Newburgh and Cornwall meet on Saturday in a showdown of Section 9 super powers

By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Cornwall running back T.J. Gayle

It’s not a must-win October game or a match-up that will greatly impact the standings.

No matter: This game still has plenty of juice. This isn’t just any non-league game.

This is Newburgh vs. Cornwall, a battle of Section 9 super powers, which has everyone buzzing. Cornwall hosts the Goldbacks in a meeting of the area’s top teams at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Cornwall Middle School.

Both prime time players enter the must-see showdown 3-0. Newburgh is the eighth-ranked Class AA team in the state and Cornwall is ranked seventh in Class A. The teams’ have combined to win 10 Section 9 championships in a row (Cornwall seven, Newburgh three).

“I’m excited just because this is a big test for us,” Cornwall quarterback Kieran Kreider said. “This game is an opportunity to see how good we are and how good we can be. I’m excited to put or team to the test. We definitely have respect for Newburgh, but on Saturday it’s going to be a big game for us. I think it will make both programs better.”

Newburgh and Cornwall have developed a close relationship over the last few years. It’s been formed at Newburgh’s summer football camp, which also features Class B power Marlboro and John Jay-East Fishkill. Newburgh coach Bill Bianco and his counterpart at Cornwall, Mike Connolly, are friends and their players are familiar with each other. The teams’ have not played since October of 2010 when Cornwall defeated Newburgh 29-0.

It was Bianco’s second year at Newburgh and Connolly was an assistant at Monroe-Woodbury at the time. The Goldbacks defeated Cornwall 46-34 in 2009.

“We are good with Cornwall,” Newburgh quarterback Terry Anderson said. “They come to our camp and they really work hard. I think this game is going to be a blast. I just know how Cornwall plays. I know their style. We both put a lot of hard work in at camp and we are going to see how it plays out. That game will definitely be a battle, a dogfight the entire game.”

Newburgh coach Bill Bianco understands the hype surrounding the game, but isn’t as enthused about the showdown.

“It’s fun playing Cornwall, but I’d rather not play down a classification, if you want my honest opinion,” Bianco said. “They are a great program and I fully think that Cornwall can compete in Class AA. I think the kids will be generally excited, but I’m not overly thrilled we are playing them because we do a lot of stuff in the offseason. It’s not playing down, but I’d rather play a Class AA game.”

Connolly understands Bianco’s perspective.

“It’s a no-win situation for them,” Connolly said. “If he beats us, he’s supposed to beat us. If he loses, he lost to a Class A school. I understand how Bill feels from being at Monroe-Woodbury.”

Newburgh is coming off its most impressive win of the season, a 34-7 demolition of Pine Bush in a Class AA Division I game last week. The Goldbacks opened the season with wins over Kingston and Minisink Valley. Cornwall defeated Wallkill 63-0 last week and has outscored opponents 146-12.

“I think it’s a great game for us,” Connolly said. “We don’t see that kind of program or that kind of speed in Class A week to week. For us, playing a bigger school with great talent is a good look moving forward.”

Follow Justin Rodriguez on Twitter at jrodsportshs

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Cornwall vs. Newburgh

  • Team records: Newburgh 3-0, 2-0 Class AA; Cornwall 3-0, 3-0 Class A.
  • What: Non-league football game between arguably Section 9’s two best teams.
  • When: 1 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Where: Cornwall Middle School.
  • Coaches: Newburgh, Bill Bianco, ninth season (63-23); Cornwall, Mike Connolly, fourth season (31-6).

Season results

  • Newburgh 59, Kingston 13
  • Newburgh 28, Minisink Valley 14
  • Newburgh 34, Pine Bush 7
  • Cornwall 48, Goshen 0
  • Cornwall 35, Saugerties 12
  • Cornwall 63, Wallkill 0

Players to watch

Cornwall

  • Sr. RB T.J. Gayle: The speedster rushed for 627 yards and six touchdowns in three games. As he goes, the Green Dragons will likely go against Newburgh.
  • Sr. QB Kieran Kreider: Has thrown for 337 yards with five touchdowns, connecting with eight different receivers. Kreider doesn’t have to be lights out against Newburgh, but he can’t make mistakes.
  • Sr. WR/DB/KR Seth Goitia: Only 5-foot-7, 130 pounds, Goitia makes plays all over the field. He has two receiving touchdowns this season.
  • Soph. RB Amin Woods: Broke out for 86 yards and three touchdowns against Wallkill last week. Could he be the second coming of Gayle?

Newburgh

  • Jr. QB Terry Anderson: A converted running back, Anderson looked like a running back last week, rushing for 203 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Pine Bush. He is blessed with blazing speed.
  • Sr. WR/DB/KR Uh’Charion Hanson: Hanson is regarded by many as the best athlete in Section 9. He returned a kick for a touchdown against Kingston on Sept. 1 and caught three touchdown passes a week later against Minisink Valley. His height (6-foot) could present a match-up issue for the Cornwall secondary. Hanson, Tyler Santiago and Vern Smith are a key part of the Goldbacks’ secondary.
  • Jr. LB Derek Iorlano: Iorlano is already having a breakout year and has six sacks.
  • Sr. RB Jadon Munroe: A hard runner, Munroe is a threat to rush for 100 yards every game and has four touchdowns this season.