Undefeated Sullivan West Marshals Seventh Consecutive Win As Bulldogs Crush Tri-Valley To Punctuate Homecoming Festivities
Sullivan West 70, Tri-Valley 22
By RICHARD A. ROSS
Photos at: www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com
JEFFERSONVILLE, NY—Roll the dice.
And when those laughing bones come up seven, the house wins (again).
And so it was that the home standing Bulldogs’ winning streak continued as Sullivan West railroaded Tri-Valley 70-22 on Coach Ron Bauer’s 74th birthday, thereby moving one step closer to clinching a playoff berth with the hope of winning their first Section IX title since 2006.
This second league win which came just two weeks after the come-from-behind epic win over Millbrook, puts the Dawgs 7-0 (2-0 OCIAA) in the driver’s seat as they get set to travel to rival Liberty 5-2 (1-1 OCIAA) next weekend.
For their part, Liberty which came up on the wrong end of a 42-6 stampede by Millbrook, finds itself with the challenge of not just trying to beat the rampaging Bulldogs, but to offset a 21 points against deficit, the standard used to determine which team would earn a playoff berth should a tie in league wins and losses result. With a 2-1 league record and having surrendered just 40 points, Millbrook has locked up a berth in the title game.
To date Sullivan West has surrendered 34 points in league games to Liberty’s 55. Non-league points don’t figure into the tie breaker, but assessing each team’s total performance to date does shed light on tendencies.
Sullivan West has scored 204 points and given up 53. Liberty has scored 178 points and given up 92.
Well that’s all for next week’s consideration but on this night there was plenty to feast upon.
Prior to the game the 17 Sullivan West seniors were introduced. They came forth to give flowers to their loved ones and posed for pictures as the first part of the Homecoming agenda. This year’s elder statesmen (now dubbed by this writer as the 17 Hounds of the Apocalypse) are as follows: Richard Shevak, Justin Diehl, Brian Stauch, Brandon Cabassa, Alex Davis, Mark Castro, Andrew Stabbert, Tyler Davis, Justin Dorman, Anthony Rydell, Sean Hart, Kevin Hart, James Rankin, Devin Creegan, Ronj Padu and Jack Rajlevsky.
On the opposite sideline the diminished numbers of Tri-Valley Bears looked on with interest.
Losing a couple of key players over the course of the last week or two would make things more daunting against a much-larger Bulldog squad. But when quarterback Justin Swarthout would go down with 4:32 remaining in the first half with what appeared to be a fracture to his tibia, what remained of the Bears’ season took a sudden turn south, a direction it had already been heading in at the moment of his departure as the Bears trailed 28-6. That deficit would burgeon to 42-6 by halftime and balloon to 55-6 by 7:17 of the third quarter.
After the Bears had won the toss and elected to receive, Swarthout had given the Bears a 6-0 lead with a 70-yard TD jaunt on a second down and 15 with only 28 seconds gone by in the game as he went straight up the middle eluding tackles and raced to the end zone which stunned the Dawgs and their fans who were anticipating a shut out.
The PAT failed and from that moment on, the game story would be characterized by one Sullivan West advance after another.
While I revel in telling compelling game stories, this contest afforded me no such dramatic plot line. With a huge advantage at the line of scrimmage, the Westies simply had their way with Tri-Valey on both sides of the ball until late in the game when the Bulldog coaches inserted their full host of bench players. That defensive realignment would allow the Bears to score an additional 16 points by game’s end.
Here in brief then were the first half highlights:
- On their first series the Dawgs took a 7-6 lead via a 32-yard TD from Richard Shevak with 10:31 remaining in the first quarter. Austin Melchick split the uprights for the PAT.
- On the next offensive series a catch by Brian Stauch preceded his 74-yard run to the house to make it 13-0. Melchick added the PAT to make it 14-6.
- With 2:18 to go in the first quarter, Melchick ran 26-yards for pay dirt. The PAT was blocked but the Dawgs now led 20-6. That score was in force at the end of the first quarter.
- A pass iinterference call and a subsequent encroachment penalty abetted the Dawgs next drive which terminated with an eight-yard TD from Kevin Puerschner. Shevak added the two-point conversion and the score now read 28-6.
- Swarthout’s injury meant not only the loss of the Bears’ veteran, scrambling quarterback, but their leading tackler as well. A safety with great pursuit and remarkable toughness, his loss on defense made a bad situation worse . With 3:14 to go in the second quarter Andrew Stabbert broke loose up the sideline for a 36-yard TD. The conversion pass to Stauch was incomplete. The Dawgs now led 34-6.
- Freshman Chase Botsford had taken off the QB role. The Bears had precious little time with the football on offense in the first half. Later on Jared James would rise to the occasion, but more on that after the halftime break.
