By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
This week’s much anticipated showdown between Marlboro and New Paltz features two of Section 9’s top quarterbacks.
It will be Phil DeSantis vs. Jimmy Verney — plus one more talented signal caller — Marlboro’s Sam Mongelli, which makes the match-up, the must-see game, even more intriguing.
New Paltz hosts Marlboro in, perhaps, the most anticipated game in Section 9 this season at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in a Class B showdown. Both teams enter the game 6-0. New Paltz defeated Marlboro 33-17 in last year’s Class B title game to end the Iron Dukes’ five-year run as champions.
“Both teams are going to definitely try keying in on the quarterbacks, but it’s really about the whole team,” Verney, a senior, said. “Marlboro has two quarterbacks, which makes it harder for our defense, but we just have to know their tendencies. I don’t mind being in the spotlight. I don’t let it get to me. I know what is at stake here and I just have to stay motivated and focused.”
Marlboro and New Paltz have been dominant on both sides of the ball and come equipped with playmakers all over the field. However, most teams usually go as their quarterbacks do, and both sides have prime time signal callers.
Verney put together one of the most impressive breakout seasons in Section 9 history last year, leading New Paltz to its first Section 9 title in six years. A two-way threat, Verney threw for 1,267 yards with and eight touchdowns. He was even more dangerous on the ground, rushing for 1,342 yards and 22 scores.
Verney has rushed for 875 yards and 10 touchdowns this season and thrown for 662 yards and six scores.
“It will be interesting,” said DeSantis of the match-up with Verney. “We have to stop Verney, which I see us doing. Our defense is going to lock him down and we won’t have a problem.”
DeSantis, who missed most of last season with an injury, has rushed for 856 yards and 15 touchdowns. Many of his touches have come in the backfield with Mongelli, last year’s starter, taking the snaps under center. A junior, Mongelli has rushed for 524 yards with seven touchdowns, adding 482 passing yards and six touchdowns.
DeSantis and Mongelli have no problem sharing snaps.
“Sammy and I have played together for a while and we know that what’s most important is winning,” DeSantis said. “We don’t care about who plays where as long as we get to the end goal of winning. That’s what really keeps us on track.”
If DeSantis and Mongelli aren’t enough, Marlboro also rolls out its quarterback of the future, sophomore Christian Diorio. Diorio has taken snaps at quarterback and made plays at other positions on offense. He has put up 348 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns.
“I think both of Marlboro’s main quarterbacks are very athletic and it will be difficult for both teams,” New Paltz coach Tom Tegeler said. “You know, I love my guy. I love Jimmy Verney. He is phenomenal. I’m sure (Marlboro coach) Rich (Ward) loves his guys. We respect Marlboro’s option and ability to pass. I just think it’s going to be a very exciting game.”