By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Teams often change up their offensive scheme in the offseason, but that scenario is rare during the season and it’s unheard of during a game.
Let alone a championship game.
Some coaches might call that crazy, but that’s exactly what Newburgh did against Monroe-Woodbury in Friday night’s Section 9 Class AA semifinal playoff game at Dietz Stadium in Kingston. Newburgh coach Bill Bianco and offensive coordinator Tim Hendershot ditched a shotgun attack for a Double Wing-T attack, which was instrumental in a 42-20 win over Monroe-Woodbury.
Newburgh (7-2) will play Pine Bush (7-2) for the Class AA title at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Faller Field in Middletown.
“I knew that our team would be ready to run the Wing-T and that Monroe-Woodbury wouldn’t be ready to defend it,” said Newburgh running back Jadon Munroe, who rushed for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Sincere Tatum added 115 yards and three scores for the three-time defending Class AA champions. “I was confident that we would do well in the Wing-T. I don’t think they were expecting it. They looked confused when we went to the Wing-T. They didn’t know what to do.”
Newburgh has run the Wing-T successfully in the past, but scraped it early last year for an I-formation and then the spread offense. The Goldbacks began installing the Wing-T in practice about three weeks ago and rolled it out against Monroe-Woodbury up 7-0 in the first quarter. Newburgh led 14-0 at halftime and put its offense into overdrive in the second half.
“Our best stuff was when Sincere and Jadon were making plays,” Bianco said. “So how do we get an offense where they are both on the field (quarterback) Terry (Anderson). We had been practicing it as a short yardage thing, but as we looked at the Wing-T it just kept developing. To prepare for both offenses and another team each week is not easy, but it was worth it.”
The Double Wing-T is a smash mouth, run-heavy, series-based offense that tries to outnumber the defense at the point of attack. Few teams in Section 9 run the scheme, making it hard to prepare for. Pine Bush has run the Wing-T for years and had success against Monroe-Woodbury in a 29-27 loss to the Crusaders two weeks ago.
“Bill and his staff did a great job preparing his kids, they made a change and it worked,” Monroe-Woodbury coach Ryan Baldock said. “Give credit to him and his staff. They have run an I-formation for years and I guess they felt the Wing was the best way for them to be successful. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before. It just comes down to whoever executes their blocks and tackles wins.”
Newburgh’s win on Saturday served as redemption for a 28-17 loss to the Crusaders on Oct. 6. The Goldbacks defeated Monroe-Woodbury in the last three Class AA championships and have now won four playoff games in a row against the Crusaders.
“It feels great to beat Monroe-Woodbury after the loss earlier this season,” Munroe said. We all locked in this week and we came out the way that we wanted to play. Every play we ran we had big gains, so that felt good.”