Football will be different this fall

File photo (Lupo) Kieran Kreider gains yardage against Wallkill in last year’s section semifinals. He was injured later in the game, and missed the balance of the season.

File photo (Lupo)
Kieran Kreider gains yardage against Wallkill in last year’s section semifinals. He was injured later in the game, and missed the balance of the season.

Football fans can expect a lot of changes in September. Poughkeepsie has moved out of Cornwall’s league, and FDR has taken its place.

The regular season is shorter. Cornwall will play seven games and face just one non-league opponent.

Home vs. Goshen, Sept. 1
At Saugerties, Sept. 9
Home vs. Wallkill, Sept. 15
Home vs. NFA, Sept. 23
Home vs. FDR, Sept. 28
At Monticello, Oct. 7
At Port Jervis, Oct. 13

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Gridders keeps cheerleaders busy

Dom Marzigliano (22) gains nine yards on Cornwall’s opening drive in Goshen on Oct. 8.

Dom Marzigliano (22) gains nine yards on Cornwall’s opening drive in Goshen on Oct. 8.

The cheerleaders might want to recruit Jack Storer. He probably can’t do a back flip. But when he was in school, he set a Cornwall record for push-ups. The girls have been doing plenty recently — especially during Saturday’s 56-7 victory in Goshen.

“Can’t hear you” someone would shout from the stands as the girls counted push-ups to match the Dragons’ point total. By the time Luciano Budd scored in the fourth quarter, the push-up ritual was time-consuming. It continued as the Gladiators returned the kick and came out of the huddle for first down.

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Gridders get conked in the Bronx

Photo contributed by Paul O’Flaherty Sophomore Ian Engenito turns the corner in the second half against Cardinal Hayes.

Photo contributed by Paul O’Flaherty
Sophomore Ian Engenito turns the corner in the second half against Cardinal Hayes.

The Dragons ground out 20 first downs against Cardinal Hayes, but it wasn’t enough. The team from the Bronx won 37-14.

The game started at 3 o’clock on Saturday afternoon on a field outside of Yankee Stadium. The teams traded touchdowns in the first half, with the Dragons holding leads of 7-6 and 14-13.

The pivotal point came just before intermission. Cardinal Hayes had regained the lead (19-14) on a 61-yard pass play. It was the Dragons’ turn to score, and they almost did.

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Gridders bigger; not quite as fast

Photo by Ken Cashman Coach Eric Holzapple’s pass to Shakir Henry is right on target.

Photo by Ken Cashman
Coach Eric Holzapple’s pass to Shakir Henry is right on target.

It’s unfair to ask a coach how a team compares with its predecessor. If he says it’s better or worse, he’s sure to offend someone.

At Monday’s varsity football practice, Coach Mike Connolly handled the question deftly. He said the Dragons have a bigger offensive line than last year, and several returners up front on defense.

“We don’t have as much speed,” the coach admitted, “but we’ll work things out. You may see us run the ball more.”

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Incognoli interception saves win

It wasn’t a seesaw game. Except for a few minutes in the final quarter, the Dragons led from beginning to end. At times, Cornwall was ahead by a pair of touchdowns, but the lead kept slipping away.

The Dragons beat Wallkill 42-35 last night, but the visitors almost drew even in the closing minutes of the game. They were dangerously close to the goal line when Ryan Incognoli intercepted a pass over the middle. Cornwall then ran out the clock as Kevin Gangemi and Moiset Santos combined for three first downs on the ground.

Playing their last home game of the season, the Dragons displayed a well-balanced attack. Unofficially, Mike White picked up 266 yards through the air, and the Dragons had 10 runs of 10 or more yards.

Cornwall controlled the Panther ground game for most of the night, but visiting quarterback Joe Pillitteri was able to connect with four receivers in the end zone. The Panthers’ only touchdown on the ground gave them a brief 35-34 lead.

But White answered with a deep sideline pass to Chris Bauer, who made his eighth catch of the night, and then charged over the goal line. On top 40-35, Cornwall added a two-point conversion. White faked a pass and then flipped outside to Gangemi, who made a quick turn and cut through a sea of defenders.

The run wouldn’t have been necessary if a Wallkill penalty hadn’t nullified a successful kick by Eric Growney. The officials dropped the flag as a visiting lineman went off-sides. Eric booted the ball through the uprights, but the play had been blown dead. The follow-up kick was wide to the left,

Five other players besides Bauer had touchdowns for the Dragons. White, Gangemi and Matt Robinson scored on the ground; Kobie Thomas tallied on a pass, and John Roth returned an interception to put the Dragons ahead, 34-21.

The Wallkill quarterback was hit as he was releasing the ball. The pass fluttered over the line of scrimmage, and John turned 180 degrees to make the catch. Once he had the ball, he outraced the opposition for his first touchdown of the year.

Deston Treasure had a pick in Panther territory in the first half. The visitors had no interceptions, but they recovered a pair of fumbles.

After losing on opening night, Cornwall has won five straight games. The Dragons have a 4-0 record in their league.

Gridders show future in 40-20 win

Dragon fans got a glimpse of the future as the football team defeated FDR 40-20 on Homecoming Night.

In the closing minutes, Jason Bailey took the field and completed a third-down pass to move the chains and run out the clock. The sophomore quarterback, wearing number 99, had just been promoted from the junior varsity.

Before Jason’s debut, Mike White led the Cornwall offense to six touchdowns. The Dragon senior added to his section record with a pair of touchdown tosses to Chris Bauer in the second quarter.

The first came on a crossing pattern, where Chris sped in front of a defender, caught the ball and stepped into the end zone. The second followed a determined pass rush by the Presidents.

