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Danny Landberg wasn’t looking for excuses. Sure, his starting quarterback, Justin Johnson, was out with a high ankle sprain and broken fingers in his throwing hand. And yes, his star running back, Kristen Liverpool, has been nicked up all season.
But the Erasmus Hall coach didn’t blame his team’s 37-14 loss to New Dorp in the Bowl Division championship game Sunday at Midwood Athletic Complex on any of those things.
“They deserved to win,” Landberg said, “no matter what.”
When Liverpool ran 59 yards for a touchdown on the first series of the game, it looked like the top-seeded Dutchmen would have no problem running on the Central Cougars, much like it had no issues doing that throughout the season. But penalties – both teams combined for 24 flags on the day – and mistakes did Erasmus in.
Liverpool finished with 127 yards on 15 carries with that initial touchdown. Jauvan John had a 9-yard score, the only other one for the Dutchmen (7-5) on the day when the game was all but over decided.
The biggest positive to come out of the loss was the performance of freshman quarterback Wayne Morgan, who was making his first start ever. He played in nine games in the regular season on defense and at running back and Landberg gave him the ball with a championship on the line.
The ninth grader made his share of mistakes – “I can’t be mad about anything he did,” the coach said – but ran for 83 yards on 14 carries. Morgan was only 4-of-13 for 42 yards, but made some throws when he needed to. Landberg said he has taken the youngster under his wing already and he’ll be the quarterback of the future for the Dutchmen.
“I think he’s gonna be the best quarterback in New York City,” Landberg said.
That remains to be seen. But what was clear is that E-Hall was able to bounce back from not making the 16-team City Championship playoffs to make it all the way to the Bowl championship. The top-seeded Dutchmen defeated Truman, 45-0, in the quarterfinals and Brooklyn Tech, 34-6, in the semifinals last week.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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