CLINTONVILLE — Up 34-32 with 1:39 remaining, the No. 20 Moriah football team needed a goal-line stand to preserve its lead.
With No. 4 Cambridge running a counter on its two-point conversion, the Vikings (7-4) got what they were looking for, preserving a two-point defeat of the previously undefeated Indians (10-1) in the NYSPHSAA Class D quarterfinals Friday.
Moriah will advance to play either Chester of Section IX or Section I representative Tuckahoe in the state’s semifinals at Dietz Stadium in Kingston Friday.
“Well, they know how physical we are from the last time we played them,” Vikings coach Don Tesar said. “They play a lot of D schools, and we play some Cs and Bs. That gets us ready for a game like this. We had to make a great play at the end on the two-point conversion to save the game.”
Moriah was able to recover the ensuing onside kick at its own 47-yard line. After back-to-back running plays that went for a combined three yards, Cambridge coach Doug Luke called his final timeout.
With running back Troy Welch sidelined with an injury and a third-and-seven situation upcoming, senior Tyler Pratt took a handoff nine yards for the first down.
“You know, the right side of the line opened up the hole,” Pratt said. “Then, I had my buddy CJ Raymond going through the hole with the lead block. That’s all we needed to get it done. You know, it has to be one of (the biggest plays of my career).”
The Indians faced an eight-point deficit with just under seven minutes remaining.
Starting from its own 33-yard line, Cambridge marched the ball inside the Vikings’ red zone on an eight-play drive. There, 1,000-yard back Caleb Rowland was stuffed for a one-yard loss and the team turned the ball over on downs.
The Indians converted points on two-of-five appearances in the red zone.
“I think we made some big plays there,” Tesar said. “I think the big play was stopping that fourth-and-one. We got in the backfield and that was huge.”
On the following drive, Raymond took off for a 47-yard scamper down the Moriah sideline.
Raymond, however, fumbled the football before his knee touched the turf at AuSable Valley, giving Cambridge an opportunity to tie the game.
“I don’t know (if my knee was down or not),” Raymond said. “I guess it doesn’t matter now. But boy, it was terrible. That was a terrible feeling for a few minutes there.”
With Welch out, Raymond finished with 111 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries.
Pratt, who was moved from wide receiver to the backfield, totaled 30 yards and one touchdown on five carries.
“We just prepared like we always do,” Raymond said. “We came out here thinking we could win. We knew we could win. We wanted it, executed and here we are.”
Moriah quarterback Cole Gaddor finished 5-of-13 for 112 yards and three interceptions.
The Vikings finished with 327 yards of total offense.
Cambridge accumulated 461 yards of offense. Quarterback Ethan English completed 13-of-19 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns, while 1,000-yard rushers Rowland and Chris Warnke combined for 206 yards and one touchdown.
The Indians managed leads of six, seven and eight points in the first half.
With the win, Moriah will reach the state semifinal round for the fourth time since 2008.
The program is 3-1 at Dietz Stadium, including a 1992 defeat of Delaware Valley before the state expanded its tournament.
“I’m going down to exchange tape with the (Chester or Tuckahoe) coach (Saturday),” Tesar said. “We get to see them first hand, so that’s good.”
Moriah 34, Cambridge 32
Cambridge 14 6 6 6 — 32
Moriah 7 13 7 7 — 34
C- Dean 70 pass from English (Rowland run), 0:18.
M- Welch 5 run (MacDougal kick), 3:50.
C- English 25 interception return (run failed), 8:14.
M- Gaddor 1 run (MacDougal kick), 6:18.
C- Warnke 15 pass from English (run failed), 8:21.
M- Gaddor 1 run (kick failed), 11:14.
M- Raymond 9 run (MacDougal kick), 2:37.
C- Rowland 19 run (run failed), 9:40.
M- Pratt 17 run (MacDougal kick), 1:22.
C- Dean 56 pass from English (run failed), 10:21.
C- Rowland 25-115, TD; Warnke 14-91. Totals: 39-206, TD.
M- Raymond 24-111, TD; Welch 14-63, TD; Pratt 5-30, TD; Gaddor 7-11, 2TD. Totals: 50-215, 5TD.
C- English 13-19-0-255, 2TD.
M- Gaddor 5-13-3-112.
C- Dean 5-185, 2TD; Warnke 5-58, TD; Rowland 3-12.
M- MacDougal 1-52; Pratt 3-40; Garnica 1-20.
C- English, 3.
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