Editors Note: This is the first in a series of stories about the countys five high school varsity football teams and their preparation for the rapidly approaching 2006 season.
By Ted Waddell
LAKE HUNTINGTON August 25, 2006 This autumn, Coach Ron Bauer and his Sullivan West Bulldogs football team are hoping to make it three sectional titles in a row.
To reinforce that view, he was out on the practice field earlier this week sporting a white T-shirt emblazoned with the words Back-to-Back Section 9 Champions: 2004 Class B Title Sullivan West 21, Marlboro 12 & 2005 Class C Title Sullivan West 34, Tri-Valley 7.
Like last season, the Bulldogs will be a Section IX Class C team. They will play league games against Millbrook, Pine Plains and Tri-Valley.
Bauer has a great deal of experience in coaching championship gridiron teams. Hes began his career in 1966 at Delaware Valley Central School, then went on to Jeffersonville-Youngsville. After a few seasons, he returned to DV. When the DV, J-Y and Narrowsburg Central School districts merged to became the Sullivan West Central School District a few years ago, Bauer was named the Head Coach of the SW Bulldogs.
Weve won 10 Section IX titles, he said of the teams he has guided for nearly four decades, which includes seven championships in the 1990s and reaching the state semifinals on four occasions. When youve got good kids who work hard, cooperation from the coaching staff and good administration, things go very well.
Serving as Assistant Coaches for the 2006 season are Kurt Buddenhagen, J.P. Lang, Joe Meyer, Chris Reichmann and Keith Travers.
What is Bauers take on the new season, in light of coming off a couple of consecutive titles?
Weve got some talent, but were young, he commented. Were starting some sophomores
as they gain experience, it will help. Weve got some talented kids, but they lack game experience at this point.
The current Bulldog roster lists a total of 42 players: seven seniors, 12 juniors, 10 sophomores and 13 freshmen.
Theres a lot of teaching and organization to coaching, Bauer said. A lot of discipline and conditioning.
So what do kids get out of hitting and tackling in the dirt and mud?
They learn to play as a team, reach challenges and one of the biggest things you learn from football is, win or lose, when you get knocked down, you learn to pick yourself up, Bauer said.
Regardless of win or lose, football can help kids learn to deal with problems later on, he added. Get past the tough things in life, deal with it and go on
it teaches them to bounce back from adversity.
Bauer said that winning teaches kids that hard work, teamwork, desire and discipline pays off.
No coachs office would be complete without a few inspirational posters, and Bauers is no exception to this rule. One poster proclaims that Pride is a personal commitment. It is an attitude which separates excellence from mediocrity. And in the words of legendary Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi, Individual commitment to a group effort. That is what makes a team, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.
Talk from the Trenches
So why do the SW players enjoy the game and what do they expect this fall?
Jim Moloney, quarterback, 16-year-old junior. Second season as QB, playing since eighth grade.
Its fun, its a good time, he said. The coaches are all good guys. Football teaches you responsibility and to be a man.
His take on the 2006 season?
Weve got some guys coming back, its going to be good I think. Were working hard.
Jason Leewe running back, 16-year-old junior. Fourth year in position, started on the gridiron in the sixth grade.
Leewe said that football teaches respect for everyone on and off the field.
Looking forward to the season, he said. Were not losing too much
[hopefully we can go] all the way.
John Dertinger, offensive tackle/offensive guard/defensive tackle, 18-year-old senior. Second year at Sullivan West.
Im looking for a good season, to have a good time and see how far we can go.
Whats he get out of football?
Learning respect, hard work and leadership.
His view on Coach Bauer?
Hes awesome, he works us hard but it pays off.
Bryan Schmidt, defensive end, 17-year-old senior. Playing since seventh grade.
His take on Coach Bauer?
He works us hard, but he loves us.
Let the Games Begin
The Bulldogs 2006 schedule is as follows:
Saturday, September 2 1:30 p.m., SW at Delhi
Friday, Sept. 8 7 p.m., Walton at SW
Saturday, Sept. 16 1:30 p.m., SW at Livingston Manor/Roscoe
Friday, Sept. 22 7 p.m., SW at Pine Plains (Class C).
Friday, Sept. 29 7 p.m., Chester Academy at SW
Saturday, October 7 1:30 p.m., SW at Burke Catholic
Saturday, Oct. 14 2:30 p.m., SW at Webutuck
Friday, Oct. 20 7 p.m., Tri-Valley at SW (Class C)
Friday, Oct. 27 7 p.m., Millbrook at SW (Class C).