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Curtis Holds Off Erasmus For PSAL Championship at Yankee Stadium, Completes Perfect Season

Curtis wins PSAL Football Championship

(Photo by Lauren Guillen - Double G Media)

(Photo by Lauren Guillen – Double G Media)

 

BRONX, NY — After heartbreak the year before in the playoffs, the undefeated Curtis Warriors (11-0) faced-off with the Erasmus Dutchmen (10-1) in the PSAL Championship Game at Yankee Stadium. For the Warriors, the motto of “leave no doubt” was put to its final test. As for Erasmus, suffering their only loss of the season against Curtis in a 44-42 thriller gave them one mission; end Curtis’ perfect season. A battle was about to occur on the gridiron and what more could you ask for than a Friday night, under the lights, at Yankee Stadium.

The first score of the game came courtesy of Curtis. Two plays after the opening kickoff, Curtis running back Tyson Lawton busted out a 69-yard sweep down the right sideline to put the Warriors up 6-0 with 10:49 left in the first quarter. Curtis fans echoed Yankee Stadium leaving the Erasmus sideline silent and stunned.

After giving up a touchdown on the first drive of the game, Erasmus looked shell-shocked. Players had their heads down, a quick three-and-out on offense occurred, and nothing seemed to be going the way of the Dutchmen.

To make matters worse, Erasmus looked as if they were finding some momentum after forcing Curtis to go three-and-out. Unfortunately, a roughing the kicker penalty on fourth down negated a defensive stand. Soon after, Curtis capitalized on the penalty with a slant pass to Joshua Decambre to double the lead to 12-0.

(Photo by Lauren Guillen - Double G Media)

(Photo by Lauren Guillen – Double G Media)

Desperately needing a boost, Erasmus turned to return-man Herson Telsaint. Telsaint reversed field on the kickoff for a spectacular 66-yard touchdown to get the Dutchman back into it. Immediately after his touchdown, Telsaint pumped his fist to his teammates on the sideline in an attempt to reenergize his team. How did the team respond? By rattling off 14 unanswered points to put Erasmus up 21-12 along with causing frustration along the Curtis sideline

“We were frustrated.” said Curtis Quarterback Quincy Barnes. “But, it was a good frustration because we knew we were the better team and we still had to keep making plays. We knew that we just had to stay calm.”

After blowing a two-score lead, Barnes’ words perfectly resembled how his team would respond, and that was by making plays.

Curtis immediately retaliated with a crucial 30-yard touchdown strike to Joshua Decambre, his second of the night, before the halftime whistle to make it 21-18 Erasmus heading into the locker room. Despite being down, Curtis head coach Peter Gambardella still seemed to be confident at halftime.

“I told them at the beginning of the season, ‘leave no doubt.’” said Gambardella. Only trailing by three points heading into the second half, Curtis seemed calm and realized that this only was a one score game. Additionally, they remembered that they needed to leave no doubt that they were the best team on the field.

After a cat-and-mouse third quarter, Erasmus still led 21-18 heading into the fourth. Could Erasmus continue to fulfill their goal of ending Curtis’ undefeated season? Could Curtis pull it back to finish off the season undefeated? Both of these questions were answered by one possession late in the fourth quarter.

After a fumble deep into Erasmus territory wasted a scoring opportunity to start the fourth quarter, Curtis regained possession with 5:31 remaining in the game. After runs by Barnes and Lawton to set up 3rd and short, Barnes took a deep shot down the middle of the field. Barnes threw the ball behind his man but luckily for him, drew a flag for pass-interference in the process, to give Curtis a fresh set of downs. Little did Curtis know, those fresh set of downs would be the most cherished set of downs they received all season.

After two sacks led to a 3rd and 20, Barnes attempted yet another deep ball. The target, none other than his favorite target all season, Amad Anderson. Anderson turned on the jets to get past two defenders on his way to hauling in the go-ahead touchdown pass by Barnes to put Curtis up 24-21 with only a minute left in the game.

“I can’t believe they left him wide-open! I knew I just had to complete the ball” said Barnes. “After he caught it, I turned around and it hit me, we are winning!”

(Photo by Lauren Guillen - Double G Media)

(Photo by Lauren Guillen – Double G Media)

Following the ensuing kickoff, Erasmus couldn’t muster up a drive on two different instances therefore giving the Curtis Warriors a perfect 12-0 record and a PSAL championship to end their season.

“We talked about Yankee Stadium all year but remembered to take everything one game at a time,” said Anderson.

Anderson words resembled those of his coach, all having to do with patience and hard work. Following the game, coach Gambardella preached about how players rose up to earn the trophy.

“Everything we asked them to do, they did it. Seven on seven, extra weightlifting, six a.m. practices, they did it,” said Gambardella. Hard work, patience, and making key plays when they needed to gave Curtis exactly what the hoped for, a championship.

When asked about what his plans for celebrating were following the win, coach Gambardella gave the perfect encompassing note to end a season and this article on.

“I am going to go have a great bus ride with my players and then I am going to go see my kids. That’s’ it.” Enjoy that bus ride coach, you and your team ‘left no doubt’ in everyone’s minds that you are now champions.

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