By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR September 10, 2004 Unatego racked up 361 yards rushing and scored at least one touchdown in every quarter on its way to a 46-6 non-league victory last Saturday over host Livingston Manor.
A 22-point second quarter was key as Unatego, a Section IX Class C team, defeated Manor in the first game of the season for both squads.
The Spartans began the scoring late in the first quarter. With 1:34 remaining, quarterback Kevin Campbell connected with tight end Travis Harvey on a 35-yard touchdown pass. Senior halfback Chris Niebuhr then ran for the 2-point conversion, giving the Spartans an 8-0 advantage.
Unatego (1-0) then took control of the game with three second-quarter touchdowns.
Manor had the ball at the beginning of the second quarter, but was forced to punt. The Spartans needed only four plays to add to their lead. On third-and-three at the Wildcats 47-yard line, Niebuhr ran up the middle, broke to the outside and outran the Manor defenders to the end zone. Niebuhr was tackled by Manors Ryan Taggart short of the goal line on the subsequent 2-point try, but Unatego still had a 14-0 lead with 10:03 remaining in the quarter.
The Spartans added a pair of touchdowns before halftime. With 3:21 left in the quarter, Campbell took off on a 62-yard touchdown run. Halfback Lance Renwick added the 2-point conversion.
On the second play of the following Manor possession, the ball popped loose. The Spartans recovered the pigskin at the Wildcats 17-yard line with 2:25 showing on the scoreboard clock.
Nine seconds later, Andrew Sherwood scored on a 17-yard run. Niebuhr rushed for the 2-point conversion to give Unatego a commanding 30-0 lead going into the locker room.
Manor (0-1) opened the third quarter on a positive note. The Wildcats kicked off and Unatego took over on its own 37-yard line. On first down, Manors Kelly Lackey hit a Spartan ballcarrier hard enough to knock the football from his grasp. Linebacker Lee Sanabria then scooped up the ball and dashed to the end zone to score Manors first touchdown of the 2004 season. The 2-point try failed, but the Wildcats were on the scoreboard.
Whatever momentum the Wildcats earned on that play was quickly taken back by Unatego. The Spartans drove 63 yards in eight plays and Matt Newman capped the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. Renwick added the 2-point conversion to give Unatego a 38-6 advantage.
Unatego scored its last touchdown on a 22-yard run by Newman with just 12 seconds left in the contest. Newman then ran for the 2-point conversion.
The score had both Manor coaches and fans questioning why the Spartans were running actual plays in the final minute of the game instead of having their quarterback kneeling down after receiving the snap in an effort to run out the clock.
Sherwood paced the Unatego offense with 67 yards on five carries. Newman rushed five times for 62 yards and Campbell ran twice for 61 yards. Niebuhr added 40 yards on seven rushes.
Harvey caught two passes for 51 yards.
The line did a nice job today, the holes were there for us, Unatego Coach John Mushtare said. We were able to run the ball very well.
Mushtare also credited his players on the other side of the ball for the victory.
Im very pleased with the way our defense played, he said. They played very well, especially our first unit.
The game marked the head coaching debut of Manors Kevin Clifford. He took over for longtime coach Scott Branning.
We were doing OK and then we had a little letdown, Clifford said. Thats when they scored those three touchdowns in the second quarter.
I thought we played well in the first quarter and third quarter, he added.
Clifford noted that his team is relatively young.
At times, we had six freshmen out there at the same time, he commented. After playing junior varsity football last season, going into a varsity game is a big step.
Sanabria led the Manor offense with 83 yards on 12 carries. Mike Perry added 26 yards on 11 rushes and Jason Bowers ran 10 times for 25 yards. Quarterback Josh Mendez rushed six times for 15 yards.
The Wildcats will look to even their record tomorrow when they host Eldred in a non-league contest. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m.