Gridiron greats: 2016 All-Brooklyn football honors • Brooklyn Paper

Gridiron greats: 2016 All-Brooklyn football honors

Best in Brooklyn: Erasmus Hall quarterback Aron Cruickshank led the Dutchmen back to a city championship berth this season, earning him All-Brooklyn Player of the Year honors.
Photo by Robert Cole

There weren’t any champions crowned, but some of the best football players in the city suited up across Brooklyn this season.

Erasmus Hall once again led the way in the Public Schools Athletic League, notching a third-straight championship berth before coming up short to Curtis at Yankee Stadium. Lincoln and Grand Street Campus also impressed with appearances in the city conference semifinals.

Xaverian held its own in the Catholic league, making it to the semifinals despite a young roster chock-full of first-time varsity players. Poly Prep also showed flashes of success in its independent schedule, sparked by top recruit Isaiah Wilson’s performance on the line.

Here are the athletes who made it all happen this season:

Player of the Year

Aron Cruickshank, Erasmus Hall

The junior quarterback was the unquestioned leader on the Dutchmen’s offense this year, making plays with his arm and his feet en route to the team’s third-straight championship berth. Cruickshank rushed for 1,009 yards and 16 touchdowns — regularly making opposing defenses miss with his impressive speed and quick cuts — and threw for another 12 touchdowns.

Coach of the Year

Danny Landberg, Erasmus Hall

The Dutchmen came up short of a Public Schools Athletic League championship for the third-straight year this season, but Erasmus Hall still impressed. Landberg added a brand-new dynamic to the offense with Cruickshank’s passing ability, and the squad’s defense hit its stride in the final few games of the regular season. It was a disappointing finish, but even getting to the championship is impressive.

First-Team All-Stars

Seba Nekhet, Fort Hamilton

The senior did a bit of everything for the Tigers’ offense this season, finding ways to spark action with his arm and his feet. Nekhet was at his best when he was moving, though, and he racked up 1,222 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground.

Isaiah Wilson, Poly Prep

The University of Georgia commit was the focus of nearly every team’s defensive scheme, and he never batted an eyelash. Wilson broke through blocks with ease — he was probably the strongest player on the field every time he suited up to play. He also served as the Blue Devils’ leader on and off the field, working with underclassmen throughout the season.

Matthew Jones, Erasmus Hall

The junior lineman was deceptively light on his feet in the trenches, regularly serving as the lead blocker for the Dutchmen’s potent run game. The two-year starter has a handful of offers from top-tier college programs, including Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan, and Penn State.

Jaevon Lessey, Lincoln

The senior defensive lineman broke through blocks with ease this season, racking up six sacks in addition to 45 tackles as the Railsplitters notched an appearance in the city conference semifinals. His most impressive performance came in the regular season when he racked up three sacks against Grand Street Campus.

Selwin Wilks, Erasmus Hall

The heart of the Dutchmen’s defense, the senior lineman brought the intensity every time the ball was snapped. He finished his final season on the field with 35 tackles and three sacks, but it was ability to rally his teammates that made the difference.

Olakunie Fatukasi, Grand Street

The Rutgers-bound senior linebacker and seemingly omnipresent force on the field proved he’s Division I-ready this season. Fatukasi finished the year with a whopping 131 tackles, five sacks, four fumble recoveries, and two interceptions.

Ifeanyi Majeli, Poly Prep

The senior, who will suit up for the University of New Hampshire next year, hit hard and often from his spot at outside linebacker this fall. His quick reactions and ability to read offenses made him a threat against both run- and pass-based offenses and helped the Blue Devils stingy defense find success throughout the season.

Naim Coakley, Lincoln

The senior running back shouldered the load for the Railsplitters’ ground game this season, and more often than not, he found himself in the end zone. Coakley scored 26 touchdowns (23 on the ground) and racked up 1,222 yards on 172 carries this fall. He recorded 100 yards or more in seven different games.

Troy Booker, Fort Hamilton

The long-time starter recorded 1,000 yards on the ground for the third-straight season this year, leading the Tigers back to the postseason. Booker finished with 1,119 yards on 103 carries with 13 of his 15 touchdowns on the ground.

Romello Martin, Lincoln

The Railsplitters’ defensive leader, Martin once again proved to be one of the most dominant players in the city — despite facing near-constant double teams. The senior finished with 35 tackles and two sacks and notched a season-best eight tackles in a week-five win over Tottenville.

Jason Martin, South Shore

The senior quarterback was the spark that made the Vikings offense go, regularly running over opposing defenders as he racked up yardage. Martin finished with 1,158 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, as well as six two-point conversions. He also threw for 1,156 yards and 10 touchdowns, completing more than 55 percent of his passes.

Honorable Mention

Nakai Payne, Grand Street Campus

Matthew Thomas, Midwood

Julius Acaro, Xaverian

Donald Gaiter, Jr., Grand Street Campus

Kordell Way, Grand Street Campus

Dan Weisome, Xaverian

Donald Howard, Lincoln

Sulay Purria, Erasmus Hall

Joseph Jiminez, Grand Street Campus

Ramell Reid, Eagle Academy II

Elijah Aiken, Boys & Girls

Dontae McGriff, Midwood

Sean Ryan, Erasmus Hall

Abraham Rodriguez, Jefferson

Chris Mattocks, Grand Street

Faruq Shittu, Lincoln

Rob Kollmer, Poly Prep

Dual threat: Erasmus Hall junior Aron Cruickshank proved to be an offensive weapon with his feet as well as his arm, rushing for more than 1,000 yards this season.
Photo by Robert Cole

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