Brian Walsh knows what needs to get done if his Our Lady of Lourdes High School football team is to advance in the state football playoffs.
“We have to focus in,” the head coach told his team at halftime of Sunday’s Section 1 Class B final. “We’ve got to eliminate the mistakes. We got to go out there and play our game of football.”
The Warriors (9-0) did just that and will play Marlboro (10-0) at Dietz Stadium in Kingston on Friday night in a state regional after beating Pleasantville, 14-9, at Mahopac High School for the program’s first sectional football title.
Marlboro defeated Spackenkill earlier Sunday at Dietz Stadium for the Section 9 Class B crown.
“It feels amazing,” said Lourdes freshman quarterback Dean Rotger.
“This was our goal the whole year and we just lived up to it. Everybody played great in the second half and it was just awesome.”
Rotger is referring to Sunday’s second half where Lourdes overcame a 9-0 deficit behind the running of junior back Bryce Gioia, who had touchdown runs of 15 and 18 yards.
The second touchdown came with just under four minutes remaining and was followed by a Pleasantville turnover off a fumble on the ensuing kickoff.
“Coach Walsh — he turned us up,” said Gioia. “We came out of the locker room and we knew we had to get it done. We had no other choice.”
In the opening half, Lourdes turned the ball over three times on fumbles, giving Pleasantville good field position and resulting in nine points.
Charlie Montgomery caught a 20-yard touchdown pass and James Finnegan booted a 24-yard field goal late in the first half to give Pleasantville the 9-0 lead.
“You find out the true character of a team when you’re down,” said Walsh. “These kids didn’t fold, they showed a lot of pride. They got their focus back and they played with great intensity.”