Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

THE FOOTBALL POPS up into the air as Tri-Valley’s Dustin Van Lieu can’t make the catch thanks to a hard hit by Ellenville’s Eric Thayer in Saturday’s non-league game.

Bears Blank Ellenville

By Ted Waddell
GRAHAMSVILLE — September 8, 2006 — The key play of the game hinged on a whistle. Or the lack thereof.
In Saturday’s football season opener for the home team Bears of Tri-Valley and the Ellenville Blue Devils, the pivotal moment occurred with 3:50 left in the third quarter. The Bears’ Kevin Drown pounced on a fumble and beat the whistle to take it into the end zone to put the first score on the board.
The officials allowed the touchdown, despite some folks’ view that the ball was dead before Drown picked it up and headed for paydirt.
Bo Murphy nailed the extra-point kick to give T-V a 7-0 lead and from that moment on, it was all Bears.
Ryan Van Lieu scored at the 9:26 mark of the fourth quarter and Murphy’s point-after kick put T-V (1-0) in the driver’s seat 14-0 in a game that was bedeviled by a nasty rain and winds slashing across the gridiron. Those factors made it a grind-it-out game as the aerials attacks were proverbially declared a ceasefire.
Later in the final quarter, Ellenville (0-1) faced a four-down play deep in Bears’ territory. T-V defensive back Gary North picked off a Blue Devils’ pass to give the Bears another possession.
Moments later, with just 1:57 remaining in the contest, Brendan Musa took it around the left side into the end zone for the hometeam’s third TD of the afternoon.
Despite an encroachment call against the Blue Devils, Murphy skated the football between the goal posts to give the Bears a 21-0 lead.
Neither team scored in the final minute.
“I was very pleased with the result,” T-V Coach John Rusin said. “Our conditioning really paid off… as the game went on, we were able to execute.
“We’re fairly young, and the kids came in hungry,” he added. “The momentum of the game swung on Kevin’s fumble recovery… the ball squirted out before the whistle was blown, and he’s got to play until the whistle [sounds].”

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