I barely had time to reflect on my career at JFK; my mind was zoned in on the game and winning.”

Highlights of the last initial quarter included the Mustangs intercepting the ball, but failing to score. With one minute and fifty seconds remaining, Carrington scored a touchdown, but it was not counted due to a holding call. While the clock drained, both teams mentally locked down for overtime. 


“Going into overtime, I kept on telling myself and Pajak that we were going to win this game and there’s just no way I’m gonna let the seniors, let myself, and everyone on the team just lose this home game,” Hein stated. And so this season, Hein lived up to his words.

Overtime began with the Mustangs offense on Colonia’s 25-yard line. Heaney threw a 5-yard pass to the endzone, which was caught by Jeff Rodriguez Jr.. With a successful extra point kick, the Mustangs were now ahead 27-20. Shortly after, the patriots scored a 4 yard rush touchdown which put them one point behind JFK. For the last play of the game, Keyshawn Dixon blocked Patrick Miller’s extra point kick, securing the win for the Mustangs. 

It was clear that the win was due to the connection of real teamwork and commitment from all players. 

“Our kids performed well on offense, defense and special teams, and I think that definitely is attributed to the preparation of our staff and as well as our seniors with their leadership and the rest of the guys kind of falling in line with 100 percent effort on every single play,” Holman stated. 

The Celebration

After the victory, the field was a sea of emotions. The cheerleaders and the football players came together and celebrated the surreal moment. There were tears, screams of joy and alot love toward the friends and family of the players. The real celebration, however, took place in the locker room when the players carried out an old tradition of smashing a brick. 

Kimani Carringotn specifically stated, “ The brick was the last time we beat them [Colonia] back in 2009 and the score was 32-0.” In fact, Coach Creighton , a JFK alumni, won this game during his senior year and along with his teammates, created the brick tradition. For Coach Creighton to experience the win on the opposite end, 11 years later, must’ve been a very special moment. This being one of the only times the players were in the locker room, they took turns smashing the brick with a sledgehammer and were each able to take home a part of the brick as a souvenir. This tradition was new to Coach Holmen, in fact he was at first confused as to why the players were breaking this brick, and he also expressed his appreciation for this unique tradition.

“You know, the one thing about me is that I’m all about traditions coming in and being new. You know you want to respect and play all the traditions that were there before you, as well as kinda make some new ones.”

More importantly, the era of good feelings did not end when the day ended. Instead, it left optimistic, long term marks on the relationship within the players. Besides the fact that it was a historical game, it gave the team a sense of brotherhood and unity.

“You know, what we were missing before [the win],we finally found [the team connection], at least a little bit,” Hein explained. “When I look back, I’m gonna be like, these are the guys and girls I beat Colonia with; these are the guys and girls I smashed the brick with in the locker room.”

Additionally, the win encouraged the team to start spending more quality time with each other outside of the field. 

“After the win, we started hanging out more and we got closer throughout the rest of the season,” Carrington stated. 

This new positive change in attitude was not only noticed by the senior captains, but the new head coach as well. Holman expressed his opinion that directly correlated with Hein and Carringtons feelings. 

“I think when you look back on it, you don’t think about wins and losses; you think about the relationships that you have with your teammates, the relationship that you have with your coaches, the bonds you created, and the memories you have made,” Holman stated. “That experience that you guys witness is something that no matter what happens, it can never be taken away from the program and could only propel them forward, and I’m glad I was able to be part of it.”

Regardless of the mishaps and uncertainties that filled this irregular season, Coach Holman and the alumni and staff worked hard to ensure the athletes received the most out of their time and passion for the sport.  Being a new program, it took a lot of baby steps and the support of friends, families, and JFK’s athletic director, Warren Rotella, to build a solid foundation for the future teams. Inevitably, this season was a clear indication that this program will only continue to set higher standards for upcoming players. In particular, this game against Colonia really enhanced the bond, the talent and the confidence this team truly holds. At the end of the day, Coach Holeman states, “I think the game of football can teach some life lessons. You know, it’s just an extension of the classroom too.” 

It is clear to see that the JFK Mustang Football Team is in good hands.