Erasmus edges Fort Hamilton in a comeback win

 Erasmus 28 Fort Hamilton 22 – Double OT

After finally winning three games in a row to reach .500 (3-3), the well-prepared Tigers were ready to make a statement at their last regular season home game against first place unbeaten (6-0) Erasmus.  Their week of preparation paid off as the Tigers maintained a sizeable 22-6 lead over Erasmus for the first three quarters, until the Dutchmen launched a juggernaut late in the fourth quarter to force overtime for a comeback win.

Fort Hamilton’s dominance began early in the first quarter as Troy Booker ran back the Dutchmen’s first punt of the game for a touchdown on an 80-yard sweep down the sideline. The Dutchmen answered back with a score of their own on a two-yard run by quarterback Aaron Grant to end the first quarter 8-6 in favor of Fort Hamilton.

During the second quarter, Fort Hamilton’s defense held the Dutchmen scoreless as the Tigers denied Erasmus two scoring opportunities once they reached the Red Zone. Getting back on offense, Tiger quarterback Sharif Legree engineered a scoring drive from mid field that found Mike Masoud in the end zone on a 12-yard pass to make score the 16-6 in favor of Fort Hamilton at the half.

On the opening second half kickoff, quarterback Legree began a 65-yard downfield march that culminated in another Fort Hamilton score as Booker followed his blockers over the goal line for his second touchdown of the game. Switching back on defense, the Tigers continued to hold the Dutchmen from scoring from the 10-yard line on a critical fourth and five as the third quarter ended with an unexpected 22-6 Fort Hamilton lead.

The Tigers continued to hold the Dutchmen scoreless down to the two-minute mark in the fourth quarter until the Dutchmen caught a second wind and scored on a one-yard rush to narrow the score to 22-14.

Looking to get the ball back with time running out, the Dutchmen sent a controversial on-sides kick downfield that was stolen out the hands of Devon Glover in an all-out scrum. Taking advantage of their late game steal, the Dutchmen powered downfield for another touchdown by Shavar Brathwaith to tie the score at 22-22 to send the game into overtime.

Erasmus as well as Fort Hamilton failed to score to break the tie in the first overtime period. However, on the next series, the Dutchmen’s Brathwaith again scored on a 15-yard run to snatch the game from the Tigers by the final score of 28-22.

Commenting on his team’s win, Erasmus Head Coach Danny Landberg explained, “We’re a second half team; we’ve always been a good counter punch team.”

On Fort Hamilton’s effort against his first place team, Landberg also stated, “I’m not surprised at the way they played today; they’re better than their record. I though Fort Hamilton was great. I knew they were going to be very good today.”

Summing up the game for the Tigers, Head Coach Dan Perez said, “It was a heck of a game but you have to give it up to them. We had a few misses and caught some early breaks. Our defense was great and we kept it close.”

Looking ahead Perez added, “I told the kids that they just played the number one team and we have to buckle down so we can make the playoffs.”

This win allows 7-0 Erasmus to stay in first place, while the loss leaves 3-4 Fort Hamilton in 11th place which still on the bubble for a post-season playoff spot. Next week, the Tigers go on the road to meet the 2-5 Orange Wave of Thomas Jefferson, the first of three road games to end Fort Hamilton’s regular season schedule.

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