By Mike McAvoy
Erasmus Hall football Coach Danny Landberg wanted to make Yankee Stadium his new home, after being displaced from his Belle Harbor residence by Superstorm Sandy.
He did so, as his team captured its first-ever Public School Athletic League championship division city title and finished their season undefeated, going 12-0.
The top-seeded Dutchman defeated No. 2 Tottenville 15-14 at Yankee Stadium Dec. 4. The win acts as vindication for Landberg and Erasmus after they reached Yankee Stadium and the title game last year, only to walk away with a loss to Lincoln.
“This is very emotional for me,” Landberg said. “I fight a lot of demons in my life, but I got my boys and they’re my medicine. I need them.”
This win delivers a moment of jubilation for the coach, considering what he and his family endured the weeks since the storm. His home sustained substantial flooding during the hurricane, and as a result his family was relocated.
“The storm will continue to be hard for me in that respect,” Landberg said. “It’s been harder on my wife and son more than anything.”
Landberg’s troubling situation can best be summed up in the words of his son, who simply yet powerfully states, “House is broken.”
Landberg’s family is his major concern and will continue to be going forward. But on that Yankee Stadium field, his football family delivered a win for their coach in a time of tribulation. Curtis Samuel, who Landberg pegs as the “best player he’s ever coached at Erasmus,” knew what this game meant to his coach. Landberg showed faith in him on a two-point conversion run in the third quarter that would put the Dutchman ahead for good and he delivered.
“We wanted to win for coach, with everything that happened to him,” Samuel said. “We all had to come together as a team.”
When the game ended, the team drenched Landberg in water and carried him onto th efield, as the coach was all smiles. Sports often act as an escape from the world we live in, and in that moment Landberg let it all sink in.
“This win couldn’t have come at a better time,” he said with a smile.