KINGSTON — At halftime in its dank Dietz Stadium locker room, White Plains remained confident. Sure, the Tigers trailed by a touchdown and knew the deficit could’ve been worse, but that had never deterred them before. So why now?
“We’d been in that situation before,” senior quarterback Cameron Crabbe said. “We’d been in it against Ketcham. We’d been in it against Mahopac even worse. But it’s hard to do when you’re playing against the 12th guy, which is the weather.”
With the turf covered in snow, White Plains fell out of rhythm and eventually saw its second-half magic disappear. This time, there was no comeback, as Monroe-Woodbury quarterback Kevin Carr led the Section 9 champ to four touchdowns on five long second-half drives to beat the Tigers 34-13 in Saturday night’s Class AA state semifinals.
Carr, a senior, rushed for 193 yards and three scores and threw for another 90 yards. Junior Cole Gennett added another 117 yards and two touchdowns as the Crusaders (12-0) booked a fifth trip to Syracuse. They’ll play Section 5’s Aquinas on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. for the state title.
“He’s the best player we’ve probably faced individually this entire year except for (New Rochelle’s Jonathan) Forrest,” White Plains coach Skip Stevens said of Carr. “He just makes great plays when he needs to make plays and he makes great decisions.”
The Tigers (8-2) were outgained in yardage 152-54 and committed two turnovers as they struggled to find their footing — literally and figuratively — in the first half. But the defense forced a turnover at the 4, stopped Carr on fourth down at the 2, and escaped the half down just 7-0.
The offense improved dramatically for both teams in the second half, but the Tigers managed only one key stop. Adrian Cruz returned a fumble 5 yards for a touchdown after punter Matt Paul was forced to scramble for a bad snap. Still, the ensuing drive not only halted that momentum, it was typical of the second half.
Whenever White Plains cut its deficit to one score, the Crusaders answered quickly.
“The quarterback and the running back are tricky,” senior Chris Jordan said. “It’s really hard to read them. They had short passes going to the tight end over the middle. There was a lot thrown at us. They’re a good team.”
Monroe was forced to answer — and did — after Jordan’s 72-yard touchdown cut it to 20-13 late in the third. The Crusaders added a score late in the fourth to effectively end White Plains’ first outright championship season since 1979 and its first trip ever to the state playoffs.
“I’d do this a million times over and over again,” said Jordan, who rushed for 183 yards on 23 carries. “I just wish it went the right way for us.”