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Scrimmages offer preview of Week One gridiron action

Richard A. Ross and Anthony Morgano
Posted 9/9/22

LAKE HUNTINGTON – When it comes to getting ready for the football season each fall, the relatively short time between the first day of practice on August 26 and the first week of games …

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Football goes live!

Scrimmages offer preview of Week One gridiron action


LAKE HUNTINGTON – When it comes to getting ready for the football season each fall, the relatively short time between the first day of practice on August 26 and the first week of games beginning September 9 demands an intense time of preparation and learning. Part and parcel of that preseason period are scrimmages wherein teams can test out their offense, defense and special teams strategies which they have implemented thus far. For the players, while it’s not the first contact they’ve encountered, it is the first against players other than their own teammates. 

For the defending division champion Sullivan West squad, the chance to re-engage Spackenkill, the team that bested them in the title game last November was an interesting preview of two of the favored contenders this season. The match up with Eldred offered a first look at the revamped Yellowjackets under coaches Sean and Brian McAveney and a preview of a week three clash at Eldred under the lights. Originally, the scrimmage was also to feature Roscoe/Livingston Manor but a shortage of players prior to the fray caused the Blue Devils to withdraw. They have since acquired enough players to face their first week opponent, a clash at home versus Spackenkill. 

Sullivan West will face Pine Plains tonight in its season opener. The Bulldogs are regrouping after losing Sullivan County Democrat Co-Players of the Year in quarterback Gavin Hauschild and state standout lineman Chris Campanelli. Veteran lineman Dillan Hanslmaier and Rodney Wilson will lead the retooled line. 

Senior Jaymes Buddenhagen took over the QB spot and immediately showed his throwing prowess and mobility. Veteran running backs Andrew Hubert and Rally Cruz will be key cogs in the offense behind the revamped line. An unfortunate preseason loss of junior Jacob Hubert to a season-ending concussion is a big blow to the Bulldogs on both sides of the ball, but the team looks to close ranks and move forward despite that mishap. Max Ebert was impressive in his pre-scrimmage punting. Sullivan West came out with great enthusiasm and the team looks quite promising. Their goal line defense against Spackenkill held the Spartans on four consecutive plays. 

All of our local teams are playing non-league games in the first two weeks before diving into the league season. Eldred, however, has a bye the first week which will give them another week to prepare for the gridiron encounters to come. They will travel to Onteora in week two. At the scrimmage with only three teams, one team had to sit out as the others alternated putting their offense and defense on the field against one of the other two opponents. Eldred opened with its offense against Spackenkill and immediately it became apparent that the Yellowjackets had a lot more going for them than they did a year ago. With senior Sean Fuller calling the signals and strong running game by Eldred backs, coupled with the fine receiving of freshman Trai Kaufmann, Eldred showed its ability to move the ball against the Spartans’ defense even though they were missing a key veteran force in Dominick Furlipa who was not present for the scrimmage. Sullivan West’s defense looked strong and quick against Spackenkill and so it went as the teams continued their work all morning as coaches looked on and offered advice on things they saw that needed improving. Players rotated in and out to give everyone a chance to work on what they have learned. 

Eldred Coach Sean McAveney had this take on his team’s performance: “I thought the kids played hard, and I was proud of their performance. With that being said, we have a ton of work to do before we play our first game. We have a lot of mistakes to correct, but I am confident that this group of players will push themselves and continue to get better”.

Sullivan West Assistant Coach Justin Diehl noted, “We looked like we were up to speed on defense, but we seemed a little sluggish on offense. We feel good going into week one. We just need to get caught up to speed with our new offense looks and clean up a few things on both sides of the ball.”

Tri-Valley hosted a scrimmage of their own, inviting Fallsburg, Onteora and Ellenville for the pre-season practice. Early in the day, it was apparent that both the Bears and the Comets had been hard at work preparing for the upcoming season.

Both Fallsburg and Tri-Valley had underwhelming seasons last year, struggling mightily against the Bulldogs and Blue Devils (both Livingston Manor/Roscoe and Ellenville). Fallsburg’s offense was firing on all cylinders, their passing prowess on full display against the three defenses they squared off against.

Tri-Valley showed their grit, fighting for extra yards on offense and containing well on the defensive side of the ball. Senior quarterback Austin Hartman was an integral part of the offense throughout the day, while Dylan Poley and Ian Mullen also had some impressive positive gains.

After special teams and 10-minute offenses by all four teams, each offense got the opportunity to run a 70-yard two minute offense drill. Tri-Valley’s offense was first up, and after being held in check for the first three downs, Austin Hartman broke loose on 4th and 5 for a 65-yard touchdown run. Both Ellenville and Onteora were unable to score during their two-minute drills. Fallsburg was the last up, and needed just one play for a 70-yard passing touchdown from quarterback Isaiah Young.

Fallsburg will open their season at home tonight against Onteora, and the Comets will look to get off to a good start on the season.

Tri-Valley hosts Dover tomorrow, and the Bears will have the chance to put their hard work to the test against the Dragons.

Livingston Manor/Roscoe and Spackenkill square off tomorrow afternoon as well, and it will be Roscoe’s first game action since their playoff loss to the Spartans last year. The Blue Devils, who graduated 11 seniors last year, will also be playing without the additional players from Downsville. 

The top two teams in each division will face off in the football semifinals the last weekend in October. The winner of that fray will go on to the title game which will be held again at Spackenkill against the winner of that division. 

On the 11-man side of things, Monticello will look to bounce back from their season opening defeat at the hands of Rondout Valley. They will be on the road at Wallkill tonight.

Liberty will open their season against O’Neill on Friday night before taking on Monticello next Saturday. 

See the September 13 issue of the Sullivan County Democrat for a recap of the first week’s games. 


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