By Eddie Castro
Call them the “Comeback Kids”. The No.2-ranked Erasmus Hall Dutchman are on their way to a third straight championship title appearance thanks in part to the team’s defense. Their defense, which started slow out the gates through most of the game, channeled their inner Rocky and kept fighting.
In what was a “blood, sweat and tears” kind of game, the Dutchman were down to fifth-ranked Lincoln by the score of 26-14 going into the fourth quarter. Instead of getting discouraged, the team was encouraged by a series of defensive stops they were able to get late in the game to close the gap with the Railsplitters. After Erasmus quarterback Aron Cruickshank was ruled down in the backfield which then gave the ball back to Lincoln with three minutes left to go in the fourth, the Dutchman got the ball right back thanks to the fumble recovery by senior C.J. Pauyo. The fumble for the Erasmus squad would loom large and eventually change the face of the game as Cruickshank had the ball back in his hands. He made sure he didn’t let this late-game drive go to waste. Not only did he use his arm, but his legs played the deciding factor as the junior would score the go-ahead touchdown on a five-yard run. It was one of four touchdowns he had on the day. (Three throwing, one rushing touchdown) When asked about his go-ahead touchdown Cruickshank said, “I just had to score”. “It was supposed to go to the left side but I saw something in the defense and I just knew I had to go right. It worked out.” The Railsplitters had one last chance but the Dutchman defense forced another fumble, this time in the end zone. Erasmus would recover with just a few seconds on the game clock and ultimately sealed a 27-26 victory and punched their ticket to Yankee Stadium on Friday.
Erasmus Hall will now battle the No.1-ranked Curtis with the championship title on the line. The matchup will mark the second meeting between the two programs. During their regular season game, the Dutchman were on the verge on handing Curtis their first loss of the season, but was not able to hold onto their double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. One thing to take from the Lincoln/Erasmus Hall game was E-Hall showed that they have the ability to come back and win. They’re hoping to attack Curtis early and often and capture a city title for the Borough of Brooklyn!
Sports Notes: (NFL Football) The Giants defeated the winless Cleveland Browns to up their win-loss record at 8-3. They also remained two games behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East standings. Odell Beckham, Jr. and company will head to Pittsburgh to battle “Big Ben” Roethlisberger and the Steelers. The Jets will look to shake off another heartbreaking loss again at the hands of the Patriots. The team will play the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night.