Dutchmen’s ‘D’ shuts out Fort Hamilton

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The Dutchmen defense has turned the end zone into a no-man’s land.

Erasmus Hall has not allowed a team to score since Tottenville found the end zone on the opening drive of the season. Since then, the defending city champion has kept its opponents off the scoreboard for 19 straight quarters and four whole games, including a 48–0 thrashing of previously unbeaten Fort Hamilton in Public School Athletic League football at Sid Luckman field last Sunday. It was the Dutchmen’s 14th straight home win.

“We can’t let nobody score on us,” defensive lineman Maynor Oregon said. “A matter of fact, we should want to go the whole season without anybody scoring.”

The Erasmus defense forced four turnovers. Curtis Samuel had an interception and Clayton Gravenhise collected two sacks. Kwanii Figureroa recovered a fumble caused by Jose Duncan and Selwin Wikls that set up the Dutchman’s second score of the game in the second quarter. Xavier Brathwaite scooped up another fumble and Oregon returned one 30-yard for a score on the game’s final play. It was Erasmus’ first defensive touchdown of the season and the first of Oregon’s high school career.

“When I was running to the end zone I saw somebody running behind me,” Oregon said. “I had to run faster.”

Samuel and running back Khalil Lewin did plenty of running of their own.

Lewin rushed for two touchdowns and 150 yards on 16 carries, and Samuel ran 10 times for 89 yards and two scores of his own. Quarterback Elijah Davis added a 27-yard scoring run and Dave Thony found the end zone from 30 yards out in the fourth quarter. Samuel felt that his team proved Fort Hamilton (4–1) isn’t quite ready to return to the elite ranks of the league.

“It was a statement for the city,” said the Ohio State-bound running back. “They called it the game of the week, but we didn’t feel that way. We felt we were going to beat these guys.”

It was a frustrating day for Fort Hamilton, which committed 12 of game’s 25 penalties, mostly in the first half. That kept the Tigers from building any momentum offensively and kept Dutchman drives alive. Fort Hamilton coach Danny Perez felt Erasmus (5–0) controlled the line of scrimmage and saw the game as a learning experience to play against one of the city’s top squads for the first time this season.

“We have a bunch of young guys,” he said. “We just have to move forward from here.”

Emotions spilled into halftime on the Tigers sideline with Erasmus up 21–0. Former star quarterback Jeff Legree got into a heated argument with his father Jeff Sr. that nearly came to blows. Jeff Legree proceeded to walk onto the field and kick the camera of a News 12 photographer taping the incident. Younger brother Sharif Legree is the Tigers quarterback, but Perez felt the blowup didn’t affect his team’s second half time.

The Erasmus defense did have a lot to do with it. Dutchman coach Danny Landberg said they don’t talk about the streak and doesn’t think his players are doing anything special to make it happen — except just doing their jobs extremely well. He does admit that his squad is personally committed to keeping teams at zero.

“They want to go out there and make a statement,” Landberg said. “I think that’s been their focus as a defense.”

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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