By Sean Lynch
Section 9 Football Insider Staff
KINGSTON — Marlboro running back Ameer Williams doesn’t fear mother nature — mother nature fears him.
For most of the game, the turf at Dietz Stadium was like walking on an ice hockey rink, caused by the heavy rain throughout the game.
Somehow, Williams was able to not only stay upright, but break off some long runs for the Dukes.
“I had to put a little more weight on my feet to stay upright,” said Williams. “Once I saw open space ahead of me, I just leaned forward and ran as fast as I could.”
He led Marlboro with 184 rushing yards and two touchdowns, en route to a 28-12 win over O’Neill in the Section 9 Class B championship. The Iron Dukes (9-1), who have won seven Class B titles in eight years, move on to play Ardsley in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Dietz Stadium.
It’s also redemption for Williams. The senior running back missed last year’s playoffs with a serious knee injury. In the two postseason games so far, Williams has 429 rushing yards with five touchdowns.
“I worked so hard to be back on the field this year,” he said. “In the offseason, I spent months with an orthopedic doctor, and with our athletic trainer at Marlboro. To see all that work pay off is so surreal to me right now.”
The Iron Dukes scored all of their points in the first half, and took a 28-0 lead at halftime, scoring in four of their first five drives in the game.
Marlboro quarterback Sam Mongelli ran for a touchdown and threw for a touchdown. Williams ran for two.
It was a special win for Mongelli. Alongside his teammates — who he’s played with for almost 10 years, they were crowned Section 9’s best Class B team.
“Every year that our team wins, is a special year and a special moment,” said Mongelli. “There’s just something about winning a title in your final season with the people you’ve played with for years. I don’t even know how to properly describe it — it’s an amazing feeling.”
Just before Marlboro was given the Class B title plaque, coach Brian Beck wanted his offensive linemen to be the first ones to touch the hardware. The o-line kept Mongelli clean, allowing no sacks and only one play with negative yardage.
“We tell our linemen that women like to marry offensive linemen,” said Beck. “They’re strong, tough and will protect you from anything.”
It wasn’t ideal football weather tonight, but Marlboro prepared for it. They sprayed Gatorade bottles filled with water on the footballs during practice this week.
“We tried to get the balls as wet as possible, knowing we’d have to deal with it on Friday,” said Mongelli. “That preparation certainly helped us tonight.”