HARRISON, N.Y. – Harrison High School defensive back Robert Waldman knew the play once Poughkeepsie came to the line of scrimmage in the final minutes of a Section 1 Class A Football Championship first-round game Thursday.
Waldman dropped back into coverage and made sure he did not tip if off. When Poughkeepsie High School quarterback D’Andre Smith released the ball, Waldman broke on it and intercepted the pass, sealing Harrison’s 31-24 victory, ending the defending champion’s season.
Undefeated Harrison (8-0) will play spotless Somers High School (8-0) in a semifinal at 6 p.m., Tuesday.
“When DaVonte Hamilton lined up in the slot and they ran motion, I knew it was the same play I had seen on film at least 10 times,” Waldman said. “I made a conscious effort to wait back and not allow him (Hamilton) to get deep and I was also trying to bait him (Smith) to throw it shallow.”
Waldman’s interception came at the Harrison 25-yard line with 1:04 remaining in the game. Not only did it clinch the victory, Waldman said he atoned for a mistake he made in the third quarter, resulting in a Poughkeepsie touchdown – a 29-yard pass from Smith to Hamilton.
“They ran the same play and I broke on the ball a split second too late,” said Waldman of the touchdown pass to Hamilton. “I felt the ball glance off my fingers. After that, I knew I needed to make up for it in a big way and I was not going to allow them to beat me a second time.”
Waldman was mobbed by his teammates after his interception, the third and final Poughkeepsie turnover of the game. Defensive tackle Charlie Credendino credited Waldman with making a huge play. It is one Waldman won’t forget.
“I can’t describe the feeling because it happened so fast,” said Waldman of his interception. “It is a play I will remember for the rest of my life.”