By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE September 26, 2006 The Tri-Valley Bears used a balanced rushing attack and caused some turnovers on Saturday afternoon to score a big non-league gridiron victory over the visiting Livingston Manor/Roscoe Devilcats.
T-V (3-1) ran the ball 31 times for 300 yards during its 55-0 win against LMR (0-4).
Senior running back Kevin Smith lead the Bears’ ground attack, gaining 95 yards on eight carries. Junior Brendan Musa added 90 yards on five carries.
Brothers Dan and Kyle Byrne rushed for 64 yards and 36 yards, respectively, and Jesse Boncek carried twice for 10 yards.
After recovering a Devilcats’ fumble on the game’s opening kickoff, T-V had a first down at the LMR 34-yard line.
But the Bears could not take advantage of their excellent field position. On second down, LMR’s Tyler Schmidt intercepted a pass near the 10-yard line.
However, the Devilcats lost a few yards on three plays and were forced to punt on fourth down.
With a short field to work with, the Bears needed only two plays to score the game’s first touchdown as Smith ran around the left end for 28 yards to paydirt. Senior kicker Alex Calabrese then booted the ball through the uprights to give T-V a 7-0 lead.
On the subsequent Devilcats’ possession, the team reached midfield. But on fourth down, running back Kelly Lackey, who finished the day with at team-high 45 rushing yards, was stopped at the line and the Bears took over.
Five plays later, Musa scored on a 7-yard run. Calabrese tacked on the extra point to give the Bears a 14-0 advantage with 1:11 left in the opening quarter.
T-V took a 21-0 lead just 29 seconds into the second quarter on a 3-yard run by Kyle Byrne.
The Bears forced a fumble on the next LMR possession.
Working again with a short field, the Bears needed just two plays to add to their lead. On second-and-two from the Devilcats’ 32, Musa broke a couple of tackles and then scampered into the end zone.
Kevin Smith ended the subsequent LMR drive by intercepting a pass and returning it 38 yards to give the Bears a first-and-goal at the Devilcats’ 7. Seconds later, Kyle Byrne ran into the end zone. A bad snap prevented Calabrese from adding the extra-point, but T-V had a 34-0 advantage with 6:29 remaining in the half.
Kyle Byrne scored another TD just before the quarter ended.
On the kickoff to begin the second half, T-V’s Gary North fielded the ball at his own 15. He found a hole and raced to the end zone. Calabrese’s kick made it a 48-0 contest.
The final Bears’ TD was scored by Boncek with 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
“Our guys came out ready to play,” T-V Coach John Rusin said. “The defense did a nice job.”
While praising his own players for their performance, Rusin was also quick to compliment the Devilcats.
“The LMR players never quit, they kept playing hard the entire game,” he said.
LMR Co-Coach Fred Ahart noted that the Devilcats were hurt by miscues during the game.
“But that’s taking nothing away from Tri-Valley,” he said. “Tri-Valley made some of those mistakes happen. They are a very good team.”
Although the Devilcats lost their fourth straight game, Ahart remains optimistic.
“We still have a couple of weeks before our first division game,” the veteran coach commented. “This is a learning situation for us.”