By Nathan Mayberg
GRAHAMSVILLE September 9, 2005 The Tri-Valley Bears were decisive winners versus the visiting Ellenville Blue Devils on Saturday in the season opening game for both squads.
T-V (1-0) took down the Ulster County squad by a score of 39-6.
Senior running backs Dan Knox (152 yards rushing on 15 carries, one touchdown, plus an 85-yard kickoff return for a TD) and Dan Walter (49 yards on eight carries, one TD) have been playing on the varsity football team for the last three years. They have proven themselves to be outstanding runners the last two years.
This team will be led once again by their quarterback Joe Garigliano (7-of-11 for 81 yards, two TDs), who appears wiser than his years suggests. He moved with focus, determination, and a confidence that allowed him to connect with wide receivers. Garigliano also did not hesitate to run when necessary.
His quickness and ability to read the defense enabled him to move to the side and throw for large gains. He threw twice to James Connolly and both were touchdowns. The first was a 19-yard reception with 1 minute left in the first half. The other was a 27-yard completion at the start of the second half. Senior tight end Jim Walsh caught three passes for 31 yards.
Protecting Garigliano was an offensive line comprised of five new starters. They will be tested throughout the season, but at this juncture, they could be one of the biggest surprises of the year. Considering the way they protected Garigliano and blocked for the running backs against Ellenville (0-1), they should be in good shape.
As T-V Coach Dave Viglione noted, his team used its quickness to defeat a taller and bigger Ellenville squad.
The game was close in the early going. It was tied at 6-6 for much of the first half.
T-V scored on an 85-yard kickoff return TD from Knox, and Ellenville drove down the field to score on an extended run by Bryon Karow.
But Knox asserted himself even more in the second quarter, recording a 32-yard touchdown run to give his team the lead.
The Blue Devils attempted to respond, but were thwarted by the outstanding effort by T-Vs defensive line. Knox and sophomore linebacker Nick Cassidy combined on more than one tackle in the Ellenville backfield to stop any momentum the Blue Devils tried to resume. In addition, Bears junior linebacker Kyle Byrne made a quality stop on Steve Coutant in the backfield of Ellenville.
However, the Blue Devils did have some bright spots. Senior Bryan Alexander was clearly their best player. He played quarterback, running back and wide receiver. He looked best on the ground, and had some great moments running the football.
In addition, Ellenvilles David Bennett, Jones and Stancage all played well defensively.
The game was not without its injuries. Although it may have been just because it was the first game of the season, five players hit the ground and stayed there for some time after a few of the play.
Bo Murphy, a young T-V offensive lineman, was one of those who went down. For Ellenville, the list was longer. Linebacker Arben Shabaj was taken to the hospital after a collision with Knox. Other Ellenville players who were banged up included Robbie Conner, who had to leave the game early.
Viglione said conditioning made the difference today.
We were in better condition today and we knew it
We wore them out and that was the difference, Viglione added.
He commended Garigliano, Knox, Walsh and Walter for their good games. He was exceptionally pleased with Walsh, a wide-receiver, for playing linebacker in the place of a teammate who took a hard sting and had to sit down for an extended period of time.
For a first game they did very well today, Viglione said of his players. I am very pleased with their effort today.
The Bears will face an imposing Delhi team tomorrow afternoon. Viglione said he expects it to be a tough, physical game.
Ellenville Coach Anthony Borrielo said T-V did a great job taking advantage of our weaknesses and capitalizing on it.
They blitzed us, and shot our gaps which hurt our backfield motion, Borrielo explained.