Erasmus defense returning to elite form

The D in Dutchmen stand for “Defense.”

Erasmus Hall coach Danny Landberg’s teams have featured one of the league’s stingiest defenses over the last four seasons, including a Public School Athletic League championship campaign in 2012.

This year’s group is beginning to show signs of continuing that trend. Erasmus forced three more turnovers in a decisive 32–0 victory over host and previously undefeated Midwood last weekend. It brings the team’s total to nine takeaways in the last two weeks.

“We are going to be big,” junior Shockone Bobbitt said. “Our coach said he’s never had a defense like this, six turnovers in a game. We are going to keep the momentum.”

This group wants to be better than the defensive units of the past. There is a lot to live up to. The title team of 2012 allowed just 20 points or more only twice that season, and the next year’s squad shutout six different teams, including a string of five straight. The current team has allowed just an average of 11 points per game through four contests.

“They want to be better than that defense two years ago,” said Dutchman quarterback Aaron Grant. “They want to make a name for themselves.”

Erasmus turned Curtis over six times two weeks ago, but coach Danny Landberg was even more pleased with how his team performed this week. That’s because the Dutchmen made Midwood pay for its mistakes by scoring off each turnover.

“You want that stuff, but you’ve got to capitalize, and we didn’t do enough of that last week,” Landberg said. “But we did today, and I was proud of that stuff and it’s good to get going in that kind of direction.”

Midwood fumbled on the opening kickoff and Shockuone Bobbit scooped it up and returned it inside the Hornets’ 10-yard line to set up a one-yard touchdown run from Dejouree Addison. Then Darren Wesley pounced on a ball lost by Midwood’s Carol Colas as he tried to get the extra yard in the second quarter.

Again, Erasmus capitalized. This time it was Aaron Grant connecting with Sean Ryan for a 13-yard score to put Erasmus up 19–0 going into halftime. The Dutchmen’s defense stopped Midwood’s reverse attempt on fourth-and-eight at the Erasmus 22 on the opening drive of the fourth quarter. Bobbitt capped a big day for the Dutchman by returning a fumble 36-yards for a touchdown to make it 32–0 in the third.

The same speed that made Erasmus such a threat on offense makes it a dominant defensive team as well. Midwood has size up front and athletes in Colas and quarterback Casey Boston but they couldn’t out run lineman Matt Jones and the Dutchmen’s defenders after squirting through the line for gains.

“They are the class of the city in terms of their athletes,” Midwood coach Anthony Odita said of the Dutchmen.

Erasmus is one of the best in the five boroughs on defense once again, as well.

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