By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY It was a “Dog Day Afternoon” for the home team Liberty Indians as they were defeated, 26-13, by the Bulldogs of Sullivan West on Saturday afternoon in a Section IX Class C football game.
The day was ruled by SW senior quarterback Brad Reimer, who picked up 85 yards on 17 carries. He also had touchdown runs of 5, 21 and 24 yards.
Top players for Liberty (0-2, 0-1 Class C) included quarterback Chris Lake, who completed six passes for 136 yards, and Brandon Tompkins, who impressed fans along both sidelines with his determined rushing despite a trick knee that popped out many times.
Bulldog running back Dan Figueroa had 17 carries for 175 yards, including a 14-yard TD. Fellow senior running back Nick Mootz picked up 44 yards on eight carries for SW (2-0, 2-0 Class C).
Liberty was led by Brandon Tompkins, who picked up 157 yards on 24 carries.
Early in the first quarter, the Bulldogs came up short on a fourth-and-one play, giving the Indians possession deep in their own territory. On the first snap, Lake completed a pass to Tompkins near midfield. Moments later, Tompkins rushed for back-to-back first downs. On the next snap, he appeared headed for a long gain, only to be pounced upon by a pack of Bulldogs.
Reimer scored the game’s first touchdown on a 21-yard quarterback keeper. The PAT kick cleared the uprights, and SW was up 7-0 with 2:21 remaining in the first quarter.
After Steven Hewlett sacked Reimer, he replied with a 5-yard TD run to give SW a 14-0 lead with 3:17 remaining in the second quarter.
At 2:22, Lake connected with Rivera for a 51-yard TD pass to put the Indians on the scoreboard. The extra-point kick cleared the bar by about a foot, cutting the Bulldogs’ advantage to 14-7.
On the opening drive of the second half, Tompkins racked up three consecutive first downs, and Hinton advanced the ball down to the 2-yard line. After Tompkins was stopped at the 1, Hinton blasted across the goal line with 4:39 to go in the third quarter.
A bad snap foiled the PAT kick, but the Indians had narrowed the gap to 14-13.
On the kickoff return, Rivera stopped Figueora, who once again had his eyes on the end zone. At 2:17, Figueroa scored on a 14-yard run, but the PAT kick was partially blocked, putting the Bulldogs up 20-13.
In the fourth quarter, Reimer completed a pass to Mike Schmidt in the end zone. But the touchdown was negated by a penalty for an illegal block below the waist.
Reimer tried another pass to Figueora near the goal line, but it was broken up by Lake and Rivera.
After Liberty picked up a crucial first down on a pass completion to Hewlett late in the final quarter, that drive was cut down in its tracks an by an illegal block, and then 15 yards were tacked on to the original penalty for unsportsman like conduct.
With 33 seconds remaining, Reimer scored his third TD of the afternoon on a 24-yard QB keeper. The PAT was wide to the right, but SW had a 26-13 win.
“I think my guys played four quarters, but Sullivan West is a great football team,” Liberty Coach Jim O’Connor said. “Brad Reimer and company are a force to be reckoned with.
“Sullivan West plays good, hard, clean football,” he added. “They’re a class act.”
O’Connor said he wished for 10 of Brandon Tompkins and noted that Lake is improving at QB every game.
“Those couple of pass plays put them back in the ball game, and that Tompkins kid ran hard,” SW Coach Ron Bauer said.
LCS grad Trevor Tompkins receives game ball
After the game, 2008 Liberty Central School graduate Trevor Tompkins was honored at a midfield ceremony.
Trevor, who is the older brother of Brandon Tompkins, received the game ball.
In addition, it was announced that Trevor, who was last season’s Liberty team MVP and a Section IX Football All-Star, had traded in his high school jersey for a U.S. Marine Corps uniform. He reports to Parris Island in a few days.
“My grandfather was a Marine, and one of the dreams and goals of my life has always been to be a Marine,” Trevor Tompkins said of following the legacy set down by John G. Tompkins II, who served during the Vietnam War.
“I think this country needs true leadership, and I have that,” Trevor added. “I want to show the rest of the country I have that leadership.”