On This Day in History | 1995

The 1995 Bears | Caldon (1st row, 5th from right), Vega (1st row, 4th from right), Steenburg (3rd row, 4th from right), D. Kenney (4th row, 1st from left), J. Kenney (4th row, 3rd from left), Niebuhr (4th frow, 4th from left), Litman (4th row, 3rd from right), Nixon (5th row, 4th from left)

On this day 15 years ago…

The Bears began the ’95 season with one of the greatest comebacks in school history. Trailing 20-7 to Wyandanch with five minutes remaining in the game, the Bear offense awoke just in time to win, 26-20. All-State quarterback Derek Kenney was the catalyst on all three touchdowns. He found Joel Caldon for a the first on a 5-yard pass with 4:44 left and, after a missed extra point, the Brook trailed 13-20. The Bear defense, led by Barrett Nixon (8 tackles), Jake Kenney (9 tackles), Jae Yul Lee (10 tackles), and Peter Litman (11 tackles & 2 sacks) forced the Warriors to punt, placing the ball back in Kenney’s hands. Just two plays later he found All-County receiver Marc Vega on a 16-yard strike with only 1:11 remaining, bringing the Blue and White within a point.

Head Coach Barry Giller made the gutsy call to go for the win with a two-point conversion. A delay of game penalty pushed the attempt back to the 8-yard line and a failed pass to Spencer Niebuhr left the Bears trailing 19-20 with just over a minute remaining. On the ensuing kickoff the Bears tried for an onside kick and after a beautiful strike by Chris Clark, the Brook recovered the ball on the Warrior’s 35-yard line. Coach Giller later told The Village Times, “It caught Wyandanch completely by surprise and gave us the ball with plenty of time.” With 15 seconds left Kenney again found Caldon on a 5-yard pass for the game-winning score. The Bears, after not scoring a single point in the first half, thundered back for the victory with 26 second half points, including 19 in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Niebuhr scored the Brook’s only other touchdown on a 13-yard run in the third quarter after Wyandanch had gone up 14-0 on two scores by running back Ronald Fenwick in a span of just 45 seconds. Kenney finished with 171 yards in the air on 16 of 31 attempts.

The win was an important one for several reasons. The contest was Coach Giller’s first at the helm and was a big upset with the Bears ranked #10 in the power ratings while Wyandanch, the previous season’s Division IV Champion, was slotted at #4. Coach Giller recognized several “Bear Paw Winners” after the contest:

  • Offensive Player of the Game: Joel Caldon
  • Defensive Player of the Game: Peter Litman
  • Special Teams Player of the Game: Chris Clark & Ryan Steenburg
  • Biggest Hit: Jae Yu Lee

Newsday qualified the victory for the Bears in an article entitled “S. Brook Upset Victor”:

Stony Brook won one football game last season. Wyandanch tied for first place in Division IV, then lost in the first round of the playoffs. Yesterday the Warriors started tailback Ronald Fenwick against a Stony Brook defense that yielded 21 points per game last season.

Blowout right? Wrong.

After Fenwick scored two third-quarter touchdowns on runs of 8 and 16 yards, the 10th-seeded Bears’ offense awoke to score 26 second-half points for a 26-20 come-from-behind upset win in the Division IV opener.

Bears quarterback Derek Kenney hit Joel Caldon with a 5-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left in the game to cap a wild second half for the win. It was Kenney’s third scoring pass of the quarter. Earlier, Kenney hit Caldon for a 5-yard touchdown to get the Bears within 20-13 with 4:44 left. The Bears got to within one after Marc Vega’s 16-yard touchdown reception from Kenney with 1:11 left, but Chris Clark missed the extra-point kick and the Bears trailed 20-19.

Clark redeemed himself when his perfectly executed onside kick was recovered by Ryan Steenburg at the Wyandanch 35. An 11-yard pass from Kenney to Caldon, followed by a late-hit 15-yard penalty brought Stony Brook to the 5-yard line and set up the winning score. [Ronald] Fenwick rushed for 131 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns.


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