LAKE HUNTINGTON –– “Leaders set the tone for their peers. Then peers look up to them and say:, they’re doing it, so I’m doing it too.” That quote from Chris …
LAKE HUNTINGTON – “Leaders set the tone for their peers. Then peers look up to them and say:, they’re doing it, so I’m doing it too.” That quote from Chris Bosh, former Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat NBA All-Star applies most strongly to the eclectic world of Eight-man football wherein the same personnel shine as leaders on both sides of the ball.
For the Sullivan West Bulldogs coming off an impressive win over Fallsburg, leadership was called upon to set the tone against league nemesis Ellenville, the one division team that beat SW last year in a cathartic overtime win after the Dawgs roared back from a 28-0 halftime deficit to tie the game only to lose it late in OT. As it would turn out, that infamous 28-point tally would be sufficient this time as the Dawgs bested the Blue Devils 28-16 to remain unbeaten in the league and clinch a playoff berth in the process.
After SW won the toss and elected to defer, it was the Dawgs iron curtain defense that set the tone when Ellenville used a QB keeper from junior Jacob Wright to ferret the ball on the first play of the game to the Dawgs’ 11. A SW facemask penalty advanced the ball halfway to the goal, but the stalwart defense held Ellenville out on four downs. Now it was the offense’s turn to further define the evening’s events. Taking over on their own two, they marched 98 yards deploying a variety of weaponry including the gritty running of Rally Cruz, with help from Andrew Hubert and Jaymes Buddenhagen (JB), a deft catch by Jakob Halloran and a one yard run by JB to marshal the 6-0 lead with only 43 seconds left in the opening stanza.
Penalties and defenses defined things as teams exchanged downs until EV fumbled a punt that was recovered by the Dawgs. Or so ruled the official closest to the play citing Ellenville’s Casmiro Pomales as never having had possession of the ball. That call was overturned by another official who claimed Pomales did indeed have possession. That could have been a game-turner and the SW sideline fumed at the reversal. That miscue led to EV taking an 8-6 lead as Wright connected with wideout Dylan Nero at 3:21 of the second quarter. Pomales blasted into the end zone running over a stalwart Adam Ernst for the conversion.
The feisty Dawgs answered back with a 35-yard TD pass from JB to Andrew Hubert. Buddenhagen ran in the conversion and the Dawgs took a 14-8 lead into halftime with the prospect of receiving the ball to start the third quarter.
Enter the heroics (again) of Andrew Hubert who returned the kickoff to the thirty. A subsequent Hubert carry brought it to the eight and then to the one where JB ran it in with 9:47 to go. The conversion failed but it was now 20-8. The defense continued to hold powerful Pomales at bay and took over on downs once again. Cruz continued to stave off tackles on great running and with 2:45 remaining Buddenhagen ran 30 yards for paydirt to make it 26-8 before punctuating his zesty night with yet another conversion. It was now at that magical number 28.
That score held up as the fourth quarter began. Ellenville’s defense caused a rare three and out by SW. That led to an impressive drive by the Blue Devils that culminated in another TD pass to Nero with 3:06 remaining. Pomales blasted through again for the conversion to bring the eventual final score to 28-16. Sullivan West improved to 4-1 (3-0) and now sits tied with T-V atop of the division. Ellenville is 1-4 (1-1) still hoping to win out over Fallsburg and Roscoe to secure the third playoff berth in the division.
SW Offensive Coordinator, Justin Diehl noted, “We got another great performance from our defense, and we are finally starting to see cohesiveness on our offense. We had only one negative yardage play aside from the penalties against a strong Ellenville defense. Our defense did an amazing job at limiting Pomsles and came up with some huge stops at key points in the game. We understand that the job isn’t finished, and we still have two very important home games left to play.”
SW stat line: Passing: Jaymes Buddenhagen 3/6/71 with one TD. Receiving: Andrew Hubert 1/35 and a TD; Jakob Halloran 1/6; Rally Cruz 1/30. Rushing: Buddenhagen 16/100 3TD’s, 2 conversions. Cruz: 13/103; Hubert 5/36. Defensive leaders: John Bernas 8.5 tackles, Halloran 7.5 tackles, Max Ebert 7 tackles, Dillan Hanslmaier six tackles. Next up: Livingston Manor/ Roscoe on October 14. Ellenville hosts Fallsburg.
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