By Ted Waddell
LAKE HUNTINGTON “They smacked us in the mouth,” said Liberty Coach John Wilhelm on Friday night moments after his team lost to host Sullivan West, 32-8, in a Section IX Class C football game.
Before the opening kickoff, the home team announcer called for a moment of silent reflection, as the nation remembered the terrorist attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001.
SW (2-0, 1-0 Class C) seemed to grab the lead with a quick TD, but it was negated by a penalty.
The Indians scored at 10:52 on an 71-yard interception return by Jon Ramirez. A two-point conversion by Brandon Tompkins gave Liberty (0-2, 0-1 Class C) an 8-0 lead.
But those were the only points the Indians would score in the game. The Bulldogs scored five touchdowns and added two PAT kicks to score 32 points. to romp to a 32-8 victory.
“We need a lot of work,” Wilhelm said. “Sullivan West is a good football team and they execute well.
“We had trouble moving the ball on offense,” he added. “We didn’t block real well tonight, [but] Eddie Soto rushed the ball real well. He’s hard to bring down.”
After the game, Liberty’s Akeem Granum walked across the rain- slicked grass with a few tears streaking down his face.
“Right now we’re a little down, but we’re going to pick it up,” said the 17-year-old senior running back. “It could have went better. I’m tired of losing, that’s what it is.”
SW Coach Ron Bauer summed up the game in a few words.
“We played real good football tonight,” he said.
The veteran coach praised his players for the way they responded to the events early in the game.
“After our touchdown was called back, and Liberty’s early score, they didn’t let it bother them and they came right back,” Bauer said.
Bauer lauded Mark Tesseyman, a senior offensive lineman for the Bulldogs.
“He’s been doing the job for four years,” Bauer said. “The line is the backbone of the team, and they really don’t get a lot of credit. They’re the blue collar workers who do all the dirty work, the ones who make the game.”
Tesseyman’s take on the game?
“We came together as a family real well tonight,” replied the 17-year-old senior. “We played the best football I’ve seen in three years.”
His perspective on the game?
“I like the contact and the hard hitting, and just winning,” Tesseyman said.
Junior quarterback Ryan Alsdorf led the SW offense. He ran the ball 12 times for 58 yards, including 17-yard and 1-yard touchdowns, and completed 7-of-12 passes for 94 yards and a TD.
Chris Murphy had 12 carries for 17 yards and a touchdown and Austin Erlwein rushed seven times for for 53 yards and a TD.
A trio of Bulldogs Erlwein, Mike Schmidt and Tesseyman each made 11 tackles.
Eddie Soto and Marshon Williams each ran nine times for 24 yards to pace the Liberty offense.
Williams completed 5-of-14 passes for 45 yards.
The leading receivers for the Indians were Efrain Baez, who had two catches for 27 yards, and Javier Baez, who had a 20-yard reception.
Brandon Tompkins led the Indians’ defense with 18 tackles, an interception and a sack.