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Rob Potter | Democrat

Livingston Manor-Roscoe’s Chad Rosario (28) runs past Chester defender Victor Cruz, who is partially hidden by Rosario, during the third quarter of Friday night’s Class D football championship game.

Chester earns Class D title with a 34-10 victory over LMR Devilcats

By Rob Potter
MIDDLETOWN — November 12, 2010 — After the Chester Hambletonians took an 8-0 lead less than five minutes into the Section IX Class D football championship game last Friday night at Faller Field on the campus of Middletown High School, the Livingston Manor-Roscoe Devilcats answered right back.
With 5:30 remaining in the first quarter, LMR quarterback Troy Correa threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Smith. Correa and Smith then hooked up on the two-point conversion pass to even the score at 8-8.
Unfortunately for the Devilcats, that was as close as they would get to Chester for the rest of the evening. The Hambletonians scored a touchdown late in the first quarter and then added a TD in each of the final three quarters on their way to a 34-10 victory.
Chester (8-2) will play Section I champion Tuckahoe tomorrow afternoon at Dietz Stadium in Kingston in a Class D regional game.
Following the LMR touchdown, the Hambletonians drove 61 yards in eight plays to regain the lead. Quarterback Anthony Ognibene threw a 17-yard TD pass to Victor Cruz to give Chester a 14-8 advantage.
Late in the second quarter, Chester put together a 13-play, 75-yard drive to the end zone. Senior running back Travis Mann completed the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run, which extended the Hambletonians’ lead to 20-8 with 3:36 remaining until halftime.
LMR (7-3) cut the Chester advantage to 20-10 in the final minute of the half. With 22.8 seconds on the clock and the Hambletonians lined up to punt deep in their own territory, LMR’s Joe Fredenburg broke through the line and blocked the punt. The ball bounced out of the end zone to give the Devilcats a safety.
Chester then kicked off to LMR and Chad Rosario returned the ball to the Chester 46. After gaining a few yards on first down, the Devilcats had two incomplete passes to end the half.
Mann scored two TDs – a 23-yard run in the third quarter and a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter – to help the Hambletonians pull away for their 24-point victory.
Mann carried the ball 30 times for 208 yards and the aforementioned three TDs. He was named the game’s Offensive Most Valuable Player.
Chester’s Michael Conklin was chosen as the game’s Defensive Most Valuable Player for making eight and a half tackles and intercepting a pass.
“We knew this was going to be a tough game,” Chester Coach Ron Stover said. “LMR is a very good team that makes big plays. Their quarterback Troy Correa is a very good player.
“But our defense played very well tonight and stopped them,” he added.
Stover also praised Mann for his performance.
“Travis is our workhorse,” Stover said. “He is a great player. He was hurt coming into the game, but played very well. He took a breather a few times and other guys ran the ball for us, but Travis had most of the carries.”
Correa led the LMR rushing attack with 51 yards on 16 carries. Also running the ball for the Devilcats were Rosario (four carries for 11 yards), Smith (six rushes for nine yards), Adam Hendrix (two rushes for nine yards) and Fredenburg (one carry for five yards).
Correa completed 7 of 11 passes for 127 yards. Mike Mills was the Devilcats’ leading receiver with two receptions for 63 yards. Hendrix caught two passes for 29 yards. The other receptions were made by Smith (one for 19 yards), Fredenburg (one for 15 yards) and Jesse Huggins (one for 1 yard).
“Turnovers hurt us tonight,” LMR Co-Coach Fred Ahart said. “The fumble on the 1-yard line changed the momentum of the game. We were set to go in and score, but Chester recovered the fumble.”
Ahart was referring to a play with 1:42 to go in the second quarter in which LMR had a first- and-goal at the Chester 1-yard line. But the Devilcats fumbled the ball and Chester’s Justin Delgado recovered it.
Had the Devilcats scored a touchdown in that situation and added the two-point conversion, they would have only trailed by four points at 20-16.
As he always does following a game, Ahart praised the opposing team.
“Chester deserves credit for being a fine football team,” he said. “Coach Stover does a great job with his players. We have a great deal of respect for their program.”
Ahart also lauded the Devilcat players.
“We had a great season,” he commented. “Everyone worked hard and we won more games this season than we have before. Most of these players will be returning next year, so it’s a good experience for them to play in a title game. We want to be even better next year and be the team that is holding the championship trophy after the [Class D title] game.”
The veteran coach was quick to note that the Devilcats will miss the leadership and talent of its five seniors – Willie Browne, Adam Hendrix, William Parker, Jeremy Rau and Brandon Smith.
“We had a 7-3 record this season and that’s a testament to our five seniors,” Ahart said. “All of them have been great leaders for us this season and we will definitely miss them next year.”

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