By Frank Rizzo
DEPOSIT September 8, 2006 Confidence building measures. In football, as in diplomacy, they may yet bear fruit in the long run.
The Livingston Manor/Roscoe (LMR) Devilcats walked off the Deposit High School football field last Saturday with a 33-16 loss to the host Lumberjacks.
But despite having scored those points late, when the game was no longer in doubt, and despite mistakes of youth and inexperience and failure in execution and sometime sloppy playing, the Devilcats did gain a measure of confidence.
I definitely felt having a good fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns and two conversions, gave us a positive attitude [after the game], LMR Co-Coach Fred Ahart said.
It did not take long for LMR to gift the hosts.
On the third play of the game, on a third-and-nine from his own 23, Devilcats quarterback Tyler Schmidt was flushed out of the protective pocket and, while rolling to his right and under pressure, floated a cross-field pass which landed in the arms of Deposits 290-pound defensive lineman Chris Reis.
The massive junior lumbered to the LMR 24-yard line. Four plays later, Matt Mason ran it in from the LMR 5.
LMR stopped the PAT attempt, but Deposit led 6-0 at the 8:51 mark.
After an exchange of punts, the Devilcats put together a promising drive, gaining three first downs as they moved from their own 45-yard line to the Lumberjacks 23. However, on a fourth down, with only a foot to go, the hosts penetrated into the backfield and stopped Kelly Lackey for no gain.
To their credit, they made the play, Ahart said of the Deposit defense after admitting the aborted march could have been an early turning point.
Deposit then fashioned an eight-play, 74-yard scoring drive, with Tyler Vandermark weaving his way into the end zone from the LMR 23 at 6:03. This time the point after kick went wide.
Then came another disheartening turnover. After John Clancy made a virtual first-down run to the Lumberjack 43, Mason somehow stripped the ball and the action went the other way, as he reached the LMR 20.
Two plays later, Deposit junior quarterback Brett Hauber froze the defense with a play action, then found running back Ben Winans all alone in the end zone for a 14-yard scoring pass at 4:53. This time the PAT kick went low.
LMR then had a chance to show its defensive mettle. Deposits Darren Singleton intercepted a Schmidt pass in LMR territory, and two plays later the vexing Vandermark threaded his way 23 yards to the Devilcats 11. But on a fourth-and-eight play from the 9, LMR junior lineman Justin Mendez led the charge to sack Hauber as the QB attempted a pass.
With just 1:17 elapsed in the third quarter, Morris twisted the knife, scoring from the LMR 44. Initially he had been stopped far short of a first down, much less a TD, but eluded the clutches of three or four Roscoe tacklers.
I think it was a case of [each tackler] thinking the other would bring [Morris] down, Ahart reflected.
Morris then corralled a pass from Hauber for the 2-point conversion and a 26-0 lead.
After being forced to punt on its next possession, LMR returned the favor with perhaps its best defensive series of the game. Justin Haas made nice open field tackle on Hauber as the quarterback attempted a keeper. And on third-and-seven, Clancy sacked Hauber.
But Deposit soon got the ball back as the LMR offense stalled and the hosts marched 70 yards in 6:46 to score again with 9:54 left.
The Devilcats finally gained good field position late as Morris bobbled a punt attempt, and frosh Mike Hendrickson alertly brought him down on the Lumberjack 20.
Three minutes and 15 seconds later, Schmidt arched a pass to Clancy in the left corner of the end zone and LMR was on board. Schmidt then found Hendrickson in the end zone for the 2-point conversion.
LMR recovered the ensuing onside kick. With 28 seconds left, Schmidt facing a fourth-and-20 from the Deposit 37 found Clancy again for the six. Schmidt then carried the ball into the end zone to complete the scoring.
I was pleased with the ending. We didnt give up, Ahart said.
Noting the short practice week ahead, what with Labor Day and a non-league contest Friday night at Eldred, Ahart said, We definitely have to work on our execution.
Deposit coach Terry Raymond thought both teams showed first-game jitters and lapses.
We ran some power at them and they had a difficult time stopping us, Raymond said. Once we softened them up, we went a little wider and opened up our passing game.
Deposit, the defending Class D champ in Section IV (including a win over traditional Class C powerhouse Walton), lost in the state Class D semis in Syracuse last November.
Ahart did not think his players were intimidated by the fact, noting that his team had faced Deposit last season and the Lumberjacks had lost several key players to graduation.
Notes & Stats: According to Raymond, his team rushed 37 times for 256 yards. Vandermark led the attack with 122 yards on 14 carries
Clancy had 26 yards on 11 carries while Lackey had 22 on 11 carries
Schmidt, in his first year at quarterback (though a fifth-year starter) completed 5-of-10 passes for 80 yards and two TDs and a 2-point conversion
Clancy had four receptions for 58 yards, while Hendrickson caught one for 22 yards and also corralled the 2-point pass
Ahart noted that his players were also familiar with Deposit from playing them in the Hale Eddy Small Fry League; Roscoe and Manor players combined then as the Rockland Raiders.