As Mike stepped back to throw, a pair of would-be tacklers streaked after him from the blind side. “Back door, back door,” Coach Marcus Hughes shouted in alarm. The Dragon quarterback reacted at the last possible moment. He turned around, reversed directions, and while sprinting toward the side line he connected with Bauer for a 66-yard scoring pass.

The Dragons led from beginning to end. White and his ball carriers got good protection. They were never tackled in the backfield. Kevin Gangemi, benefiting from a series of crushing blocks, picked up 135 yards (unofficially) and two touchdowns on the ground. White and Moiset Santos provided the other scores.

The defense contained the visitors for most of the night, although the Presidents got into the end zone on three long scoring plays. Javohn Hamlet set the tone for the game when he nailed an FDR running back behind the line of scrimmage on the first play of the game. John Roth and Quinn Zsido had sacks; Andres Salgado out-leaped a taller opponent to bat down a few passes, and Erik Jessell blocked an attempted field goal.

Cornwall has a 3-0 league record and a 4-1 mark overall. The Dragons host the Wallkill Panthers on Friday night in a replay of last year’s championship match-up.

Gridders grind out 41-14 win

Eight different Dragons had long gains on the ground or through the air last night, as Cornwall defeated visiting Port Jervis 41-14.

The evening started with a tribute to Mrs. Teri Fox (the mother of lineman Steve Fox), who died during the week at age 46. The Cornwall fans observed a moment of silence, and then released helium balloons in her honor.

Chris Bauer, Matt Robinson and Moiset Santos each scored a pair of touchdowns for the winners, who led 27-0 at the half. Mike White hit six different receivers, and had three runs of more than 10 yards.

The Dragons scored two of their touchdowns without much opposition. Near the end of the first half, Chris Bauer got behind the secondary and caught a toss from Mike White as if they were playing catch in the back yard.

In the third quarter, Matt Robinson picked off a short pass from the Red Raiders’ Wesley Schools and followed a clear path into the end zone. That made the score 34-0.

The visitors got on the scoreboard in the final period on a drive that was prolonged by penalties. Then they recovered an onside kick and scored again. The Dragons answered with a six-play march downfield that ended with big Moiset Santos charging over the goal line.

One play later, the Dragons got the ball back on an interception by Matt Smith. Coach Marcus Hughes sent in his reserve backfield, and Mike Reilly, Sean Meade and Steven Swaby combined for three first downs to run out the clock.

The gridders have won three out of four games, and have a perfect 2-0 record in their league.

Gridders steady after run by Peddie

Tyler Peddie

Tyler Peddie

It was more than a turnaround; it was a complete about face. Tyler Peddie fielded a kickoff in the second quarter, took off at top speed and didn’t slow down until he was in the end zone. Along the way, he picked up some jarring blocks from his teammates. Tyler’s long run cut the Kingston lead to 13-6. The Dragons added five more touchdowns for a 38-21 win on a mild Friday night in Kingston.

But Cornwall’s prospects seemed bleak at the start. The home team scored on two of its first three possessions, while the visiting Dragons were unable to gain a first down. All that changed after Peddie’s long run. Mike White threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Klayton Kelly, and then engineered a last-second drive to send his teammates into the locker room with a 20-13 lead.

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Gridders win storm-shortened game

A series of storms ended yesterday’s football game in Monticello with the Dragons ahead, 35-0. The game will count as a Dragon victory; it will not have to be continued.

The teams were almost finished with their warm-ups when the threat of lightning sent them back to the locker rooms. When the players returned; they had just a few minutes to get ready for the kickoff.

Once the game started, Cornwall showed some lightning of its own. The Dragons scored five touchdowns in just over 24 minutes of playing time. Kevin Gangemi went into the end zone three times on rushes and once on a pass reception. Chris Bauer added to the Dragon lead on a long toss from Mike White.

At the end of the second quarter, the officials told the coaches that the next storm was expected to hit the field within a half hour. The teams took their usual 15-minute break, and the game was called soon after play resumed.

Coach Marcus Hughes was pleased with his team’s performance. The players didn’t miss many assignments, and the new kickers both had good days. Eric Growney converted five out of five extra points, and Ryan Incognoli lofted a punt that traveled 45 yards past the line of scrimmage.

On defense, Nick Klumack picked off a screen pass, and Matt Robinson and Deston Treasure-Edwards both recovered fumbles. The coach was disappointed that the storm kept the Dragons’ second and third teams from entering the game. “They did a great job,” he said, “in helping us get ready.”

Coach Hughes has a lot of respect for Kingston, the Dragons’ next opponent. He said that their quarterback is elusive and accurate. As for his own players, the day after the game the coach was optimistic. “They’re going to keep getting better,” he said.

Wide receiver stars as varsity quarterback

File photo (Lupo) Mike White scores against Somers in the state quarterfinals.

File photo (Lupo)
Mike White scores against Somers in the state quarterfinals.

When it comes to playing football, Mike White is a late bloomer, but judging by the success he’s had on the field that could be hard to tell.

While many players don the helmet and pads as youths, White didn’t start playing football until he was in eighth grade. Two years later he would be stepping in as the starting varsity quarterback. In two years, the Cornwall High School senior has led the Dragons to a 21 and 3 record, two section titles, and two trips to the state semifinals. Even more interesting, the quarterback’s brief career started as a wide receiver.

“It’s a great feeling,” White said of his success, but he was quick to attribute his good fortune to his coach. “[Marcus Hughes] transformed me into the player I am today and also the person I am today. He helps with life and he helps with football. He’s always there for you, no matter what.”

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