By Doug Johnston
Special to Section 9 Football Insider
Kingston — Quarterback Ethan Smith’s 16-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter gave sixth-seeded New Paltz, seeking another upset, a four-point lead over Goshen.
Of course, Smith was amped. However, he still knew that the Huguenots had work to do. That would come in the form of a defensive stop late in the game, which preserved New Paltz’s 17-13 win over second-seeded Goshen at Dietz Stadium.
Goshen (6-2) defeated New Paltz 29-14 two weeks ago. New Paltz earned a rematch with the Gladiators by upsetting third-seeded Warwick 21-6 in the Class A quarterfinals last week. The Cinderella Huguenots next meet Cornwall (8-0) for the Class A title at 7 p.m. Friday at Faller Field in Middletown.
Cornwall is the seven-time defending Class A champion and has won 55 games in a row against Section 9 Class A opponents dating back to September of 2011.
“With all the odds against us, we played as well as we could,” Smith said. “I think we played one of the best games we ever played, if not the best game. We have loved being the underdogs. I love when everyone doubts us because we enjoy proving everyone wrong.”
New Paltz, the 2016 Section 9 Class B champions, trailed Goshen 6-3 at halftime. A 24-yard field goal by Daniel Drewnoski provided the Huguenots with their scoring. However, New Paltz opened the second half with an 8:26 drive, which culminated in a 4-yard touchdown by Mike Pisciotta to give New Paltz a 10-6 lead.
Goshen junior quarterback Matt Giordano came right back, hitting Jake Kunis for a 35-yard touchdown with 1:55 remaining in the third to put the Gladiators back up 13-10. Smith responded with what would be the game-winning run with just less than 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Goshen had one last chance to win the game, but the dangerous Giordano threw an incomplete pass on fourth down near the goal line. New Paltz’s defense celebrated. Standouts on the unit Friday night included defensive end Blaise Driscoll, who had two sacks, and defensive back Jordan Vazquez, who had an interception.
“I think our team is just playing hard,” New Paltz coach Tegeler said. “These guys are really working their tails off. They are prepared and battle-tested. This feels amazing and the kids are so excited. They didn’t feel this way when they were 3-4.”