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Erasmus Hall lost more than a football game in Coney Island last Friday night.
The Dutchmen saw four key players get hurt — one likely lost for the season — as Abraham Lincoln beat them 38–23 in Public School Athletic League football. As a result, the team is no longer the favorite to claim the city title.
Ohio state-bound running back Curtis Samuel tweaked his ankle on his third carry. He was left limping around the sideline late in the third quarter and did not return.
The biggest blow came right after the Railsplitters took the lead for good at 8–7 with 2:13 left in the first quarter. On Erasmus’ next play from scrimmage, quarterback Elijah Davis made a run for it and was gang tackled, leaving him with a broken ankle.
He was taken away in an ambulance as Daiquan Gywn, with whom he had been splitting time, took over the rest of the game. Lineman Selwin Wilks and receiver Darin Peart also left the contest with ankle injuries. The unprecedented cascade of catastrophe broke any offensive rhythm the Dutchmen had, coach Danny Landberg said.
“I’ve never heard of four [hurt] ankles in one game,” he said.
Sprained ankles are not known to heal quickly and are easily reinjured. Erasmus needs to hope they aren’t a nagging issue moving forward as it regroups in defense of its city title. What it does on offense will change if Samuel is less than 100 percent, and without Davis as a threat to run from the pocket.
“It’s going to change the dynamic at quarterback,” Landberg said.
It certainly wasn’t his team’s best performance. Erasmus, which had not given up a point since the opening drive of the season, watched Lincoln and quarterback Javon Moore carve up its secondary for four touchdowns and 181 yards. It was a weakness that was not exposed by mostly run-heavy opponents who do not have the arsenal of weapons enjoyed by the Railsplitters.
“We had a couple of blown coverages out there,” Landberg said.
The Dutchmen’s path back to title game gets tougher with the defeat, putting Lincoln in position to claim the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Erasmus will likely have to beat a tough Tottenville team just to get back to the championship game.
Railsplitter Shawn O’Connor would still like to call his team underdogs and call Erasmus the champions until someone else wins, but the target and the mystique of an unbeaten team has squarely moved to Lincoln.
“No more underdogs,” Railsplitters receiver Malik Andrews said.
That title now sits with Erasmus, if the two are lucky to meet again with a city title on the line.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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