By Rob Potter
KINGSTON November 19, 2002 For one weekend, the famed frozen tundra of Green Bays Lambeau Field moved due east a few hundred miles.
And on that frozen artificial turf of Kingstons Dietz Stadium Saturday afternoon, the Livingston Manor football team lived up to its mascots attributes.
The Wildcats scatched and clawed, giving undefeated Dobbs Ferry everything it could handle.
Unfortunately, for the Manor coaches, players and dedicated fans who braved the elements, Dobbs Ferry withstood the challenge by a single point.
Dobbs Ferry (10-0, ranked third in the New York State Sportswriters Association poll released on November 10) defeated Manor (8-3, ranked 10th in the NYSSA poll) 15-14, in a Class D state quarterfinal game.
Prior to the contest, officials and coaches weighed the options of playing the game in the conditions or postponing it for a day.
The decision was to play the contest and Manors Travis Morton scored on a 63-yard reverse on the third play from scrimmage to give the Wildcats a quick 6-0 lead.
A 2-point conversion pass from quarterback John Henry Schleiermacher to Patrick Branning gave Manor an 8-0 lead with 10:20 remaining in the first quarter.
But Dobbs Ferry answered the Manor touchdown with one of its own. Running back Frank Farrington ran 57-yards for a touchdown and with the ensuing 2-point conversion, the game was tied at 8-8 late in the first quarter.
With the sloppy conditions, players from both teams struggled to keep a firm grasp on the football. Both squads had fumbles that were recovered by the opposing team.
But the key turnover came early in the second quarter when Manor was forced to punt deep in its own territory. A low snap forced Brian Will to reach down and field the ball and when he did, the officials ruled that his knee was down. That gave the Eagles a first down at the Manor 9-yard line.
Soon after, Farringtons 1-yard run and the PAT kick gave Dobbs Ferry a 15-8 lead.
Manor drove down the field late in the game and George Thomas scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:29 left on the clock to cut the Eagles lead to a single point.
But Schleiermachers 2-point pass intended for Branning was knocked away by an Eagles defender.
I really felt that we should have beaten them, Manor Coach Scott Branning said. I think the field (conditions) helped us a little. Our offense likes to plod along.
The veteran coach noted that the fumbles hurt his team.
Will concurred with his coach.
We were right there with them, Will said. We made a couple of mistakes and they took advantage of them.
After the game, Manor senior Travis Morton noted that he was happy with the (overall) season.
Dobbs Ferry Coach Skip Violante was very impressed with the Wildcats.
They are the best Section IX Class D team Ive ever played, said Violante, who noted that he has been coaching for 21 years at Dobbs Ferry and 28 seasons overall.