Port Jervis’ Miracle at Middletown

The beauty of sports is that at any given moment fans can witness something they’ve never seen before.

Cue in Port Jervis’ game-winning drive to secure its first Section 9 football title since 2001.

Two unbelievable, unreal plays carried Port Jervis to a stunning 27-24 win over defending champion Marlboro.

Freshman wide receiver Calvin Crews’ 55-yard catch on 4th down from Port Jervis’ 4-yard line is an instant play of the year candidate. Crews, making his varsity debut, hauled in a pass from sophomore quarterback Brett Fuller over three Marlboro defenders. Fuller, who showed off his strong arm on touchdown passes of 76 and 74 yards to Rob Filancia in the second half, threw the ball from the Raiders’ 1-yard line.

Filancia authored Play of the Year candidate No. 2 on a 41-yard catch-and-run, game-winning touchdown. Actually stopped shooting video of the play when it looked like Filancia was down at the Marlboro 15-yard line. Filancia surfed the defender, keeping his knee from the turf and sprinted into the end zone with 70 seconds left. Give credit to the official on the Port Jervis sideline for staying with the play and not blowing it dead.

In a postgame interview, Filancia said that Crews’ catch was the play of the game.

Filancia’s third touchdown of the night and Freddy Blue’s 2-point run capped a 15-0 run for Port Jervis to end the game.

Here are the highlights of one of the games of the year in Section 9

Click here for photographer Allyse Pulliam gallery of the game

Click here for my game story

It’s been a remarkable turnaround season for the Raiders after a 2-7 record in 2018. First-year coach Damien Striharsky and his staff deserve much credit bringing a hard-nosed but fun mentality to a program that has a rich football history. There was no morning practice this week like the 4:30 a.m. workout before Port Jervis’ Section 9 semifinal win over Burke Catholic. Instead, Port Jervis practiced under the lights at nearby Delaware Valley High School in Westfall, Pa. to simulate Friday night’s conditions.

Marlboro senior quarterback Christian Diorio’s effort shouldn’t go unnoticed. Diorio rushed for 145 yards and three touchdowns and completed 11-of-21 passes for 131 yards including a 42-yard touchdown.

Let’s hope that today’s Class AA final between Monroe-Woodbury and Pine Bush is as exciting as this game.

See you at Faller Field this afternoon.

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