Saugerties High Schools ran roughshod through the Section 9 Class A football season and into the semi-finals of the Sectionals this year. But all that came to an abrupt halt Friday night at Dietz Stadium in Kingston with a stunning last-minute loss to Goshen, a team the Sawyers had beaten earlier in the year.
Saugerties coming off a brutal 56-0 thumping from Cornwall the previous week, came out fired up and looking to make a run deep into the Sectionals and possibly into the Sstates.
With Goshen receiving the opening kickoff, the Sawyers gave up one first down before forcing the Gladiators to punt the ball away.
In its first possession of the game, Saugerties quickly ran off several first downs, finishing up with a Matt Bucci run into the end zone for a touchdown, and then again for a two-point conversion. The Sawyers were off to a fast 8-0 start.
All year, the running game has been the bread and butter for Saugerties. If they could run, they could win. They were lead by a brash sophomore quarterback (Matt Bucci) who was unafraid to run or pass, and three strong running backs (Jim Ball, Jack Hindes, Rob Trincellito) who could break off long runs on any play. So when Saugerties was quick to score it appeared the Sawyers were well on their way to the Sectional finals.
Saugerties was able to compile a 7-0 record this year Only a few years ago, the Sawyers lost all their games in one season, and it was a great feeling to be 7-0, and then 7-1 going into the sectionals. The team was looking forward to the contest with Goshen.
But Goshen had other ideas and had prepared well to face the Sawyers. On the Gladiators’ second possession of the game, they moved the ball downfield and into field-goal range. The score was 8-3 Saugerties.
Bucci had an answer to the field goal. On the first play after the kickoff Bucci ran for a touchdown, threw a short pass to Hindes for a two-point conversion. It was 16-3, with Saugerties back in the driver’s seat..
Both teams settled down a little. There was no scoring for a couple of possessions. Goshen got the ball for the last possession of the first half. They completed a quick crossing-pattern pass, something that Saugerties has been unable to cover all season. A second short pass brought a touchdown for Goshen. The extra point was no good, and at the half it was 16-9 Saugerties.
The Sawyers received the kickoff beginning the second half and ran off three first downs before Goshen’s defense stiffened. Seth Vanderbeck kicked a field goal making it 19-9 Saugerties.
Goshen quickly battled back with a long run by the quarterback for a touchdown, an extra point and it was a three-point game, 19-16 on favor of Saugerties.
Twice Saugerties found itself in fourth-and-short territory. Both attempts were stopped by Goshen.
With time running out and Saugerties only having to stop the Gladiators, the Goshen quarterback dropped back to pass. The clocked showed only 47 seconds left.
The pass was good for a touchdown. The extra point kick was good, and the Sawyers watched the time running out on their season. They took the ensuing kickoff and ran several plays as the clock in the game and their season ticked off to zero.
After the game, Jack Hindes, who also plays defense for Saugerties, was named the defensive player of the game.
The Sawyers’ season ended with a 7-2 record.