When Newburgh Free Academy faced Troy in Middletown last Saturday to decide who would play in the state AA football final, both teams had a similar game plan to start the halves of their possessions.
Troy, ranked number one in the state, took the opening kick-off and consumed most of the first quarter with a drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown catch by Isaiah Burdette with 4:57 remaining in that period.
Trailing 12-7 at the half, Newburgh took the kick-off to start the second half and kept the ball until Giani Hill took it in from a yard out to make it 13-12 after a failed two-point conversion.
Newburgh, ranked 17th in the state, was ready for big upset until Troy’s Dev Holmes scored on a reverse with 1:53 remaining in the fourth. A two-point conversion followed and Troy led 20-13.
Newburgh was given a chance to make the upset a reality until the Goldbacks fumbled on their own 21-yard line 10 seconds after Troy scored. Troy took the ball, killed the clock and Newburgh’s season with the 20-13 victory
“We knew we are playing a great team,” said Bianco.
Newburgh, too, played like a great team. The defense never let Troy get too much momentum, such as when Newburgh Terry Anderson pulled down a pick on the Goldbacks’ 24-yard line with 7:13 left in the fourth.
And the offense never backed down with its feared running game. When the Goldbacks were down 6-0 in the first quarter, Newburgh’s Jadon Munroe exploded out of the backfield on a 64-yard touchdown run that gave the Goldbacks a 7-6 lead.
“They made a couple of plays more than we did,” said Bianco. “I thought we played pretty well, both sides of the ball, special teams.”
By Bond Brungard