By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
It took just three weeks into the season for Erasmus Hall and Lincoln to both beat Tottenville and signal that there very likely could have been an all-Brooklyn championship game at Yankee Stadium. During Week 7, E-Hall and Lincoln even went head-to-head in an exciting preview of that matchup, a game that lived up to the billing.
However, instead of that game being a championship preview it turned out to be the beginning of the end for Erasmus Hall.
Injuries and defensive holes that were exploited by Lincoln were not overcome in time for E-Hall’s 41-33 loss to Tottenville in the Public School Athletic League’s semifinals matchup at Sid Luckman Field on Saturday and the Pirates, and not the Dutchmen, will be headed to Yankee Stadium to face Lincoln in the final.
Curtis Samuel set the tone in this one early as he showed why he is Brooklyn’s best athlete when he picked off a pass early in the first quarter and then ran it for 75 yards into the end zone to put E-Hall up 7-0. Then, as soon as the Dutchmen got the ball back, Samuel ran the ball 36 yards to make it 13-0 with 4:26 left in the first.
That’s when something that happened against Lincoln came back to bite them. See, in that Week 7 game, Lincoln’s running back Antoine Holloman struggled to stretch his legs as he was held to just 60 yards. However, Javon “Spanky”Moore stepped up to throw 196 yards including four touchdown passes. Tottenville, scouting that game, noticed that E-Hall was susceptible against a strong passing game.
“We just trying to take advantage of that, just keep throwing it to (Devin Martin) to exploit the situation,” Tottenville quarterback Joshua Rainey said of his team’s game plan. “That’s what we were talking about all week that we had to throw the ball against them because we knew they really couldn’t stop it.”
Rainey certainly exploited it. After E-Hall took a 13-0 lead, Rainey found Martin three times for three touchdowns and 208 yards receiving. Martin’s first touchdown catch got Tottenville on the board, his second gave the Pirates a 27-19 lead and his third gave them a 34-19 cushion.
“We scored two quick touchdowns early in the game and then everybody started relaxing and we let off the gas pedal a little bit,” Samuel admitted. “A team that’s not trying to go home, they got seniors on their team that don’t want this to be their last game, and they gave an extra push. It was more than us.”
“Football is a game of momentum, you let somebody back in and everything changes completely,”E-Hall coach Danny Landberg said. “When you give anybody a type of chance like Tottenville they are going to take advantage of it.”
That Lincoln game struck again when E-Hall was desperate for points in the fourth quarter and needed to lean on Samuel. They did get six points from him, on a six-yard touchdown run that made it 34-25, however, Samuel’s ankle, which he originally hurt against Lincoln, was re-injured early in the fourth and he was forced to leave the game.
“Curtis hasn’t been 100 percent since the Lincoln game,” Landberg admitted afterward. “He hurt it again today and there was just one man less to help.”
Without Samuel, quarterback Elijah Davis, who missed the rest of the season after he broke his ankle against Lincoln, and another receiver, who was hurt during the quarterfinals, E-Hall was very thin on offense in the fourth quarter. Kahlil Lewin was still on the field, but it was easy enough for Tottenville to stack the box against him. Darin Peart did return a kick for a touchdown with 4:55 left in the game, but without the weapons that was all E-Hall could muster in the fourth quarter.
“It was frustrating not being out there with my team for the last couple of minutes of the game,”said a teary Samuel after the game. “I wanted to go back out there, but with my ankle, I couldn’t even put pressure on it that much.”
So there will be no rematch of Week 7′s epic game between E-Hall and Lincoln at Yankee Stadium during the PSAL Championship finals on Dec. 10. Instead it will be Lincoln against Tottenville, which is fine for Lincoln as it hopes to get revenge on the team that knocked it out of the PSAL semifinals a year ago.