Goshen — Marlboro’s Christian Diorio is the most utilized back-up quarterback in Section 9, often making cameos for starter Sam Mongelli in addition to fulfilling other roles.
However, Mongelli found himself in perhaps his biggest spot on Saturday against rival Burke Catholic, and never flinched. Diorio helped shepherd the Iron Dukes to a 26-14 win with Mongelli on the bench for the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury.
Austin Laird put an exclamation point on the win when he returned an interception and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown with under 30 seconds remaining for the last score.
“I’m used to it. Sam and I go back and forth all week during practice,” Diorio said. “It was just another football day for me. I thought our offense played very well and our defense played well like always.”
Mongelli left the game late in the third quarter after sustaining a hit by Burke Catholic linebacker Nate Pena on a run along the Marlboro sidelines. Asked about Mongelli’s injury after the game, Marlboro coach Brian Beck said: “Sam just got banged up a little bit, a little bumped and bruised. We were playing it more precautionary. We have a long haul and Christian can do the same amount of offensive stuff that Sam can do, so it was a safe play.”
Diorio entered the game and promptly hit Gio Frisenda on a 15-yard touchdown to put Marlboro (4-1) up 20-7 with 2:33 left in the third quarter. A junior, Diorio rushed for 101 yards, scoring on a 5-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Just a minute later, Burke Catholic (3-2) quarterback Jackson Hoovler hit Louie Usera for a 75-yard touchdown to pull the Eagles within 20-14.
Saturday marked the renewal of the Burke Catholic-Marlboro rivalry. The Iron Dukes beat Burke Catholic for the Class B title in 2014 and 2015, before the Eagles to Class C for the last two seasons. After Saturday’s showdown, players from both sides were already talking about a rematch in the Section 9 Class B championship in November.
Like previous games, Burke Catholic-Marlboro revisited wasn’t without some controversy. It came on a Marlboro fourth-and-7 from Burke Catholic’s 35-yard line with 2:33 remaining. Under pressure near Burke Catholic’s sideline, Diorio threw the ball out of bounds for what appeared to be intentional grounding.
A referee threw a flag, but the Eagles were called for roughing the passer, sending Burke Catholic coach Aaron Hasbrouck into a frenzy. It also allowed Marlboro to eat more time off the clock.
“The kids don’t deserve that. It wasn’t even close,” Hasbrouck barked at the officials.
Hasbrouck simmered following the loss, but still wasn’t happy.
“I understand that they have a really hard job to do, but my only thing is in a six-point game, a big game with two minutes left, to end the game on that call takes away from both teams,” Hasbrouck said. “I think they probably didn’t want that call if I know (Beck). We wanted an opportunity to have the ball and see what we can do, but I understand they have a tough job. It is what it is. We move on. It was a great game.”
After the game, Hasbrouck and Beck exchanged pleasantries on the Marlboro sideline. However, Beck had another take on the call that put Hasbrouck through the roof. Of course, he did.
This is the heated Burke Catholic vs. Marlboro rivalry.
“Referees made a call and it’s a call that they have to stand by it,” Beck said. “We’re lucky to have that call, it gets us the first down. It’s a terrible point for them, but before the half we could have asked and begged for the pass interference call, a kid was draped all over our wide receiver. It’s just the way football works and you can’t put yourself in a situation to blame a referee. You have to put it on your own shoulders and dig down deep.”