MARLBORO – At this point, perhaps it would be smart to bet on James Verney in Saturday’s boxing match.
The amateur, after three months of training, is making his debut at age 47 in the Mid-Hudson Valley/Metro vs. Adirondack boxing championship at SUNY New Paltz. Verney, admittedly and understandably, said he was a bit nervous before the bout.
But if the performance of the New Paltz High School football team taught us anything on Friday night, it’s that one shouldn’t count out a Verney, no matter the odds.
Kenny Verney, the nephew, ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns and snagged a fourth-quarter interception to lead the Huguenots in an upset of powerhouse Marlboro, 34-7, before a stunned home crowd.
The quarterback Jimmy Verney, James’ son, threw a touchdown and scored two more on the ground. His fourth-quarter dash, a keeper off a zone read, went for 29 yards and put New Paltz up 34-7 with 6:31 left, essentially sealing the victory.
New Paltz (5-1) took over first place in Section 9 division B-1. And with a game remaining in the regular season, the Huguenots created some separation in the muddled standings. Marlboro, New Paltz, Spackenkill, James I. O’Neill, Liberty and Red Hook all had similar records or were separated by a game.
Marlboro, the five-time defending section champion, has for so long represented a leviathan, an obstacle that all others dreamed of overcoming. For the Huguenots, this certainly was a big step toward that.
All in attendance — including some New Paltz fans, probably — were left aghast when Kenny Verney’s 16-yard touchdown run gave the Huguenots a 28-7 lead with 4:27 remaining in the first half.
That score came in quick response to John Perugino’s dazzling 51-yard touchdown catch from Sam Mongelli that pulled Marlboro within 21-7 in the second quarter. The running back, on a go route up the right sideline, collided with the defensive back as the ball arrived, bobbled it behind his back before securing it, and darted for the end zone.
But the Iron Dukes (4-2) couldn’t muster much else in the first half, and New Paltz’s offensive line dominated, creating creases between the guards that the Verney boys took full advantage of.
Kenny Verney barreled into the end zone for a 2-yard score to put New Paltz on the board with 6:04 left in the first quarter. His rumbling 34-yard run preceded the score. That drive started at the 39, courtesy of Max Lunati’s fumble recovery.
Jimmy Verney’s 10-yard touchdown scamper — a run off right tackle with the edge sealed — made it 14-0 with 18 seconds left in the first quarter. Then Kumar Singh’s 52-yard touchdown touchdown catch, a gallop up the right sideline after a reception underneath, gave the Huguenots a 21-0 lead.
Marlboro mounted what appeared to be a promising drive in the third quarter, but a short touchdown run was called back on a holding penalty, and the Iron Dukes eventually turned the ball over on downs. In the fourth quarter, Joseph DiMarco’s leaping interception on a deep ball at the 43 nullified another drive with 9:29 remaining.
The Huguenots defensive line, anchored by tackle Guy Soumah, proved impenetrable at times and stifled what typically is a dominant Marlboro offense. As well, Singh was excellent at cornerback and had three pass deflections in coverage.
Stephen Haynes: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4