New Cornwall interim coach Holzapple not fazed by unexpected promotion

By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider

Cornwall departed for its Section 9 Class A game at Roosevelt in Dutchess County on Friday in a state of shock, still reeling from the news two hours earlier that successful coach Mike Connolly had abruptly resigned.

It was new interim coach Eric Holzapple’s job to keep the Green Dragons focused and he did. Cornwall put up a typical Cornwall performance, beating winless Roosevelt 55-7 to stretch its winning streak against Section 9 Class A opponents to 53 games.

“Right now, my job is to keep the Cornwall tradition alive,” Holzapple said after Cornwall ran its record to 6-0 this season. “I want to make sure that we maintain the same work ethic and achieve the goals that we set in the beginning of the year.”

Freshman quarterback Aidan Semo, who was one of many players brought to tears after learning of Connolly’s departure, threw for 238 yards and four touchdowns, including three to Derek Schrag (190 yards). Amin Woods rushed for 83 yards and three touchdowns for the seven-time defending Class A champions.

Holzapple has been in the Cornwall program for eight years, including the last five as offensive coordinator. He is a native of Long Island and teaches math at Cornwall High.

“Our staff is awesome and are kids are resilient,” Holzapple, 29, said. “I wasn’t nervous tonight, it was just different. The kids were great. They understood that it was a business trip. They are great kids and I can’t say enough about them.”

Asked if he would be interested in being Cornwall’s permanent head coach, Holzapple said:

“My only focus is getting the kids ready for Minisink Valley next week.”

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