By Sean Lynch
Section 9 Insider Staff
KINGSTON — Newburgh wasted little time to celebrate its 20-9 win over rival Monroe-Woodbury in the Section 9 Class AA championship on Saturday night at Dietz Stadium.
Star Terry Anderson and Kam King sprayed water-filled Gatorade bottles on the sideline, drenching their jubilant teammates as the Goldbacks reveled in their fifth consecutive Class AA title. Anderson and King collaborated on a play in the third quarter that helped seal Newburgh’s win.
On the second play of Monroe-Woodbury’s opening second half drive, Anderson drove his shoulder into the chest of Peter Mastropolo, causing him to fumble right into the hands of King. King ran down the sideline for a 26-yard touchdown, giving the Goldbacks a 13-3 lead.
“That play was our spark,” said Anderson, who missed Newburgh’s Class AA semifinal win over Pine Bush with an injury he suffered two weeks ago against Monroe-Woodbury. “That was exactly what we needed. It was great awareness by Kam to catch the ball and run it in.”
Added Anderson: “There’s nothing that would keep me from playing today. This is my last ride, I needed to do everything I could to play tonight. It definitely means a little bit more when you win the Section title in your final season. These are my brothers, I’ve been playing with most of them forever, winning is always good, but winning it in your final season is just that much sweeter.”
Newburgh (9-1) moves on to play New Rochelle (10-0) in the quarterfinals of the Class AA state playoffs at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Mahopac. The Goldbacks punched their ticket to the state playoffs by surviving another battle with Monroe-Woodbury. Two weeks ago, Newburgh edged the Crusaders (6-4) 21-17.
In the much anticipated rematch, Monroe-Woodbury pulled to within 13-9 on a 3-yard run by Dylan Wynn in the third quarter. Enter Newburgh postseason playmaker Giani Hill. Hill’s 9-yard run early in the fourth quarter gave the Goldbacks a 20-9 lead and culminated a 9-play, 69-yard drive. Hill had 26 carries for 196 yards and a touchdown, winning the game’s Offensive MVP award.
“We know we’re playing great competition from here-on-out,” said Hill. “We have to come to play, but play our style of football.”
After Newburgh’s big win, Anderson and six other teammates grabbed a Gatorade cooler and dumped it on coach Bill Bianco.
“The Gatorade bath is cold,” said Bianco. “It’s nice in its own way because any time it happens, you’ve won a big game, but man is it freezing.”