By Rob Potter
ROSCOE The visiting Sullivan West Bulldogs used a strong defensive performance and 131 rushing yards from Tom Mootz to spark a 33-0 victory over the Livingston Manor/Roscoe Devilcats on Saturday afternoon in a non-league football game at Roscoe Central School.
SW (3-2) forced four turnovers as it prevented the Devilcats from reaching the end zone. Two of those turnovers were interceptions by senior defensive back Ben Kline. The other turnovers were fumbles, one of which was recovered by senior linebacker Tom Mootz.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Mootz put the Bulldogs on the board with 2:06 remaining in the quarter when he took a handoff from quarterback E.J. Franskevicz and ran up the middle for a 40-yard touchdown. Sawyer Erlwein then kicked the extra point to make it a 7-0 game.
After forcing LMR (2-3) to punt from deep in its own territory, the Bulldogs scored again. Franskevicz threw a 13-yard TD pass to Erlwein with 17 seconds to go in the quarter. Erlwein’s extra-point kick was successful, which increased the SW advantage to 14-0.
The Bulldogs recovered a fumble on the subsequent kickoff at the LMR 26-yard line. Three plays later, with 10 seconds elapsed in the second quarter, Mootz ran for a 24-yard touchdown. Erlwein added the extra point, extending the SW lead to 21-0.
Two minutes later, Kline intercepted his first pass to stop the Devilcats and give the Bulldogs a first down at midfield. It only took the Bulldogs three plays to convert the turnover into points. With 8:55 on the clock, Jared Meola ran 7 yards for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 27-0 advantage.
SW scored its final touchdown of the afternoon on a 27-yard pass from Franskevicz to Zach O’Connor with 6:27 remaining in the half.
“We had some early turnovers that helped us,” SW Coach Ron Bauer said. “I thought our defense did a good job. Offensively, we ran the ball fairly well. Tom Mootz ran the ball well and he played good defense. And we were able to get everybody in the game, which is always good.”
While pleased to earn a victory over the Devilcats, Bauer noted that his team will host a key Section IX Class C Division II game against Liberty on Thursday evening. The winner of the game will earn a spot in the Class C semifinals.
“We need to be ready for that game and keep playing well,” Bauer said. “That is a big game.”
Mootz led the Bulldogs’ offense against LMR by rushing for 131 yards on nine carries. Franskevicz ran the ball seven times for 53 yards and completed 3 of 6 passes for 56 yards.
Mootz paced the SW defense with 18 tackles and a quarterback sack. Scott Erdman had 12 tackles and two sacks.
“To their credit, Sullivan West took advantage of our turnovers,” LMR Co-Coach Fred Ahart said. “That’s the mark of a good football team, taking advantage of turnovers. And Sullivan West is a good football team.
“From our point of view, we need to eliminate those turnovers,” Ahart added. “We need to play better and get rid of those turnovers in our next game, which is against Ellenville on Thursday night.”
Chad Rosario led the LMR offense by running for 68 yards on 14 carries. Mike Mills ran 12 times for 35 yards and Andrew Cummings and Joe Fredenburg each ran for 6 yards.
Mills completed 3 of 7 passes for 33 yards. Cummings caught one pass for 8 yards, Fredenburg caught one pass for 5 yards and Brandon Pagan caught one pass for 20 yards.