By Rob Potter
ROSCOE October 19, 2004 A strong running game and an early lead helped the visiting Livingston Manor Wildcats earn a victory Friday night against the Roscoe Blue Devils in a Section IX Class D football game.
Jason Bowers ran for 176 yards and scored three touchdowns as Manor recorded a 34-0 victory in the contest, which was played under a temporary lighting system and in the third and fourth quarters a steady rain.
Senior quarterback Josh Mendez put the Wildcats on the scoreboard with a 21-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Manor (2-5, 1-3 Class D) added a pair of touchdowns.
Midway through the period, Wildcat defender Mike Perry intercepted a pass by Roscoe quarterback Dusty Sullivan at the Blue Devils 35-yard line. On the very next play, Bowers ran up the middle, broke through the line and sprinted into the end zone to give the Wildcats a 12-0 lead with 5:06 left until halftime.
After the Manor defense stopped Roscoe (1-6, 1-2 Class D) on its ensuing possession, Bowers capped a five-play drive with a 9-yard touchdown run. Kelly Lackey then ran into the end zone on the two-point conversion play to boost the Wildcats lead to 20-0.
On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Manor recovered a Roscoe fumble at the Blue Devils 27-yard line.
The Wildcats then fumbled the pigskin, but offensive lineman Derek Irwin recovered the ball to keep the drive going. Six plays later, Perry dove over the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown. Marvin Bonilla then split the uprights on the PAT kick to make it a 27-0 game.
With just under two minutes left in the third quarter, Bowers scored his third TD of the game on a 45-yard run. Bonillas PAT kick was successful.
Soon after Perrys touchdown, a steady rain began to fall, making it difficult for players from both teams to hold onto the football. The rain, as well as the Manor defense, also hampered Roscoes efforts to get on the scoreboard as several passes fell incomplete.
The guys were fired up and had confidence coming into the game, said Manor Coach Kevin Clifford.
An early turnover almost dashed the Wildcats confidence, however.
We fumbled on our first possession, Clifford said. And the game could have gone either way at that point.
But Roscoe was unable to take advantage of the Manor miscue.
The win was the first for Clifford, who took over this season for long-time Manor Coach Scott Branning. Earlier this season, the Wildcats earned a forfeit over Roscoe when the Blue Devils did not have enough healthy players for a scheduled non-league contest between the teams but this was the first on-field win for Manor this autumn.
Clifford praised his players for the victory. He noted that Bowers and Perry have stayed after practice to lift weights three or four days a week and all of the players are willing to switch positions to help the team. For example, Lee Sanabria, who is normally the Wildcat fullback, lined up at center against the Blue Devils.
We have a lot of versatility on this team, Clifford commented. The kids are great. They will play wherever and do what it takes to win.
He added that after the game, the players told him they won the contest for him.
Its special, Clifford said of that first win.
The first-year coach also praised the Blue Devils for the way they competed.
Roscoe played hard until the end, Clifford commented. They played with heart and deserve a lot of credit.
Roscoe Coach Fred Ahart noted that Manor played well on both sides of the ball.
They did a great job of defending the pass, he said. We have had some success this season with our passing game, but they defended it well. They just played very good football tonight.
Ahart also took note of Cliffords victory.
I congratulate Kevin on his first win, Ahart said. Im sure there will be many more.
Despite the lopsided loss, the veteran coach was pleased with his teams effort.
We played hard, we didnt give up, Ahart said. Well be back out there next week.
Notes: The lights for the contest were sponsored by the Roscoe Kiwanis Club.
Roscoe will play under the lights again this week. The Blue Devils will travel to Eldred on Friday night for a Class D game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Manor will play at Webutuck at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in a Class D game.