By the time the Newburgh Free Academy Goldbacks ran an offensive play halfway through the first quarter, they already had two touchdowns and an eight-point lead.
Uh’Charion Hanson got things started with an 80-yard kick return on the game’s first play, giving Newburgh a jump start on their way to a 59-13 win over the Kingston Tigers on Friday night at Academy Field.
“That lit us right up,” Newburgh quarterback Terrance Anderson said. “It felt great.”
The defense put up the second score when Steven Rivera ran a blocked punt in from about 20 yards out, and Newburgh was on its way, despite the Tigers closing the gap to within eight points when quarterback Chapman Parker connected with Manny Wilson for a 69-yard touchdown strike.
But that was the last time Kingston would score until late in the fourth quarter, while Newburgh built a 42-6 lead in the first half.
When the offense finally got the ball midway through the first, it picked up right where the special teams and defense left off.
On the ground, Vernon Smith scored from 7 yards out and Jadon Munroe ripped off a 41-yard scoring run. Henderson also connected with Jalen Ricks for a 45-yard touchdown catch-and-run, building Newburgh’s 35-6 first-quarter lead.
“We played pretty well in spots,” Newburgh coach Bill Bianco said. “A lot of different people made contributions.”
The offensive output slowed down in the second quarter, but Anderson got on the board with his legs, scoring on a 56-yard run.
In the third quarter, Pete Matthews kicked a 44-yard field goal to go along with his eight extra points. He also consistently negated the Tigers’ return game, putting kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks.
In the third quarter, backup quarterback Derek Lane scored on a 12-yard run and Sincere Tatum scored on a 12-yard run of his own the scoring with 2:01 left in the game.
“The first thing I tell our kids is that in varsity football, there’s no guarantee that everybody’s going to get in and play,” Bianco said. “One thing I try to do a decent job of is getting everybody, when the opportunity presents itself, a chance to play. Whether you’re a starter or a backup, all our kids work hard. I’m the happiest when we can do that.”
Meanwhile the Tigers did get on the board one more time – with 6:55 to go in the game – on an 18-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback John Perry to Wilson.
“We fumbled a couple of times,” Bianco said. “Credit to them, they made the play, but they were blown coverages. We told them, later in the season in a tight game, that can hurt us.”
The Goldbacks (1-0, 1-0 Class AA-I) will head on the road Friday night to face Minisink Valley, which lost to Middletown, 13-6, on Friday night.
“It feels good,” Anderson said. “We get to relax now. All that hard preparation we did in the summer. Now you can relax with that nice W, but back at it again next week.”
By Mike Zummo