By Rob Potter
KINGSTON November 7, 2006 For the second consecutive season, the Sullivan West Bulldogs defeated the Tri-Valley Bears in the Section IX Class C championship game at Dietz Stadium.
It wasn’t easy for the Bulldogs to repeat, however.
SW held a 21-7 halftime lead, but had to withstand a ferocious comeback by the Bears in order to record a 48-27 victory.
The Bulldogs will now face Dobbs Ferry in the Section I vs. Section IX Class C Regional game this Friday, November 10 at Mahopac High School. SW (6-4) also met Dobbs Ferry (9-0) last November in the regional game, with Dobbs Ferry prevailing, 26-0.
T-V (6-4) took the lead less than three minutes into the game. Ryan VanLieu scored on a 1-yard run at the 9:27 mark and Alex Calabrese booted the PAT kick through the uprights to give the Bears a quick 7-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs answered immediately as Donald Cooper ran the ensuing kickoff back 80 yards for a touchdown.
SW took the lead about five minutes later when quarterback Jimmy Moloney threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Cooper. Jon Figueroa ran for the 2-point conversion to give the Bulldogs a 14-12 lead.
The only score in the second quarter was a 13-yard TD run by Moloney, who then kicked the extra point.
Figueroa scored on a 24-yard shovel pass with 8:11 remaining in the third quarter as the Bulldogs pushed their lead to 28-7.
Late in the quarter, Bear defensive back Max Fiedler recovered a fumble near midfield. He then sprinted 58 yards down the sideline to the end zone.
On the subsequent kickoff, the Bears’ Brendan Musa recovered an onsides kick to set up the T-V offense at the SW 34. Four plays later, T-V quarterback Dustin VanLieu and Sean Drown connected on a 37-yard touchdown pass. VanLieu ran for the 2-point conversion to pull the Bears within seven points at 28-21.
Figueroa opened the fourth quarter with a 19-yard touchdown run and Moloney added the PAT kick to give the Bulldogs a 35-21 lead.
But the Bears responded a minute later as VanLieu threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Gary North. SW blocked the PAT kick, which kept its lead at eight (35-27).
After being forced to punt, the Bulldogs’ Matt Swendsen recovered a fumble at the T-V 18 to set up the offense with great field position.
On first down, Moloney completed a touchdown pass to tight end Justin Alsdorf over the middle.
The Bulldogs scored their final TD of the game with 1:27 remaining as Dan Figueroa went up the middle on a 1-yard run.
“It was a good all around effort by our kids,” SW Coach Ron Bauer said. “Both teams played hard, it was a good game.”
“Our defense played very well today,” the veteran coach added.
That Bulldog defense caused two fumbles and intercepted Van Lieu four times. Alsdorf, Alan Ackermann, Cooper and Jason Leewe each had a pick and Ackermann caused one of the Bear fumbles, which was recovered by John Whittaker.
Moloney, who completed 10-of-16 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns, was named the game’s Offensive MVP.
Alsdorf was the Bulldogs leading receiver, hauling in five passes for 136 yards.
Ackermann, a senior tackle, was chosen as the game’s Defensive MVP.
Moloney was not surprised that the Bears came back after falling behind.
“They are a good team with tough kids,” he said.
The junior QB also praised his teammates.
“Everybody worked hard,” he commented. “Coop [Don Cooper] made some big returns, the line blocked well and the defense played great.”
T-V Coach John Rusin was very proud of his team.
“These guys played with a ton of heart,” he said. “They competed with class all day.”
This was the second straight year that the Bears reached the Class C final, but the first time under Rusin’s leadership.
“I had a great group of kids this season and was blessed with an excellent coaching staff,” he said. “As a first year head coach, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”