By Ron Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Everything seemed to go well for Erasmus Hall during its 20-0 win over Boys and Girls High School on Sunday. First of all, it was a shutout, and its star player Curtis Samuel rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns, and Kahlil Lewin rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Except after the game head coach Danny Landberg didn't think it was enough. He thought his squad was capable of more.
"(Not getting off to a good start) seems to be our M.O. around here with us," Landberg said. "I think we have to stop living thinking that we are last year's team and keep working to prove ourselves again. We have to do a better job. We've got a lot of work to do."
In other words, while E-Hall has shown that it is much more of a threat than its star Samuel, it needs a reminder that there was still a decent amount of turnover from last year's team and this year's squad hasn't won anything yet.
"It's human nature," Landberg said. "We have to knock that down and do a better job making them understand that this is a new year, a new team, and we still have something to prove."
It was evident in the game the Dutchmen played as they allowed Boys and Girls to hang around during a first half where the two teams were only separated by six points. They were never really able to get into the flow offensively and even as they were blanking them on defense there were mistakes and turnovers.
A perfect example is when Clayton Gravenhise picked off a ball later in the game, ran it back about 10 or 15 yards and then dropped the ball to give it right back to the Kangaroos.
"Our coach knows that we're better than how we played," Samuel said. "We can't play to the talent of the team we're facing, we have to play to our talent."
The second half of the game was much better though, not perfect as Gravenhise's play technically came during that half, but much better. Samuel got the offensive flow started in the third quarter with a 45-yard sprint and the team kept it up from there adding two touchdowns and not letting Boys High get anything going at all. The stark difference in the halves was clearly evident and somewhat problematic.
Defensive back Darin Peart, who had a big end-zone interception on Sunday, even admitted that the team could be doing more as far as taking practices more seriously. "I feel like we just have to get better which means taking practice more seriously and studying tape," he said. "If we do that we're going to get it done."
None of this is to say that Erasmus Hall doesn't deserve the No. 1 ranking in the city or that they can't do better, but this is a prideful team. It's been to the city championship at Yankee Stadium during each of the last two years and there is no mistaking that it's goal is not only to get back there, but to win it all.
Nobody on the team doubts that they will be able to pull it off too. Landberg just wants to be sure that his team doesn't take it for granted that it'll be able to pull it off. That's going to mean hard work and he's going to be on top of them until he starts seeing it not only in the second half, but for the entire 48 minutes.