For sure, this is a big weekend: The playoffs are here!
Eight teams from Class AA, A, B and C will play in the Section 9 semifinals on Friday and Saturday at Middletown’s Faller Field and Dietz Stadium in Kingston.
I will be touring practices for much of the week. On Tuesday, I visited Newburgh Free Academy, Cornwall and Warwick. Let’s check out the interviews.
At Newburgh, I spoke with defensive back J.T. Whritner about the Goldbacks’ Class AA semifinal against Warwick at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Faller Field. When you think of breakout players this season, Whritner, a senior, has to be on top of the list. He has been solid in the secondary and can’t make a grab at wide receiver.
Newburgh beat Warwick 47-21 two weeks ago. The Goldbacks led 34-7 at halftime. You would think Newburgh vs. Warwick, Part II will be more closer. Of course, Newburgh will look to stop the running man, Warwick quarterback Brad Garcia.
Garcia has 2,363 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns this year. He put up 334 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Newburgh two weeks ago. Let’s get Whritner’s take:
After Newburgh, it was off to Cornwall. The Green Dragons are the favorite to win their third straight Class A championship. Cornwall plays Port Jervis in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Friday at Dietz Stadium.
However, Cornwall will play the rest of the season without star receiver Chris Bauer. Bauer is out with a punctured lung, sustained two weeks ago when he caught a Section 9-record five touchdowns in a 49-0 win over Saugerties. For the season, he had caught 34 passes for 746 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Cornwall quarterback Mike White, the reigning Varsity845 player of the year, still has some targets in the form of Kobe Thomas, Matt Robinson and Klayton Kelly. Thomas, athletic and quick, could be the most intriguing possibility.
With Bauer recovering in Westchester Medical Center last Saturday, Thomas caught two touchdown passes in Cornwall’s 40-23 win over Goshen. As you will see, Kobe has the name, like Bryant, but he’s a young man of few words.
So we had White help him out in the interview. Thanks for your time, Kobe, and good luck:
After Cornwall, I headed to Warwick, coming off a dramatic 26-20 win over Valley Central last Friday. Of course, Newburgh will pose much more of a test.
At Warwick, you know we had to line up the man himself, Garcia. Only one team has stopped him all year: Mighty Monroe-Woodbury, the overwhelming favorite to defeat Washingtonville in the other Class AA semifinal on Saturday.
Here is Garcia on his season and the Newburgh showdown:
We wrap up our interviews with Warwick defensive lineman Francis-King Nnamani, who has done a great job for the Wildcats this season. Nnamani and the Warwick ‘D’ will once again have to deal with Newburgh’s small army of running backs – Anthony Dubose, Aaron Forbes, Natore Dennis and the new kid in the backfield, Tyreik Washington.
It’s all you, Francis-King: