Bears edge Bombers in battle royale sections


BY TED WADDELL

GRAHAMSVILLE, NY – In a way, it was a battle royale between two quarterbacks. Although not the tallest on the pitch, they were impressive in stature as they led their respective teams to the score.

On Saturday, October 29, home team Bears of Tri-Valley (6-2) were barred to the turf by Austin Hartman, while Sidney Stracher called plays for the Pine Plains/Rhinebeck Bombers (3-4) in a division game.

In the quarterback department, it was a tale of opposites, as Hartman hammered him to the ground, while Stracher mounted an aerial assault on the Bears defense: Hartman rushed for 277 yards in 24 attempts, compared to 57 of 16 for Stracher. through the air, he posted 322 yards on 27 attempts and Hartman had for 59 yards on 12 tries.

The Bears drew first blood at 8:24 into the first frame, as Dylan Poley picked up a pass from Stracher and sprinted it into the end zone, to put the home side ahead 6-0.

Not to be outdone, Stracher completed a 41-yard pass to Christopher Macri at 4:51, and followed that up with a 2-point conversion run.

With 1:23 left in the first quarter, Hartman broke through the Bombers defensive line for a score from the 2-yard line, to end the first quarter with Tri-Valley up 12-8.

In the second frame, the Bears posted back-to-back touchdowns, followed by a Bombers touchdown: a 23-yard by Hartman at 9:36; an 8-yard pass from Hartman to Ian Mullen at 0:33; and, as time ticked away, Stracher connected on a 37-yard pass to Giovanni Ramirez.

At halftime, Tri-Valley led 10 (24-14).

The action was fast and furious in the third quarter: At 7:55, Hartman scored on a 25-yard run, with a point kick after by Zach Kataychik. At 3:35, Stracher completed a 10-yard pass to Ramirez, then connected with Christopher Machi on a 2-point conversion.

Seconds later, at 3:14, Tri-Valley’s Kataychik electrified the home crowd with a 92-yard kickoff return, which he followed up with a point kick after.

At 1:18, Stracher joined Ramirez for a 50-yard TD, then completed a conversion pass to the same receiver, to make it a 38-30 game in favor of the Bears.

In the final frame, both teams scored: Hartman hit it across the line 3:07 from the 2-yard line, and Kataychik split the goal posts; as the game clock ticked down, at 1:24, Stracher completed a 2-yard pass to Ramirez and then a 2-yard conversion pass to Liam Bower to wrap up the scoring, giving Tri-Valley a 1-0 win. 45-38.

Said Kevin Crudele, coach of the Bears football team, who was on the rebound from last week’s loss to the Sullivan West Bulldogs: “We wanted to get out there and play Tri-Valley football on our own turf.

“We knew our pass defense needed a little work…their two receivers (Ramirez, a senior, and Macri, a freshman) are exceptional players.”

And of Hartman, the starting quarterback for Tri-Valley, and the rest of the Bears, he said, “Austin is a special player, small in stature, but fierce. We have a ton of seniors there, all hard working guys who eat and breathe football.

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