Erasmus Hall shocked the borough on Sunday afternoon when the Dutchmen beat the Lincoln Railsplitters 18-16 at Sid Luckman Field which put an end to Lincoln’s 17-game winning streak that goes back to the 2012 season.
HOW IT HAPPENED: It seemed like business as usual early on as the Railsplitters marched toward the end zone during their first drive of the game. However, they were stopped just short of the goal line as the Erasmus Hall defense forced them to kick a 24-yard field goal to go up 3-0 with 5:02 left in the first half.
Midway through the second quarter was when things really started to look bad for Lincoln when it’s defense was completely fooled on an option play that left Kefa Cort wide open for a 26-yard touchdown catch that left the Dutchmen a 6-3 lead.
Erasmus Hall nearly added more to that lead before the half, but quarterback Aaron Grant was picked off at the five-yard line by Jordan Dixon Mack. Lincoln couldn’t do much with it though as there was just 25.7 seconds left on the clock at the time.
TURNING POINT: Lincoln killing that drive just before the half seemed like a typical Lincoln play where they stole the momentum back from the Dutchmen. However, things were different this week as the Dutchmen almost immediately took the momentum right back when Cort ran the kickoff return to start the second half 95 yards for a touchdown that made it 12-3.
Lincoln did manage to score on its next drive when Paul Litvak found Justice Seales open for a 22-yard touchdown pass that made it 12-10 with 9:00 left in the third quarter, but that was followed up by a 47-yard pass from Grant to Keon Gravenhise to extend E-Hall’s lead to 18-10.
BLOWN OPPORTUNITIES: Lincoln certainly had its shot to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter. The Railsplitters pulled to within two points after Litvak found Seales again for a touchdown pass, this time a 32-yarder.The Dutchmen proceeded to blow their next drive thanks to three false start penalties on four plays. Lincoln’s Jordan Hannah than managed to block a punt that gave the Railsplitters the ball at the eight-yard line.
From there the Railsplitters went with Luis Rodriguez to try to take the lead, a reasonable manuever considering the man they call “Chewey” has been their most consistent offensive weapon. However, this time Rodriguez fumbled the ball at the one-yard line, Jacob Croker recovered and it killed a golden opportunity for the Railsplitters. Croker actually returned the fumble to the end zone on the play, but it was called back on a blocking in the back call.
STRONG DEFENSE: It was appropriate that the defense carried the Dutchmen in the fourth quarter considering that it has been their strength all season. Erasmus Hall had held opponents to just 3.5 points per game on average entering the day and it showed off why as it not only shutdown Lincoln in the end, but even forced it to punt from its own end zone at one point.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Kefa Cort was easily the player of this game as he scored the early touchdown for the Dutchmen to get them on the board and then had the huge kickoff return touchdown that established momentum in the second half. This was a team game for Erasmus Hall, though, as the Dutchmen got contributions on offense from its quarterback Aaron Grant, Keon Gravenhise and Shavar Brathwaite in addition to Cort’s strong game.
It was precisely that reason, that they had a balanced attack with four options working at any given time, that allowed Erasmus Hall to do something that no team has been able to do since 2012 — beat Lincoln.
UP NEXT: Erasmus Hall will face South Shore next week in a game that head coach Danny Landberg referred to as a “trap game” because he fears that coming off a big win his team could take the Vikings too lightly. Lincoln should pick up an easy win next week against Sheepshead Bay in a game that should not even be on its schedule.