Crusaders pulled off a huge football upset when they knocked off the undefeated Newburgh Free Academy Goldbacks on Saturday night, Nov. 2, at Dietz Stadium in Kingston.
The Crusaders entered the game with a 4-4 record on the season.
The Goldbacks were 8-0 and ranked fifth in the state. The Goldbacks defeated the Crusaders a month ago 21-3.
The Crusaders, who had a slow start this season, have gone 3-1 with the one loss coming last week in a real battle in Washingtonville.
In the first quarter Saturday, Crusader Anthony Plazza recovered a fumble near midfield. That allowed quarterback Anthony Campione to complete a 40-yard pass to Nicholas Calderone down the sideline, giving the Crusaders a first and goal inside the five-yard line.
The Goldbacks defense stiffened and the Crusaders had to settle for a Eddie Fennessy 18-yard field goal.
Crusader Jack Rumbler recovered a fumble after a sack by Anthony Maiorino in the second quarter that led to another Fennessy field goal from 27 yards.
Crusaders 6 - Goldbacks 0.
The Goldbacks scored on their next drive on a 12-yard run by Nick Patterson; with the point after successful, NFA took the lead 7-6.
The Crusaders took over with four minutes left in the half on the 47. From there Campione found Sean Neely for a first down. Then, with nine seconds left on the clock, Campione found Cameron Adams in the end zone with a TD pass and the Crusaders were up at 13-7 at the half.
The Goldbacks must have felt the pressure of being behind early in the second half because they went for it on a fourth and seven yards to go. But Crusader defense held and turned the ball back to the offense at the 40-yard line.
On the Goldbacks' next possession, they drove down to the Crusaders' seven-yard line and again chose to go for it on fourth and goal.
The Crusader D shut them down again.
End of third quarter
The Goldbacks got a huge break when the snap on the Crusaders' punt sailed out of the end zone to give NFA a safety and the ball back with a minute left in the third quarter.
The Goldbacks took advantage of their field position and drove down the field and scored on a Sincere Tatum one-yard run. With the point after attempt good, the Goldbacks had a 16-13 lead with 7:38 left.
The Crusaders rose to the occasion. On a fourth and five near midfield, Campione hit Peter Mastropolo with a screen pass and the senior running back bulled his way for a crucial first down.
From there the Crusaders moved the ball down to the four and scored on a diving catch by Sean Neely. With the PAT, Monroe-Woodbury led 20-16 with less than two minutes left to play.
First and goal inside the 10 with 47 seconds left
The Goldbacks came right back. With 47 second left, NFA had first and goal just inside the Crusaders' 10-yard line.
Again, the Crusader defenders had their backs to the wall.
But Christopher Gauvin swatted away a fourth down pass to the corner of the end zone and the Crusaders had beaten the five-time defending Section 9 champion Goldbacks.
The exciting come-from-behind victory set off a Crusader celebration that they hadn’t experienced in many years.
The Crusaders will take their quest for the Section 9 title to Middletown next Saturday at 1 p.m. when they face the Pine Bush Bushmen.
- William Dimmit