First-year Poughkeepsie High School football coach Jerry North said, in the past, things would have been different.
The Pioneers would have, in the coach’s words, “shut it down” trailing late in the game. But not on Friday against Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park.
Down by four late in the fourth quarter, Poughkeepsie completed a rally to beat the Presidents, 28-26.
“Obviously it was a super-exciting win,” North said. “The kids won’t forget it. But bottom line, I’m happy they didn’t shut it down.”
Pioneers quarterback Troy Schoonmaker found Malik Lewis in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter to lift Poughkeepsie. In the third, Schoonmaker cut the deficit to 26-22, after he executed a quarterback sneak and crossed the plane. A two-point conversion followed.
Lewis also helped spark the comeback with an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
“Our kids were cheering each other on. They kept grinding, which is something I’ve been preaching since day one,” North said. “I really can’t say enough about the entire team.”
Roosevelt’s offense was highlighted by two rushing touchdowns from Jake Niesen. The Presidents were without senior running back Kemyero King, who suffered a broken collar bone last Saturday in a scrimmage against Spackenkill. What’s more, junior quarterback Justin Guerrero sustained a knee injury and was taken out of the game in the second quarter.
Roosevelt coach Brian Bellino credited the Pioneers’ spunk.
“Poughkeepsie never quit,” Bellino said. “For us, it was something a lot of our young guys can learn from.”
The Pioneers (1-0) play at Port Jervis at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11. Roosevelt (0-1) hosts Middletown at the same time on the same day.
A.J. Martelli: email@example.com 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports