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By Laura Amato
It felt like deja vu — and it didn’t feel good.
Erasmus Hall’s football team fell 24–21 to top-seeded Curtis in the Public Schools Athletic League city conference championship at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 2, the third year in a row that the Dutchmen have come up short in the title game.
No. 2 Erasmus Hall was shut out in second half — despite forcing four turnovers — and gave up the game-winning touchdown with just over two minutes left on the clock. It was an ending that left plenty of Dutchmen players searching for answers.
“There aren’t any words,” junior running back Shamar Logan said. “I don’t have any words for this.”
Curtis jumped out to a 12-point lead midway through the first quarter — on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Quincy Barnes to Joshua Decambre — as the Warriors broke through the Erasmus Hall defense with ease.
The Dutchmen got a much-needed answer just moments after Decambre’s touchdown reception when Herson Telsaint took the ensuing kickoff 66 yards into the end zone. Erasmus Hall seized the momentum after the play, notching a pair of second-quarter touchdowns to take a 21–12 lead with a little more than two minutes left in the half.
That was about as much offense as the Dutchmen were able to muster.
Decambre hauled in his second touchdown reception with 1:17 left in the second quarter, cutting into the Dutchmen’s lead and grabbing some confidence heading into the break.
Erasmus Hall (11–2) struggled to move the ball in the final 24 minutes of play and the lack of offense left the Dutchmen sideline frustrated down the stretch.
“We couldn’t move the ball. The defense was getting all the stops, and we just couldn’t do anything with it,” said junior quarterback Aron Cruickshank, who finished with 70 rushing yards. “It’s hard to play the position of quarterback and not move the ball. I take a lot of heat on that.”
The Dutchmen’s defensive front did its best to keep Erasmus Hall in the game — forcing three fumbles in the second half — but the offense failed to take advantage. Five of the Dutchmen’s last seven possessions ended with punts and the team recorded just one first down in the second half.
It was enough to give Curtis (13–0) a late-game chance, and the Warriors seized it on fourth and 20 when Barnes connected with junior standout Amad Anderson for a 44-yard touchdown strike.
“It was patience,” Gambardella said. “These guys had patience from the get-go, resilience. It was unbelievable.”
Erasmus Hall had two more opportunities with the ball before the final whistle — including a final-second possession after Curtis turned the ball over on downs — but the Dutchmen couldn’t make anything out of either chance.
“I saw that we had time left [after the touchdown] and that’s all I was thinking about,” Logan said. “I thought we could have come back still, but everything happens for a reason.”
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Dutchmen with plenty of players shedding tears on the sideline. Erasmus Hall faces a difficult offseason, but after another almost-there year, the Dutchmen are more determined than ever to get back to the title game next fall.
“We didn’t finish the job again and now we’ve got to wait another year,” Cruickshank said. “We know we’re going to see them again though and we’ll give them a hell of a fight.”
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[HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS] Three and out: Erasmus Hall falls in third-straight championship : Brooklyn Daily