By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR A light rain shower began to fall on the Livingston Manor Central School football field on Saturday afternoon, about 15 minutes after the Livingston Manor/Roscoe Devilcats hosted the Hancock Wildcats in a non-league game.
But water began falling on LMR Co-Coaches Fred Ahart and Kevin Clifford moments earlier. The two coaches were drenched when the LMR players picked up two large water jugs on their sideline and dumped them over their coaches after the final seconds ticked off the game clock.
The players showered Ahart and Clifford with the ice cold water to celebrate their 26-25 win over Hancock. The victory was the first for the Devilcats’ football team since a 42-13 triumph against Webutuck in a non-league game in October 2005.
“It’s great for all of these kids who have been working so hard to get a win,” Ahart said. “This is great for the players and the communities. It’s a good feeling for our players to win in front of the hometown fans.”
“We are very proud of these kids,” Clifford added.
In order to secure its first win in nearly three years, LMR (1-1) had to withstand a late charge by the Wildcats. With the Devilcats holding a 26-19 lead, Hancock (0-2) went on a six-play, 56-yard scoring drive. Quarterback Dylan Oralls capped the drive when he ran eight yards for a touchdown with 6:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.
But the subsequent extra-point kick that could have tied the game sailed wide of the uprights.
After LMR took nearly five minutes off the clock on its next possession, the Wildcats’ defense stopped LMR on a third-and-11 play. The Devilcats then lined up to punt and it seemed like Hancock would have a chance to win the game with a touchdown or field goal in the final minute. But on fourth down, the Wildcats were penalized for roughing LMR punter Mike Hendrickson and the Devilcats retained possession.
LMR quarterback Troy Correa then took a knee on the next four plays to run out the clock and secure his team’s victory.
Correa gave the Devilcats a 6-0 lead in the first quarter with a 40-yard run to the end zone. Hendrickson added the extra-point to make it a 7-0 game.
LMR extended its advantage to 13-0 with 8:18 left in the second quarter when Troy Edwards intercepted an Oralls’ pass and sprinted 85 yards for a TD.
Hancock got on the board when Oralls scored on a 3-yard run with 1:55 remaining until halftime. The TD was set up by a 54-yard pass from Oralls to senior wide receiver Thomas Malinski, which gave the Wildcats a first-and-goal inside the LMR 5-yard line.
The Devilcats took a 19-6 lead into the locker room after Edwards broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage and then ran 64 yards to pay dirt with 55 seconds showing on the scoreboard clock.
Hancock tied the game at 19-19 with a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter. The first TD was a 16-yard pass from Oralls to Evan Whitmore and the second was a 2-yard run by Darin Keesler.
LMR scored the go-ahead touchdown with 58 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Hendrickson ran into the end zone from 7 yards out and then made the extra-point kick to give the Devilcats a 26-19 lead.
Hendrickson finished the game with 49 rushing yards. Correa had 78 yards rushing and 105 yards on kickoff returns, while Edwards rushed for 76 yards.
Oralls completed 10-of-20 passes for 144 yards. He was also the Wildcats’ top rusher with 86 yards.
Cody Michael Wellman and Keesler added 28 and 22 yards rushing, respectively, for Hancock.
Whitmore caught three passes for 27 yards.
“We had six fumbles today and a total of 11 fumbles in our first two games of the season,” Hancock Coach Matt Davis said. “We can’t win unless we stop shooting ourselves in the foot with mistakes like that.
“Big plays really hurt us today,” he added. “If we cut down on those big plays and our mistakes, we can start winning some football games.”
Ahart that the performance of the LMR defense was a key to victory.
“Give credit to Kevin [Clifford] for his defensive plan,” Ahart commented. “He scouted Hancock’s game last week [against Eldred] and had our defense very well prepared today.”