Crusaders win the game - but lose points under new tie-breaker rules

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:53

CENTRAL VALLEY - Bet you never thought that heavy favorite Monroe-Woodbury would need a goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter against a Pine Bush team that was smothered 41-0 on opening weekend against Port Jervis. But after David Landesberg coughed up the ball at 10-yard line, the Crusaders' defense needed a stop in the worst way. "They do not get in the end zone," yelled defensive tackle Chris Dollbaum. "Every point matters," coach Pat D'Aliso yelled to his troops whose heels were against the goal line. Dollbaum made two stops behind the line to start the series, but Bushman quarterback Bobby Moorehead connected with Carl Asaro for an 11-yard touchdown pass to spurn the Crusaders' attempt at a stop. It was the Bushman's lone score of the game. The Crusaders routed them 34-6. So what the heck are starting linebacker Chris Dorsey and first string nose guard Chris Duggan doing sacking Moorehead with 1:40 to go with a four-touchdown lead? Why is Dollbaum screaming for a goal line stand up 34 points? Why is D'Aliso keeping his first unit out there? Sure, shutouts are nice, but they are even sweeter when they come in a league game. Points against is a hot topic in Section Nine this year, and the six points the Crusaders surrendered in this blowout can actually keep them out of the playoffs if it comes down to the decisive tie-breaker. Confused? You're not alone. Pine Bush, Middletown, Newburgh, Kingston and Monroe-Woodbury all fight for two playoff positions at the end of the year. Say Monroe-Woodbury, Newburgh and Kingston finish in a dead-heat, points allowed is the third and most likely decisive tie-breaker because the aforementioned teams split with each other and beat the same teams to achieve their record. Enter points given up to the equation. For example, if Kingston beats Pine Bush 7-0, they are in better shape that the Crusaders who allowed six more points but won 34-6. If it sounds crazy to you, say hello to Section Nine football's idea of a fair tie- breaker. "The problem is not being able to play your kids," said D'Aliso. "I'm not going to try to run the score up on anyone. We had a chance to score before halftime but we were winning 27-0 so I ran the clock out." The new tie-breaker has an appendage from last year's version, which had the same parameters but had a 21-point leeway in the points against category. This allows kids who practice all week to play as long as the game was within three touchdowns. Some coaches keep their first team in the game and collect cheap scores against third and fourth teamers and this was a way to protect the elite team. "I feel terrible I have to worry about putting kids in," said D'Aliso. "Everyone should play." As for the fumble, most aren't even sure if there was one. Landesberg appeared to be down, but the official on the far sideline rushed over and ruled it Bushman ball. Asked if he saw the fumble, D'Aliso said he got a "very good look at it," but refused to comment on the call. However, one fan who seemed to be familiar with the new tie-breaker shouted, "If we miss the playoffs because of that call, there is going to be one (unpopular) official." Kingston shut out Middletown, a division opponent, 44-0 Friday night. That gives them an early six-point advantage in the points against department. Newburgh has yet to allow a division point, or lose a division game. So if the playoffs were tomorrow, Monroe-Woodbury would be watching despite holding a 76-6 advantage in their combined games this year. To make matters worse, new Bushman coach Jim Wright didn't make any friends in purple when he took a pair of time outs with under a minute left as his starters looked for a meaningless score. This is a prime reason why the 21-point swing should have stayed in place. The game itself was hardly that exciting, unless you came to see Greg Sullivan toss it all over the yard. In the first half, he was 5-for-8, for 149 yards, including two long touchdown strikes to Landesberg and split end Mike Septh. Septh's grab was nothing short of spectacular, as he tipped a fourth-and-19 pass to himself and reeled it in one handed for a 48-yard score. Landesberg came out of the backfield to snatch a perfect toss from Sullivan down the Bushman sideline for a 55-yard reception. The junior added 38 yards on the ground. Sullivan did not attempt a pass in the second half. Neil Ingenito had a game-high 130 yards, on 13 carries. He scored on runs of six and 69 yards. Chris Johnson added a four-yard burst for a touchdown.