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Critical juncture

Liberty’s Olivia Racette celebrates after getting the ball by Sullivan West defenders and its keeper Lexi Feinman with 4:34 gone by in the first overtime period. Liberty went on to score twice more for the crucial Division IV win which evened their league record at 2-2. Liberty went on to defeat Fallsburg in the Van Etten Tournament title game by the score of 2-1 to improve to 4-3 overall.

By Richard Ross
October 2, 2013

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — In the brief lifespan of the fall season, there soon arrives that moment of critical urgency that divides the diverging road of potential future success from that sultry path destined for the disappointment of no postseason play. For the Sullivan West football team, this past weekend’s disappointing 51-14 road division loss to Millbrook makes this week’s Friday night home-division encounter with Liberty that do-or-die moment of truth. Hoping to spoil the Blazers’ inauguration of its new field this past weekend, Sullivan West was confident that it could upset Millbrook and put itself in the position of only needing to win either against Liberty or Tri-Valley to secure a postseason berth. Now the pressure is on in a game that will define the season for the Dawgs’ (1-2, O-1 Class C Division II) season.

This will be the first league game for Liberty (2-2, 0-0 Class C Division II). The Indians, who bested Ellenville 41-30, are Sullivan West’s greatest rival. Two years ago, the Westies prevented Liberty from reaching the playoffs with a 21-20 OT win. Last year, Sullivan West beat Liberty in a non-league game. Both teams made it to the playoffs, but both were beaten by O’Neill, which downed the Dawgs in the semifinal before garnering their second straight Class C crown with a win over Liberty in the championship game. Liberty had ousted Millbrook in the semifinals, and they will host the Blazers on October 12. The Indians know that a loss to Sullivan West would make that game against Millbrook 4-0 (2-0 Class C Division II) a do-or-die affair. Millbrook is looking to avenge last year’s loss enroute to a playoff run they hope will yield a title. Sullivan West needed its ‘A’ game against mighty Millbrook, but instead the Bulldogs unveiled a series of miscues that turned the game into an early rout. Westie junior Andrew Stabbert was one of the bright spots of the otherwise gloomy affair, as he rushed for 193 yards on 26 carries and scored the Bulldogs’ second touchdown, which came with under a minute to play in the game. He also recorded eight tackles, one fewer than defensive leader Zach O’Connor, who had scored the team’s first TD on a 25-yard pass from quarterback Richard Shevak in the second quarter. Devin Mirch had eight tackles. Details of the sad outcome can be found in the tale “Inauguration Ball” on www.sportsinsightsny.com.