By Ted Waddell
LAKE HUNTINGTON Nothing like the traditional homecoming activities and events to inspire a football team to victory before the hometown fans.
On Saturday night, the Sullivan West Bulldogs didn’t disappoint those hometown fans as they defeated the Pine Plains Bombers, 36-14, in a Section IX Class C football game under the lights at the SW High School campus in Lake Huntington.
SW (4-1, 3-1 Class C) struck first as Austin Erlwein scampered for a 49-yard TD. Artie Norden added the extra-point kick to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
Pine Plains (1-4, 0-3 Class C) got onto the scoreboard in the second quarter thanks to a 5-yard run by Christopher VanBuskirk. The PAT kick failed, but the Bombers had cut their deficit to 7-6 with 9:39 left in the frame.
Things started looking up for the Bombers a team that posted its first win in two years by defeating Onteora three weeks ago as they held SW scoreless for the rest of the quarter to trail by a single point at halftime.
But that glimmer of hope quickly faded when Alsdorf scored on a 49-yard run less than a minute into the third quarter. Norden’s kick was good, which extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 14-6.
SW picked up 15 more points in the third quarter: a 67-yard TD pass from Alsdorf to Erlwein, a safety and a 25-yard run by Alsdorf.
In the fourth quarter, Alsdorf threw an 8-yard TD pass to E.J. Franskevicz. Norden tacked on the extra point to extend the SW advantage to 36-6 with 9:32 remaining.
VanBuskirk scored a touchdown and then ran for the two-point conversion in the final minute of the contest.
“We had a shot, but it fell apart in the second half,” Pine Plains Coach Jim Jackson said. “But we came back a little bit at the end.
“The kids never gave up, they’re tough kids,” he added.
Alsdorf ran 12 times for 130 yards and completed 8 of 15 passes for 160 yards. Erlwein carried six times for 101 yards, while Chris Murphy had 78 yards on nine rushes and Latii Rabii gained 53 yards on four carries.
Erlwein was the Bulldogs’ leading receiver with three catches for 94 yards, while Rabii caught two passes for 45 yards. Franskevicz and Norden each had one reception for 8 yards.
“We had a very good second half; we played good, tough football,” SW Coach Ron Bauer said.
SW’s veteran gridiron leader said his team had a few issues moving the ball in the opening half, but then ironed them out in the third and fourth quarters.
“They gave us a little different [defensive] look than we’ve seen, but we made some adjustments in the second half,” Bauer said.
Note: At halftime, several former players from the three school districts which were merged to form SW Delaware Valley, Jeffersonville-Youngsville and Narrowsburg were honored during a ceremony at midfield.
Among them was Dr. George Hahn, a member of the Jeffersonville Class of 1950, who played for the Trojans back in the days of six-man football.
“It was just the fun of getting in the game,” the 77-year-old former right end said of his playing days.