Erasmus Hall has been led all season by its stars Wayne Morgan and Shaquell Jackson, so when both players left Saturday’s game against Tottenville in the third quarter with Erasmus trailing 14-8, things didn’t look good.
That’s when sophomore Kahlil Lewin entered the game and announced to the league that Erasmus Hall isn’t just about two players.
“Kahlil Lewin has arrived,” Erasmus Hall’s exhausted head coach Danny Landberg said after the game. “I challenged him in practice, I told him that you are tomorrow's guy, but I need tomorrow to be today. We knew what his capabilities are. I had no fear giving him the ball because I knew he could be that spectacular.”
Lewin played barely 18 minutes in this game, but he carried the ball 10 times for 107 yards including the game winning 15-yard touchdown run, a miraculous play where he barely kept his feet in bounds before reaching the end zone. That play gave Erasmus Hall a 20-17 victory in overtime and sends the Dutchmen to the Public School Athletic League finals at Yankee Stadium next week against Lincoln.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Tottenville came out strong in the first half as the Pirates (10-2) scored their first touchdown in the second quarter on a Alvin Cornelius 13-yard pass to Austen Moccia. On their next drive, they made it 14-0 as Cornelius ran for a 7-yard touchdown run following a 51-yard run by Augustus Edwards.
Down 14-0 late in the second quarter, the Dutchmen salvaged the first half thanks to a Jackson 11-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion that made it 14-8.
That last minute touchdown was important as it allowed Erasmus Hall to tie the game late in the fourth quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by Morgan that was set up by his own 42-yard run.
TURNING POINT: Tottenville had a chance to take this game in regulation after it was given great field position late following a chop block penalty that put them at Erasmus’ 35 with less than a minute to go in the game.
The Pirates got down to the 26-yard-line and set up a 43-yard field goal attempt by kicker Ben Bifalco, but an Erasmus Hall player got a hand on the kick and it ultimately fell short.
Tottenville kicked a field goal to start overtime before Lewin won the game for the Dutchmen (9-3).
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Kahlil Lewin had just 151 yards rushing all season compared to Jackson and Morgan’s combined 1,492 yards. So it was a shock to see the sophomore getting key carries late in the biggest game of the season. But he handled the job like a seasoned veteran when it counted and Erasmus Hall is now headed to the finals.
“Kahlil really stepped up big for us when we needed it,” Jackson said. “But this is a team game and that’s what great teams do. We are a real brotherhood, when one guy can’t go one of our brothers steps up and does the job for him.”
JACKSON EXPECTS TO PLAY: After the game Erasmus Hall’s coaches were being guarded about the severity of Jackson’s injury, but he described it as a light thigh injury and said he expects to play at Yankee Stadium.
BOLD PROCLAMATION: “I knew we were going to get to the championship, I didn't know if Lincoln would get there though,” Morgan joked after the game. He later added in a serious tone: “I guarantee to bring my team to the championship.”
UP NEXT: The PSAL season comes down to two Brooklyn teams, Lincoln vs. Erasmus Hall, on December 6 at Yankee Stadium for the "Championship" division title.