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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Sports > High School >> Football

Section 9 Eight-Man Football title game

With heads held high: Powerful Pawling stifles Roscoe/Livingston Manor for its first grid title

Apr 26, 2021

By Richard Ross - reporter/photographer

Defensive MVP Alaniz Ruiz (left) upends Pawling running back Joseph Castellano. Ruiz had 18 tackles and 12 assists to lead his team's defensive verve.
Pawling 34
Roscoe 0

PAWLING -- Hats off to the Roscoe/Livingston Manor Blue Devils.
They had one heck of a season and had hoped to punctuate their undefeated ledger with a Section 9 Eight-Man football title. That hope was dashed as they ran into a buzzsaw, namely the Pawling Tigers.
The quaking voice of senior Brenden Ryder addressed the assembled team following the 34-0 defeat. But that dejection notwithstanding, this season will be remembered with jubilation and fondness, not with the disappointment of losing to a team much better equipped to carry off the trophy.
No doubt the late Coach Fred Ahart would have had the most encouraging words for his squad that would have emphasized their success and put their defeat in perspective as they move forward in their lives.

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you capable of becoming,” averred John Wooden the legendary coach of UCLA men's basketball who marshaled his teams to ten national championships.
For the Roscoe/Livingston Manor Blue Devils, this was unquestionably their most successful season defined by dominating wins over all of the teams in their division and an undefeated record coming into the title game on the heels of three consecutive shutouts of their league opponents.
In all arenas of life, football included, there are ascending levels of talent. R/LM proved themselves to be far superior to their regular season competition, but they encountered a team that played at an entirely different level. Pawling's nexus of strength resides to a great extent in its junior quarterback Will McCarthy.
McCarthy who scored five TD's in last week's win over Spackenkill, and this week turned his attention to Roscoe which had authored the most stingy defense in its division. By day's end McCarthy would run for three TD's and pass for another, a 75-yard strike to his favorite target and Pawling's most lethal threat, Farleigh Dickenson-bound senior captain Aidan Clowry who hauled in seven receptions for 246 yards and added an interception to his glowing game, all of which earned him the Offensive MVP.
R/LM's Alaniz Ruiz was the game's Defensive MVP with 18 tackles and 12 assists. The firebrand seemed to be everywhere trying his hardest to slow down Pawling's air and ground assault which turned out to be a mammoth task.
With the absence of senior standout Connor Gorr due to a banged-up knee and strained hamstring, the pressure was on others to step up their game. RLM won the toss and elected to defer. On their first series, McCarthy showed his passing excellence with a 50-yard strike to Clowry followed by a 25-yard pass to wideout Alex Rida.
McCarthy ran in from the one at 6:11 for early 6-0 lead. Two Pawling fumbles by running back Joseph Castellano recovered by Andrew and Alaniz Ruiz gave R/LM added opportunities but Pawling's defense seemed to have a sixth sense about the Blue Devils' offensive inclinations.
Pawling would add 14 points in the second quarter with more of the same combination of runs by Castelllano, catches by Clowry and McCarthy's wily play. The agile QB scored both TD's which with the second TD of the quarter gave Pawling a 20-0 lead at the half. R/LM was plagued by interceptions as the Tigers had been schooled perfectly on the Blue Devils' predilection to throw over the middle following a fake handoff.
By day's end Pawling had picked off five passes, three of them coming from Brenden Ryder and one each from Aaron Steele and Alaniz Ruiz. Pawling added another 14 poiints in the fourth quarter. The first came off a Castellano interception that he returned 98 yards for the score. McCarthy ran in the conversion. Clowry's 75-yard TD reception from McCarthy iced his stellar day and capped off the win at 34-0.
All in all, Pawling's menacing defense held the Blue Devils to just 49 yards of rushing and 80 yards of passing for a total offensive output of 129 yards.
For Pawling which had years of struggles as one of the smaller teams In Section One, the eight-man allure of Section 9 brought them over in the league's debut year of 2018. For the past two years they were eliminated in the semifinals by Pine Plains and Tri-Valley respectively but this year their time finally arrived.
This was the swan song for R/LM seniors AJ Ruiz, Alaniz Ruiz, Aaron Steele, KJ Feeney, David Diaz, Connor Gorr, Brenden Ryder and Dalton Powell. This group has been together going back to youth football days.
Coach Mike Hill and his assistants Dave Irwin and Amy Hill are to be commended for an outstanding job mentoring the team, taking the reins after Fred Ahart's 51-year legendary tenure. His wife Becky was on on hand along with Section 9 Eight Man Football Coordinator David Franskevicz to hand out the post-game awards.
“I saw them [Pawling] on film and I knew they were very good,” noted Hill. “They're very dynamic. Aidan Clowry was the difference maker. When Connor went down that was a big factor. This doesn't take away from a great season.”
Roscoe finished the season at 4-0-1 by Section 9 Accounting, But truly their record was 5-1 counting the non-league win over Sullivan West.
By all accounts and in every way, this was a “Devil” of a season.

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