Kingston High quarterback Caroline Connolly, right, hands the ball off to Micayla Sandy during the Tigers’ game against Monroe-Woodbury on Friday, April 15, 2023, in Lake Katrine, N.Y. (Tania Barricklo/Daily Freeman)
LAKE KATRINE, N.Y. — The home debut of the Kingston High girls flag football team produced a lot of exciting plays at the M. Clifford Miller Middle School Field on Friday.
Tigers quarterback Caroline Connolly had a dazzling 72-yard touchdown run in the final minutes that had parents and spectators cheering wildly from the sidelines.
But ultimately, the clock ran out before the Tigers could celebrate their first home game with a victory. Monroe-Woodbury withstood a furious Kingston rally to post an 18-12 victory under hot and humid playing conditions.
After Connolly’s TD run pulled the Tigers (1-1) to within 18-12 with two minutes left, Kingston’s defense forced a punt and the offense took over with 50 yards to cover for a tying touchdown with 50 seconds left on the 80-yard field.
Mackenzie Martin ran for 15 yards to move Kingston into Monroe-Woodbury territory. With the clock winding down and Kingston out of timeouts, Connolly scampered out of bounds on a short run to try to stop the clock but officials ruled the game was over.
Connolly was disheartened Kingston came up short in its first home game. “We really need to learn to work together as a team and not get frustrated with each other,” Connolly said. “But I’m really proud of all the girls. Despite getting down, we didn’t give up. We kept playing our game.
“It’s really disappointing to lose because we put so much work into it. But I think we’re going to bounce back.”
Connolly hopes the Tigers can control their emotions a little better when they host Saugerties on Monday.
“I think we all had a lot of jitters and were nervous because it was our first home game and having all our friends and family here,” she said. “But we shouldn’t let that control our play. We need to be more relaxed and work together. We still have a lot of room for improvement.”
The Tigers scored on their first possession as Connolly hit Martin with a 10-yard scoring pass for a 6-0 lead with 20:43 left in the 25-minute first half. Kingston coach Mike Dittus felt good when his team scored first.
“We started off the way we wanted to,” Dittus said. “But from there, we sputtered. We failed to find a real identity, whether it was running or passing. Caroline threw the ball well early, but they made some good adjustments, so I need to make better ones.”
Monroe-Woodbury (3-1) tied it at 6-6 on quarterback Kayla Patino’s short run with 2:00 left in the first half. Patino’s touchdown pass to Emily Turbides early in the second half put the visitors up 12-6. A 1-yard run by Ava Gilkes upped the Crusaders’ lead to 18-6 with 8:17 left.
Connolly completed 12 of 19 passes for 82 yards and was intercepted twice. Martin was the leading receiver with five catches for 28 yards and a touchdown. Connolly totaled 93 yards on eight carries and one TD. Micayla Sandy rushed for 33 yards on seven tries for Kingston.
Teagan Helsey had an interception for the Tigers.