Goshen rallies to defeat Saugerties in A semifinal
Goshen rallies for win in Class A semifinal
Saugerties High's season came to an end, as Goshen rallied for 23-19 Section 9, Class A semifinal win.
It was a classic Saugerties drive. The Sawyers took the second-half kickoff and consumed nine minutes on a 16-play drive that went 67 yards.
They were stopped, however, on a goal-line stand and had to settle for a field goal and a 19-9 lead. That left the door open. And Goshen High quarterback Matt Wierzbicki busted through it.
The senior rallied his team for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter — including a game-winning 14-yard pass to Vinny Maggiori with 47 seconds left — as Goshen upset Saugerties 23-19 at Dietz Stadium to earn a spot in the Section 9, Class A championship game.
“It was a game of momentum. They took the momentum,” Saugerties coach Dom Zarrella said. “I think that was the swing. I think if we had punched it in
there, it probably would have ended the game.
“But you can’t take anything away from them.”
The Sawyers, who were 7-0 two weeks ago, saw its fantastic season end at 7-2.
The (4-5) Gladiators, meanwhile, will play fivetime defending champion Cornwall for the title 7 p.m. Friday night at Middletown’s Faller Field. Cornwall downed Wallkill 4220 in its semifinal.
Wierzbicki ran for 63 yards and one touchdown and threw for 99 yards and two scores. Tailback Max Suarez ran 20 times for 94 yards to lead Goshen.
Quarterback Matt Bucci ran 13 times for 100 yards and two TDs to lead Saugerties, which scored on its first two possessions. Bucci swept right behind the Jimmy Ball’s blocking for a 6-yard touchdown, then swept left behind him again for a 2-point conversion and an 8-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Max Heinrich kicked a 32-yard field goal for Goshen, but Bucci immediately responded with a 63-yard burst up the middle that made it 16-3 with 1:18 left in the first quarter.
The score stayed that way with until 31 seconds left in the half when the Sawyers chose to run on a fake punt at midfield. Saugerties failed to convert and Wierzbicki capitalized with 42- and 15-yard passes to Jake Kunis that closed the gap to 16-9 at the half.
“I thought that if we’re controlling the line of scrimmage, we’d control the game,” Zarrella noted. “We made a mistake right before the half. We should have punted the ball. We gave them life.”
Then came the second half.
The Sawyers started on their own 31 and drove all the way to the Goshen 2, On third-and-goal, Ball was stuffed for a 2-yard loss. On third down, linebacker Josh Vasquez pursued Bucci on a sprint-out and tripped him for a 10yard loss. Seth Vanderbeck then booted a 32-yard field goal that made it a 19-9 game with 3:02 left in the third quarter.
“We came out in our power game after the half and we drove down the field,” Zarrella said. “We didn’t punch it in. We got a field goal for a two-score lead, but we couldn’t generate offense after that.”
Saugerties managed only 57 yards and three first downs over the final 15 minutes.
“They didn’t make any mistakes like they made the first time. They turned the ball over a lot the first time,” Zarrella said about Goshen, which Saugerties beat 28-17 in week two. “They did a lot of different things in this game than in the first game. They have a dynamic player in number 56 (defensive end Ryan Ellefsen). They moved him all around based on our formations. It was a nice coaching job by them.”
Goshen had the ball at midfield early in the fourth when Wierzbicki found Kunis on a 10-yard pass. He then raced 29 yards for a first-and-goal and scored on a 10-yard run to get the Gladiators within 19-16 with 6:14 remaining.
Sensing the momentum slipping away, the Sawyers needed an answering drive. Goshen had the answer, stopping them a yard shy on a fourth-and-two at the Gladiators 45 with 2:41 to go.
Defensive tackle Brandon Salmi contained Wierzbicki at the line, bringing up a third-and-10 at the 14 with 55 seconds remaining. Wierzbicki rolled left and hit Maggiori in the end zone for the TD. Mike Hynes kicked the extra point, taking a tying field goal out of the Sawyers’ equation.
Bucci’s 19-yard kickoff return put Saugerties 71 yards from the end zone with 41 seconds left. A team that had steamrolled opponents with its ground game was forced to go to the air. “That’s not our strength,” Zarrella admitted. “It is something we worked on all year.
I do have a quarterback that can deliver the ball, but pretty much all year we’ve just been able to run the ball.”
After an incompletion, Bucci connected with Keith Hartrum, but he was tackled by linebacker Jason Pickering after a 6-yard gain. Another incompletion and it was fourth-and-4 on the 35 with 20 seconds left on the clock.
Bucci ran 5 yards for the first down, but his head struck the turf as he was pulled down from behind by Ellefsen.
