Leading off today:
Running back Curtis Samuel two-point conversion late in the third quarter stood up, giving Erasmus Hall a 15-14 win over Tottenville at Yankee Stadium for the PSAL football championship Tuesday.
It was the first PSAL Championship Division title for Erasmus, which earned 'B' titles in 1986 and 1987.
Samuel’s conversion came after quarterback Samerson Jonathan cut the deficit to 14-13 on a 3-yard carry with 2:07 left in the third quarter. Coach Danny Landberg opted to play for the lead rather than the tie, putting his faith in the running back he told The New York Daily News is the best player he's ever coached.
“I felt like if Curtis can’t get two yards then he’s not the greatest player I ever coached,” Landberg said after Samuel finished with 20 carries for 117 yards. “And I just had faith in that situation.”
Samuel caught three passes for 41 yards, including a 31-yard screen pass that set up a 6-yard TD run by Mathew Domina for a 7-0 first-quarter lead.
“I had to make a big play for my team,” Samuel said. “This championship meant a lot for us, so I knew I had to make a big play. On the two-point conversion, I just saw the hole open and I just saw me and (Tottenville safety James Munson) head-to-head and I knew I could get over the top of him.”
Final rankings: The PSAL contest was the state's season-ending playoff game. With that, the New York State Sportswriters Association has posted its final 2012 rankings.
Emotional night at Shenendehowa: A large crowd and small but meaningful gestures marked a candlelight vigil Tuesday night at Shenendehowa's football stadium as friends remembered athletes Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers, killed over the weekend in a motor vehicle crash, and prayed for two injured friends.
The gathering began with a surprise appearance by Matthew Hardy, who, along with Bailey Wind, remains hospitalized after Saturday's deadly crash Saturday caused by a motorist that authorities believe had been drinking. Wind was in critical condition and Hardy in fair condition at Albany Medical Center Hospital.
Later in the evening, two Twitter campaigns (#TebowCallMatt and #MissyCallBailey) imploring football player Tim Tebow and Olympic swim champion Missy Franklin to reach out to Hardy and Wind succeeded. According to The Times Union, Tebow called Hardy around 9 p.m. and later tweeted, "Thanks to everyone who got #TebowCallMatt trending & helped connect us. Matt truly inspired me. God bless y'all."
Franklin tweeted around midnight that she called Wind and left a voicemail message.
"While the call from Tim Tebow provided a smile in an otherwise devastating situation, we would like to keep the attention focused on supporting the families of the students who passed," Hardy and his mother, Patricia, said in a statement. "Tonight is a time to come together as a community and celebrate the lives of Chris and Deanna."
Wind's sister, a Shaker sophomore, wept as she read a message from her sister, lamenting drinking and driving and professing her love for Stewart. "(No.) 69 is mine forever," the letter stated. "Chris was the nicest and sweetest person I've ever met, and the same for Deanna."
Also Tuesday, Athletic Director Christopher Culnan announced that Stewart's No. 69 football jersey and Rivers' No. 19 softball jersey would be retired, and that the district would start a scholarship in their memory. He also said support had poured in from other area school districts,