By Rob Potter
KINGSTON November 11, 2003 Although Tri-Valley and Pine Plains played twice this football season and each team won a game, the Bears victory was a bit sweeter.
Tri-Valley grabbed an 18-0 lead in the first half and then withstood a late comeback attempt by the Bombers to win the Section IX Class C championship Sunday night at Kingstons Dietz Stadium. Pine Plains scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but the Bears held on for a 24-16 victory.
T-V (7-3) now advances to the state Class C Regionals. The Bears will meet Section I champion Dobbs Ferry at 3 p.m. Saturday at Dietz Stadium.
We played well most of the game, T-V Coach Dave Viglione said. Its nice to come up to Dietz Stadium and win.
The victory atoned for one of T-Vs three losses this season. Back on Sept. 12, Pine Plains defeated T-V, 22-14, in the teams only league game of the season. Because the Bombers and Bears were the only two Class C teams in Section IX this autumn, that win gave Pine Plains (4-6) the regular season Class C crown.
But in Sunday nights frigid contest, T-V was determined not to lose to the Bombers again. And the Bears did not waste any time in grabbing the lead.
T-V took the opening kickoff and drove into Pine Plains territory. The drive stalled, however, at the Bombers 22-yard line when a fourth down pass by quarterback Joe Garigliano fell incomplete.
On its first play from scrimmage, Pine Plains attempted some trickery with a flea-flicker pass play. But the pitch from running back Jayson Millius back to quarterback James Davis went awry and the football fell to the turf.
T-Vs Dan Knox then picked up the pigskin and raced 10 yards into the end zone for the Bears first touchdown of the contest. Although the subsequent two-point conversion failed, T-V had a 6-0 lead with 9:06 remaining in the first quarter.
After the teams exchanged punts on their next possessions, the Bears took advantage of another Bombers turnover. Pine Plains had a first-and-10 situation at its own 20-yard line with just over three minutes left in the opening quarter. But the Bombers fumbled the ball and T-V nose guard Tom Byrne recovered the ball at the 17.
Four plays later, Garigliano threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jim Walsh to boost the Bears lead to 12-0 with 1:38 left in the opening quarter.
With 7:17 left in the second quarter, T-V regained possession when Pine Plains punted the ball on a fourth-and-17 play. On first-and-10 at their own 34-yard line, Garigliano threw the ball to senior split end Adam Whiteman. He caught the ball along the right sideline and then outran a Bombers defender to the end zone, extending the Bears lead to 18-0.
After a scoreless third quarter, T-V added to its lead early in the fourth quarter.
Garigliano capped a nine-play drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone to give the Bears a 24-0 advantage with 9:21 showing on the stadium clock.
Pine Plains, however, was determined to avoid being shut out.
On their very next possession, the Bombers drove 52 yards in nine plays to get on the scoreboard. On a third down play, Davis connected with Steve Bingenheimer on a 15-yard pass to cut the T-V lead to 24-6.
Pine Plains then added the two-point conversion to make it a 24-8 game with 5:18 remaining.
The Bears recovered the subsequent onsides kick at the Bombers 48-yard line. In an effort to keep both the first down chains and clock moving, T-V drove to the Pine Plains 26-yard line.
But on a first down play, the Bears fumbled the ball. Pine Plains defensive lineman John Cordella picked up the loose ball and ran 74 yards for a touchdown. The Bombers again converted the two-point play, trimming the T-V lead to 24-16 with 1:38 left on the clock.
Whiteman fell on the ball at the Pine Plains 49-yard line on the onsides kick that followed. T-V was then able to run out the clock and secure its victory.
The Bears offense was very balanced, as the team rushed for 123 yards and passed for 118 yards. A host of Bears ran the ball, led by Knox, who carried 14 times for 44 yards. Others who carried the ball included Alan Coombe seven carries for 39 yards, Josh Smith five for 18 yards, Garigliano three for 5 yards and Kevin Smith two for 6 yards.
Garigliano completed five of 17 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Walsh caught two passes for 24 yards and one touchdown, while Whiteman had one reception, the aforementioned 66-yard touchdown. Ryan Lazier caught one pass for 24 yards and Ryan Briggs caught one pass for 4 yards.
Defensively, the Bears kept the Bombers in check until the final quarter. T-V defenders often tackled Pine Plains players behind the line of scrimmage. Adam Van Kleek paced the Bear defense with six tackles for loss. Ryan Briggs had three tackles for loss, Whiteman two, Coombe two, Brandon Conklin one, Tom Byrne one and Josh Smith one.
Byrne had a fumble recovery and Josh Smith and Matt Smith each intercepted Pine Plains quarterback James Davis once.
Garigliano was named the offensive player of the game and Van Kleek, a senior lineman, was chosen as the defensive player of the game.
They were putting nine men up front, daring us to pass the ball, Viglione said of the Pine Plains defense. So, we passed the ball. The offensive line kept the defense out of the pocket and gave Joe the time he needed to complete passes. He threw the ball very well tonight. And he was throwing a good long ball tonight.
Viglione praised the efforts of offensive linemen Byrne, Conklin, Owen Williams, Chris Poley, Van Kleek, Andy Garigliano and David Klutts.
All of the offensive linemen did a great job, he said.
Viglione also noted that all of the Bears got a chance to play in the game.
Its always nice when that happens, he said. Then all of the kids can say I got to play in a sectional championship game at Dietz Stadium.
When asked about the difference between his teams victory back in September and the defeat on Sunday night, Pine Plains Coach Tom Giorgio had a simple reply.
Intensity, T-V came out fired up and full of intensity, he said. We just couldnt match their intensity. Coach Viglione did a great job. His team was prepared and they definitely came to play.
However, Giorgio was pleased with they way his team performed, especially in the fourth quarter.
It a testament to our kids, he said. They were down, but they didnt quit. They kept fighting and played hard the whole game.
He also noted the performance of Cordella, one of only four seniors on the Pine Plains roster.
Hes one of our best players defensively and offensively, Giorgio said. For him to recover that fumble and score a touchdown in his final game was really great.
Garigliano was happy with the way the Bears performed.
We played really well, he said.
He noted that the fumble recovery for a touchdown by Knox was a key factor in the contest.
That gave us some momentum, the sophomore signal caller said. I think it got them thinking, were in a little hole here. Then we were able to move the ball pretty well and do some things offensively.