By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
New Paltz — Marlboro defensive lineman Nico Ramos left the field on Friday night in tears.
However, these weren’t tears of defeat. Ramos was actually ecstatic, overjoyed, overcome by the emotion of Marlboro’s 21-7 win over New Paltz to clinch the Section 9 Class B Division I title and a bye in the quarterfinals of next week’s playoffs.
Marlboro vs. New Paltz was billed up as the game of the year and the game and the intensity lived up to the hype.
“We were pumped as hell and we knew it was going to be a good game from the start,” Ramos, a senior, said. “It all started about last year at this time. We lost to a good New Paltz team and just seeing us win is just emotional. It’s just very satisfying to be 7-0.”
New Paltz defeated Marlboro 34-7 last October. For good measure, 28 days later the Huguenots put away the Iron Dukes 33-17 to win their first Class B championship since 2010, ending Marlboro’s five-year run as champs. New Paltz went on to lose to Pleasantville 56-20 in the quarterfinals of the Class B state playoffs.
However, on Friday, Marlboro (7-0, 3-0 Class B) took control of the game, scoring on its first two drives of the game. John Perugino’s 61-yard touchdown with 2:49 left in the first quarter put the Iron Dukes up 7-0. A defensive back, Perugino, one of Marlboro’s best players, was ejected from the game in the second quarter for unsportsmanlike conduct for waving his hands in the air after breaking up a New Paltz pass.
As per Section 9 rules, Perugino will sit out Marlboro’s next game in the Class B playoff semifinals on October 28th. Marlboro Rich Ward said he will appeal the decision with Section 9.
“I have film where John has done the same thing the entire year and he wasn’t thrown out,” Ward said. “He wasn’t given a 12-yard unsportsmanlike, so where is the consistency? That’s all I’m asking for is consistency.”
A 65-yard run by Phil DeSantis, just before Perugino’s ejection gave the Iron Dukes a 14-0 lead. New Paltz finally scored, pulling to within 14-7 with 5:11 remaining in regulation on a 45-yard pass from quarterback Jimmy Verney to Axel Rodriguez on a fourth-and-four play. New Paltz was 1-for-4 on fourth down conversions and all of the attempts came inside the Iron Dukes 25-yard line.
“Marlboro is a good team, a good program,” New Paltz coach Tom Tegeler said. “We just made some key mistakes. I can’t even guess how many times we were inside the 15 or 20-yard line. Coming away with seven points was demoralizing, but kudos to Marlboro. They deserved to win.”
Marlboro capped off the win and an emotional night when quarterback Sam Mongelli hit Muhammed Banks for an 18-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-five play with 1:32 remaining. It didn’t take long for the intensity to build up on Friday night.
Both teams talked trash during warm-ups, trading barbs and hits throughout the evening. Ward even screamed at the New Paltz sideline for about 20 seconds just before kickoff.
“Having such an emotional and passionate game, that is what’s going to happen,” DeSantis said. “We played physical and full of emotion. When a team does that, they are most likely going to win. It feels great to win. We had a real bad taste in our mouth since last year’s championship and this was a pretty good outcome.”