MAHOPAC – With nothing left to do but burn the clock, Dobbs Ferry appeared to have the Class C championship in its grasp Friday night at Mahopac High School. But one fumble was all it took to put the Eagles back on their heels against top-seeded Woodlands, which suddenly had a second life.
The emotional swings of the final minutes took one last turn when sophomore Jack Capuano forced one more fumble. It clinched a 21-14 victory for the second-seeded Eagles, who captured a second straight Class C title.
Dobbs will return to Mahopac at 4 p.m. on Nov. 12 for the state quarterfinal against either Burke Catholic or Millbrook, which play for the Section 9 championship Saturday.
Capuano’s strip was the final deciding play in a second half of did-you-see-that moments. Teammate Najee Smith put Dobbs ahead 21-14 on a 2-yard plunge with 1:47 remaining that capped a 10-play, 68-yard game-winning drive.
Woodlands had turned the momentum in its favor during a 13-second span in the third quarter when it scored both of its touchdowns. Quarterback Aaron Robertson, playing for the suspended star Amari Bilal, carried the Falcons into the end zone with 5:01 left in the quarter. They struck again on the ensuing kickoff when Sadique Stewart stripped the returner and kept on running 40 yards for the tying score.
The teams traded possessions over some tense minutes until Dobbs Ferry mounted its winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Woodlands quickly moved the ball across midfield, but it lost the first of two fumbles in the final two minutes. The ball was recovered by the Eagles’ Jordan Lyerly, but Dobbs fumbled on its possession, giving Woodlands the one last chance that was ended by Capuano’s forced fumble.
Player of the game: Najee Smith, Dobbs Ferry. Smith not only scored all of the Eagles’ touchdowns, he was a force all night. Smith ran for a game-high 136 yards to earn offensive MVP honors and was a major factor on defense for the victors.
Turning point: With Woodlands driving in the final minute, Robertson was stripped by Capuano at the 15-yard line. It allowed Dobbs Ferry to kill the remaining seconds in a game that featured three fumbles in the final two minutes.
Stat line:Dobbs Ferry (7-2) — Smith needed 23 carries to accumulate his 136 yards and had all three touchdowns. Capuano added another 118 yards on the ground. Woodlands (6-3) — Aaron Robertson rushed 16 times for 147 yards and a touchdown. Danny Adair also rushed for a touchdown. … Defensive lineman Omar DeBerry was named the game’s defensive MVP.