M-W's sectional title extra special for D'Aliso family

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:52

    KINGSTON-Monroe-Woodbury head coach Pat D'Aliso couldn't wait to hug his girls after the Crusaders captured the Section 9 Class AA crown with their 36-22 win over Newburgh at Dietz Stadium Friday night. Daughters Nicole, 20, and Kristy, 26, watched and cried as the Crusaders embraced their father. Then the young women, joined by friend Kelly Mason, put their arms around the veteran coach. The coach held his girls, but nothing was said. Nothing needed to be. D'Aliso has won titles before, the last came in 2000. But none was as meaningful as this. Football has been the family's escape in a world of hurt since Pat, his youngest child, passed away six months ago. And even though his only son was not there to share the joy, the coach had about five dozen teenagers in purple and black uniforms that would call him Dad any day. "This is for him and only him," said linebacker Dennis Jones. "I really hope this helps him. I know the pain Coach and his family feel every day is never going to go away, but we are all here for him. We are all his sons." Pat D'Aliso Jr. would have been a high school junior this year. The coach and his team also had to deal with the loss of assistant coach Joe Puliafico, who also passed away last year. "We are here for him no matter what he needs," said quarterback Matt Stack. "We always worked hard for him and I just want him to be happy." "I am not sure what I would have done without these kids," said D'Aliso. "We all needed a little happiness after what happened. "The kids never said anything to me about it, but I think they knew how much my family needed a little happiness," he added. "We all could use a little happiness. "They are too young to have all this tragedy." Neil Ingenito put a smile on everyone's face wearing purple and black when he blocked a punt after Newburgh went three-and-out on its first possession. Ingenito also recovered it at the Goldback 18. Five plays later Stack (20 carries, 130 yards, three touchdowns) found the end zone from three yards out en route to his Most Valuable Offensive Player Award for the second week in a row. "This is what it's all about," said Stack, a four-year starter who captured his first sectional title. "All the individual awards are great. But this is why I play the game. To win a team championship." The Goldbacks put together a nine-play drive on the ensuing possession but big plays by John Schepps and Tom Beyer spurned it. Monroe-Woodbury then pieced together a 10-play, 83-yard drive, capped off by a four-yard Stack touchdown burst. Stack hit Ingenito for a gain of 17 yards to fuel the drive. Matt O'Brien paved the way with a key block on a 14-yard Ingenito run. Gerald Jones missed the extra point as the Crusaders led 13-0. NFA's Jihad Morris answered back two plays later when he broke a 70-yard touchdown run, closing the gap to 13-6 with 7:22 left in the half. Stack answered with a long run of his own. The all-stater took the option right and cut back against the grain rumbling 65 yards to the end zone. The two-point conversion failed but M-W held a 19-7 lead. The lead ballooned to 26-7 when O'Brien hauled in a 34-yard touchdown strike from Stack on third-and-20. The 50-yard drive was highlighted by a 15-yard completion to Ray Graziano. The "no name defense" forced another three-and-out giving the Crusaders 30 seconds to get into field goal range. Stack found Ingenito for a 26-yard completion over the middle, setting up a first-and-goal from the two-yard line. With seven seconds left, Stack fired incomplete to Mike Septh as the Crusaders settled for a 19-yard Gerald Jones field goal and a 29-7 halftime lead. The Goldbacks struck first in the second half when Jesse Callahan trotted in from 18 yards out. The two point conversion (a Jon Quintana-to-Morris pass) was good, leaving the score 29-15. On the kickoff, Newburgh spotted the offense 20 yards after being whistled for a delay of game and an unsportsmanlike conduct. Danny Lexandra (eight carries, 57 yards) made them pay, running 12 yards behind the talented offensive line. That increased the lead to 36-15 with 10:33 left in the championship game. Dante McNair snuck behind the Monroe-Woodbury secondary for a 44-yard touchdown catch. The extra point got the Goldbacks within two scores, at 36-22 but that would be as close as Newburgh would get. Junior defensive tackle Chris Dollbaum, with six tackles and two sacks, won the Most Valuable Defensive Player Award for the Crusaders. The Crusaders ended a three-year losing streak to Newburgh in the sectional finals, including a 35-0 loss last season. "We finally did it," said O'Brien. "I told everyone that they would not beat us," said center Joe Scalo. "Last year was an embarrassment. This is just extra special." Especially for the D'Aliso's. The 10-0 Crusaders will play the Section Two champion, Saratoga (8-2) Saturday night, at 7:30 in Kingston. Saratoga avenged a 41-7 loss to Shenendehowa with a 24-13 win last week in the Section two title game. The loss snapped a 29-game winning streak for Shenendehowa. No Section nine team has ever won a regional playoff game.