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Sports returns!

Electrifying runs such as this one by Tri-Valley junior Cody Exner had the Bears fans on their feet. Exner scored on a 39-yard gallop and nearly broke free on a kickoff for another score. He was stopped by a shoestring tackle from Sawyer Erlwein.

By Richard A. Ross
September 8, 2011

GRAHAMSVILLE, NY — Schools had yet to open, but the first weekend in September brought the debut of the 2011 football season as Sullivan County teams took to the gridiron on September 2 and 3. With the falls sports season soon to be rife with cross-country, soccer, cheerleading, volleyball and tennis action, sports returns to The River Reporter to keep readers up to speed on what is going on.

The most compelling game of the first week featured another epic clash between rivals Sullivan West and Tri-Valley. This non-league set-to marked the eleventh meeting of the two teams since the Westies dropped down to Class C in 2005. Staged under a broiling sun, this game was a captivating debut to a season destined to provide thrills galore. Last year, Tri-Valley spoiled Sullivan West’s homecoming with a non-league win and went on to the playoffs where they lost to Burke in the semifinals. Sullivan West did not make it to the post season in 2010.

This game was riveting from the start. Tri-Valley took advantage of an early Dawgs’ fumble to unleash junior speedster Cody Exner for a 39-yard TD. On the ensuing kickoff, Sullivan West senior Kitt Borowski returned the ball 70 yards to the end zone. Bears’ quarterback Joe Mickelson hit fellow senior Greg Swarthout with a 39-yard strike for the 14-7 halftime lead. The Westies came alive in the second half against a tiring Bears squad as Borowski scored two more times with runs of seven and five yards. Strident defense by Sullivan West nixed Tri-Valley’s hopes for a late comeback as the Bulldogs (1-0) won 21-7. Exner led the Bears (0-1) with 103 yards on 11 carries. Borowski had six carries for 68 yards.

Liberty and Livingston Manor/Roscoe also posted wins as the LM/R Devil Cats rolled over Fallsburg 43-8 on September 2. Senior Troy Correa scored three touchdowns as he racked up 138 yards on six carries and returned an interception 55 yards for the score. Fallsburg is still in search of its first win as it now embarks on its second grid season. Liberty thumped visiting Delhi 52-22 behind the strong running of Anthony Covington, who scored on runs of 33, five and 45 yards. Monticello lost to Pine Bush 40-7 with its only score coming on a Shane Jackson 80-yard kickoff return. Eldred was victimized by the newly merged Hancock/Delhi football team to the tune of 35-6.

Next week’s encounters—September 9: Chester at Sullivan West, Liberty at LM/R, Tri-Valley at Pine Plains, Eldred at Fallsburg and Monticello hosting Minisink Valley. All games are non-league except for Tri-Valley vs. Pine Plains.