It was not the exact way Howard Langley wanted to go out, but he ended his tenure as DeWitt Clinton football coach with plenty of fight and plenty of pride.
Langley, who has spent 11 seasons on the Governors’ sidelines, was ejected late in the third quarter after arguing in excess about a controversial out-of-bounds call. That call was key in No.-12 seeded Clinton’s 43-26 loss to No. 6 Erasmus Hall at Sid Luckman Field in the first round of the PSAL City Conference playoffs last Saturday afternoon. Langley, who wants to move into an athletic director’s role at the school after he retires as coach, has not officially named a successor.
“My kids will never give up in a game, we’re always going to be tough, we always battle,” Langley said. “And I’m very proud of them.”
He did the same to the very end.
Late in the third quarter down 37-18, Clinton quarterback Dashown Wilson, Jr. gained a first down on 3rd and 8 at its own 13. He also managed to find a hole through the defenders along the sideline and had a chance to break free for an even longer run, but was called out of bounds at the 25.
Langley went out and started yelling at the officials, contending that Wilson was in bounds and the play should not have been blown dead. Instead, his excessive arguing resulted in an ejection, thus ending his career. His players appreciated what he did.
“It says to the team that coach Langley really cares about us and he really cares about the team,” Wilson said. “And if he seems something that’s unfair, he’s going to speak out his opinion, because he has the right to do that.”
Langley was trying to send a message to the referees and his team that the call was huge and he was willing to battle for it to go their way,
“Yeah, that’s always the deal. I’m a control person, I know what I’m doing. I’m calculated and I know what I’m saying,” Langley said. “The coaches pretty much run the show with the on-field stuff, so me giving them a little juice, getting kicked out, showed that I’m fighting for them.”
The Governors (5-6) got off to a positive start, as they took the opening kickoff to the 3-yard line and scored the next play on a touchdown run by senior tailback Edward Nunez.
Erasmus (8-3) immediately responded and scored on a 13-yard touchdown run by Jahquel Webb, and Aaron Grant followed with a two-point conversion to give the Dutchmen an 8-6 lead. They didn’t look back, as they surged to a 24-6 lead midway through the second quarter.
Clinton got back into the game just before the half, as Wilson punched in a 2-yard touchdown run and to make it 24-12 with 1:59 left.
It never got closer than a two-score deficit rest of the way. Erasmus answered each Clinton score with a touchdown of its own, starting from the opening two drives of the second half.
Despite the season-ending defeat, Clinton and its coach remains proud of the season they had, as the program. The young and inexperienced team when the year began made the playoffs and beat rival Kennedy.
“We played hard every game, every down, and we never quit,” Nunez said. “We just finished hard, I’m proud the way we finished.”