By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG For Tri-Valley, Friday night’s 41-14 victory over Fallsburg kept their playoff hopes alive. For winless Fallsburg, there is no loss of hope.
“Everybody is working hard to get that first win,” Fallsburg Athletic Director Tim Bult said. “All of the players and coaches are working their tails off to improve and win a game.
“We don’t have a JV team, but our modified team is 2-1,” Bult added. “So that bodes well for the future.”
Bult noted that the number of players in the program is key to its success.
“We are having some problems with numbers,” he said. “We need more kids to come out for the program.
The Comets began playing football on the varsity level in September 2010 and are still looking for their first victory. They finished last season with an 0-9 record and are 0-7 this season.
Despite losing 16 straight games, there is optimism within the Fallsburg program.
Fallsburg Coach Adam Ramirez remains optimistic about the program’s future.
“We have very dedicated players,” he said. “We struggle with numbers, but all of the players on the team work very hard.
“We have a very young team,” Ramirez explained. “We have a large group of 10th graders. And we have some players who have never played football before. We have six seniors and this is the first year of football for three of them.”
Ramirez and his players are determined to be successful.
“We are going to keep working to get some wins,” he said. “It takes a while to build a successful program. This is only our second year. We are going to keep working to get there.”
Bears Lay “Ground” Work
Tri-Valley recorded 341 yards of total offense, 326 coming on the ground en route to the Section 1X Class C Division II victory played on a wet, soggy field at Morningside Park..
With the win, T-V (2-5, 2-1 Class C), will host Millbrook Friday night in a Class C Div. II elimination game. The winner will claim second place in the division and play Div. I regular season champion James I. O’Neill in a Class C semifinal game on Oct. 28.
“It’s a big game with the winner going to the playoffs,” Tri-Valley coach John Rusin said. “Millbrook Coach Sean Keenan is a good friend of mine and I know he will have his team ready. It’s going to be a great game.”
T-V scored two touchdowns in the first quarter against Fallsburg to grab the momentum and the lead. Greg Swarthout ran 13 yards for a touchdown with 8:37 remaining in the quarter and Joe Mickelson ran for a 9-yard TD with 12 seconds to go in the quarter.
Anthony Beale made the extra-point kick following both touchdowns as the Bears took a 14-0 advantage.
Fallsburg answered Mickelson’s TD immediately. On the subsequent kickoff, the Comets’ Russell Corley caught the ball at his own 15-yard line. After eluding a couple of tacklers, Corley sprinted to the end zone for an 85-yard touchdown return.
The two-point conversion failed, but the Comets had cut the T-V lead to 14-6.
Unfortunately for Fallsburg, the Bears responded with a touchdown of their own less than three minutes later. With 9:26 left in the second quarter, Swarthout threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Shatik Smith. Beale’s extra-point kick extended the T-V lead to 21-6.
Tyler Lopez ran for an 8-yard touchdown with 2:03 on the clock to give the Bears a 27-6 advantage at halftime.
T-V increased its lead to 41-6 in the third quarter thanks to a 53-yard touchdown run by Brendan Tierney and Mickelson’s 8-yard TD run.
With 2:03 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Comets scored their second touchdown of the night. Sebastian Sanchez ran into the end zone from the 2-yard line. Josh Carter then ran for the two-point conversion to make the score 41-14.
John Rusin was pleased with how well his team rushed the ball throughout the game.
“That’s what we do, we like to run the football,” he said. “We had good blocking from our line and we rushed for more than 300 yards.”
However, one of the members of the Bears’ offensive line, Fred Dumond, was injured in the second quarter and did not return to the game.
“Unfortunately, Fred got hurt tonight,” Rusin said. “He’s a starter for us on the offensive line and defensive line. He’s a big part of what we do.”
While Dumond’s status for the Bears’ game on Friday night against Millbrook is unknown, Rusin and his players are focused on the Blazers.
While noting that this is the third consecutive game his team has played in tough weather conditions, Ramirez praised the Bears.
“John [Rusin] is a good coach and he always has his team ready to go,” Ramirez said. “They played good football tonight.
“Our kids played well tonight,” he added. “We had that nice kickoff return for a touchdown which gave us some momentum. But then Tri-Valley came right back with a touchdown.”
As part of the Fallsburg Homecoming celebration, the seniors on the Comets’ football and cheerleading teams were honored before the game. Their names were announced to the crowd and they presented flowers to their parents on the field.
The seniors on the football team are: Doug Carter, Russell Corley, Benjamin Davis, Kyle Dillon, Kai Jackson, Alexander Mattheiu and Corey McKeon. The senior cheerleaders are Nicolle Freeman, Celia Garcia, Lindsay Malman and Francessca Torres.
Rushing: Joe Mickelson, 16 carries for 175 yards and two TDs; Brendan Tierney, 2-53, one TD; Greg Swarthout, 7-44, one TD; Jesus Lozada, 4-24; Tyler Lopez, 2-17, one TD; Cody Exner, 3-13.
Passing: Greg Swarthout 1-3, 15 yards, one TD
Receiving: Shatik Smith, 1-15, one TD.