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Hot potato: Turnover, penalty-ridden, 0-0 deadlock ends with late SW surge over Roscoe

Richard A. Ross - Reporter/Photographer
Posted 9/30/19

Sullivan West 22

Roscoe 0

LIVINGSTON MANOR—Incredulous, uncanny, bizarre and frustrating.

Those adjectives aptly describe the nearly 40 minutes of scoreless football evinced in a vital …

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Hot potato: Turnover, penalty-ridden, 0-0 deadlock ends with late SW surge over Roscoe

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Sullivan West 22

Roscoe 0

LIVINGSTON MANOR—Incredulous, uncanny, bizarre and frustrating.

Those adjectives aptly describe the nearly 40 minutes of scoreless football evinced in a vital eight-man football division fray between Roscoe and Sullivan West wherein Murphy's Law prevailed: If something could go wrong, it most assuredly did. That led to a lengthy stalemate finally broken by Sullivan West in the fourth quarter enroute to a 22-0 victory. By game's end an unfathomable 12 turnovers and 15 penalties had defined the encounter.

The back and forth fumbles and the tsunami of penalties that occurred reminded this writer of the children's game Hot Potato, wherein the object is to get rid of the ball as quickly as you can, tossing it to someone else, who is keen on doing the same. If you drop it you're out. The last one holding the ball wins.

And Hot Potato it was.

Finally, towards game's end, to the great relief of the SW Bulldog fans versus the hair-pulling reaction of the Roscoe Blue Devil mavens, Sullivan West prevailed.

But not before the nightmare of that plethora of miscues in the game might have been summed up as “Action by Infraction,” “Fumble Bumble” and “Interception Rejection.” The “Mishap Bowl” neared its end when Sullivan West senior Gabe Campanelli intercepted a Dalton Powell pass with 8:26 to go in the game and returned it to the Blue Devils' six. Two plays later the big bruiser barreled across the goal line to break the deadlock. That unfathomable 12th turnover of the game, a back and forth series of mishaps and failed chances, would prove to be the break each team had been hoping to get to marshal the much-needed league win.

With four of the five teams in the division slated to qualify for the playoffs, neither squad wanted to be consigned to the bottom rung of the standings.

Adding credence to the adage of “better late than never,” in those final eight plus minutes of a sweltering fall afternoon, Sullivan West 1-3 (1-1 OCIAA), turned a three and a half quarter 0-0 gridlock into a 22-0 victory. The Dawgs failed on their first conversion attempt. Consequently, Roscoe 0-3 (0-1 OCIAA) hoped to score and add either a PAT or two-point conversion and subsequent stringent defense to pull out the win on Livingston Manor's homecoming/senior day.

But Sullivan West's defense, which had kept the Blue Devils not only scoreless all day, but also bereft of completed passes all afternoon, bore down with even greater intensity sensing a potential victory. When Bulldog sophomore Tarrell Spencer, a rarely used weapon in the otherwise mostly predictable SW offense, unleashed a 65-yard TD run with 2:36 remaining in the game, you could see the body language of the two opposing teams on display in sharp contrast: chest bumping, high-fiving and smiles vs the slumping shoulders of disappointing frustration that followed Campanelli's two-point conversion run, which had boosted the Westies' lead to 14-0. Campanelli, who had left the game for a time after a teeth-gnashing hit near the sideline, was revived to fierce fervor by the pep talk given by Sullivan West nurse Bev Franskevicz who minced no words reminding Campanelli of his role as a senior leader, and a much-needed cog in the Bulldog machinery on both sides of the ball.

To wit, #13 [Campanelli] who had been feeling down on his luck, returned with a vengeance to propel his team to victory. His key interception which joined a bevy of others including those rendered by Roscoe's Alaniz Ruiz and Dalton Powell as well as Sullivan West's Joe Furlipa, was the timely tonic needed by his team to snap the frustrating stalemate. His two TD's and a pair of conversion runs proved once again, that in athletics, as well as in other arenas of life, it is often mind over matter.

Talent, size and experience are all fine attributes. But it is the addition of attitude and mindset that carry the day. One thing in common though held by all the onlookers throughout the strange afternoon, was that at some point, someone was going to make a play and that rare instance would probably determine the outcome. They were right.

For portions of the game Sullivan West had deployed sophomore quarterbacks Gavin Hauschild and Jason Lowe, both of whom had their trying moments reckoning with the speed and intensity of varsity football.

Roscoe Coach Fred Ahart, is now in his 51st year of football coaching. Forty-one of those he has served as head coach. “This was back and forth. Both teams played well on defense with a lot of turnovers. The big play was Gabe Campanelli's interception and resulting touchdown. That changed the game,” he noted. “We had a few chances and we had a great stop early in the game keeping them out of the endzone. We're a young team with only four seniors.

Roscoe hosts Ellenville 2-2 (2-0) next week in another key division tilt.

Sullivan West Coach Ron Bauer and Co-Head Coach JP Lang both felt the team played well defensively. “Offensively it's still a work in progress,” noted Lang. Bauer credited Campanelli's play. “He did a good job when we needed him. We made a lot of mistakes early. It was a good win and it gave the kids confidence that if they keep doing their job, things can pay off.” Sullivan West hosts Tri-Valley 2-1 (1-0) on October 4 in another vital division game.

Game Stats

Sullivan West -- Rushing: Terrel Spensor 89 yards on two carries; Gabe Campanelli 25 yards on nine carries. Passing: Gavin Hauschild 3-for-5 for 27 yards. Receiving: Campanelli 16 yards. Interceptions: Campanelli and Joe Furlipa.

Roscoe-Manor-Downsville -- Rushing: Isaiah Grace 53 yards on 13 carries; David Diaz 19 yards on six carries. Interceptions: Alaniz Ruiz and Dalton Powell.

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