Kingston High’s Gillian Cornelison is photographed after the Tigers’ win over Troy at Dietz Stadium in Kingston, N.Y., on Saturday, May 13, 2023. (Rick Remsnyder Photo)
KINGSTON, N.Y. — Senior Gillian Cornelison said Kingston High’s girls flag
football team feels right at home now that it’s back playing on the Dietz Stadium turf.
After starting the season on a less-than-ideal grass field at M. Clifford Miller Middle School, the Tigers were able to shift to Dietz Stadium for their last two games. That came after Kingston Mayor Steve Noble announced late last month that Kingston athletes would be allowed to return to the field because renovations to the stadium complex would not start until the end of June.
Cornelison had an interception late in Kingston’s 28-12 victory over Section 2’s Troy in hot and humid conditions Saturday afternoon at Dietz Stadium.
“We grew up playing here so it was nice to get out here and play before they renovated it,” Cornelison said.
Kingston (7-4) quite possibly could host a playoff game next week at Dietz. If so, the Tigers showed Saturday they could be a tough opponent with an explosive offense and an opportunistic defense.
Juniors Mackenzie Martin and Caroline Connolly alternated at quarterback and both were equally effective. Martin threw for 85 yards and rushed for 15 yards. Connolly had 75 passing yards, 71 receiving yards and rushed for 22 yards.
Martin, who moved into the starting position to rest Connolly for the playoffs several games ago, said the team has responded well to the switch.
“I think the girls have adjusted really well to it, especially our receivers since I’m usually a receiver,” Martin said. “When I moved to QB, we really blended well together with the change. And Caroline has really stepped up as a receiver after not playing there before.”
Connolly gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead on their first offensive possession with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Ella DeKoskie. Martin connected with DeKoskie on a conversion pass for a 7-0 lead. DeKoskie then broke free on a 60-yard TD run down the right sideline to up the Tigers’ lead to 13-0.
With less than two minutes left in the first half, Connolly completed a long drive by punching it in from inside the 5-yard line to make it 19-0. Martin hit DeKoskie again on a conversion play in the right corner of the end zone for a 20-0 halftime lead.
Connolly, who doubles as a defensive back, got the first safety in the program’s history by pulling an opponent’s flag in the end zone for a 22-0 lead early in the second half.
After the visiting Flying Horses (4-4) pulled to within 22-12 with a couple of TDs, Melani O’Brien scored on a 2-yard run to wrap up the Tigers’ win.
DeKoskie finished with 75 yards rushing and 40 yards receiving and two TDs. On defense, Martin had a team-high six flag pulls.
Seven seniors were honored at the game, which drew a nice turnout of family, friends and spectators. In addition to Cornelison, the other seniors competing in the first girls flag football team in school history are Keeley Savona, Gia Boolukos, Jailene Valencia, Cynthia Borschel and Isabella and Adrianna Williams.
Martin said it was satisfying to get the victory on Senior Day for the departing class.
“You never want to lose on Senior Day,” Martin said.