Two points

Monroe-Woodbury edge Pine Bushs 29-27 to advance as the second seed in the Section 9 football playoffs

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  • Photos by William Dimmit Steven Campione (#12) hits Jack Dembia with this 60-yard toughdown throw in the first quarter.

  • Crusaders Peter Mastropolo (#21) and Matt Seguniot (on the ground) send Pine Bush runner head over heels.

  • Jermain Veras (#11) scored on this 90-yard touchdown reception.

  • Last stop: Crusader Dylan Wynn (#22) zeros in on the Pine Bush running back and stops the Bushmen's attempt to tie the game.

PINE BUSH — The varsity football teams from Monroe-Woodbury and Pine Bush entered their last regular season game last Friday, Oct. 13, in Pine Bush needing a victory in hope of a more favorable seed in the upcoming Section 9 playoffs.

The Crusaders got off their buses and went right to work. On their first possession, quarterback Steven Campione hit a streaking Jack Dembia down the far sideline for a 60-yard touchdown; the Crusaders added two points on a fake PAT to take a 8-0 lead.

On the Bushmen’s next possession, linebacker Jamal Aouad recovered a fumble and the Crusaders had the ball on the Bushmen’s 40. From there Campione found a wide open Garrett Welch for a 29-yard score and when Mike Boyle hit the PAT, the score was 15-0 with more than ten minutes left in the first quarter.

The Bushmen answered back with their run option offense and moved the ball right down the field and scored on a two-yard touchdown run to cut into the Crusader lead.

The Crusaders answered right back. Campione got loose for a 49-yard run through the Bushmen's secondary. He then hit John McCormick with a two-yard touchdown pass.

At the end of first quarter, the Crusaders lead 22-7.

The second quarter was all Bushmen as their powerful run offense started click. They moved the ball down the field, chewing up yardage and time as they scored twice to bring the score to 22-21.

The Crusaders defense finally rose up just before the half and stopped the Bushmen inside the five-yard line as time expired.

Late in the third quarter, with the Crusaders backed up at their own 10-yard line, Campione found Jermain Veras who made a leaping grab over the Bushmen defender and sprinted in for the score. The 90-yard touchdown pass play brought the Crusader fans and bench to its feet as the Crusaders took a 29-21 lead into the fourth quarter.

But the Bushmen were not done and with :51 left on the clock Tyrese Grubs took a hand off from Haakon Meland and broke through a hole in the Crusaders' defense and went 52 yards for a touchdown to make the score 29-27.

The Bushmen lined up for the two-point conversion which would tie the score but Crusader Dylan Wynn came up with the big stop on the misdirection play to preserve the win.

The 29-27 victory gives the Crusaders a first-place finish in the OCIAA Division 1 and a number two seed in the Section 9 playoffs.

The Crusaders will face the Vikings of Valley Central in the opening round of the playoffs on Friday night at home at 7.

- William Dimmit

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