HARRISON, N.Y. – Even though Michael Amicucci was met by a wall of Poughkeepsie players at the line of scrimmage, the Harrison running back kept his legs moving Thursday.
Amicucci refused to go down and, because he had his legs churning, he broke free. He would burst into the end zone from nine yards for the decisive score as Harrison overcame Poughkeepsie, 31-24 in a Section 1 Class A Football Championship first-round game.
The top-seeded Huskies improved to 8-0 and will host undefeated and second-seeded Somers in a semifinal Tuesday at a time to be determined.
Poughkeepsie, the 2011 Section 1 Class A champion, finished with a 6-2 record. The Pioneers rallied from a 17-0 deficit in the first half to eventually even the score at 24 in the fourth quarter.
It was Amicucci’s second touchdown of the game and his fourth in two weeks. Quarterback Vinnie Nicita also had two scoring runs and Sebastian Pellejero kicked a 24-yard field goal.
“There was a pile of guys around me that I didn’t think I would make it out of there,” Amicucci said. “I just kept my legs moving, ran hard and a hole opened up. That’s a credit to my offensive line because without them staying on their great blocks I don’t score that touchdown.”
Amicucci’s nine-yard burst capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive with 2:17 remaining in the game.
Harrison was aided by a roughing-the-passer call on third down that negated an Adolfo Peralta interception. Following the penalty, offensive tackle Charlie Credendino and his linemates asserted themselves.
“We know what our offense is all about and we know what we can do,” Credendino said. “We wanted to chip away at yardage, get down the field and then punch it in. We focused on hitting any Poughkeepsie player that moved so we could make room for our backs.”
Once Harrison took the lead, the Huskies would have to halt Poughkeepsie one final time after the Pioneers scored on three consecutive drives and added the two-point conversion each time to tie the score. Robert Waldman stepped forward and intercepted quarterback D’Andrew Smith’s pass with 1:04 remaining.
“This feels great because they beat us twice last year so we really wanted this win,” said Amicucci of Poughkeepsie beating Harrison in a 2011 first-round playoff game.