By Sean Lynch
Section 9 Football Insider Staff
Middletown — O.J. Simpson fled the police in his white Ford Bronco with A.C. Cowlings at the wheel.
The George Foreman Grill was introduced.
Tonya Harding busted Nancy Kerrigan’s kneecap.
The year was 1994 and until Saturday it was the last time that Goshen had won a divisional title. A week after beating Warwick for the Spirit Trophy for the first time in 15 years, Goshen took out New Paltz 29-14 at Faller Field in Middletown on Saturday, winning the Section 9 Class A Division II title.
Goshen (6-1, 4-0 Class A) last won a divisional championship in 1994, the year the Rangers won their last Stanley Cup. The game was played at Faller due to poor field conditions at C.J. Hooker Middle School in Goshen.
“I think this is great for our town and the community,” Goshen wide receiver Jake Kunis said. “We all put in a lot of hard work and we are not surprised by this. It was different having our Senior Day at Middletown, but it was a great game and a great day for us.”
With the win, Goshen secured the second seed in the Class A playoffs. The Gladiators and top seed Cornwall, the seven-time defending champion, earned quarterfinal byes. Sixth-seeded New Paltz will play at Warwick, the third seed, in the quarterfinals this weekend and fourth-seeded Saugerties will host fifth-seeded Minisink Valley.
Goshen started off slow against New Paltz (3-4, 2-2 Class A) and were held to seven points in the first half for the second consecutive week. The Gladiators were tricked by a fake punt, which led to an eventual touchdown, and had trouble stopping New Paltz running back Mike Pisciotta. Pisciotta had 111 rushing yards in the first half.
New Paltz led 14-7 at halftime.
However, Goshen responded in the second half. Quarterback Matt Giordano hit Dom Pasquini for a 54-yard touchdown on the second play of the third quarter and the Gladiators were off. Giordano completed 19-of-27 for 332 yards with two touchdowns and also rushed for two touchdowns. Goshen scored the last 29 points of the game.
Giordano now has 2,356 passing yards this season, which is eighth all-time in Section 9 history.
“We all told each other that we’re only down seven points at halftime,” Giordano said. “We couldn’t let losing at halftime affect us for the rest of the game.”
Now it’s on to the playoffs for Goshen and the Gladiators will arrive to the postseason with more optimism than they’ve had for a long time after the bye week.”
“There’s some guys on the team that are banged up so this bye week will really help us,” Giordano said. “It’ll give us some time to rest up and prepare for whoever we play against next.”