By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE September 20, 2005 For the first half and into the third quarter of Saturdays non-league football game, things were going very well for the Tri-Valley Bears as they hosted the Chester Hambletonians.
The Bears scored on their first possession when fullback Ryan Van Lieu ran for a 12-yard touchdown and took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter when quarterback Joe Garigliano and wide receiver James Connolly hooked up on a 47-yard touchdown pass.
The T-V defense held Chester out of the end zone in the first and second quarters. In addition, the Bears recovered a pair of Chester fumbles in the first half.
T-V (1-2) extended its lead to 21-0 with 7:41 left in the third quarter when Jim Walsh caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Garigliano.
But the Bears three-touchdown lead quickly disappeared in the next eight minutes of action. The Hambletonians stepped up their intensity on both sides of the ball and scored four touchdowns in those eight minutes. As a result, Chester (3-0) posted a 32-21 victory.
Chester began its comeback when junior tailback Mike Schmidlein capped a 13-play drive with a 12-yard run into the end zone. Quarterback Bryan Vandermark successfully ran for the 2-point conversion to make it a 21-8 game with 1:43 remaining in the third quarter.
After forcing T-V to punt after only three plays, the Hambletonians wasted little time in scoring again. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Chester faced a second-and-10 at its own 46-yard line. Vandermark threw the ball over the middle to Darren Mann, who caught the ball and then outran a Bear defender to the end zone. Another 2-point run by Vandermark cut the T-V lead to 21-14 with 11:51 left in the game.
Chester took its first lead of the afternoon when Eric DeGaul scored on a 1-yard run with 3:53 remaining. Schmidlein rushed for the 2-point conversion to give the Hambletonians a 24-21 lead.
Chester linebacker John Donato sealed the win two minutes later when he intercepted a Garigliano pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. Vandermark added yet another 2-point conversion to give Chester an 11-point victory.
We we OK once we got settled, Chester Coach Ron Stover said. From the second quarter on, we started to play our game. We arent too fancy on offense, we just come right at you.
Schmidlein led the Chester rushing attack with 198 yards on 29 carries.
Stover noted that he did not have to make any passionate speeches or give any stern lectures at halftime.
There is no quit in these guys, he said. We didnt get too worked up at halftime. These guys knew what they had to do. They just went out in the second half and played better.
T-V Coach Dave Viglione knew that Chester would be strong on offense.
I was worried about their power game all week, he said. They were able to get their running game going today and we didnt.
We had a nice lead and we let it slip away, Viglione added.
T-V ran the ball 37 times for 157 yards.
Danny Knox led the Bears ground game with 70 yards on 17 carries. Garigliano ran 12 times for 34 yards, Van Lieu gained 43 yards on five rushes and Danny Walter rushed three times for 10 yards.
Garigliano completed 12-of-28 passes for 184 yards. He had two touchdowns and one interception.
Connolly was the teams leading receiver, catching five passes for 63 yards. Danny Knox had four receptions for 58 yards. Brendan Walsh had one catch for 49 yards, Sean Messenger had one reception for nine yards and Walsh had caught one pass his aforementioned 5-yard TD reception.
Knox led the Bears defense by making eight solo tackles and assisting on four other tackles. Garigliano had five tackles and three assists, Walter recorded three tackles and one assist, Chris Grey registered five tackles and one assist, Bo Murphy had four tackles and a quarterback sack and Van Lieu had a sack.
Connolly, Van Lieu and Walter each recovered a Chester fumble.
T-V will play at Onteora this Saturday in a non-league game. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m.
The Bears should be fired up for the contest.
We need a W, Viglione said.