By Eddie Castro
This past Saturday, two teams who have battled all year were just one win away from being able to call themselves “City Champs”. On one side, you have the young men from Curtis High School. A squad who took down every obstacle that was put in front of them. A team that went into Friday’s championship title game undefeated. Led by young stars in quarterback Quincy Barnes and junior running back Shamar Logan, they wanted to make sure there would be another team named “the Warriors” to be crowned as champions. On the other side, you have the young men of Erasmus Hall. The No. 2-seeded Dutchman squad posted an 11-2 regular season record, led by their dynamic junior quarterback Aron Cruickshank.
Curtis had set the tone early, building on a 12-point lead midway through the first quarter, which included a 29-yard touchdown pass from Quincy Barnes to wide receiver Joshua Decambre. However, the Dutchman were able to answer back at Curtis’ rapid start by a couple of touchdowns including an impressive 66-yard kick return that was taken in the end zone by E-Hall’s Herson Telsaint. The Dutchman had a brief 21-12 lead heading towards halftime but their mini offensive surge was quickly answered by another TD catch by Decambre changing the momentum of the game and bringing them close to two points at the half.
Despite creating four turnovers on defense including three forced fumbles, the Dutchman’s offense was unable to capitalize and struggled to get anything going in the second half. In fact, five of the team’s last seven possessions led to them punting the ball and only picking up one first down the entire third and fourth quarters. Cruickshank, who is also known for using his legs as well as his arms, was limited to just 70 yards on the ground. At the end of the day, Curtis’ defense was just too much for young Cruickshank and company to solve. The top-seeded Curtis dominated the entire second half and were able to knock off Erasmus by the score of 24-21 in what was an amazing game held at Yankee Stadium. With the defeat, it marks the third straight year that E-Hall’s football squad faltered in the city championship game.
The boys from E-Hall know that even though it was a heartbreaking loss, it is important to remain humble and optimistic. A loss like this can only add fuel to the fire to have a positive off-season and be even hungrier to finally get over the hump of capturing the city title next fall. Cruickshank, who will then be a senior, knows that his team will cross paths with Curtis again, and he is determined to make sure the next time around the outcome looms different.