By Rob Potter
ELDRED October 22, 2002 After the first quarter of Saturdays Section IX Class D football game, it looked as though visiting Livingston Manor might score a lopsided victory over Eldred.
A 35-yard touchdown run by George Thomas, followed by a 2-point conversion pass from quarterback John Henry Schleiermacher to Josh Mendez, along with Schleiermachers 1-yard plunge into the end zone gave the Wildcats a 14-0 lead after the first 12 minutes of play.
Another long touchdown scamper by Thomas five minutes into the second quarter, coupled with a 2-point conversion pass from Schleiermacher to Travis Morton, put Manor up 22-0.
Eldred (3-4, 1-2 Class D) came back to close the gap to 22-14 early in the fourth quarter. But a long touchdown drive that took nearly five minutes off of the clock in the fourth quarter allowed Manor (6-1, 2-0 Class D) to record a 30-14 victory.
That drive featured Thomas, who carried the ball on all but one play. The junior running back capped the drive with a 17-yard scoring run after breaking a tackle near the line of scrimmage. Schleiermacher rolled out and ran for the 2-point conversion following Thomas third touchdown of the day.
Thomas finished with 293 yards on the ground, giving him 1,094 for the season.
It doesnt really matter, as long as we win the game, Thomas said. This game is not about one person, its about all of us as a team.
Eldred seemed to grab some momentum late in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter. The Yellowjackets first drive of the second half ended when Morton intercepted a Brian Daboul pass deep in Manor territory. But after stopping the Wildcats, Daboul led the Eldred offense on a seven-play drive down the field, which Vinny Reilly capped with a 16-yard touchdown run to cut the Manor lead to 22-14.
I give my kids a lot of credit, Eldred Coach Frank Kean said. They played with a lot of heart today, and thats the way you have to play this game with heart.
Schneider finished with 100 yards rushing, while Reilly added 78 yards.
Manor Coach Scott Branning noted that senior Joshua Sprague and sophomore Oliver Robinson did a good job of filling in for two starters who were out due to injuries. He also lauded his teams defensive effort.
Those two interceptions we had were big, Branning said.
He was referring to the aforementioned interception by Morton and Spragues pick with just over four minutes left in the game.
Once we got focused, we were fine, Branning said. But we were up and down today.
On Saturday, Oct. 26, Manor will travel to Tri-Valley for a Class D contest. Eldred is scheduled to host Roscoe in a another Class D game. Both games are set to kick off at 1:30 p.m.