It was a tough afternoon for the Newburgh Free Academy football team.
The Goldbacks were undone by penalties and a costly turnover 3 yards from the end zone in a 31-28 loss to the Cornwall Dragons on Saturday afternoon.
“We had a lot of penalties,” Newburgh coach Bill Bianco said. “We didn’t execute well. I don’t know if it’s a combination of a Saturday afternoon game, which is a little different, or just playing bad, but give them credit. They played well. When you make as many mistakes as we did, it’s hard to beat a good team.”
The Goldbacks (3-1) trailed by as many as 10 points several times in the game, but had their best chance to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter, when they marched to the Cornwall 1-yard line on the legs of Sincere Tatum.
However, Newburgh’s hurry-up offense broke down, resulting in a fumble by quarterback Terrance Anderson that was recovered by Cornwall with 3:12 remaining in the game.
“That definitely hurt,” Bianco said. “You have to execute inside the 10. We didn’t do that. I’m surprised. Our kids kept fighting, but you have to convert in there and it is what it is. We didn’t convert when it mattered.”
The Newburgh defense forced a three-and-out, and the offense put up a touchdown when Anderson connected with Uh’Charion Henderson for a 10-yard touchdown pass. However, the Goldbacks failed to recover the ensuing onside kick and two Cornwall kneel-downs ended the game.
The Goldbacks also entered the game nursing some injuries, playing without running back Jadon Monroe and tight end and defensive end Josh Williams.
Defensively, the Goldbacks had trouble dealing with Cornwall’s senior running back T.J. Gayle, who ran for 264 yards and two long touchdowns, one for 76 and the other for 80 yards.
“He’s a good player,” Bianco said. “A credit to them. They made the plays. I have to watch the film and see exactly how they were hitting us.”
The Dragons (4-0) also got a touchdown pass from quarterback Kieran Kreider to Ian Engenito in the first quarter and a field goal from Chris DiMedio.
Anderson connected with Hanson for two touchdowns and ran for an 81-yard touchdown. Tatum also scored for Newburgh, which will return home Thursday night to host Warwick.
“Hopefully next week, we get Jadon back,” Bianco said. “That will help. Get Josh back too. That’ll help.”
By Mike Zummo