By Sean Lynch
Section 9 Football Insider Staff
MIDDLETOWN — Marlboro came out in the second half ready for a dog-fight.
The matte finish glistened on the Iron Dukes’ helmets as the sun peaked through the clouds that hung over Faller Field during the entire first half. They had worked tirelessly to get to this point and wanted to do anything and everything to make it to the Carrier Dome for the first time in school history.
It just wasn’t meant to be.
Marlboro (10-2) lost to Glens Falls 48-28 in the Class B semifinal on Saturday afternoon.
The Iron Dukes trailed 28-14 at halftime with the Indians receiving the second half kickoff.
Despite things not going their way in the first half, everyone on the Iron Dukes knew this game wasn’t over.
Senior center Matt Jackson walked by every Marlboro player and said:
“There’s still 24 minutes to go. In these 24 minutes give it all you’ve got, because it might be your last time wearing these jerseys.”
The Dukes had all the momentum in their favor for most of the third quarter. Glens Falls star QB Joe Girard III went 1-of-7 for 2 yards with an interception in the first 11 minutes of the third quarter.
On a third-and-long with 39 seconds left in the quarter, Girard threw a swing pass to 5-foot-5 sophomore running back Aalijah Sampson. Sampson juked two Marlboro defenders at the line of scrimmage and ran down the sidelines untouched, giving the Indians a 35-21 lead.
“He (Sampson) is amazing,” said Girard. “A lot of the time, all I have to do is throw him the ball and he’ll make plays. I could throw him a two yard pass, and he could probably turn it into a 99 yard touchdown if he needed to. He follows his blocks, reads his keys and he was a huge part of our win today.”
Sampson finished with 10 rushes for 134 yards and 3 touchdowns and also had three receptions for 95 yards and a receiving touchdown.
The first play after Sampson’s touchdown, junior quarterback Christian Diorio threw a pass to starting quarterback Sam Mongelli on a cross-route over the middle. Mongelli took two steps and the ball fell loose on a Girard tackle.
Girard, a star basketball player who will play at Syracuse next year, picked up the ball and ran it in to the end zone for a 23 yard score — Glens Falls’ second touchdown in 21 seconds.
“It wasn’t a fumble because I didn’t catch the ball, but what are you going to do about it? You can’t do anything,” said Mongelli. “You’ve just got to deal with it. That really kills you because you saw it did. It killed us.”
Ameer Williams continued his spectacular postseason run. He led the Iron Dukes with 144 yards and four touchdowns. In four postseason games, he ran for 758 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“He had one of the best playoff performances I’ve ever seen in my life,” Mongelli added. “I thought I had a good playoff run last year. He absolutely obliterated that.”
Marboro head coach Brian Beck knows this loss is going to sting for a long time, but put it into perspective.
“These guys are gonna hurt for a while over this,” he said. “This was a year worth of sweat.” “It’s going to hurt for a while. I want them to make sure they understand that if they look back on this night in 15-or-20 years, and this is still one of the worst parts of their life, that their life went pretty damn well.”
“I want them to understand that they should let it hurt, because any loss hurts, but after a week or two to reflect upon what they were able to accomplish.”