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And never the twain shall meet

Tri-Valley’s Autumn Bender (18:58.42) finished 12th as the county’s top girl finisher at the OCIAA Cross-Country Championships. The Lady Bears were sixth overall out of 18 competing schools.

By Richard Ross
November 1, 2012

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — In describing the antithetical fate of Sullivan County rivals Liberty and Sullivan West with regard to their respective Section 9 Class C football semifinal playoff games, what better words can be found than those of Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” This is the opening cadence to “A Tale of Two Cities.” By dint of Liberty’s stupendous 35-18 win over Millbrook at Dietz Stadium, the 7-2 Indians advance to the title game on November 3 in Middletown to play defending champion James I. O’Neill.

On a far more somber note, Sullivan West lost to O’Neill 39-14. The Bulldogs were sullied by the Raiders’ aerial bombardment with their season abruptly ended at 6-3. Much had been written about a potential title encounter between Liberty and Sullivan West, two teams with plenty of unfinished business at least from Liberty’s vantage point, not to mention scores to settle from last year and this. But the neighboring bragging rights will now have to wait until basketball season’s “Revelry and Rivalry.”

As for football, though, Rudyard Kipling said it best: “Oh, east is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet.” Sullivan West failed in its bid to reach the title game for the first time since capturing its third straight crown in 2006 and it was clear from the outset that the Bulldogs’ prime defensive agenda of stopping Section 9 rushing leader Jerry Nasi in his tracks was a bit one-sided after O’Neill junior QB Keegan West unleashed a 75-yard TD strike to junior wideout Malik Chambers on the Raiders’ first possession. By day’s end, the game’s Offensive MVP would uncork five lethal missiles, four of which zeroed in on a wide-open Chambers, as O’Neill built a 39-0 lead over Sullivan West. The normally prolific Bulldogs failed to muster any consistent offense prior to garnering two TDs in the game’s final five minutes. Those shut-out-saving tallies came on a lengthy run by Richard Shevak and a two-yard reception from Cody Franskevicz. Sawyer Erlwein ran it in for the two-point conversion, but the final scoring flurry did little to alleviate the heartache of having the season ended so abruptly. It was the swan song for seniors Erlwein, Brad Hemmer, Joe Schroeder, Scott Erdman, Scott Herberty and Tyler Bernitt. The details of Sullivan West’s denouement can be found on www.sportsinsightsny.com, while the accompanying photo album is housed at www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com for all to see.