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LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — The home-team Bulldogs thought they had it made in the shade—if your idea of "shade" is a mist-shrouded evening in ankle deep mud—but then came the final frame.
On Saturday, October 6, the Sullivan West Bulldogs faced off against their eight-man football archrivals, the Bears of Tri-Valley, during the Dawgs homecoming game.
The Bulldogs took the first bite out of the scorebook at 10:38 as Henry Peters took it into the promised land with a 6-yard rush, but the 2-point conversion attempt never materialized.
At the 4:11 mark in the second frame, the Bears returned the favor by clawing the home team lads as Alex Schultz tied it up 6-6 with a 13-yard TD blast through the defensive line.
The 2-point conversion run was stopped dead in its tracks like the proverbial doornail.
To close out the first half, Peters scored his second TD of the game with mere seconds remaining on the clock to put the home team up 12-6.
Once again, the 2-point conversion attempt was curtailed by a fired-up Bears defense, in a move that set the stage for yet another stopped conversion later in the game, in what would prove to be a total of three failed 2-point conversions that would equal 6-points not on the board, and would eventually give the Bears a 22-18 win.
The Bulldogs fired the first salvo in the second half, as at 39:40 junior QB Nick Campanelli punched it across the line from the 9-yard mark to put his team up 18-6.
In a case of déjà vu all over again, the 2-point conversion attempt was out to lunch, and unfortunately for the home team this was the curtain call on their scoring for the night.
Then came the fourth-quarter stunner, in which the visitors walked all over the home-team lads.
In the famous—or infamous, depending upon your point of view—final frame, the Bears reared back, dug down deep where the gridiron gods dwell and pulled off an upset win out of what looked like the ashes of defeat.
In a surge of 16 unanswered points, the brawny bruins—there’s some really big beef on the Bears' offensive and defensive lines—a 53-yard pass reception by Julius Colon set up a 4-yarder by Schultz at 10:58, and a successful 2-pointer shaved the Dawgs lead to four points (18-14).
At the 6:47 mark, the Bears sophomore QB Keegan Streimer took it across the line with a 4-yard keeper and in the wake of another 2-point conversion, Tri-Valley was in the lead 22-18.
And for the Bulldogs, that was all she wrote on homecoming night, as they watched what appeared to be victory evaporate like glimmerglass into the mist.
Speaking of mist, it was great for photographers as it served as a diffuser for the otherwise harsh stadium-like lights, and for the crowd acted as a megaphone for the resounding grunts as defensive and offensive lineman strived for dominance on the field.
SW (3-2, 3-2) game stats (237 total offensive yards, including 212 yards rushing on 44 carries). Gabe Campanelli (17/151, 2TDs), Henry Peters (14/69, TD).
TV (4-1, 4-1) stats (389 total offensive yards, including 298 yards on 50 carries). Alex Schultz (17/126, 2TDs), Keegan Streimer (15/112, TD).
Bears coach Greg Botsford summed up the game, noting that a couple of early turnovers “were a killer," adding, “I’ve got to give Sullivan West a lot of credit… they’re tough as all get out… they never give up.”
“The Campanelli kid is a heck of a quarterback… I’m highly impressed by that team. It was a hell of a football game.”
Streimer, the Bears QB, was literally overflowing with emotion after the come-from-behind fourth-quarter victory.
“We came out passing… we came out and fought well. After they were beating us in the first half, we had to come back and really fight for it.”
Overheard in the post-game huddle, the Bulldogs' assistant coach was overheard offering a few words of both solace and wisdom to the team.
“I’m impressed, you came to play tonight… everybody should be proud. If you let yourself down that’s your deal… it comes and goes. They’ve got the same goals you have, they came to play… nobody should put their heads down.”
Ron Bauer, legendary coach of scores of football squads, said of the contest, “It was a good hard-fought game… they took advantage of a few let downs by us….”
Ryan Kocher, Sullivan West’s #33, takes to the field as an end and line backer.
“They played hard, and we played hard… they came out with the win.”
Bulldogs #58, Nile Puerschner, plays tackle and linebacker.
“In the first half, we played well, came out hard… but in the second half, I don’t know what the problem is… the second half is our worst part.”
For the rest of this story, more photos and online coverage of the homecoming celebration, click here.