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Rob Potter | Democrat

Liberty quarterback Marshon Williams runs past Millbrook’s Andrew Conklin (64) and looks to gain more yards during the second quarter of Friday’s Section IX Class C football semifinal game at Dietz Stadium in Kingston. In front of Williams are his teammates Efrain Baez (16) and Eddie Soto, who are blocking a Millbrook defender. In the background looking to make a block is Liberty’s Daniel Ramirez.

Millbrook blazes past Liberty in Class C football semifinal

By Rob Potter
KINGSTON — November 2, 2010 — The Liberty Indians were able to drive into Millbrook Blazers’ territory on their first two possessions during Friday afternoon’s Section IX Class C football semifinal game at Dietz Stadium in Kingston.
But Liberty was unable to reach the end zone on either of those drives.
By contrast, Millbrook scored on four of its first five possessions to take a 27-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The Blazers went on to post a 54-13 victory over the Indians.
With the win, Millbrook (9-0) advanced to the Class C title game against John S. Burke Catholic High School, which will be played at 3 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 6 at Faller Field in Middletown. Liberty ended its season with a 6-3 record.
On their second possession, the Indians faced a fourth-and-13 at the Millbrook 18-yard line. Quarterback Marshon Williams completed a screen pass to running back Eddie Soto, who ran up the middle of the field. But Soto was tackled a couple of yards short of the first down marker and the Blazers took over the ball at their own 8.
On the very next play, Millbrook running back James Ross ran around the left end, found a hole and sprinted down the sideline for a 92-yard touchdown. Aidan Little made the PAT kick to give the Blazers a 7-0 lead with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter.
Blazers’ defensive back Andrew Gartelmann stopped the Indians’ next drive by intercepting a pass. Once again, Millbrook needed only one play to score as Ross ran 30 yards to make it a 13-0 game.
Millbrook scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to increase its advantage to 34-0 at halftime. Those TDs included 58-yard and 5-yard runs by Ross and a fumble recovery by Taylor Galano in the end zone.
Ross scored his fifth TD of the game when he ran 49 yards to paydirt on the first play of the third quarter.
Later in the quarter, Henry Cardinal ran for a 5-yard touchdown and an 11-yard touchdown to help the Blazers increase their lead to 54-0.
Despite being down by so many points, the Indians kept playing hard for the rest of the game. And that willingness to keep working paid off with a pair of TDs in the fourth quarter.
Anthony Covington ran for a 31-yard score with 7:32 remaining to make it a 54-6 game. With 1:55 to go, Soto broke a couple of tackles as he ran down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown. Tino Casiano then kicked the extra point, which made the score 54-13.
Ross was named the Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game. He finished with nine carries for 265 yards and five touchdowns. Millbrook linebacker Stephen Vitale, who made seven tackles, was selected the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game.
Cardinal finished with 62 yards on 11 carries and Galano ran three times for 83 yards.
In addition to Vitale, the Blazers’ defense was led by Andrew Conklin, who had six tackles, and Nick D’Onofrio and Josh Rose, each of whom made five tackles.
“We scored those first two touchdowns early in the game and that got us going in the right direction,” Millbrook Coach Sean Keenan said. “It was a great performance by our team. James Ross had five touchdowns and played very well. Our offensive line did a good job of opening holes for our running backs.”
Keenan praised Soto, who played the game despite suffering a hip injury during the Indians’ win over Pine Plains the previous Friday night.
“Eddie Soto is a great football player,” Keenan said. “It’s too bad he was banged up coming into the game.”
Soto carried the ball 19 times for 154 yards. Also contributing to the Indians’ rushing attack were Marshon Williams (15 carries for 36 yards), Anthony Covington (two carries, 34 yards) and Efrain Baez (two carries, 17 yards).
Williams completed 12 of 23 passes for 78 yards. Soto was the leading receiver with four catches for 14 yards. The other players who caught at least one pass from Williams were Javier Baez (three receptions for 29 yards), Efrain Baez (two receptions, 15 yards), Ryan Henry (two receptions, 14 yards) and Joe Franke (one reception, 6 yards.)
“We were stopped on fourth down early and they scored on the next play, which gave them some momentum,” Liberty Coach John Wilhelm said. “We didn’t block well and we didn’t tackle well. They just ran the ball down our throats.
“I was proud of the way our guys kept playing hard,” Wilhelm added. “There was no quit in them.”
Wilhelm especially noted the play of Soto, who ran for more than 1,200 yards this season.
“We weren’t sure what to expect this season from Eddie because last year he wasn’t the featured back,” Wilhelm said. “But he stepped up and had a great year.”
Along with Soto, Friday’s game was the final one in the scholastic career of nine other Liberty seniors. They are: David Camacho, Quentin Granum, Travis Johnson, Adalberto Ponce, Patrick Powell, Jon Ramirez, Chris Sarno, Emirsen Shehi and Gabe Vazquez.

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