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Manor First Shocks,

Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo

BRIAN CARUSO OF Liberty does not finds much daylight as he’s about to run into Livingston Manor’s Remington Parker in Saturday’s 42-0 rout by the visiting Wildcats in Liberty.

Then Routs Liberty

By Frank Rizzo
LIBERTY — September 11, 2001 – On the sidelines, and afterwards reflecting on the game, Livingston Manor football coach Scott Branning made reference to how long the first quarter seemed to take in Saturday’s season opener.
And he was on the winning side. Imagine how Mike Castelli and the the rest of the Liberty coaching staff felt as the visiting Wildcats built up a 26-0 first quarter lead en route to a 42-0 rout in the non-league matchup.
Branning had some anxieties entering the game. He had lost his quarterback/offensive standout (Ryan Carlson) and leading runner (Scott Denman) to graduation and had mostly untested undergrads on the field.
“I didn’t know what to expect [today],” Branning said. “I was uneasy. I just told them not to turn it over. We were fortunate that [Liberty] turned it over.”
The host Indians dug themselves an early hole.
Manor forced a punt on the Indians’ opening drive, and got the ball back at its 48. Three plays later bruising fullback George Thomas, a 6-foot-3, 230-lb. sophomore, took it in from the 30 to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead with 9:18 to go.
On the ensuing kickoff returner Pedro Mercado was slammed by a pair of Wildcats and lost the ball. Kevin vail recovered to give Manor the ball at the 30. Three plays later Travis Morton ran it in from there at the 5:18 mark. Quarterback Jon Schleiermacher found receiver Brian Will for two more points and a 14-0 lead.
Morton kicked off again and his unintentional squibbler was misplayed by Liberty and Vail recovered the ball at the Indian 24. Schleiermacher followed his dominant line all the way to paydirt on three plays to make it 20-0 with 5:03 left.
Liberty reached its 45 on its next possession before being forced to punt.
Manor faced a third-and-7 from its 27 when Morton once again took off on a reverse and waltzed untouched 73 yards into the end zone.
“I ran the same three or four plays because they worked,” Branning noted.
Castelli thought he had prepared his defense for Manor’s crisscross backfield play. He also had no answer as to why his defense let Schleiermacher get so many yards on quarterback sneaks.
“I don’t know where their heads were at,” Castelli said. “They forgot everything we taught them in practice. Maybe they were nervous.”
The hosts finally got their first first down on the first play of the second quarter, when Brian Caruso threaded his way for 13 yards. Only a shoestring tackle by Vail prevented a longer gain.
But one play later Liberty was called for an illegal block and the ball was moved from midfield to the Indian 30.
Two plays later Remington Parker sacked QB Andrew Riegler for a 10-yard loss, forcing a punt.
More disaster followed for the Indians, as punter Matt Black could not handle the high snap and was downed at his 4.
Schleiermacher easily scored from there and followed with the two-point run to give the visitors a commanding 34-0 lead with 8:15 left in the half.
“That was a good opening step,” Branning said of the rout. “We have a bunch of juniors and sophs and I think they’ll be more confident about what they’re doing. I feel I have a young team, and they’ll be with me next year and any progress we make this year is fine by me.”
Branning was left surprised by the easy win.
“I know [Liberty] lost a lot of guys,” he said. “I thought it would have been a competitive game… without those fumbles I think it would have been closer.”
Castelli said he lost 13 experienced seniors from last year’s squad, and “the seven seniors we have back did not get extensive playing time.”
Castelli thought the play of his soph signal caller, Riegler, was a bright spot on Saturday.
“He did everything correctly, mechanically, handing off the ball,” Castelli said, adding that Riegler was tabbed from among three possible quarterback prospects after a good week in practice.
“It’s back to square one,” said Castelli, adding that his team faces a “rough week in practice. {The loss] was definitely upsetting, but my attitude is that it can only get better.”
Notes: Morton led the Indian attack with three rushes for 141 yards and two TDs. Thomas added 113 yards on 12 carries. Schleiermacher had 10 carries for 71 yards and two scores. Branning cited the play of Remington Parker (five tackles, two sacks) and Ron Milton (five tackles) on defense.

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