As Red Hook High School’s Connor Boryk ran into the end zone with the go-ahead touchdown on Saturday, his grandmother Theresa came to mind.
“That game was 100 percent toward Grammy up there,” Boryk said while looking toward the sky and thinking of the woman who died of a heart attack at age 79 on Wednesday. “I know she’s proud up there.”
Boryk’s 9-yard run ended up the game-winning score in the Raiders’ 36-23 win over New Paltz. The victory improved Red Hook’s record to 4-2 and solidified the team’s position in the Section 9 Class B standings with a 3-2 league mark.
“Fantastic,” Red Hook coach John Kravic said about how Boryk’s winning touchdown made him feel. “It was a whole team effort. We’ve got a lot of weapons. When teams have to go against us, they start thinking about two or three different kids rather than one kid. Boryk’s been one of those weapons that’s been kind of a hidden secret the last few games.”
Saturday’s game was a seesaw battle that had four lead changes. Red Hook quarterback Nick Carlson scored on a 44-yard touchdown run just 34 seconds into the game to put the Raiders on top 6-0. The game’s first lead change came when New Paltz’s Chevon Lawrence ran 16 yards into the end zone for a score later in the period. Aidan O’Neill’s kick gave the Huguenots the extra point and a 7-6 lead, which they held at the end of the first quarter. O’Neill kicked a 24-yard field goal at the end of New Paltz’s opening drive in the second quarter.
John Alessi’s 4-yard touchdown run less than three minutes later, coupled with a conversion pass from Carlson to Danny Corless, gave Red Hook a 14-10 lead.
As the half wound down, the momentum continued to change by the second. New Paltz fumbled around midfield, but then the Huguenots’ Austin Hekking picked off Carlson on the next play. On the next series, Alessi caught a pitch attempt by New Paltz quarterback Steve Branche and ran it back 56 yards for his second touchdown, which gave Red Hook a 22-10 halftime lead.
“We had to make sure guys just stayed within themselves,” said Carlson, who had nine rushes for 74 yards. “It’s easy to go in there at half and think it’s over. If we went out here in the second half and they crushed us, it wouldn’t have felt that good.”
New Paltz did not go away. Khariff LaBoy (99 yards, 24 carries) scored on a 5-yard run. O’Neill’s PAT brought New Paltz to within five points at 22-17. The Huguenots had the ball at the goal line to end the third quarter and Branche snuck across the plane on a fourth-and-goal to give New Paltz a 23-22 lead a little over a minute into the fourth quarter.
After Boryk’s go-ahead score with 8:37 left, Carlson scored on a 3-yard run with 47 seconds to clinch the Raiders’ win.
“They have a nice offense and we’re struggling,” said New Paltz coach Tom Tegeler, whose team fell to 3-3 overall and 2-3 in league play. “They all hurt, but they all hurt differently. We played hard and we lost a tough game. Good luck to Red Hook.”
Kravic said that right up to the last whistle, he figured it was still anyone’s game.
“Even with 45 seconds left, I figured Tegeler had some trick play he’s going to come back with, and then an onside kick, and he’s right back in the game,” Kravic said. “I was scared right up until the last 10 seconds.”