NEWBURGH – After the first play of the second quarter on Friday night, Newburgh Free Academy vs. Pine Bush seemed headed for a blowout.
An 8-yard touchdown run by Newburgh quarterback Donovan Fields put the Goldbacks, needing a win to remain in the Section 9 Class AA hunt, a 23-0 lead. The game was seemingly over. As it turns out, there was still plenty drama ahead.
Newburgh held on for a 29-21 Class AA Division I win, saving its season. After Pine Bush spotted Newburgh 23 points, the Bushmen came back with 21 of their own. Pine Bush even had a chance to go up 24-23 with 5:37 remaining, but Tyler Lohr’s 43-yard field goal sailed wide left.
Newburgh running back Anthony Dubose gave Newburgh a 29-21 win with a 38-yard touchdown run with 4:49 remaining. He put up a 42-yard run on the previous play. Both runs, up the Newburgh sideline, were a combination of speed and power: Dubose at his best.
Dubose finished with 138 yards on eight carries. Fields rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another – to J.T. Whritner. Speaking of Whritner, he is having a breakout season, and definitely deserves some publicity. He had another interception, in Pine Bush’s end zone, on Friday.
And here’s the stat of the night! Newburgh’s defense held Pine Bush running backs Mike Martin and Dylan Eller to a combined 54 rushing yards and no touchdowns. Martin and Eller entered the game with a combined 1,667 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. Jon Vazquez, representing Pine Bush’s Scotchtown Five, had two rushing scores for the Bushmen.
Martin did score on a 74-yard pass play from Dan McNamara, who finished with 240 passing yards. With the win, Newburgh avenged a 41-0 loss to Pine Bush last year. However, on Friday, the Goldbacks were thinking about more than payback. Newburgh just wanted to keep its playoffs alive.
A Newburgh loss coupled with a Monroe-Woodbury win at Kingston Friday night would have eliminated Newburgh (5-1, 2-1 Class AA) from the postseason for a second straight year. The Goldbacks advanced to the 2011 Class AA state championship game, losing to Orchard Park of Buffalo. Monroe-Woodbury (6-0, 2-0 Class AA) defeated Kingston (1-5, 0-2 Class AA) 47-27 at Dietz Stadium on Friday.
Meanwhile, Pine Bush (4-2, 2-1 Class AA) could have punched its ticket into the playoffs with a Newburgh win. However, now, both postseason spots in Class AA Division I remain open. Pine Bush hosts Monroe-Woodbury at 7 p.m. Friday in a rematch of last year’s Class AA title game, won by the Bushmen 20-16. In what should be another key Class AA Division I game, Newburgh hosts rival Kingston on Oct. 25. Kingston has beaten Newburgh three years in a row.
OK, now back to Newburgh-Pine Bush on Friday night. It was some game, especially when it had the makings of a snoozer. Both teams deserve credit: Newburgh should composure under fire and resolve in holding off Pine Bush. Keep in mind, one of Newburgh’s running backs, Aaron Forbes, went out with an injury in the second half.
Meanwhile, down 23-rock, Pine Bush could have mailed it in. The Bushmen didn’t and plenty of excitement followed.
Check out Varsity845.com online and the Times Herald-Record in print on Saturday for more coverage of Newburgh-Pine Bush. Also, follow me on Twitter at justinrod845 for Section 9 football news, notes and analysis.