Erasmus Hall is once again living up to its reputation as one of the city’s elite football teams, thanks to a simpler approach to the game.
Another dominant performance by the Erasmus defense helped it roll to a 32–0 road victory over previously unbeaten Midwood in Public School Athletic League City Conference play last Saturday. It is Erasmus’s third-straight win after losing its opener to two-time defending city champion Abraham Lincoln.
Dutchmen coach Danny Landberg has changed his approach since that unfortunate night in Coney Island. He had originally planned on playing more players both ways than ever before, but severe cramping took out several key players against Lincoln.
Since then, Erasmus has leaned on its depth, with players playing both sides of the ball less, and playing more of its young talent so all the players can focus on their own specified roles instead of having them try to do everything.
“So now we’re getting more reps in practice to get guys work to understand specific situations that they might come across,” Landberg said. “Nothing cliché.”
This more fundamental strategy is paying off with every passing week, and it definitely looked that way Saturday. Shockuone Bobbit had two of the team’s three takeaways, both coming at crucial points in the game.
He recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, setting up a one-yard rushing score by Dejouree Addison to make it 6–0. He later capped the scoring by recovering a fumble and returning it 36 yards for a touchdown to put the game away.
“It’s big for us, because our coaches are telling us to keep the momentum, so we get turnovers every time,” Bobbit said.
After forcing a punt, the Dutchmen (3–1) went back to work the next drive and scored on a 30-yard touchdown run by Nelson Tyler to make it 13–0.
Quarterback Aaron Grant played an error-free game, and has really come into his own after putting his own rough performance against Lincoln behind him. He threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Sean Ryan late in the second quarter to push the lead to 19–0. He also ran for an 18-yard score. Efficient play has certainly been key to Grant’s development.
“We’ve just been making sure to make up for all of our mistakes and progress as the weeks go on,” Grant said.
Midwood (3–1) has made progress this season as well, but this loss was a step back. The Hornets squad missed a chance to show that it could play with one of the city’s top programs. The turnovers and penalties negated any gain made by Carl Colas and Casey Boston on the ground.
“Today we didn’t do a good job of not beating ourselves in terms of stepping up and not protecting the football,” said Midwood coach Anthony Odita. “I think we had two late hits on the quarterback that extended drives. It was going to be a tough challenge if we played a perfect game.”