By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
John S. Burke Catholic coach Aaron Hasbrouck said that he could tell that star running back David Ross would have a good game on Saturday night after only a few touches.
“It was just six yards here, eight yards here, six yards there,” Hasbrouck said. “You could tell David was just getting going. It didn’t change much and I knew that we would feed off of that.”
When Ross was finished, he had authored one of the greatest performances by a Section 9 player in the state playoffs. The mild-mannered senior rushed for 220 yards and six touchdowns to lead Burke Catholic to a 62-12 win over Albertus Magnus in the quarterfinals of the Class C state playoffs at Dietz Stadium in Kingston.
Ross’ six rushing touchdowns tied a school record set by Matt Przybocki in the 2013 Class C championship game and Garnett Nicolas in the 2015 Section 9 Class B quarterfinals. The 62 points scored by Burke Catholic (9-1) are the most by a Section 9 team since the full state playoffs began in 1993.
“Honestly, in 15 years as a coach, this was the best performance by a team that I have been a part of,” Hasbrouck said.
Many fans expected Burke Catholic vs. Albertus Magnus, a much anticipated Catholic school battle, to be an evenly-matched game. Albertus Magnus, making its first appearance in the state playoffs, held opponents to just 93 points all season. The Falcons won the Section 1 title with a 17-7 win over Dobbs Ferry.
However, Burke Catholic put the game early, trampling Albertus Magnus. Solomon Hemingway opened the scoring for the Eagles with a 24-yard touchdown run 3:21 into the game and Ross scored on runs of 36 and one yard in the first quarter. The Eagles led 35-0 at halftime.
Ross added two touchdown runs of 10 yards, adding 2 and 41-yard scores. Hemingway also had a 58-yard touchdown run and quarterback Heath Hoovler hit Matt Ehret for a 20-yard touchdown.
“We executed and, thanks to my offensive line, I barely got touched at the line of scrimmage,” Ross said. “I always come out with confidence. I don’t have butterflies. I just come out hard and tough. It’s just strong football. I love it.”
Burke Catholic moves on to the Class C state semifinals for the second year in a row. The Eagles will take on Holy Trinity (9-1) of Troy at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Faller Field in Middletown. Holy Trinity defeated Ogdensburg Free Academy 41-14 in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Ogdensburg Free Academy edged Burke Catholic 35-28 in the Class C state semifinals at Dietz last year.
“For the amount of work that we have put in, there is no turning back,” Hoovler said. “It’s all in. It’s been like that since the Section 9 semifinals against Pine Plains. I think we are playing our best football of the year and we are excited to play at Middletown with a chance to go to the Carrier Dome (in Syracuse).”
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