The Newburgh Free Academy football team made enough big plays on offense and got enough key plays on defense to escape Minisink Valley High School on Friday night with a 28-14 win over the Warriors.
However, none of the plays were as big as Uh’Charion Hanson’s 72-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Terrance Anderson in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t the decisive score in the game, but it put enough distance between the Goldbacks and Warriors to end a comeback bid.
“We really needed a touchdown,” Hanson said. “We were fighting so hard and made a few mistakes and then came together as a family and made it happen.”
It was actually the second long touchdown of the night for Hanson. The first came on the opening play of the second quarter when he hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to break a scoreless tie.
“Any time you don’t have momentum in a high school football game, you need somebody to make a play to change that,” Newburgh coach Bill Bianco said. “Momentum’s a big deal. I’m glad we were able to do that.”
The Newburgh defense also helped out with five interceptions of Minisink quarterback Raymond Razukiewicz, two of which were by Tyler Santiago.
“Defense came big,” Hanson said. “Defense won this game for us because we made a lot of mistakes on offense. The defense cleaned it up for us.”
The Goldbacks’ first interception, this one by Vernon Smith, set up Jadon Monroe’s 7-yard touchdown run.
However, despite the interceptions, the Warriors were able to find enough holes in the Goldbacks’ defense to keep the chains moving and picked up their first touchdown of the game with 29.5 seconds to go in the second quarter, a 3-yard run by Razukiewicz. The Warriors never got the extra point off and closed the gap to 14-6.
However, Newburgh answered right back as Anderson connected with Hanson on a screen pass and Hanson outran the Warriors’ defense for a 66-yard touchdown, giving Newburgh a 21-6 lead at the half.
“We felt pretty happy to be up two scores against a good program,” Bianco said. “We had some things we had to clean up and we had to make a couple of adjustments to slow them down.”
The Warriors (0-2) closed to within a touchdown when Razukiewicz hit Anton Juncaj in the corner of the end zone for a score and then connected with Austin Jedziniak for the two-point conversion.
Then, after a Newburgh fumble, Hanson’s interception deep in Newburgh’s territory stopped what could have been a game-tying drive.
“We didn’t play so great in this game,” Hanson said. “We fumbled a lot and made lots of mistakes but we came together as a team, fought hard and won this game.”
By Mike Zummo