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Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018: Erasmus Hall wins PSAL football championship

By Elio Velez
NYSSWA Contributor

   NEW YORK -- Erasmus Hall senior running back Andrew Howell stepped out of his bed on Tuesday morning with a confident feeling heading into the PSAL city championship game.

   The Dutchmen were on the losing end of the title game in four consecutive years. That was going to change according to Howell.

   "I woke up in the morning and felt like a champion," Howell said. "I rolled out of bed and woke up and said, 'Let's go win this. Let's go break this curse and go have some fun.'"

   The Dutchmen established a strong running game and displayed a stingy defense Tuesday night to capture the PSAL city championship with a 34-7 victory over top seed South Shore at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Photos by ELIO VELEZ

   Young and hungry are just some of the words to describe a team that helped to erase the ghosts of the past. Erasmus Hall ended the season on a nine-game winning steak with the only loss coming against the Vikings back in Week 3.

   That defeat shook the mindset in a positive way. The Dutchmen was going to win games with an identity of smashmouth football and strong defense according to coach Danny Landberg.

   "I couldn't be prouder of a team. This was the craziest team I have had to deal with probably in my entire life, Landberg said, grinning. "I believe it's why we won. They are nuts. We all had to grow up and stand up on our own two feet and man up."

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  •    The Dutchmen wasted no time getting on the scoreboard with Jordan Armstead scoring a 13-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. Justin Bellido then provided an ESPN SportsCenter top 10 highlight-worthy play as the wide receiver stretched out his left hand to haul in a diving 35-yard touch- down pass from Dutchmen quarterback Tyrique Alston for a 14-0 advantage with 2:42 left in the first quarter.

       While South Shore scored late t in the opening half to make it a 14-7 game at the break, Erasmus Hall started the second half with Hines scoring a 30-yard touch- down run and the junior transfer finished off a 5-yard scoring play to push the lead to 28-7 with 3:17 left in the third.

       South Shore's offense was contained all night by a Dutchmen defense led by linebacker William Mohan, Johnnie Cummings and host of talented underclassmen as Erasmus Hall (11-1), ranked seventh in the state in Class AA by the New York State Sportswriters Association, won its first title since 2012.

       Darius Thompson scored the lone touchdown for fifth-ranked South Shore (11-1) in the school's first title appearance in the highest level since 1978.

       Howell was proud to fulfill his vow to his teammates current and past and make sure the Dutchmen went out on top in his final high school game.

       "I felt bad for them because I promised them last year I was going to make it happen for them," Howell said. "Just to see them smile, it just brings happiness and joy."


      
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