NEWBURGH – Early on, the latest edition of Monroe-Woodbury vs. Newburgh seemed headed for a blowout.
Instead, it turned into a classic, with a rare appearance made by the so-called turf moster on Saturday night at Academy Field. The Crusaders scored the first three touchdowns of the game within 10 minutes, but had to hold on for a 27-21 Section 9 Class AA Division I win. Cole Gennett had three touchdowns for Monroe-Woodbury (3-1, 1-0 Class AA).
Here is what Gennett had to say after the game:
For Newburgh, Aaron Forbes was the star again, rushing for 226 yards and three touchdowns. The Goldbacks (2-2, 0-1 Class AA) played without star running back/safety Anthony Dubose, who served a one-game suspension after being ejected during last week’s game against Washingtonville for being called for leading with his helmet on a tackle. Monroe-Woodbury also lacked some star power: Wide receiver/defensive back Jesse Kaffenberger sat out the game due to a hamstring injury.
Like so many other years, the latest edition of Monroe-Woodbury vs. Newburgh served as one of the most anticipated games of the regular-season. Adding to the excitement of the latest showdown was that the rivals played an instant classic last November in the Class AA championship game. Monroe-Woodbury rallied from a nine-point deficit late in the third quarter to put away the Goldbacks 31-30.
Early on, this game looked like it might be more like the teams’ first meeting of last season, which Monroe-Woodbury won 35-14. The Crusaders took advantage of some friendly bounces off the turf to go up 21-0 late in the first quarter. On the opening kickoff, the ball took a tricky hop, bouncing away from Forbes.
Monroe-Woodbury, charging down the field, recovered the ball on Newburgh’s 29-yard line. Three plays later, Monroe-Woodbury quarterback Ryan O’Malley hit Marc Meislahn for a 25-yard touchdown. Newburgh punted on the next series and Forbes’ kick appeared heading out of bounds with Monroe-Woodbury’s Brandon Lewis nearby. Instead, it bounced into Lewis’ hands at about the Crusaders’ 20-yard line.
Lewis picked the ball up and weaved his way to Newburgh’s 17-yard line, which set up a 16-yard TD run by Gennett. Gennett scored on a 42-yard screen pass from O’Malley to make it 21-0 with 2:20 left in the first quarter. Newburgh looked finished.
Enter Forbes, who has rushed for 584 yards in his last three games against the Crusaders.
Forbes cruised into the end zone on a 24-yard run with 7:31 left in the first half to make the score 21-7. He added an electric 43-yard touchdown run with 2:55 remaining in the third quarter to 21-14. Just like that, Newburgh ripped the momentum away from the Crusaders.
The Goldbacks forced Monroe-Woodbury to punt on its next drive, but the ball bounced off the foot of a Newburgh player after it hit the turf. Monroe-Woodbury’s Shane Moran picked it up at Monroe-Woodbury’s 16-yard line.
Moran’s pick-up resulted in a 3-yard touchdown run by Gennett to make it 27-14 1:05 into the fourth quarter. Forbes’ last touchdown, a 25-yarder, came with 5:15 left to make it 27-21. However, Monroe-Woodbury was able to run out the clock, converting a fourth-and-1 on its own 40-yard line on a 2-yard run by O’Malley with 2:15 remaining.
MONTGOMERY – Smash mouth football is one of the things Minisink Valley has done best this season.
And there the Warriors were in the fourth quarter against Valley Central on Friday night, eating up yards on the ground in a pivotal drive that sealed the game. When the 15-play, 81-yard drive was finally over, Minisink Valley had taken 6:20 off the clock against dangerous Valley Central.
It culminated with a 6-yard rushing score by Deonte “Prime Time” Moore with 2:23 remaining to make the score 40-29. The Warriors went on to win 47-29 in a wild Section 9 Class AA Division II game. Minisink Valley (3-1, 1-0 Class AA) led by 17 points in the first half, only to walk into halftime down 22-20.
