Practice makes perfect

‘Dawgs’ football 2022

Posted 9/7/22

JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — As the rollout date of Friday, September 9, marking the kickoff of Sullivan West’s varsity football season, draws ever closer, the Bulldogs are hard at work. A series of practices were followed on September 3 by a four-team scrimmage.

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Practice makes perfect

‘Dawgs’ football 2022


JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — As the rollout date of Friday, September 9, marking the kickoff of Sullivan West’s varsity football season, draws ever closer, the Bulldogs are hard at work. A series of practices were followed on September 3 by a four-team scrimmage.

As witnessed first-hand by this sports scribbler on August 24, these practices are not for the faint of heart. For a couple of hours, the coaching staff didn’t let up as they put the players through a sequence of cardio exercises. Those started with warm-ups to loosen up stiff muscles, were followed by a succession of moves to improve agility, and culminated with running offensive plays designed to skunk the opposition.

If you think the coaches were cutting anybody any slack, think again.

The players rotated through a four-pack of cardio scenarios, and the final evolution entailed running up a steep incline, back down, and then upwards to the top.  

Not once, but several times. Each time the players worked up a sweat as they pushed it harder and harder.

Make a mistake on offense or defense—drop and pump out 10 instead of doing flutter kicks in the rolling sandy surf.

But after each snap, the coaches would take a few minutes before the next play to review with the players, either individually or as a huddled group, the ways to make it better the next time.

Ron Bauer, head coach of the Sullivan West Bulldogs, has been in the game of building football squads for 57 years and is still going full speed downfield as he helps young men learn about the importance of life skills such as teamwork and good character.

Asked to provide a thumbnail sketch of his coaching philosophy, he recalled the words of Gerald “Jerry” Davitt (previously profiled in the River Reporter as “A Legend of Section IX”), “Persistence, never give up, keep your composure, and learning to take a hit and bounce back from it.

“He taught me when I started coaching to be tough, think positive, be enthusiastic, and be like a duck, let it roll off your back,” said Bauer, who was also profiled as “A Legend of Section IX.”

The Bulldogs helmsman graduated from Delaware Valley in 1960. There he played defensive back, and while at Cortland continued with his first love of sports on the gridiron.

Reflecting for a moment on this season’s varsity football team, and their progress so far in pre-season practice, Bauer said, “Hopefully, we’ll just keep getting better.”

As always, the veteran coach stressed the importance of the bedrock of a successful athlete—physical strength combined with mental toughness.

Justin Diehl, a 2015 graduate of Sullivan West, is in his fourth year as a coach, and serves as the team’s offensive coordinator.

He has played football since the seventh grade as a running back and linebacker, and noted that last year Sullivan West posted a 6-2 record, wrapping up the season as runners-up in the championships.

Last year, the Bulldogs were proud to have a couple of players move up into the ranks of college football: QB Gavin Hauschild is attending Massachusetts Maritime Academy, a DIII school, while right guard Chris Campanelli is enrolled at Lackawanna Community College, a DI institution.

This year, senior Jaymes Buddenhagen is the starting quarterback, and Jacob Hubert, a junior, takes to the field as backup.

During the post-practice meeting, both coaches had a few words to say to their players.

“Take it one game at a time,” said Bauer. “Today everybody was focused; it was a good practice. Good job.”

And looking ahead to an upcoming practice, he said, “On Friday, we’ll start full pads, we’re going to be hitting!”

Diehl kicked in a few words of encouragement, while throwing down a challenging gauntlet.

“If you feel you’re not fast enough going up those hills, push yourself. If you feel you’re not moving very well, cutting left and right, work harder. Find out what your weaknesses are, and work hard to make your weaknesses your strengths.”

Dusting off his crystal ball, Diehl said he feels the Bulldogs will be competitive in 2022, with a “hard offense to stop and a tough defense” led by six returning seniors.

Of Jaymes Buddenhagen, Sullivan West’s starting QB, he said, “Jaymes is a good player with a good head on his shoulders… We believe in him.

“The object of what we stress as a team is brotherhood. We’re out here with one objective, and that’s to win, but along the way we’ve become a family,” said Diehl.

The 2022 football coaching staff is Ron Bauer (head coach), Justin Diehl (offensive coordinator), Ronj Padu (defensive coordinator) and Shane Cruz (special teams coordinator).

Meet the team (as of August 25): 

Seniors—Jaymes Buddenhagen, Nate Coy, Max Ebert, Dillan Hanslmaier, Andrew Hubert, Robert Vongerichten Juniors—Caden Allen, Sebastian Berman, Liam Cavanaugh, Rally Cruz, Jakob Halloran, Reece Hendrickson, Jacob Hubert, Peter Norton, Austin Nystrom, John Roycroft, William Roycroft, Cameron Sullivan, Allyn Walter, Rodney Wilson

Sophomores—John Bernas, Michael Casiano, Evan Ebert, Adam Ernst, Gary Milk, Jason Rodrigues, Matthew Rutledge

Freshmen—Alec Hubert

sullivan west, football, 2022 season, Bulldogs


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