Dukes blast Goshen 41-14 to stay undefeated
In the final minute of the first half on Saturday afternoon, tied on the road with a game Goshen squad, the undefeated Marlboro football team needed a boost.
They wisely turned to junior wide receiver Zach Sakadelis, who in a bizarre sequence caught a 20-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds remaining in the half, scoring the first of four consecutive touchdowns for the Dukes in their 41-14 win. On the previous play, Marlboro’s (6-0) junior quarterback Justin Votta had lofted a pass towards Sakadelis that was tipped by a defender then appeared to be caught by Sakadelis as he hit the grass. It was initially ruled a touchdown before being overturned as the referees huddled and decided the ball had hit the ground. “I think I did catch that first one,” Sakadelis said. “I think it was a reception.” Marlboro then proceeded to boldly go right back to Sakadelis in the same spot and the junior left no doubt about the catch this time, giving the Dukes a 20-14 lead at the half with a demoralizing score that Goshen (2-4) never recovered from. “It was a great play,” Sakadelis said. “The offensive line blocked very well for the quarterback and he just put it in the perfect spot for me.”
Marlboro put the pressure on its opponent early as Devin Pierre had a 9-yard TD rush to put the Dukes up 7-0 with 5:49 left in the first quarter. Goshen’s Nakeem Thorpe then returned a Pierre fumble 30 yards for a score to even the game up at 7-7. The Dukes bounced right back as Votta (8-16, 117 yards passing, 43 rushing) found Matt Tamburri for a 24-yard touchdown reception (the first of two for the day for Votta and the first of two for the game Tamburri would play a part in) to put Marlboro up 14-7 with 1:52 remaining in the first. Goshen junior quarterback Ryan McGrath (8-20, 165 yards) connected with Lucas Graves on an 11-yard reception to tie the game at 14-14 with 10:17 left in the half. The scene was now set for the big Sakadelis catch that would prove the turning point, even if it took two tries. “We thought we had an advantage there and we used it,” Marlboro Coach Rich Ward said. “We went right back to him and I trusted our kids and they made the right play.”
Marlboro came out rolling in the second half as Austin Beck (123 yards on 16 carries) crashed through for a 4-yard touchdown run to put the Dukes up 28-14 with 7:18 left in the third, a play set up by a Clinton Howell recovery of a McGrath fumble on the Goshen 9-yard line. Marlboro then scored the clincher as Sakadelis caught his second touchdown pass of the day, this time a 25-yard reception on a trick play as running back Tamburri caught the defense off-guard by throwing the ball. The unusual play put the Dukes up 35-14 with 2:24 remaining in the third quarter. “We usually don’t run that toss pass that much but we were third and long,” Sakadelis said. “So we ran it and the guy went to get the toss so I was wide open in the flats.” Sakadelis noticed a difference in Marlboro as the game went along. “It was definitely our energy coming out in the second half,” he said. “We came out and we were ready to play. We played a little rough in the first half but we came out in the second half ready to play.”
Marlboro added a capper midway through the final period as Ralph Malone burst through for a 14-yard TD run to secure the 41-14 final with 8:01 left in the game. A tight contest had turned into a blowout, but Ward wasn’t surprised by the tough test the Gladiators gave Marlboro. “I knew Goshen was a good team,” he said. “They’re up and coming. They’ve got some big kids, some fast kids, so we knew we were in for a dog fight. We’re getting ready for the Section 9 tournament, hopefully we can get into it and from here on out everything’s going to be a dog fight so it’s good prep for us.”
By Ted Remsnyder