When Newburgh played Monroe-Woodbury during the regular season, the Crusaders used a pair of on-sides kicks to take an early lead and beat the Goldbacks.
Saturday, during their sectional Class AA semifinal at Kingston’s Dietz Stadium, the Crusaders successfully recovered their opening on-sides kick, but could not score.
But with 5:58 remaining in the first quarter, Newburgh’s Sincere Tatum did score from 23 yards out. Tatum scored two more touchdowns in the first half to give Newburgh a 21-7 lead.
The Goldbacks continued to outlast the Crusaders in the second half before winning 42-20.
“The focus is just different,” said Tatum, comparing both games between the teams this season. “We came in with a good energy, and we got the W.”
Tatum played in the regular season game at Monroe, but the Goldbacks were without Jadon Munroe, another speedy back. Munroe was been hampered by a hamstring injury, and he returned to score a three-yard touchdown in the third quarter before taking off on a 23-yard run into the end zone in the fourth quarter.
“Sincere has done a great job filling in for Jadon and his hammy all year,” said Bill Bianco, Newburgh’s coach. “We knew coming into this game, with Jadon, getting them going at the same time. We have been preparing for this for three or four weeks.”
Giani Hill also scored a 10-yard touchdown for Newburgh early in the fourth quarter. Bianco said Munroe is still not at full strength as they get ready to face Pine Bush in the Section 9, Class AA title game Saturday in Middletown at 7 p.m.
Pine Bush’s potent running game was stifled by Newburgh’s tenacious defense during their regular season meeting during a home Goldbacks’ victory. Bianco does not expect it to be so easy this time.
“We know they are a good team, and their coaches are ready to make it a game,” said Bianco. “We’re not expecting to be like last time.”
But with another week of practice, time used to heal, Bianco believes more success could be coming for his team if they can stay healthy.
“If they play like that,” said Bianco, “the sky’s the limit for this team when everybody is going and making some contributions.”
By Bond Brungard