By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Middletown — No matter if he was breaking off a long run, making a big block or standing on the sideline on Saturday, senior Burke Catholic running back David Ross was fixated by one thought.
It’s starting to set in that this is his last season.
“It kept going through my head that this is my last season playing high school football, playing at Burke Catholic,” Ross said. “I’m very conscious of that and I try to do something every time I get the ball.”
Ross made a big play on just about every touch against fourth-seeded Pine Plains, leading Burke Catholic to a 65-14 Section 9 Class C semifinal playoff win at Faller Field. On just eight carries, Ross rushed for 115 yards, scoring on runs of 1, 3, 18 and 41 yards.
The top-seeded Eagles (7-1) move on to play third-seeded Chester for the Class C championship at 7 p.m. Saturday at Dietz Stadium in Kingston. Chester put away second-seeded Ellenville 24-0 in the other Class C semifinal on Saturday.
Burke Catholic, which has won seven games in a row since opening the season with a loss to New Paltz, was heavily favored against fourth-seeded Pine Plains (5-4) and never let the Bombers get into the game. Matt Guarneri and Jaager Ramirez recovered fumbles for the Eagles on Pine Plains’ first two drives and Ross turned both turnovers into touchdown runs.
Burke Catholic, which reached the Class C state semifinals last year, led 34-0 after one quarter and 55-7 at halftime. Coach Aaron Hasbrouck pulled his starters early in the third quarter. Quarterback Heath Hoovler threw three touchdowns, hitting Mark Przybocki, Louis Usera and Solomon Hemingway for scores. Przybocki and Hemingway each also scored on 11-yard runs.
First-year Burke Catholic kicker Collin Shust hit a school-record 43-yard field goal in the third quarter.
“We wanted to come out strong,” Przybocki said. “Because when you are favored by a lot, sometimes you get loose. You are like ‘we got this game, we got this game.’ Then you get smacked in the mouth. We wanted to come out, put up some points and stop them on defense. Everyone just did their jobs today.”
Burke Catholic vs. Chester next week, the rematch, should generate plenty of hype this week. The Eagles held on to defeat Chester (7-2) 28-24 on Oct. 13 after jumping out to a 21-0 lead.
“It’s going to be another Chester-Burke battle,” Ross said. “It’s going to be a tough game. Chester thrives on momentum and that is what we are going to have to stop.”
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