There was no doubt that fifth-seeded Lincoln (5-3) was the underdog as the players took the field against the first-seeded Erasmus Dutchmen (8-0) at Sid Luckman Field. After Lincoln beat Staten Island nemesis Tottenville 41-35 in the previous week’s PSAL quarterfinal playoff round, Coach Shawn O’Connor prepared his team for the high-powered Dutchmen juggernaut in this semi-final round.
The Dutchmen went into high gear early and scored on their first possession as Josira Andrews swept 35 yards into the end zone for the first score of the game. Next, it was time for the Erasmus defense to shine as they prevented the Railsplitters from scoring on a series of four downs from the 2-yard line. Taking over deep in Lincoln territory, quarterback Vincent Cajano took charge to lead the Dutchmen 96 yards downfield on a mix of long runs and accurate passes. Cajano then finished the drive with a 2-yard handoff to Jerry Colclough to make the score 16-0 at the end of the first half.
In the second quarter, Cajano threw a 5-yard flare pass to Jaylin Ballew to make the score 22-0. Midway in the period at the Lincoln 24-yard line, linebacker Larenzo Jones blocked Lincoln’s punt attempt to set up the Dutchmen’s next score. Four plays later the Dutchmen were in the end zone again as Colclough scored a second touchdown on a 5-yard run to give Erasmus a commanding 30-0 lead at the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, freshman quarterback Murray Justus took over for Cajano. Fielding a reserve Erasmus offense unit, Justus made a successful 45-yard drive to put the Dutchmen on the board for one more score on a 3-yard run by Marquise Lawton for the final score of 36-0.
After returning Lincoln to a semi-final playoff game for the first time since 2019, Coach O’Connor told his team, “For a young team we really played up this season. They pushed us off the ball and gave us the game we expected.” Noting the team’s accomplishment, O’Connor added, “Don’t look back in regret. You brought Lincoln football back by finishing in this season’s final four.”
As for Erasmus, Coach Danny Landberg looks ahead to make Dutchmen history when he meets second-seeded Canarsie next Sunday at 1 p.m. at Springfield Gardens H.S. for the PSAL A Conference Championship. With three consecutive championships under his belt, Landberg will be looking for one more for the school’s unprecedented “four-peat.”