By Ted Waddell
KINGSTON November 15, 2005 It was a dog day afternoon for the Bulldogs of Sullivan West (SW).
In Fridays Class C regional playoff at Dietz Stadium in Kingston, Section IX Champion SW (7-4) was defeated 26-0 by the Section I Champion Dobbs Ferry Eagles.
After holding Dobbs Ferry on its first possession, the Bulldogs got a big break when the punter only netted 2 yards.
The Bulldogs looked ready to score as they took over on the Eagles 22-yard line.
But on third down, Bulldogs quarterback Jim Moloney was chased out of the pocket and, as he was being tackled, his pass was picked off by the Eagles Mark Kalaba, who tucked the ball under his arm and raced 82 yards downfield to score the games first touchdown. The PAT kick cleared the uprights and Dobbs Ferry (10-0) was up 7-0 less than five minutes into the contest.
SW Coach Ron Bauer made a gutsy call on a fourth-and-four play near midfield during the Bulldogs next possession. Moloney tried to hook up with Jimmy Erlwein, but the pass was just out of Erlweins grasp and Dobbs Ferry took over possession of the pigskin.
On a third-and-three play, Eagles QB Brian Farrington connected with Kalaba in the end zone with 13 seconds remaining in the quarter. The Bulldog defensive line surged to block the PAT kick, but Dobbs Ferry still had a 13-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Eagles defender Matt Higbie picked off a SW pass, giving Dobbs Ferry a first-and-10 at the 32-yard line.
Then in one of the brighter moments for the Bulldogs, a high snap from the Dobbs Ferry center on a fourth-down play gave SW a first-and-10 at the Eagles 17-yard line. Moments later, Bauer called another play from his gut on fourth-and-goal. But Moloney attempted TD pass was snagged by Dobbs Ferry defender in the end zone for a touchback.
As the Eagles tried to capitalize on the touchback, they wound up with a third-and-short at the Bulldogs 12-yard line with 1:26 left in the half. An attempted pass to Kalaba was broken up in the end zone by SWs Jason Leewe. With seconds remaining on the clock, Farrington tried a QB keeper and was dropped at the line of scrimmage.
In the third quarter, SWs Will Schlott recovered a fumble at the Bulldogs 32-yard line, but the drive stalled. As time wound down under five minutes remaining in the frame, the Eagles faced a first-and-10 situation at the SW 11-yard line. At 2:59, Farrington snuck it across the goal line on a quarterback keeper play. The extra-point kick missed, but Dobbs Ferry had a commanding 19-0 lead.
Just over one minute later, SWs Brett Youmans fumbled the snap on a punt attempt and Dobbs Ferry pounced on it in the end zone for an easy touchdown The PAT kick cleared the mark, and the Eagles were up 26-0.
In the opening play of the final frame, Moloney got tangled up at the line of the scrimmage and was buried at the Dobbs Ferry 43-yard line.
Peter Riley of the Eagles was tabbed offensive player of the game after gaining 147 yards on 27 carries. Youmans was named defensive player of the game for his solo tackles and punting under fire.
We had a really good season, and the coaches were great, said Youmans, clutching his hard-won defensive player-of-the-game plaque.
His take of the regional playoff?
It was an upset, he said. If we had another chance, it would be another story.
Youmans reaction to winning the defensive MVP award?
I think it should have gone to the whole line
they took lot more of a beating than I did, he replied.
For MacKenzie, his first year as the Dobbs Ferry varsity football coach was a dream come true. Last year, the Eagles lost 18 starters and their Hall of Fame helmsman Skip Violante.
I got the job two days before the start of the season, MacKenzie said. When youre a little kid, you dream of being a football coach, and my dream came true.
His take on the game?
We made our own breaks, said MacKenzie, whose Eagles are the number one-ranked Class C team in the state. We played an outstanding game today.
After the loss, Bauer talked to his players as they huddled on the artificial grass.
It was a great job, great effort, he told his team.
In a brief post-game interview, Bauer said, We made too many bad mistakes
we gave them three or four touchdowns.
We played hard at times, but we didnt pick up their blitz on offense
their linebackers were flying, he added. The intercepted pass [early in the game] took us out of it mentally
you dont do that in a big ball game, but they still hung in there tough.