By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON Early in the second quarter of Friday night’s Class C Division I football game, the Sullivan West Bulldogs found themselves trailing the visiting Ellenville Blue Devils, 14-0.
But SW scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the quarter to knot the score at 14-14 at halftime. The Bulldogs then scored a pair of TDs in the second half and held the Blue Devils scoreless to record a 26-14 victory.
Ellenville (0-3, 0-1 Class C) grabbed the momentum and the lead in the first quarter. After giving his team possession of the ball deep in SW territory with an excellent return of the opening kickoff, senior running back Tyler O’Bryant went up the middle for a 2-yard touchdown with 9:54 left in the quarter. O’Bryant then ran for the 2-point conversion to give the Blue Devils an 8-0 advantage.
With 9:57 to go in the second quarter, O’Bryant ran for a 10-yard TD to extend Ellenville’s lead to 14-0.
SW (2-1, 1-0 Class C) got on the scoreboard with 3:21 remaining until halftime. On third-and-goal from the Ellenville 5-yard line, senior quarterback E.J. Franskevicz threw a touchdown pass to his younger brother Cody Franskevicz. Sawyer Erlwein then booted the ball through the uprights on the extra-point kick to cut Ellenville’s lead to 14-7.
The Bulldogs evened the score at 14-14 on the final play of the first half. E.J. Franskevicz threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Erlwein as the scoreboard clock reached 00.0. Erlwein then made the extra-point kick.
Once the third quarter began, SW wasted little time in taking the lead. The Bulldogs received the kickoff and proceeded to put together a five-play, 64-yard scoring drive.
E.J. Franskevicz connected with Tom Mootz on a 34-yard touchdown pass to give the Bulldogs a 20-14 advantage.
SW got an insurance TD in the fourth quarter. SW recovered a Blue Devils’ fumble to set up a first-and-10 at the Ellenville 38-yard line with 5:38 to go in the quarter. On first down, sophomore running back Jared Meola ran right and made his way to the end zone. The 2-point conversion pass was unsuccessful, but SW had a 26-14 lead.
Ellenville tried to respond with a touchdown on its ensuing possession. The Blue Devils moved from midfield to the SW 6-yard line. But Bulldogs’ senior defensive end Todd Roeder recovered an Ellenville fumble on fourth down to stop the drive.
SW then picked up two first downs and ran out the clock.
“They were bigger than us, but we blocked well,” SW Coach Ron Bauer said. “Even the officials told us we did a good job of blocking tonight. We had some great play calling by [Assistant] Coach [Kurt] Buddenhagen. That was a big catch by [Sawyer] Erlwein right before the half.
“We played good, sound football tonight,” Bauer added. “It was a big win, but we’ve got another one next week at [James I.] O’Neill and then against Liberty. We need to keep getting better.”
The Bulldogs ran the ball 32 times for 237 yards. Mootz, E.J. Franskevicz and Meola picked up the majority of those yards. Mootz carried the ball 17 times for 90 yards, Franskevicz ran seven times for 64 yards and Meola rushed five times for 63 yards.
In addition, Erlwein ran twice for 19 yards.
E.J. Franskevicz completed 9 of 20 passes for 162 yards. He threw three touchdowns and one interception.
Catching those passes were Erlwein (three receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown), Kitt Borowski (2-36 yards), Cody Franskevicz (2-17 yards, one TD), Meola (1-17 yards) and Mootz (1-17 yards, one TD).
Mootz led the Bulldogs’ defense with 17 tackles and two quarterback sacks. Erlwein made 16 tackles and Roeder had 10 tackles, one quarterback sack and one fumble recovery.
“Inexperience and mistakes,” Ellenville Coach Tony Borriello replied when he was asked about the game. “We have some guys out here playing for the first time. We dropped some balls. Six seconds left [in the first half] and we don’t drop back into the needed coverage. It’s been our story this year. We keep giving teams chances and let teams back into the game.”
Borriello noted that his team did some things well.
“We ran the better tonight than we did all year,” he said.
O’Bryant finished the game with 114 yards rushing on 21 carries. Teammate Gary Gaeta ran 11 times for 53 yards.
Ellenville junior quarterback Robert Borriello completed 2 of 4 passes for 45 yards. Adrian Echols caught both of those passes.
Robert Borriello and Echols were also among the Blue Devils’ leaders on defense.
Echols made an interception in the end zone. Robert Borriello made eight tackles, three of which were solo tackles.
Justin Rose also contributed to the Blue Devils’ defensive effort. He had seven tackles, three of them solo.