Erasmus Hall added to its string of close, comeback victories last Saturday to remain undefeated.
The Dutchmen raised the level of difficulty again, having to fight back from 16 points down in the fourth quarter to overtake host Fort Hamilton 28–22 in double overtime in Public School Athletic League football on Oct. 18. Erasmus has won its last three games by a combined 10 points.
“We’re a young team,” said Erasmus head coach Danny Landberg. “Half this team is sophomores. They’re going through a phase and learning what adversity is. We’ve always been a counter-punch team. When you’re young you don’t know how to respond. Sometimes you have to keep fighting the fight and realize you have to play all 48 minutes as strong as you can. That’s what we did today.”
All game long, Fort Hamilton looked like it was going to hand Erasmus its first loss, holding a 22–8 lead with less than 3:00 to play in the fourth quarter. The Dutchmen (7–0) had other ideas.
Erasmus drove down the field and junior Nelson Tyler lowered his shoulders for a one-yard touchdown that was followed by a two-point conversion to bring the score to 22–16. Erasmus recovered the ensuing onside kick. The Dutchmen drove 55 yards to see Shavar Brathwaite score with only 54 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime with the score tied at 22–22.
Both teams turned the ball over in the first overtime before Erasmus got the score it needed in the second extra session. Brathwaite ran the ball into the end zone from 20-yards out to put Erasmus up 28–22. Fort Hamilton (3–4) could not answer.
“We never had any doubt in our minds that we were going to win,” said Erasmus quarterback Aaron Grant. “We started slow and played a bad game in the first half, and they thought it was over in the first half. We knew we could comeback. We just had to believe in each other.”
Fort Hamilton, which won three straight coming in, made big plays early on. Troy Booker returned a punt 80 yards and a two-point conversion put the Tigers up 8–0. Erasmus answered when Grant ran the ball in from 25 yards out to cut the Fort Hamilton lead to 8–6. Tigers quarterback Sharif Legree completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Masoud Mohammad for a touchdown, and a successful two-point conversion pushed the Tigers lead to 18–6 going into halftime.
Fort Hamilton picked up where it left off to start the third quarter. A long kickoff return set up a quick drive that resulted in a six-yard touchdown run by Booker to put Fort Hamilton up 22–6 early in the third quarter. The advantage did not hold up as Erasmus once again came away with a close win.
“It was a heck of a game,” said Fort Hamilton coach Danny Perez. “You have to give it up to Erasmus with their comeback. We had one or two missed plays that ended up being the difference between victory.”