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Frank Rizzo | Democrat

Quinn Jackson of Liberty, left, struggles for yards as John S. Burke’s Andrew Hansen tries to bring him down. Jackson outdueled Hansen to grab a pass from quarterback Jesse Hufnagel.

Liberty Indians powerless as Burke rolls

By Frank Rizzo
LIBERTY — October 5, 2010 — “It was about the execution,” summed up John S. Burke football Coach Ed Van Curen.
He could have been using both meanings of the word.
The visiting Eagles crushed host Liberty, 47-14, in Saturday’s Class C Division I tilt, putting the game out of reach early.
“We established a ground game,” Van Curen noted. “We’re a balanced team offensively, but if they give us the ground, we’ll take the ground.”
And how. Led by Matt Cino (19 carries/253 yards, two TDs), the Eagles (3-2, 1-0 Div. I) totaled 359 yards on 41 carries. Of quarterback Dan Shannon’s three completions, two went to Dan Boylan for touchdowns.
“I thought both teams were matched up well coming into the game,” Van Curen reflected. “Liberty’s a tough team – no quit, played to the end. It was a dogfight.
“Liberty’s done a great job with the program, and has a good group of kids,” he added.
Eddie Soto was Liberty’s offensive weapon. In the second quarter, he threw a 41-yard scoring pass to Joe Franke. In the third, Soto took a screen pass from Jesse Hufnagel and took it 68 yards for the second Indians’ score. Soto leads Section IX with 15 touchdowns. Tino Casiano kicked both extra points.
Soto finished with 40 yards on nine carries. He added three kickoff returns for 81 yards.
“It was a pretty frustrating day,” said Liberty (3-2, 0-1 Div. I) Coach John Wilhelm. “We got beat by a more physical team. They beat us on both sides of the ball. They just outplayed us.”
The Eagles had been scouted and “we expected a tough game, but I felt we were prepared, but…” Wilhelm’s words trailed off as he contemplated what one league loss meant in a three-league game schedule.
“We’re 3-2 overall, but those three wins right now don’t mean nothing” as far as winning a shot at the playoffs, according to Wilhelm.
Dividing the eight Class C teams into two divisions has not been popular with the coaches he’s spoken with, Wilhelm said.
“It means the best four Class C teams in the section don’t necessarily get into the playoffs,” he said.
To reach the goal of playing in the Class C title game come November, the Indians must win their remaining division games against James I. O’Neill on Oct. 8 and Sullivan West on Oct. 16.
Last year, the Indians beat SW in the Class C semifinals before losing to Ellenville in the title game. Ellenville has since moved up to Class B and the addition of Fallsburg to the varsity football ranks led Section IX officials to split the ‘C’ classification.

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