- With 11.3 seconds to go in the half, Stabbert took it in from the one-yard line. The Dawgs faked a PAT kick and Stabbert hauled in the pass for two more points. It was 42-6 and time for the halftime Homecoming events.
First up was the announcing of the Homecoming court as the candidates for King and Queen came forth with their parents. The court consisted of Angelica Glendon, Emily Mirch, Collen Grisfafe, Carly Grishaber, Daphne Muzuruk, Anthony Rydell, Richard Shevak, Kevin Hart, Sean Hart and Andrew Stabbert.
Sean Hart and Daphne Muzuruk were crowned as this year’s Homecoming King and Queen by Superintendent Nancy Hackett.
Once again Bill Moloney had organized the return of football Alumni from Jeff-Youngsville, Delaware Valley and Sullivan West. As Moloney announced their names, the former gridiron heroes came out to midfield cheered on by a cadre of lovely Sullivan West cheerleaders. Going from the most recent to back-in-the-day, this year’s panoply of heroes who hailed from years ending in 4 or 5 included:
- Steven Musso, SW 2005
- Bob Vogler, Delaware Valley 1995
- James Scott, Delaware Valley 1994
- Jake Gabriel, JYCS 1985
- Kevin Peters, JYCS 1985
- Tom Mootz, JYCS 1984
- Scott Noetzel, JYCS 1975
- Charlie Schadt, JYCS 1974
- Tom Sykes, DV 1965
- John Fink, DV 1965
- Jim Rubino, DV 1964
- James Stone, DV 1955
- Clarence Kratz, DV 1955
- Mike Erlwein, JYCS 1954
Second half highlights:
- On their first drive of the second half, Melchick raced 54 yards with 9:47 to go in the third quarter. He added a PAT to make it 49-6.
- The Bears went three and out and Puerschner added a 10-yard TD run with 7:17 to go in the third stanza to make it 55-6. Melchick’s PAT made it 56-6.
- T-V senior Jared James came to life in the third quarter with some epic runs. His 51-yard TD with 2:47 to go in the third quarter made it 56-12. He scored on the conversion run to make it 56-14.
- The Bears tried an onsides kick which was recovered by Sullivan West senior Mark Castro. As the Bulldog seniors occupied the bench smiling en-masse and posing for an historic photo, junior Nick Grossman took over at quarterback. With 40.7 seconds to go in the quarter, Puerschner broke a 28-yard run to make it 62-14. Melchick added a PAT and the Dawgs now led 63-14 as the third quarter ended.
- James scored his second TD of the night on a two-yard plunge with 6:47 remaining in the game. He added the two point conversion to make it 63-22
- Ronj Padu returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards with 6:22 remaining for the final TD of the night. Melchick made it an even 70 with his PAT.
T-V Coach Mike March praised his team’s grit. “They just kept playing hard. We had to switch people in different positions and even switched some jerseys,” he noted. “We just wish we could have put on a better show here tonight,” he said, crediting Sullivan West’s size and skill.
Sullivan West Coach Ron Bauer got a nice birthday present via the win, but the timeless wonder was quick to turn his attention towards preparing for Liberty. Last year’s devastating loss to the Indians in a thunder/lightning delayed game that the Bulldogs had owned early on barred the Dawgs from playoff contention. Liberty is a staunch rival and the game played on the Tribe’s home field figures to be high intensity to say the least.
Chester coach Ron Stover and a couple of members of his staff filmed Sullivan West for part of the game. The Westies travel to the Enchanted Forest in week nine for a non-league clash against Chester which seems destined for another run in state contention.
For an album of photos that includes the seniors and their parents, the Homecoming Court, Homecoming King and Queen, the stalwart Alumni and of course the moment by moment shots of the game itself, visit www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com
Richard Shevak 8/150 with one TD; Nick Grossman 5/68; Austin Melchick 4/100 with 2 TD’s/Kevin Puerschner 4/51 with 3 TD’s.; Andrew Stabbert 6/79 with two TD’s; Ronj Padu 1/23. Total 29/464
Passing: Shevak 2/4 77
Receiving: Brian Stauch 1/74 1TD; Stabbert 1/3; Total 2/77.
Defensive: Stabbert 10 tackels (4 solo, 6 asssists); Kevin Puerschner 9 tackles (4 solo, 5 assists); Austin Melchick 6 tackles (3 solo, 3 assists). Anthony Rydell tackles (4 solo, 1 assist and a sack).
Rushing: Shevak 75/559; Stabbert 80/715; Padu 20/192. Team total: 226/1969 averaging 8.71 yards per carry.
Receiving: Stauch 7/167; Team total 28/503 yards.
Defensive: Stabbert leads the team with an average of 8.8 tackles per game. Sean Hart has eight sacks to date.
Scoring: Shevak 4 TD’s, 2 Conversions=28 points; Stabbert 7 TD’s, 3 Conversions=48 points; Padu 8 TD’s, 2 Conversions=52 points.