Crusaders recover -- M-W overcomes slow start against Washingtonville to advance to title game vs. Kingston tonight.

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:01

KINGSTON - Watching all-star Neil Ingenito fumble his second punt return in as many tries in the first half, Monroe-Woodbury football coach Pat D’Aliso had a message for his club. “You’re stinking up the place,” the coach screamed from the home sideline of Dietz Stadium. “Why are we just going through the motions?” Ingenito was able to recover both of his miscues and quarterback Greg Sullivan threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more to lead Monroe-Woodbury to a 28-7 Class AA semi-final win over Washingtonville at Dietz last Saturday. But he wasn’t too happy with the way his team performed. “I think we were looking past them,” he said after receiving his Offensive MVP Award following the contest. “I don’t know what our problem was at the beginning of the game.” Still the unbeaten Crusaders managed to score on the game’s opening possession. They marched 68 yards in nine plays capped by a four-yard Sullivan plunge. On the drive Sullivan carried four times for 25 yards and completed two-of-two passes for 28 yards. The big play was a 20-yard hookup with Chris Johnson. Anthony Coccaro kicked the point after to make it 7-0. But Washingtonville stormed right back on the subsequent possession. Kevin Foley rushed six times for 51 yards during the drive and threw a 20-yard scoring pass to Duralle Cromwell. Matt Krenski’s boot tied the game at 7 with 0:14 left in the first stanza. Flat or not, Monroe-Woodbury immediately answered with a quick five-play, 79-yard scoring drive. Ingenito’s 44-yard run set up a three-yard dash for six at the 10:22 mark to make it 13-7. Coccaro’s kick failed. Late in the second quarter the Crusaders scored again, this time on a 12-play, 85-yard drive. The score came on a 14-yard Sullivan-to-Mike Septh pass with 1:03 left in the half. Sullivan went back to Septh for the two-point conversion and a 21-7 halftime advantage. In the middle of the third quarter, Sullivan took his team 87 yards in 10 plays for the game’s final score, another Sullivan-to-Septh hookup that covered 23 yards. Coccaro converted. 28-7. “We were talking all game about how that play would work. It was a beautiful hitch-and-go, and Greg put it right where it needed to be.” On the Crusaders’ slow start (by their standards), Septh added, “We came out soft, but we came back and put it to ‘em. But it shouldn’t be like that. We’re a championship team.” Sullivan quickly gave credit to his teammates. For the afternoon, he passed for 111 yards and rushed for 123. “It was all due to my supporting cast,” said Sullivan. “They make me look good.” Washingtonville defensive back Zach Bernard, who picked off one of Sullivan’s passes, was named the game’s Defensive MVP. Ingenito led the Monroe-Woodbury defense with 13 tackles while Keith Hale registered 11 tackles and a sack. Mike Attanasio had seven tackles and a sack. Nick Gillan had six tackles. The Crusaders (9-0) look to repeat as class AA champions when they travel to Kingston tonight at 8 p.m. at Dietz Stadium. Even though they will man the home sideline when they play the Tigers, Sullivan said his team is at a disadvantage. “They are going to have a ton of fans here,” he said. “Plus this is their home field. They play all of their games here and practice here. It’s going to be nuts.” The Tigers (7-2) eliminated Warwick in the other class AA semifinal last Saturday.