By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Cornwall — The addition of Warwick and Minisink Valley to Class A is expected to add intrigue to the division and put pressure on seven-time defending Section 9 champion Cornwall.
On Friday night, when Warwick faced Cornwall there was suspense, for at least the first half. Cornwall put away a chippy Warwick team 28-14 in a Class A Division I game. The much anticipated showdown which drew a big crowd was tied 14-14 at halftime.
Cornwall freshman quarterback Aidan Semo rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another. Amin Woods rushed for 110 yards for the Green Dragons.
“I understand why you would come down from AA, away from the NFA’s and Monroe’s of the world, and be optimistic,” Cornwall coach Mike Connolly said. “You should be. So we kind of used that as motivation a little bit. At the same time, we still prepped the same way. We just did not play a clean game. It was disappointing, but credit to our kids. They played a great second half.”
Cornwall (4-0, 1-0 Division I) has now won 52 games in a row against Section 9 Class A opponents since losing to Wallkill in the 2010 championship game. The Green Dragons seemed like they might cruise against Warwick (3-1, 1-1 Division I) on Friday night. Cornwall led 14-0 late in the first quarter on a 13-yard pass from Semo to Lou Francese and a 6-yard run by the quarterback.
However, Warwick, a Class AA semifinalist last year, came back with 14 straight points. The Green Dragons answered with a 5-yard touchdown run by Semo 2:38 into the second half. His 3-yard run late in the third quarter extended Cornwall’s lead to 28-14.
It was set up when Cornwall pounced on a fumble by Warwick quarterback Joey Miller at the Wildcats’ 38-yard line.
“When the game was tied, we just kept playing Cornwall football,” Semo said. “We didn’t really make any adjustments at halftime. We came out and just played Cornwall football. We put up 14 points and we went from there.”
Cornwall continues its difficult schedule with a non-league showdown against visiting Monroe-Woodbury next Friday. The Green Dragons already have wins over Class AA Pine Bush and Class B power Marlboro. A showdown with undefeated Minisink Valley looms in three weeks.
Cornwall has dominated Class A for more than a decade, but the Green Dragons would prefer a challenge from the two new schools in the league, rather than beat on also-rans. Warwick desperately wanted its shot at Cornwall and the Green Dragons proved that they are still the Class A team to beat.
“Those teams coming down is the best possible thing for us,” Semo said. “Instead of having all of those easy games, now we have league opponents that are good and talented. If we make it out of the section, we go into the playoffs knowing what it feels like to be in a close game.”
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