By Lori Brown
MONTICELLO Going into Saturday afternoon’s Section IX Class A football game, the Saugerties Sawyers and host Monticello Panthers both had overall records of 1-2.
Monticello evened its record at 2-2 with a 34-13 victory over the Sawyers.
The Panthers recorded their first touchdown of the game when quarterback Shane Jackson threw a 28- yard pass to teammate Anthony Gray with 10:22 left in the first quarter. Angelo Niforatos kicked the extra point to put the Monticello ahead 7-0.
Monticello (2-2, 1-1 Class A) scored again with 4:20 remaining in the first quarter. Sean Reuss caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Jackson and ran into score. Niforatos added the extra point to give Monticello a 14-0 lead.
The Panthers kicked to Saugerties (1-3, 1-2 Class A), but the kick was fumbled by the Sawyers and Monticello’s London Gandy recovered the ball on the Saugerties 30-yard line.
With 1:46 on the clock, Jackson ran for a 6-yard TD. Saugerties blocked the PAT kick, but the Panthers had a 20-0 advantage.
Neither team scored in the second quarter and Monticello took that 20-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Saugerties’ Russell Neglia punted the ball to Monticello’s Talon Watson, who returned the ball to the Sawyers’ 34-yard line. The Panthers then moved the ball down to the Saugerties 4-yard line.
On fourth-and-goal, the Panthers lined up for a field goal. But they faked it and Jackson ran for a touchdown. Jackson then threw a 2-point conversion pass to Anthony Gray, which gave Monticello a 28-0 lead with 7:38 left in the quarter.
With nine seconds remaining in the quarter, Connor Briggs caught a 22-yard TD pass from Jackson. The Sawyers blocked the extra-point kick, but the Panthers enjoyed a 34-0 advantage.
Saugerties finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter. With 8:31 to go, Anthony Spadaro took a handoff and ran in for a touchdown. Jon-Taylor Elmendorf kicked the extra point, which cut Monticello’s lead to 34-7.
Later in the quarter, Elmendorf caught a long pass to give the Sawyers a 1st-and-goal at the Monticello 8-yard line. Spadaro ran for another touchdown with only 1:23 remaining in the game. The extra-point kick was unsuccessful and the score remained 34-13 in favor of Monticello.
“We got ourselves in a hole early,” Saugerties Coach Lee Meisinger said. “We had to hang tough. After Monticello faked the field goal, it was tough to come back from that. [Defensive tackle] Jake Vickery did a good job today getting to [Monticello quarterback] Shane Jackson.”
Spadaro ran six times for 36 yards and the two aforementioned touchdowns. He also had 41 yards receiving.
Saugerties quarterback Russell Neglia had 60 yards passing.
“We started out very well,” Monticello Coach Matt Buddenhagen said. “Everything was going good. The second quarter we were sloppy. To be up there with the top teams we need to play better.
“We played everybody today,” he added.
The Panthers will look to make it two wins in a row when they visit Wallkill on Friday night in a Class A game.
Jackson completed 11 of 19 passes for 219 yards with three touchdowns. He also carried the ball nine times for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
Also contributing to the Monticello ground game were Jose Cruz (11 carries for 42 yards) and Mistah Alli (one carry for 13 yards).
Gray had five catches for 76 yards and a TD. Reuss had three receptions for 81 yards and one touchdown. Mike Rogers caught one pass for 6 yards and Connor Briggs had two catches for 56 yards and a TD.
For the Panthers’ defense, Steve Demestrio recorded seven tackles, Rogers made an interception, London Gandy had a fumble recovery and Sean Reuss had a quarterback sack.