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Hope and glory

Sullivan West senior keeper Gavin Owen goes up for one of his 16 saves in a loss to Fallsburg. Owen is regarded as one of the toughest keepers to get a ball by. His quick reflexes, diving ability and as shown here, his vertical leap make him tough to score on.

By Richard Ross
October 16, 2013

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — As we get older it is not uncommon to sometimes imagine that when we were young we failed to appreciate that special time in our lives. Thus, we project that in our youth we often sought to be older, anticipating all of the privileges and rewards that we believed would come with the advent of this age or that. Some adults attest to the adage that “Youth is wasted on the young.” But from the standpoint of this writer/photographer, who spends the lion’s share of his life chasing after teens in their athletic pursuits, I heartily disagree.

This week’s narrative focuses on the ongoing aspirations of teams and individual athletes still in pursuit of postseason glory, along with mention of teams that are no longer in the hunt. Their days are anything but sundered. Rather, I find their efforts have purpose, focus, and though they may not realize it now, will yield great long-term rewards, whether they find that golden medal or trophy at the end of the rainbow or not.

In football this week, Liberty put forth a gritty effort in a 30-14 loss to undefeated Millbrook (See www.sportsinsightsny story entitled “Eyes on the Prize.”) Last year, Liberty ousted Millbrook 35-18 the semifinals before losing to O’Neill 35-14 in the title game, so for the Blazers this was indeed a grudge match. By dint of this week’s tough defeat, Liberty, which stunned Sullivan West last week, will be the number-two seed out of Division II and will face Division One champion John S. Burke Catholic in the semifinals on November 2. Oddly, Burke will be Liberty’s final season opponent the week prior, down in the Eagles’ aerie. Liberty had its chances to beat powerful Millbrook but got off to a slow start, giving up huge TD runs to the Blazers, which put the Indians in a 22-0 hole by halftime. Liberty quarterback Quinn Jackson threw a 43-yard TD pass to Shakree Gibson. That and a two-yard TD run by Jericho Male were the only scores the Indians could muster, though they were knocking at the door often. The Indians came away knowing they could play with Millbrook should the teams meet in the title game, but it is Burke who has to be the focus first. Millbrook will play O’Neill in its semifinal.