By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON The hometown fans went home happy on Friday night.
Led by senior quarterback Brad Reimer, the Sullivan West Bulldogs gave their fans plenty to cheer about with a season-opening 41-19 victory over the Ellenville Blue Devils in a Section IX Class C football game at SW High School in Lake Huntington.
Reimer ran the ball 19 times for 180 yards and three touchdowns. In addition, he completed eight of 19 passes for 186 yards and two TDs.
Thanks to the great blocking of the SW offensive line center Chris Wagner, guard Mark Tesseyman, guard Tyler Wagner, tackle Shawn Taylor and tackle John Whittaker Reimer had big holes to run through and a comfortable pocket from which to pass the ball.
Senior running back Dan Figueroa and junior tight end Mike Schmidt also paced the Bulldogs’ offensive attack. Figueroa carried the ball seven times for 52 yards and caught five passes for 108 yards, while Schmidt had four receptions totaling 37 yards.
Senior running back Nick Mootz scored the Bulldogs’ first touchdown of the season. With 10:53 left in the second quarter, Mootz took a handoff from Reimer and went off right tackle for a 2-yard run into the end zone. Artie Norden split the uprights with the PAT kick to give SW a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ellenville’s Douglas Lewis caught the ball at his own 23-yard line and returned it 24 yards to the 47. The Blue Devils quickly advanced into the Bulldogs’ half of the field.
But on a second-and-six play from the SW 38, the Blue Devils fumbled the ball and Bulldog defensive lineman Vaughn Schlott recovered it.
After completing a 61-yard pass to Figueroa which gave SW (1-0) a first-and-goal, Reimer had a 4-yard touchdown run to push the Bulldogs’ lead to 13-0 with 8:18 remaining until halftime.
Ellenville (0-1) responded with a pair of TDs, however. With 4:34 left in the second quarter, Donald Exner put the Blue Devils on the board with a 6-yard touchdown run. The subsequent extra-point kick was good as Ellenville cut its deficit to 13-7.
Then, with 2:00 on the clock, Joseph Logan returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown. The PAT kick sailed wide to the right, but the game was tied at 13-13.
SW took some momentum into the locker room at the intermission as Reimer and Norden teamed up for a TD. On second-and-10 from the Ellenville 21-yard line with 8.5 seconds displayed on the scoreboard, Reimer dropped back to pass. He looked right, scrambled to his left and fired a tight spiral to Norden in the front corner of the end zone.
Reimer then completed the two-point conversion pass to Schmidt to give the Bulldogs a 21-13 advantage at intermission.
Ellenville responded with a scoring march to open the third quarter. From their own 36-yard line, the Blue Devils went on an eight-play drive which culminated with a 5-yard TD pass from Sebastian Constable to Logan.
Tyler Wagner broke up the ensuing two-point conversion pass, which allowed the Bulldogs to maintain a 21-19 lead with 7:50 left in the quarter.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, that was as close as they could get during the rest of the evening.
SW scored three more touchdowns on its way to a 22-point win. With 2:05 remaining in the third quarter, Schmidt caught a 15-yard scoring strike from Reimer.
In the fourth quarter, Reimer had a pair of 10-yard touchdown runs. The second of those TDs came after Tyler Wagner intercepted a Constable pass to give the Bulldogs the football at the Ellenville 37-yard line.
“They’re a good team,” SW Coach Ron Bauer said of the Blue Devils. “They’re tough and they played a good game tonight.”
Bauer was also pleased with the performance of his own players.
“[Brad] Reimer and [Dan] Figueroa played very well,” the veteran coach said. “The offensive line did a good job of blocking.”
But Bauer noted some aspects of the game in which his team must improve as the season continues.
“We had some poor tackling tonight,” he said.
Ellenville Coach Tony Borriello noted that miscues were key factors in the game’s outcome.
“We made some mistakes and they were able to capitalize on them,” he said.