Lacrosse star-turned-football phenom Joe Sessa scored four touchdowns – three rushing and a kickoff return – finishing with 128 rushing yards. Moore had 168 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Matt Carosella added 90 rushing yards with a touchdown and threw another to Luke Hanson.
Of course, it couldn’t all have happened without Minisink Valley’s offensive line, which Sessa and Carosella gave props to after the win.
We also checked in with “Prime Time” Moore, himself:
With its hard-hitting offensive line leading the way, Minisink Valley did what it does best for most of the first half, controlling the ball and the clock with the run. They led 20-3 with 7:35 left in the second quarter after a 19-yard touchdown pass from Carosella to Hanson. Then Valley Central quarterback Kenny Gray struck. Gray, a junior, threw three touchdown passes to close out the first half.
His final one, to Donovan Murphy as time expired, gave Valley Central (2-2, 0-1 Class AA) a 22-20 lead. Gray finished with 266 yards, throwing four touchdowns, including three to Nick Pacheco. Pacheco’s 60-yard touchdown catch on the Vikings’ first drive of the second half gave them a 29-26 lead.
However, Sessa followed with a 60-yard touchdown run on the very next play to give Minisink Valley the lead for good, 33-29. Stay tuned for another big Class AA Division II game next week: Minisink Valley at Washingtonville.
1. Monroe-Woodbury (2-1): Free safety Brandon Lewis quickly becoming one of the best quotes in Section 9, making him a J-Rod favorite. Keep in mind, Lewis does his talking with passion, but also class.
2. Cornwall (3-0): Makes quick work of Goshen on Friday, which has become a familiar theme for the Green Dragons. Cornwall won’t get pushed until it plays Wallkill on Oct. 24 to close out the regular season.
3. Newburgh (2-1): Wouldn’t be surprised to see some “Free Dubose” shirts on Saturday night at Academy Field.
4. Washingtonville (2-1): Stays put at No. 4 because it played with Newburgh for a half in a 41-21 loss last week and the Wizards are a legit outfit.
5. Wallkill (2-1): No, it’s never too early to hype up the wonderful rivalry that has become Wallkill-Cornwall. Like its rival, Wallkill won’t get tested until the big game.
6. Warwick (3-0): Running back Trevor Pinkham, a bust-out star this season, looking for fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game behind retooled offensive line that is blocking well.
7. Minisink Valley (2-1): Quarterback Matt Carosella turning out to be one of most improved signal callers this season. He can run, pass and can take a good lick.
8. Valley Central (2-1): Quarterback Kenny Gray has all kinds of targets – just not this week. Wide receivers Jon Avila and Isaiah Boissard have been suspended for Friday’s Minisink Valley showdown for disciplinary reasons.
9. Middletown (2-1): Earned even more respect with last week’s win over Valley Central. Up next? Winless Kingston on Friday at Dietz Stadium. The Tigers will do plenty of scratching and clawing.
10. Marlboro (1-2): Two losses have come to top-five teams – Wallkill and Cornwall.
Some of the most exciting football in Section 9 this fall might be played in Class AA Division II.
The league is seemingly wide open with every team capable of winning the regular-season title. You have Warwick, Minisink Valley, Valley Central, Roosevelt and Washingtonville all competing for the championship.
Every game could be close and we get out first glimpse of how competitive Class AA Division II will be on Friday when league play opens up. Valley Central hosts Minisink Valley at 7 p.m. and visiting Roosevelt of Dutchess County takes on Washingtonville at the same time.
These are big games because you don’t want to get into an 0-1 hole in this division.
Earlier this week, I traveled to Washingtonville to talk about the Roosevelt showdown. Roosevelt is undefeated and Washingtonville is coming off its first loss of the season, losing at Newburgh 41-21 last Friday.
First, I caught up with Washingtonville quarterback Joe Tecklenburg, who has done a nice job guiding the Wizards.
