Erasmus Hall made the most of the other team’s mistakes last Saturday, despite making several of its own.
Last year’s city finalists forced six turnovers on the day and two touchdowns early in the second half to put away visiting Curtis 34–14 in Public School Athletic League City conference football Sept. 19.
Quarterback Aaron Grant scored four touchdowns — two with is legs and two with his arm.
The Dutchmen defense made a statement early, stopping Curtis’s opening drive on an interception by Darren Wesley in the end zone. On the next Curtis drive, defensive end Clark Pollo sacked the quarterback and knocked the ball out of his hands. That set the tone of the rest of the afternoon.
“You can’t win without your defense doing all the work,” Erasmus coach Danny Landberg said. “They’ve got to lead the way all the time. Without them, you can’t win, you need momentum, and defense always provides momentum.”
The second forced turnover allowed Grant to open the scoring a few plays later on a 47-yard touchdown run.
Early in the second quarter, Eramus forced another fumble that set their offense up at the Curtis six-yard line. The Dutchmen scored in the air on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Grant to Jashen Wint on fourth down.
“I felt our turnovers in turn helped our offense,” Wesley said. “I guess it just made us better as a team, and we know that we have to work on the little things to seal the game from the jump.”
After forcing a fumble deep in Curtis territory on the ensuing kickoff, Eramus started turning the ball over itself. Grant threw an interception in the end zone, squandering a chance to blow the game open early.
Eramus then fumbled away its next possession. The Warriors finally got on the board near the end of the first half on a seven-yard touchdown run by Andrew Howell to make it 14–6 going into halftime.
“It’s all just mental,” Grant said. “Everybody makes mistakes, and it’s early in the season, people are going to make mistakes and we just bounce back, forget about it.”
Erasmus made adjustments during the intermission, as Landberg went down to the field to communicate directly with his team after spending the first half calling plays from the press box.
“Just try not to get fancy, play real simple football and just play smash mouth right at them,” Landberg told the Dutchmen. “You know, don’t do anything out of the ordinary, play basic football.”
On the opening possession of the third quarter, Grant fooled the Curtis defense on a fake handoff and instead gave the ball to receiver Jahquel Webb for an easy 18-yard touchdown run.
Curtis turned the ball over for the fifth time on a fumble after the kickoff, which allowed Grant to scramble for a 22-yard touchdown to push the lead to 28–6. Curtis showed some signs of life early in the fourth quarter, scoring on a safety on a muffed Erasmus punt and a touchdown run by Tyson Lawton.
Erasmus got yet another fumble recovery on Curtis’s next possession. A 27-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Grant to Sean Ryan put the game away.