Democrat Photo by Rob Potter
BETWEEN HORNETS: That is where Livingston Manor running back George Thomas finds himself on this run in Saturdays game. Closing in for the tackle are Harpursvilles Richard Merrell (left) and Dustin Joy. Also in photo are Manors James Vandermark (behind Joy) and Harpursvilles Jeff Potter (58).
Manor Comes Through
By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR September 26, 2000 What a difference a week makes.
Only seven days removed from a disappointing loss to longtime rival Roscoe, the Livingston Manor Wildcat football team got back on the winning track Saturday afternoon.
Led by returning quarterback Ryan Carlson, who missed the Roscoe game while recovering from a concussion, Manor (22) rolled past visiting Section IV foe Harpursville (04), 33-0.
Although Carlson fired two touchdown strikes to Brian Will a 15-yard score on the first play of the second quarter and a 14-yard connection midway through the third quarter his biggest contribution may have been on special teams. Carlson racked up 181 yards on seven punt returns, consistently setting up the Wildcat offense in good field position.
With two minutes left in the third quarter, Carlson, a senior, raced 60 yards on a punt return to give Manor a 25-0 lead. He then ran in the two-point conversion.
Having Ryan back made a big difference, Manor coach Scott Branning said. Hes unbelievable on punt returns. If he gets one inch, look out.
Wildcat fullback Scott Denman also had a big day, running eight times for 65 yards and two touchdowns. With six minutes left before halftime, Denman took a handoff from Carlson at the Harpursville six-yard-line and found paydirt to give Manor a 13-0 lead.
Denman added a 40-yard scoring scamper early in the fourth quarter, which was Manors final score of the day. On a second-and-seven play, the senior broke through the line, shed two would-be tacklers and dashed to the end zone.
It was a tough game, Harpursville coach Warren Kelly said. They just pushed off the ball a little tougher than we did.
Perhaps the Hornets best chance to score came late in the second quarter as they moved deep into Wildcat territory. But on a fourth-down pass play, Manors defensive line got good pressure on quarterback Derick Hodges and Brian Will, who is a cornerback on defense, made a nice diving interception of Hodges pass to quell the Hornet drive.
Kelly, whose team has scored only eight points in four losses, noted that his team is still becoming accustomed to a new offensive system.
At times we can move the ball well, said Kelly, who is in his first season at Harpursville. But we have to get to where we can move the ball well all the time.
Branning was happy to get the victory, especially since injuries forced him to use several younger players in the game. He noted that Saturdays squad had five or six seniors, a couple of juniors and the rest were younger players sophomores and freshmen.
James Vandermark is a fullback on our JV team who moved up to play center for us today and he did a tremendous job, Branning said.
The coach also noted the contributions of several other players, including offensive tackles Jason Will and Ron Milton, running back/linebacker George Thomas (eight rushes for 33 yards) and Clarence Hinkley, who recovered a fumble and had an interception from his defensive tackle position.
Among the injured Wildcats is senior Ryan Edwards, who filled in at QB when Carlson was hurt. Edwards hurt his leg with a few minutes left in Manors September 16 loss to Roscoe. Edwards subsequently found out that he had cracked his fibia, the smaller bone in the lower leg, and damaged some ligaments which will keep him on the sidelines for the rest of the season.