After Tecklenburg, I spoke to one of his prime targets, wide receiver Jakob Woods.
Before the season, I picked Washingtonville to win Class AA Division II. I’m sticking to that. So, of course, I’m going with the Wizards in this one. Look out for another great game next week: Washingtonville hosts Minisink Valley next and Warwick opens Division II play at Roosevelt.
As for Minisink Valley-Valley Central, this could be even better than Washingtonville-Roosevelt.
Valley Central opened the year with thrilling wins over Pine Bush (37-34) and Wallkill (28-27 in OT), before losing to Middletown 20-13 last week.
I spoke with wide receiver Nick Pacheco at Valley Central earlier this week.
Like Valley Central, Minisink Valley is coming off a loss, falling to Monroe-Woodbury 24-11. Still, the Warriors have reason for optimism. Quarterback Matt Carosella is playing well and he has two pretty good running backs in Joe Sessa and Deonte Moore.
Minisink Valley’s offensive line is rock solid and the defense is scrappy. Of course, Valley Central is led by quarterback Kenny Gray, a junior. But Gray will be out two of his most trusted weapons this week. Wide receivers Isaiah Boissard and Jon Avila have both been suspended for the game for disciplinary reasons.
I’m taking Minisink Valley in this one, but I’m thinking it will be tight. Stay tuned for plenty of good football in Class AA Division II this year.
Monroe-Woodbury senior Vinny Vespa has verbally committed to Army, coach John Gartiser said.
Vespa’s amazing story continues. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma in May 2012 when a tumor, 10 centimeters in size was found in his lungs. Vespa beat the cancer and returned to the mat at the start of the 2012-13 season.
Vespa placed third in the state at 106 pounds as a junior. He went 39-3 and won his first Section 9 title last season.
In five varsity seasons, Vespa has a 134-26 record.
SLATE HILL – Monroe-Woodbury free safety Brandon Lewis and some of his teammates took last week’s loss to Stepinac personal, even though there is no shame in losing to a Catholic school powerhouse that comes equipped with a Division I quarterback.
In light of Stepinac 28, M-W 10, the Crusaders couldn’t wait for Friday’s non-league game against Minisink Valley. This week, M-W walked off the field with a ‘W’, putting away the previously undefeated Warriors 24-11.
We all know what comes next: Monroe-Woodbury. Newburgh. Next Saturday. It’s a rematch of last year’s Section 9 Class AA championship in which the Crusaders scored a 31-30 come-from-behind win.
The Goldbacks, who put away Washingtonville 41-21 on Friday, host Monroe-Woodbury at 7 p.m.
Lewis and fullback/linebacker Cole Gennett talked about the Minisink Valley win and the upcoming Newburgh showdown:
As for Monroe-Woodbury’s win over Minisink Valley. It went like this: The Crusaders shut down dangerous Minisink Valley running backs Joe Sessa and Deonte Moore, who had lit it up in the first two weeks of the season. Sessa did score on a 5-yard run with 9:29 remaining and caught a two-point conversion from Matt Carosella to make the score 24-11.
Monroe-Woodbury took a 14-3 lead on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Ryan O’Malley to senior Marc Meislahn with 7:02 remaining in the first half. It served as Meislahn’s first career touchdown. The Crusaders took control when Gennett scored on a 37-yard screen pass with 1:07 remaining in the second quarter.
Check out the man himself, Meislahn, talking about his big touchdown:
Ken McMillan has been covering sports since he got his first writing job in 1979. He has covered Section 9 athletics for most of the past 28 years. He reports on college sports, including Army and Marist College. He also writes on TV/radio sports ... Read Full
Will Montgomery covers boys' soccer, girls' basketball, boys' and girls' swimming and diving, boys' lacrosse and baseball (including the Hudson Valley Renegades) for Varsity845.com and the Times Herald-Record. Prior to joining the TH-R in November ... Read Full