By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Middletown — Port Jervis quarterback Branden Roesch and his teammates referred to Friday night’s Section 9 Class A semifinal game against Goshen as “the revenge game.”
Second-seeded Goshen upset previously undefeated Port Jervis in the fourth week of the season. However, by the time the rematch rolled around, Goshen was slightly favored.
That made the third-seeded Raiders’ 12-0 win over Goshen at Faller Field even more satisfying. Port Jervis (6-3) moves on to play six-time defending Class A champion Cornwall for the championship at 7 p.m. Friday at Dietz Stadium in Kingston. Cornwall beat Roosevelt 49-0 in the other semifinal and has won 49 straight games against Section 9 Class A opponents dating back to 2011.
“We knew we couldn’t come out here and lose to Goshen again,” said Roesch, who threw for 134 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for a score. “We worked on the key points that killed us last time and got the job done. It’s amazing because we get a shot at Cornwall for the Section 9 title and secondly it was a goal to get revenge. It’s like two wins.”
Goshen (4-4) saved its season on Sept. 23, defeating Port Jervis 13-8, using a late defensive stand to hold the
Raiders off. Port Jervis entered the game 3-0 and the Gladiators were 0-3. Since then, Goshen had won four games in a row, earning a bye in the last week’s Class A quarterfinals.
Port Jervis defeated Monticello 34-7 in the quarterfinals. Roesch gave the Raiders a 6-0 lead over Goshen with 6:41 remaining in the first half, hitting Henry Bowers for a 66-yard touchdown. The Gladiators had a chance to take the lead with 1:13 remaining in the second quarter, but Port Jervis held them on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, stopping running back Jared Cassel short of the goal line.
Port Jervis held Goshen to 29 rushing yards on 26 carries on Friday. Still, Goshen seemed poised to put together a scoring drive at many points during the game. The Gladiators were set up with first-and-goal at the Raiders’ 48-yard line midway through the fourth quarter.
However, sophomore quarterback Matt Giordano fumbled and Griffin Roddy picked up the ball at Goshen’s 36-yard line after it took several bounces off the turf. That led to Roesch’s 4-yard touchdown run to seal the game with 3:01 remaining.
“It felt good to come back and beat Goshen,” Bowers said. “They were talking, saying how that game was not a fluke and they were meant to beat us. They were writing that on social media. That’s why I told them ‘good job on Twitter.’ We were all thinking about that and wanted to beat them.”
Port Jervis will enter the Class A championship against Cornwall as a huge underdog. The Green Dragons’ 49-game winning streak against Section 9 Class A opponents dates back to Sept. 23, 2011 when Cornwall lost to Wallkill 10-7. Cornwall has defeated opponents by a combined score of 2,205-378 during the gaudy streak, posting 17 shutouts.
Only four Cornwall wins during the streak have been decided by 14 points or less. The Green Dragons have defeated Port Jervis 10 times during the run by a combined score of 388-81 and put away the Raiders 31-7 two weeks ago.
“We have a lot of respect for Cornwall,” Bowers said. “They are a great team, one of the best in the state. But we can’t go in there thinking that it’s Cornwall and we are going to lose. We have to think that we can go in there and beat them.”