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Tears and cheers

Photo by Nick Piatek, Liberty Independent, sportsinsightsny.com Tri-Valley’s Conor Walsh leaps skyward to haul in a 20-yard TD pass from Greg Swarthout in the Bears’ 28-7 semifinal loss to O’Neill. The duo is part of T-V’s cadre of 10 seniors.

By Richard A. Ross
November 3, 2011

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Postseason encounters bring their share of joy and sorrow as teams give their all in body, mind and spirit in the playoffs. A loss means an untimely end to a title quest and, for seniors, a tearful finale to their years of playing the sport they hold so dear. Loss is hard to reckon with, especially in the vulnerability of one’s youth.

For Class C Sullivan West and Tri-Valley, as well as Class A Monticello, their semifinal clashes against John S. Burke Catholic, James I. O’Neill and Cornwall, respectively, provided that doleful end just one game shy of playing for a Section 9 title. The Sullivan West Bulldogs had worked assiduously prior to their October 28 playoff clash with the Eagles, hoping for a victory that would advance them toward their first title since 2006. They lost title games in ’07 and ’08 to Tri-Valley and Ellenville, respectively. But fumbles, ineffective tackling and a lack of a potent offense led instead to a 24-7 defeat that concluded their season at 5-4. Their lone score was a product of a 10-play, 72-yard second-quarter drive when E.J. Franskevicz took it in from the one-yard line. Trailing 14-7 at the half and slated to receive the second half kickoff, the Bulldogs felt that the game was theirs for the taking. But an 85-yard punt return by Burke’s Patrick Joyner proved to be the fatal dagger. This was the swan song for seniors E.J. Franskevicz, Andrew Parsons, Chris Lang, Todd Roeder, Kitt Borowski, Charles Ciccione, Ben Kline and Tom Mootz. Mootz finished his season with 827 yards on 126 carries. Franskevicz had 504 on 99 carries and completed 31of 89 passes for 456 yards.

Tri-Valley (3-6) came up short in the other “C” war as they fell to O’Neill 28-7. The Bears led early on a 20-yard pass from QB Greg Swarthout to Conor Walsh and were tied 7-7 at the half. But fatigue and a lack of depth led to 21 unanswered points by the Raiders. Tri-Valley’s noble run ended lamentably but with class. Kudos to the team and its seniors Greg Swarthout, Joe Mickelson, Conor Walsh, Anthony Beale, Shawn Markle, Troy Rossi, Rafael Ramirez, Jonathan Edwards, Jameshenry Osterhoudt and Fred Dumond.