Don’t be deceived by the outcome of Curtis’ 22-0 PSAL loss to visiting Erasmus Hall Saturday in St. George.
The Warriors actually showed some good things during their loss to the Dutchman, but, unfortunately, they were never able to sustain a drive because of missed assignments or penalty. The one time they did get deep into Erasmus territory, they got a bad break when quarterback Maliek Kelly went down with an injury and he had to sit for the remainder of the series.
It wasn’t exactly Murphy’s Law, but it’s definitely a pattern the 1-2 Warriors are going to want to break if they’re going to be successful.
“Erasmus had two big plays that led to scores and great field position after we turned it over on their third score,” said Curtis coach Peter Gambardella, whose team held the dangerous Dutchman to 200 total yards and nine first downs. “On the flip side, I thought we did some good things, but always wound up hurting ourselves one way or another.
“Every time we had a shot to do something, something stopped us … a missed block (or something of that nature).
“Good teams play together and compete. All 11 guys doing one thing and that’s where we have to improve.”
The teams exchanged punts two times apiece when in the opening stanza when Erasmus took over at the Curtis 44 late in the stanza. Two plays later, running back Dave Thoney (11 for 75) burst up the middle and went 42 yards to pay dirt to break the scoreless tie. Quarterback Aaron Grant’s two-point conversion made it 8-0.
After Curtis turned the ball over on downs on their ensuing series, the Dutchman took over at their own 25 and marched 75 yards in five plays, including Grant’s 60-yard boom to uncovered wide receiver Keon Gravenhise that eventually made it 16-0 midway through the second.
Curtis, however, appeared to get the break it needed to get back into the game on the first play of the second half when Grant lost a fumble at the 50.
Behind Kelly’s 14-yard pass to Andre Ridley and a combined 27 yards rushing Kahleel Doumbia and Kelly, the Warriors sliced through the Dutchman’s defense. Kelly, in fact, gave the hosts a first-and-goal at the 3 following a 10-yard run, but the signal-caller got hammered on the play and was forced out for the remainer of the series.
“Fortunately, it wasn’t his head or neck, but his arm was hurting and they wanted him to come out and get checked. I had no problem with that,” said Gambardella.
But with backup QB Anthony Palin in, the Warriors lost their rhythm and, after losing five yards on the first two down, turned it over on downs.
A Warriors turnover early in the fourth gave Erasmus a first down on the Curtis 17 and on a fourth and 11 from the 18, Grant hit Kefa Cort with an 18-yard TD strike that all but ended the game.
KELLY TOUGH AS NAILS
The Curtis QB took a beating thanks to constant pressure by Erasmus’ defensive line, but the senior, despite missing the remainder of the first series of the third quarter, hung in their tough and made plays.
Kelly rushed 19 times for 48 yards and connected on 4 of 13 pass attempts for 77 yards.
Once he took another hard hit at the end of the fourth period, Gambardella decided to rest him the rest of the way and put Palin back in.
FROSH ON THE RISE
Freshman receiver Amad Anderson had a pair of catches for the Warriors, including a 32-yard grab that gave the Warriors a first down at the Erasmus 23 early in the second quarter.
He also dropped a pass later that would have given Curtis another first down, but the furture looks bright for the frosh.
Erasmus fumbled five times, losing three, including one after Matt Jones intercepted a ball. Curtis had three fumbles, losing two …William Johnson and Isaiah Robinson had fumble recoveries for the Warriors.
ODD PLAY OF THE GAME
Curtis was called for unsportsmanlike conduct when one of its players called for a fair catch on a punt and another player fielded it and tried to run. It was obvious, however, that it wasn’t intentional.