- Last Updated: 8:40 AM, December 7, 2011
- Posted: 9:08 PM, December 6, 2011
All season, Lincoln was criticized for its soft schedule. The opponents the Railsplitters routed game after game were called cupcakes by pundits.
So, 10 days ago, when Lincoln reached the PSAL City Championship division final, coach Shawn O’Connor was presented with a large red velvet cupcake in a clear plastic case. Written on the top of the case were the 12 opponents the Railsplitters crushed en route to the championship.
“Every team we played we turned into cupcakes,” O’Connor said.
Erasmus Hall, opponent No. 13 and Lincoln’s foe in last night’s championship game, was written on the side of the cupcake container. The Dutchmen can be included in that category now.
The top-seeded Railsplitters topped No. 5 E-Hall, 20-12, at Yankee Stadium for their first city title since 1993, which completed a perfect 13-0 season.
“It’s perfect,” said Lincoln senior running back/cornerback Kareem Folkes, who despite nursing a high left ankle sprain scored a rushing touchdown and knocked down a Wayne Morgan pass in the end zone as time expired. “There’s no other way I would write this story.”
Jessel Jones, Denzel Duchenne and Folkes (80 yards) scored short rushing touchdowns and the defense, overlooked for so much of the season, dominated the second half. It held E-Hall without a first down for much of the final two quarters, to 36 total yards and sacked Morgan five times.
“The defensive line wasn’t blowing guys off the ball, being as dominant as we usually are,” two-way lineman Robert Kitching said. “That was uncharacteristic. The second half we just picked it up.”
After getting gashed by E-Hall sophomore Kahlil Lewin for 125 rushing yards in the first half, it limited him to just two yards. Twice, Erasmus (9-4) received Lincoln gifts, a Jones interception late in the second quarter and a Miguel Acevedo fumble to start the third quarter. But each time the Lincoln (13-0) defense held, pushing the Dutchmen back.
Erasmus had one final chance in the waning moments, driving to the Lincoln 18-yard-line, before the hobbled Folkes knocked down consecutive passes in the end zone to seal the title. The 5-foot-9 senior was on Dutchmen 6-foot-5 receiver Luder Jean Louis and broke up both chances despite a searing pain in his ankle.
“I guess they wanted to test me,” Folkes said. “That was a mismatch. But I knew I could do it.”
Entering the year, Lincoln wasn’t forecast to get this far, not after graduating 20 seniors and returning just two starters, Kitching and Folkes. But one blowout turned into another, the Railsplitters got back to Yankee Stadium and this time, left victorious.
“It feels really sweet because nobody expected it,” O’Connor said. “We rose about everyone else’s expectations.”Follow @NYPostsports