By Rob Potter
CALLICOON December 8, 2006 The Sullivan West Gridiron Club held its annual postseason banquet on Monday night at the Clubhouse at the Villa Roma to honor the Bulldogs’ football team, coaches, cheerleaders, parents and community members for their accomplishments during the 2006 season.
The Bulldogs posted a 6-5 record and captured the Section IX Class C championship. The title was the third consecutive for SW, which won the Section IX Class B crown in 2004 and the Section IX Class C title in 2005.
One of the evening’s speakers was Nick Mootz, a SW sophomore who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. While he was undergoing treatment to battle the disease, he could not play but attended practices and games to support his teammates. In turn, the SW coaches and players dedicated their season to Mootz.
Mootz thanked the coaches, cheerleaders, community members, fans and his fellow players for all of their support and encouragement during the past several months.
“I am very proud to have been a member of the 2006 Sullivan West football team,” he said.
Coach Ron Bauer reminded the players about the valuable lessons he learned as a young football player. He spoke of how the sport teaches young athletes to deal with adversity, which is something they can use throughout their lives.
“When a player gets knocked down, he picks himself up and makes the best of the situation,” Bauer said.
The veteran coach also noted how Mootz helped his teammates this autumn.
“Nicky was a great inspiration for our football team,” Bauer said.
Although the Class C state quarterfinal game did not end the way the SW team hoped it would, Bauer noted that he was proud of the way the Bulldogs competed in their 48-18 loss to Section I champion Dobbs Ferry.
“We didn’t give up and kept playing good, hard, tough football,” he said.
Bauer then announced that several Bulldogs had received postseason honors. They included: Alan Ackermann, Justin Alsdorf, Donald Cooper, Jim Moloney, Bret Reimer, Will Schlott, Tyler Wagner and John Whittaker.
Ackermann was named to the All-Section first team by the Section Nine Football Coaches Association (SNFCA) as well as the Class C/D team. In addition, Ackermann, a senior offensive tackle/defensive tackle, was chosen as the SNFCA Class C/D Lineman of the Year.
Moloney was named to the All-Section first team, Class C/D team and chosen as the Section’s outstanding passer. The junior quarterback completed 89-of-180 passes for 1,604 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also rushed for 194 yards and scored five TDs.
Alsdorf was named to the Class C/D team. A senior tight end, he had 22 receptions for 522 yards and five TDs.
Cooper was named to the Class C/D team. The junior wide receiver caught 13 passes for 284 yards and seven TDs. Cooper also had 407 yards on kickoff returns, 173 yards on punt returns and scored eight times.
Reimer was named to the Class C/D team. The sophomore had 240 yards receiving with two TDs and 95 yards rushing and one TD.
Schlott, a junior fullback/defensive end, Wagner, a sophomore offensive lineman/linebacker, and Whittaker, a sophomore tight end/defensive end, were all Class C/D honorable mention selections.
Those eight players, Mootz and all of the other Bulldogs received trophies which featured a photo of Mootz being hoisted on his teammates’ shoulders after SW defeated Tri-Valley to win the Section IX Class C title on November 5 at Dietz Stadium in Kingston.
The players included: John Dertinger, Austin Erlwein, Dan Figueroa, Jon Figueroa, Patrick Knack, Gabriel Lagrutta, Jason Leewe, Thomas Lynch, Kevin Nicoletti, Artie Norden, Mike Pomes, Manolatii Rabii, Nick Redmond, Michael Sandler, Bryan Schmidt, Mike Schmidt, Steven Steffens, Matt Swendsen, Shawn Taylor, Mark Tesseyman, Luke Tonjes, James Tyles and Vaughn Schlott.
Trophies were also presented to Bauer and Assistant Coaches Kurt Buddenhagen, J.P. Lang, Joe Meyer, Chris Reichmann and Keith Travers.
Cheerleading Coaches Tara Brey and Nina Verderber also received trophies.
“I thank all of the girls on this year’s squad,” Verderber said. “They did a great job.”
Travers noted Bauer has won 11 sectional football titles during his lengthy career, which is believed to be the most by any gridiron coach in the state.
Travers also said that due to various things going on in his life, he needs to take a step back from football and will not return as a SW coach next autumn. But he reminded the players that he was very proud of them and would be there for them if they needed advice or guidance.
Near the end of the evening, Bonnie Schlott of the Gridiron Club thanked everyone for attending the dinner and their support of the football team and club.
“The support from the community is getting better every year,” she said. “Remember, more volunteers are welcome.”
The banquet also featured a digital slide presentation by Bill Moloney, father of Jim Moloney. The show included several photos from each of the Bulldogs’ games this fall.