By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Pine Bush — Monroe-Woodbury quarterback Steven Campione and his close friend, running back Peter Mastropolo, constantly talk about connecting for a touchdown.
They went over routes and plays during the offseason, exchange texts about it and even discuss the potential Campione to Mastropolo score in the hallways at school. So you know it felt good when the pair connected on a 19-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to help seal the Crusaders’ 35-14 Section 9 Class AA win at Pine Bush.
Campione finished with 150 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Jack Dembia.
“We run that play in practice all the time and I was just saw the ball and the only thing I was thinking was watching it into my hands,” Mastropolo said. “You can’t explain it when you make a catch like that.”
Monroe-Woodbury (1-1, 1-0 Class AA) graduated its top three wide receivers from last season, but Campione still has options. He connected with eight different receivers in a 42-21 loss to state power Aquinas Institute last week at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Dembia, who caught five passes for 64 yards last week, is quickly becoming Campione’s favorite target.
The pair connected on a 63-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage Friday night. Campione’s 4-yard touchdown to pass with 12.4 seconds left in the first half gave the Crusaders a 21-14 lead.
“To have a wide receiver like Jack and for Peter to step up is huge,” Campione said. “Peter and I have been practicing that play, we talk about it and visualize it in our head. We talk about using his speed to our advantage and it happened. This team just has a great bond. We have been playing together our whole lives and we just hype each other up. We are all a family.”
Mastropolo’s touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone gave the Crusaders a 28-14 lead. Brandon Wasley added a 6-yard touchdown run for Monroe-Woodbury. Chauncey Smith scored on a 5-yard touchdown run for Pine Bush (0-2, 0-1 Class AA) and Xavier Martinez scored on a 1-yard run.
Pine Bush vs. Monroe-Woodbury served as one of the biggest games of Week 2 with both teams hoping to make a run at Class AA favorite. However, after consecutive losses to Cornwall and Monroe-Woodbury, Pine Bush is in a hole with Valley Central looming next week.
Monroe-Woodbury looks to continue its success in the air next week against Kingston, which overcame a 26-point deficit to defeat Washingtonville 62-59 on Friday.
“Pine Bush is a good football team,” Monroe-Woodbury coach Ryan Baldock said. “They are big, physical and well-coached. We knew Pine Bush would fight and this was a good opportunity to compete against a good team. It was a good high school football game, exactly what I expected.”