By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Central Valley — Steven Campione’s introduction to the rivalry that is Monroe-Woodbury vs. Newburgh came last season.
Let’s just say the rivalry lived up to the hype.
“I saw how intense it was, I saw how many fans came to the game,” said Campione, Monroe-Woodbury’s first-year quarterback. “I saw how big the game was. It was a completely different atmosphere. This is going to be our hardest working week. We have been looking forward to this game all year and we are going to execute our game plan and see what happens.”
In what is always one of the most anticipated games of the year, Monroe-Woodbury hosts Newburgh at 7 p.m. on Friday. Both teams enter the game 4-1 and 2-0 in Section 9 Class AA Division I. Newburgh has defeated the Crusaders three years in a row for the Class AA championship.
“The feeling is still sour from last season,” Monroe-Woodbury defensive end Jack Colbath said. “We took that into the offseason. That’s something that we’ve said after ever practice: ‘I want to win a Section 9 championship. We are going to take that into the game and do our best.”
Just like so many years before, Monroe-Woodbury and Newburgh enter Friday’s showdown as the two best teams in Class AA. The Crusaders opened the season with a 14-13 loss to Warwick, but have responded with four convincing wins over Valley Central, Washingtonville, Kingston and Middletown.
Newburgh lost to Class A player Cornwall 31-28 on Sept. 23, but rebounded with a 28-0 win over Warwick last week behind 181 rushing yards and two touchdowns by Jadon Munroe.
“I think the Cornwall loss was a good loss for us,” Newburgh quarterback Terry Anderson said. “It gave it us a chance to realize that we can be knocked off. Our team is good enough to get back on top and I think that’s what we did against Warwick. We executed very well.”
Friday serves as the latest edition of the best rivalry in Section 9. Newburgh vs. Monroe-Woodbury is usually the biggest game of the year. The rivalry goes back two decades. Back in 1997, NFA defeated Monroe-Woodbury 20-14 to win the Class AA championship. The teams’ would meet for the title for the next four years in a row and seven of the next nine years. Since ‘97, Monroe-Woodbury and NFA have battled for the Class AA championship 13 times with Newburgh winning seven times.
“The game with Monroe-Woodbury has a lot of history and is always exciting,” Anderson said. “We know that they are coming and we are ready. We hope that they know that we are coming right back at them.”
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NFA vs. MW: The last 10 games
Class AA championship: NFA 17, M-W 14
Regular-season: NFA: 28, M-W 7
Class AA championship: NFA 23, M-W 0
Regular-season: M-W 24, NFA 20
Class AA championship: NFA 15, M-W 7 (OT)
Regular-season: M-W 27, NFA 21
Class AA championship: M-W 31, NFA 30
Regular-season: M-W 35, NFA 14
Regular-season: NFA 16, M-W 10
Regular-season: NFA 7, M-W 0 (* Snapped M-W’s 63-game winning streak against local opponents)