Ball on the 40. Eleven seconds left. No timeouts. And Bucci had to be helped to the bench and senior backup Nick Dennis was now at quarterback. Maggiori then outfought a receiver for an interception and time ran out.
Zarrella addressed the team after the game.
“I told them that I was proud of them. I’ve been with a lot of them since the seventh grade. We turned around football in this town and you can’t hang your heads. 7-2 is a season that we haven’t had in 20 years in Saugerties. I know you care and I care.
I don’t want you to be down. I just want you to be proud of what you’ve acomplished this year.”
The town put on a prepostseason banquet for the team Thursday night with 250 people attending.
“It was a great season,” Zarrella said. “It was really a special year for us. To see the whole town turn out for us they way they did was great.” Goshen Saugerties First Quarter S—Bucci 6 run (Bucci run) G—FG Heinrich 32 S—Bucci 63 run (Hindes pass from Bucci) Second Quarter G—Kunis 15 pass from Wierzbicki (kick blocked) Third Quarter S—FG Vanderbeck 32 Fourth Quarter G—Wierzbicki 10 run (Hynes kick) G—Maggiori 14 pass from Wierzbicki (Hynes kick) —— Rushing G—Suarez 20-94, Wierzbicki 20-94, Soto 1-8; S—Bucci 13-100, Hindes 9-47, Ball 11-40, Trincellito 9-36, Dennis 3-8, Vanderbeck 1-2. Passing G—Wierzbicki 7-14-0, 99 yards; S—Bucci 4-7-0, 25 yards, Dennis 0-1-1. Receiving G—Kunis 4-68, Suarez 2-17, Maggiori 1-14; S—K. Hartrum 1-12, Z. Hartrum 1-7, Trincellito 1-6. Team records: Goshen 4-5; Saugerties 7-2. 3 6 0 14—23 16 0 3 0—19 No. 2 New Paltz vs. No. 4 Marlboro at Dietz Stadium, 7 p.m. —— CLASS C Semifinals Oct. 29 Burke Catholic 59, Sullivan West 20 Millbrook 36, Chester 22 Championship Nov. 5 No. 1 Burke vs. No. 3 Millbrook at Middletown, 7 p.m. —— CLASS D Roscoe/Livingston Manor/Downsville declared champion. —— Semifinals Oct. 28 Monroe-Woodbury 3, Washingtonville 0 Warwick 5, Minisink 5 Finals Nov. 1 No. 1Monroe-Woodbury vs. No. 2 Warwick at Middletown, 4 p.m. —— Class A Quarterfinals Oct. 24 Goshen 3, New Paltz 1 Semifinals Oct. 26 Goshen 3, Wallkill 2, OT Red Hook 2, Cornwall 1 (3-2 shootout) Finals Oct. 28 Goshen 2, Red Hook 1 —— Class B First round Oct. 21 Dover 3, Highland 0 Quarterfinals Oct. 25 Spackenkill 6, Dover 0 Ellenville 1, Liberty 0 Rhinebeck 4, Marlboro 2 James I. O’Neill 1, Burke Catholic 0 Semifinals Oct. 28 Spackenkill 3, Ellenville 1 Rhinebeck 2, O’Neill 0
Semifinals Nov. 3 Monroe-Woodbury-Warwick winner at Minisink Valle, 6 p.m. Middletown-Pine Bush winner vs. Roosevelt-Kingston winner at highest remaining seed, 6 p.m. Finals Nov. 6 Semifinal winners at Mount Saint Mary College, noon —— No. 1 Cornwall, bye No. 2Saugerties, bye No. 3 Wallkill, bye No. 5 Port Jervis at No. 4 Goshen, 6 p.m. Semifinals Nov. 3 Port Jervis-Goshen winner at Cornwall, 6 p.m. Wallkill at Saugerties, 6p.m. Finals Nov. 6 Semifinal winners at Mount Saint Mary College, 6 p.m. —— Class B Quarterfinals Nov. 2 No. 1 Rondout Valley, bye No. 2 John S. Burke, bye No. 5 New Paltz at No. 4 Red Hook, 6 p.m. No. 6 Spackenkill at No. 3 James I. O’Neill, 6 p.m. Semifinals Nov. 4 New Paltz-Red Hook winner at Rondout, 6 p.m. Spackenkill-O’Neill winner at Burke, 6 p.m. Finals Nov. 6 Semifinal winners at Mount Saint Mary College, 2 p.m. —— Class C Quarterfinals Nov. 2
Saugerties quarterback Matt Bucci rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns in Sawyers’ loss in Section 9, Class B semifinal.