By Rob Potter
JEFFERSONVILLE October 26, 2004 The next stop on the Sullivan West football teams schedule is Dietz Stadium in Kingston.
After hammering Highland 41-7 to win the Section IX Class B Division II championship on Saturday afternoon in Jeffersonville, the Bulldogs will visit Dietz this Saturday, October 30. At 3 p.m. that day, SW (7-0) will meet New Paltz (4-4) in a Section IX Class B Semifinal.
The winner of that contest will face the winner of the Marlboro versus John S. Burke semifinal, which is slated to take place following the SW/New Paltz game, in the Class B title game. That championship contest is scheduled to be played at 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 6 at Dietz Stadium.
A strong running game and an unrelenting defense assured the Bulldogs triumph over Highland (3-4, 2-2 Class B Division II).
The Bulldog defense sacked Huskies quarterback Ryan Devoe four times and picked off three of his passes. Unofficially, SW held the Highland offense to 153 yards.
The Bulldog offense was led by junior quarterback Joe Meyer and senior running back Scott Peters. Meyer completed 3-of-8 passes for 62 yards and two TDs. Peters led all Bulldog rushers with 86 yards on seven carries. He scored on touchdown runs of 33 and 45 yards and caught a 26-yard TD pass from Meyer.
In addition, Corey Hornicek carried the ball eight times for 62 yards and Jimmy Erlwein had 32 yards on six carries.
The Meyers to Peters TD pass occurred with 8:02 remaining in the first quarter to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead. Meyer then booted the PAT kick through the uprights to make it 7-0. The four-play, 44-yard scoring drive was set up when the SW defense recovered a Highland fumble.
After forcing the Huskies to punt on their next possession, SW drove 57 yards in seven plays. Hornicek capped the drive with a 2-yard TD run.
SW, which finished Class B Division II play with a spotless 4-0 record, scored its third touchdown of the game seconds before halftime.
The score followed a series of miscues by both squads. With just over two minutes remaining, Hornicek apparently scored his second TD of the game. But the Bulldogs were flagged for holding on the play.
Three plays later, Devoe intercepted a Meyer pass in the end zone to give Highland possession of the ball at the SW 20-yard line.
But on second down, SWs Brett Youmans recovered a Huskies fumble to set up the Bulldogs at the 11.
On a first-down pass play, SW fumbled the ball and Highland linebacker Matthew Radomski fell on the pigskin.
But on the very next play, confusion in the Highland backfield led to yet another fumble. SW linebacker John Glassel recovered the ball to give the Bulldogs a first-and-10 at the Highland 16-yard line with just 4.4 seconds remaining until intermission.
Meyer threw a scoring strike to fullback Steve Daley as the clock ran out. Meyer then booted the extra point to give the Bulldogs a 20-0 lead and momentum at intermission.
SW kept that momentum going in the third quarter. The Bulldogs opened the second half with a quick touchdown. On a third-and-5 play at the Highland 45, Peters broke a tackle at the line and outran a Huskies defensive back on his way to the end zone. Meyers subsequent PAT kick gave SW a 27-0 advantage.
However, Highland answered with a scoring drive of its own. With 5:59 left in the third quarter, Devoe scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak play. Michael Rosinski kicked the PAT to cut the Bulldogs lead to 27-6. The key play on the drive was a 43-yard pass from Devoe to Radomski.
After forcing SW to punt on its next possession, Highland took over on its own 26-yard line. But on first down, the ball hit the ground in the Huskies backfield. SWs John Kitson picked up the football near the 15-yard line and sprinted into the end zone.
The final Bulldog TD of the afternoon was scored by Peters on a 33-yard run midway through the final quarter.
Following the game, Highland Coach Carl Relyea noted that the Bulldogs speed and defensive ability to get into the backfield were key factors.
We were defeated by a high quality football team, Relyea said. Their speed up and down, especially on the [defensive] line really hurt us.
The secondaries were pretty equal in terms of speed, it was quick- on-quick, Relyea continued. But up front they were quick, and able to penetrate to get pressure on our quarterback. We were getting tackled five yards deep [behind the line].
SW Coach Ron Bauer called the Bulldogs performance the best team effort of the year.
The defense played well and the offense played well, he said. These are good, tough kids and they had an outstanding team effort today.