By Ted Waddell
KINGSTON November 13, 2007 You know you’re going to have a tough day on the gridiron when you go up against a team that going into the game has a 21-game winning streak and since 2001 has racked up a record of 77-3.
Not to mention being ranked the number one high school football squad in the state.
In Saturday afternoon’s state Class C quarterfinals at Dietz Memorial Stadium, the Bears of Tri-Valley (7-4) were mauled 33-0 by the Dobbs Ferry Eagles (10-0), in a game that showcased a lot of heart on both sides on the bench.
After stopping the Bears’ opening drive, the Eagles got on the board at 6:54, when QB Trevor Saunders hooked up with Robert Alexander for a 15-yard scoring play. The PAT cleared the uprights, putting the Eagles up 7-0.
At 10:20 of the second quarter, Saunders completed a 10-yard TD pass to Frank Reiser. The PAT was flubbed, but Dobbs Ferry led 13-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, TV’s Kevin Drown took it back to the Dobbs Ferry 43, but the drive stalled, forcing a punt.
At 4:44 Devonte Brailsford scored a TD for the Eagles. The PAT was good, and Dobbs Ferry was in the driver’s seat, up 20-0 at the half.
Early in the third quarter, Dobbs Ferry’s Frank Scattaretico broke around to the left side of the Bears D-Line, taking it down for a first down at the TV 20 yard line.
On the next snap, Brailsford carried it down for a first-and-goal at the 9, and then down to the 4 yard line.
At 9:30, the Eagles scored again. The PAT split the uprights, and Dobbs Ferry was up 27-0.
Scattaretico destroyed the Bears’ defense with a 42-yard run, setting up a first-and-10 at the 8 before he was pushed out of bounds by Sean Drown.
Matt Higbie waltzed into the end zone at 6:55, but Matt Goldweber’s PAT was deflected near the line of scrimmage.
The Eagles were up 33-0, a score that stood until the final whistle.
“It was a tough, physical game, the way high school football should be played,” said Chris Wagner, second year coach of the Eagles.
He took over the helm last year after predecessor Jim McKenzie was stricken with a fatal heart attack.
“Dobbs Ferry is synonymous with high school football, and I’m just very lucky to be part of it,” Wagner said.
He credited the effort of the Bears.
“Tri-Valley played very tough, never gave up at any point in time and made us work for everything we earned,” said Wagner.
Bears coach John Rusin summed up the game.
“I think those guys are the number one ranked team in the state for a reason, they did a great job executing and have unparalleled team speed… Dobbs Ferry is very organized and extremely well coached.”
“My guys hit them as hard as they could, and I am very proud of their effort, but sometimes you do everything you can and it’s just not enough,” said Rusin.
During the post game huddle, there were few tears and comforting hands on shoulders from the coaches, and a few words from their coach as he recalled being their age.
“I thought I knew what pride was, but now I really know what it is,” said Rusin.
Before the game, a group of Tri-Valley cheerleaders hung red and blue paper letters spelling out “It’s the Bears Season” from the fence above the stands.
After the game, the letters still fluttered in a chilly breeze, and the Bears had to wait until next year for another shot at the brass ring at Dietz.