By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Middletown — Marlboro trailed Liberty by a touchdown at halftime during the regular-season before coming back for a blowout win.
Fast forward to Saturday: The Iron Dukes trailed Liberty by a score again, but this game was different. This was the semifinals of the Section 9 Class B playoffs at Faller Field.
Liberty led Marlboro 27-21 early in the fourth quarter and one of the biggest upsets in Section 9 playoff history seemed possible. However, Marlboro found a way to come back against the Indians once again, escaping with a dramatic 35-27 to stave off a shocking defeat.
Quarterback/running back Phil DeSantis scored consecutive touchdown runs of two and 19-yards in the fourth quarter from under center to send top-seeded Marlboro (8-0) to the Class B title game for the eighth year in a row. The Iron Dukes face rival New Paltz for the championship at 7 p.m. on Friday at Faller.
The third-seeded Huguenots defeated Spackenkill, the second seed, 35-17 in the other Class B semifinal on Saturday. New Paltz ended Marlboro’s five-year run as Class B champions last year, but the Iron Dukes beat the Huguenots 21-7 earlier this month.
“We talk about situations like this every day in practice,” said DeSantis of the Liberty comeback. He finished with 118 yards and three touchdowns. “It’s called adversity. How are you going to react to it? In the first half, we came out flat. You can’t do that. In the second we didn’t and you saw the outcome.”
Liberty was one half away from pulling off the upset of the year in Section 9 on Sept. 23. The Indians led Marlboro 14-7 at halftime, before the Iron Dukes turned it on, running away with a 44-20 win. On Saturday, Liberty led Marlboro 14-7 at halftime again, but didn’t go away.
Liberty’s valiant upset bid was highlighted by running back Roy Penn Consentino, who rushed for 253 yards on 28 carries and three touchdowns. Kymanni Dennis added a 156 yards and a score for the fifth-seeded Indians (4-5). Consentino’s 8-yard run with 9:51 remaining gave Liberty a 27-21 lead and it was time to break out the spoileralert hash tag.
However, Marlboro came right back on DeSantis’ 2-yard run 2:34 later to go up 28-27. The Iron Dukes stopped Liberty on a fourth-and-five at the Indians’ own 25-yard line on their next drive. DeSantis’ 19-yard run with 4:28 capped the scoring and set up the much anticipated rematch with New Paltz.
“I wasn’t too nervous,” said Marlboro quarterback Sam Mongelli, who rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw for 106 yards and a touchdown. “I don’t think anyone was. Our guys wanted it more in the second half. It was just all passion. I believed in my teammates and I knew that we would come back.”