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Shaquell Jackson didn’t mince words. He knew why No. 2 Erasmus Hall fell to No. 3 Tottenville, 33-18, in the PSAL City Championship semifinals last Saturday in Brooklyn.
“Mistakes is the reason we lost today,” the sophomore running back said.
He was referring to the four turnovers and the two blocked punts. When you’re this deep in the playoffs, the Dutchmen found out, those miscues aren’t easy to come back from. Erasmus (10-2) was making its first appearance in the semifinals and has six or seven sophomores on the field basically every down.
“When you’re young, you make mistakes,” coach Danny Landberg said. “We’re finally here. Maybe it’s overwhelming.”
The Pirates (10-2) had been there plenty of times, but the Dutchmen didn’t look overwhelmed. Actually, they started the scoring with a 40-yard touchdown run by Jauvan John in the first quarter. But before that, on their first drive, they fumbled and Tottenville recovered.
After Tottenville made it 7-6 on a Marvin Staten 8-yard touchdown and Shaban Shatku’s extra point, a false start penalty on 4th-and-inches halted Erasmus Hall’s next drive. The Dutchmen’s next possession, Tottenville blocked a punt. Two drives later, they lost another fumble and before they knew it, they were down 20-6 at halftime.
Erasmus had a chance to get back into the game twice in the second half. On its first third-quarter possession, Jackson (112 yards, 15 carries) scored on a 25-yard touchdown to make it 20-12. The Dutchmen stopped the Pirates, but then went 3-and-out. Tottenville came back to make it 27-18 on an 8-yard pass from quarterback Jon Derbyshire to receiver Vin DeMonte.
The Dutchmen weren’t dead yet, though. They scored again in just three plays %u2013 two long runs by sophomore quarterback Wayne Morgan and a 27-yard touchdown rush by Jackson to make it 27-18. However, on the ensuing kickoff Tottenville’s Gil Mendoza returned it 76 yards for a controversial touchdown. It seemed like his knee was down near the 20-yard line and Landberg said Tottenville coaches told him it was true.
“That completely crushed any momentum we had,” the coach said.
In the game, maybe, but not as far as the big picture goes. With all those sophomores returning, especially Morgan and Jackson, Erasmus is certainly an up-and-coming program. That won’t be any solace to the Dutchmen on Saturday, but it will be months and years down the line.
“Get used to us,” Landberg said. “We’re gonna be here for awhile.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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