Darin Peart knocked down a potential game-winning two-point conversion pass in the end zone in the closing seconds to seal the Erasmus Hall Dutchman’s 27–26 win over the Abraham Lincoln Railsplitters at Sid Luckman Field on Saturday.
Erasmus (7–0) earned a measure of revenge in a rematch of last year’s city title game won by Lincolon (5–2). Dutchman coach Danny Lanberg called the win personal because of the feeling of coming up short in the title game left, a sentiment his players echoed.
“It means a lot,” Peart said. “They took what we wanted, our rings and a championship.”
The Dutchman finished the job this time. Lincoln, which is without kicker, scored with 1:25 left in the game on a four-yard run by quarterback Javon Moore, who also threw for a score. On the two-point try, Peart saw Moore under pressure. He didn’t bite on Moore selling the run and hung with Darnell Philips.
“I came up, but I rather be safe than sorry,” Peart said. “I just stayed with my man.”
The Railsplitters had that chance because Curtis Samuel returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown with 3:36 remaining in the game and the extra point was blocked. Samuel, who missed last year’s title game with an ankle injury, has offers from Syracuse, UConn, Rutgers, and Virginia, also took a toss 65-yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to tie the score at 14–14.
Erasmus went up 21–20 on a three-yard scoring run by Kahil Lewin with 2:16 remaining in the third quarter. Erasmus quarterback Matthew Domina completed 12-of-20 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown to Loumell Petion. Erasmus’ multiple playmakers is setting it apart from last year’s club.
“I think this team is better than last year,” Samuel said.
But Lincoln did hurt itself during the course of the game. Two personal fouls against safety Miguel Acevedo led to his ejection and the defense was left thin with Malik Darling out most of the second half with a shoulder injury. A clipping penalty negated an interception returned inside the Erasmus 10 by Acevedo. Coach Shawn O’Connor is still optimistic despite mistakes and a second close loss.
“They lost to both teams by one play, so we are right there,” he said. “This wasn’t our championship today.”
It wasn’t in Erasmus’ mind either. Landberg told his team after the game that only bringing home a city title would fully erase the taste last year left.
“As long as we are winning and doing our job and doing what we have to do we don’t need no respect from anybody,” Peart said. “Because we know we are the best.”
Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.