Section IX 8-man gridiron championship eludes Tri-Valley Bears

Posted 11/13/19

KINGSTON, NY — What a difference a week makes.On Saturday, November 2, the fourth-seeded Bears of Tri-Valley, a Class D school, pulled off a 22-16 upset victory over the number-one ranked …

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Section IX 8-man gridiron championship eludes Tri-Valley Bears

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KINGSTON, NY — What a difference a week makes.
On Saturday, November 2, the fourth-seeded Bears of Tri-Valley, a Class D school, pulled off a 22-16 upset victory over the number-one ranked Tigers of Pawling, which is rated a Class B high school, at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High near Brooklyn, NY.

In the early month match-up, Pawling scored in the first frame at 7:54 as Quinn Clowry punched it across the goal line with a 69-yard run, and Joe Furlong added a 2-point conversion.

In the second frame, the teams traded a trio of touchdowns.

The Bears evened it at 11:17 as their QB Keegan Streimer scored from 35 yards out and followed up with a 2-point conversion.

The Tigers rebounded at 05:20 as Clowry once again proved he could run, scampering over the goal line with a 63-yard run, and added 2-points on a conversion.

With one second left of the halftime clock, the Bears evened it up 16-16 as Streimer scored on a 5-yarder, followed by a 2-point conversion by Austin Hartman.
In the wake of a scoreless third frame, Tri-Valley won the game at the 4:56 mark on a one-yard rush by Ethan Shaver.

Although the conversion attempt by Streimer was shut down, the Bears clawed their way to a 22-16 victory, setting up an eight-man football championship showdown against Ellenville a week later at Dietz.

Tri-Valley outscored Pawling in total offense: 387 yards versus 285 yards (350 yards rushing against 228 yards).

The first game was notable when it came to turnovers: the Bears posted a total of eight miscues (they coughed up six fumbles), while tough-handed Pawling held onto the pigskin during 48 mintues of battle on the gridiron.

But the following weekend, the tables turned for the Tri-Valley Bears as they faced off against the number-two ranked Blue Devils of Ellenville, an upper-bracket Class B institution in the chase for the Section IX eight-man football championship.

On Saturday afternoon, November 9 at Kingston’s Dietz Stadium, Tri-Valley came up a bit short to lose a heartbreaker 46-36.

At the 8:07 mark in the first quarter, Ellenville announced that it came to play as Casimiro Pomales scored on a 32-yard TD, followed up by a 2-point conversion run by QB Sean Pettway.

In the second frame, Pettway completed a 40-yard pass to Josh McNeill at 7:14, and David McCombs added 2-points on the conversion to put the Blue Devils up 16-0.

As the frame drew to a close, Tri-Valley’s QB Kegan Streimer pulled off a four-yard QB sneak, and topped it off with a 2-point conversion with 19 seconds left of the halftime clock to make it a 16-8 game.

In the action-packed third quarter, both squads traded a pair of back-to-back touchdowns, the Bears striking first at one point to put them in the lead 22-26, but it was not to last as Ellenville finally wrapped up the frame 30-22.

At 5:02, Ethan Shaver scored on a four-yarder, but Streimer failed on the 2-point conversion.

Shaver scored again at 2:55 from the 11-yard line, and Streimer was successful on a 2-point conversion.
Ellenville closed out the third frame with a couple of last-minute scores to take a 30-22 lead by the close of the quarter.

At 2:36, Noah Grisolfi returned the kickoff to the Blue Devils 36-yard line on a yard run, and then in a bit of high school razzle dazzle, a lateral to Pettway scored a TD; the ensuing 2-point conversion by Pomales put the Blue Devils in the lead 24-22.

With 25 seconds left in the third quarter, Ellenville’s Waller Evans forced Streimer to cough it up at the Bears’ 31st yard and Pettway scooped up the fumble for a TD, but his 2-point conversion was stopped by a fired-up Bears defense.

The final frame was a real humdinger, as both teams battled to the bitter end. At the close of the game, it was a thrilling victory for the Blue Devils and a bittersweet end of the season for the Bears of Tri-Valley.

At 9:53, Streimer completed a six-yard TD pass to Thomas Lynch but the Bears came up on the short end of the stick on a conversion run by Streimer to pull within two points of their opponents (30-28).

The Blue Devils fired back at 7:37 as Pettway raced for a 45-yarder, and in a switcheroo play, David McCombs completed a 2-point conversion pass to his QB to put Ellenville in the lead 38-28.

At 6:28, Pettway added icing to the victory cake with a 34-yard scramble, which was followed by a 2-point conversion by McCombs to put Ellenville in the lead 46-28.

With 1:36 remaining on the game clock, the never-say-die Bears fought back for a bit of last minute redemption, as Streimer ran it into the promised land from six yards out and added 2-points on a conversion to close out the game for a 10-point Blue Devils 46-36 triumph on the artificial turf.

Dan Cavanagh, coach of the Blue Devils, praised the performance of Casimiro Polmales, his star freshman running back who, at the midfield ceremony, was awarded the trophy as the game’s Most Valuable Offensive Player.

“I think he really turned the game around,” he said. Continuing his take on how the tide of the game turned, he added, “They had a miscue, and Sean (Pettway) picked it up, and ran it right back… That gave us some momentum.”

Reflecting on the performance of Tri-Valley’s helmsman on the field, Cavanagh said, “Keegan had his moments, he’s a dynamic player.”

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the field, Bears’ coach Greg Botsford huddled with his team, offering words of encouragement, a few comments on what went awry and thoughts on how to improve in 2020 and beyond.

“I’m extremely, extremely proud of you. We talked about the grind, you guys put in the work and you got better every week of the season… You made yourself a really good football team,” he said.

Botsford went on to say that, prior to last year, the Bears “weren’t doing so well, you really brought it back last year… We didn’t win, but with some hard work and dedication, you can find yourselves back here next year.”

In other words, hit the weight room and keep the grades up.

“You walk out with your heads held high. It was a hell of a season,” added Botsford. “I know it hurts now but you should be proud of what you did to get here.”

After all was said and done, a few of Tri-Valley’s players stepped up to talk about their final game of the year and the 2019 season of football.

Ethan Shaver, a senior running back and linebacker, said,” We had too many mistakes, but it was a good season… We got better.”

“It was a hard-fought game, but they came out and wanted it more than us… We tried to come back but made too many mistakes,” said senior quarterback Keegan Streimer, adding, ”We started off slow this season, but got better… We wanted it here, but it just didn’t happen.”

Austin “The Beast” Hartman is a freshman running back/defensive back, and lived up his nickname by getting tabbed the game’s Most Valuable Defensive Player.

“The season went great,” he said. “The seniors have been great role models for me.”

And of the MVDP award?

“It’s amazing, I wouldn’t trade this feeling for the world!”

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