Monday, August 29, 2005


For Immediate Release:
For the second game in a row, the Empire Football League Leading Albany Metro Mallers found themselves in an uncomfortable position entering the half time break; trailing at the half. Playing the Montreal Titans Saturday Night, at Bleecker Stadium, the Albany semi-pro team went into the break trailing 16 - 9, against the third place Canadians. But the team demeanor changed drastically after  Coach Norman Mann's half time instructions, and the Mallers reeled off 24 straight points in the third and fourth stanza's  to maintain their hold on first place in the EFL with a 33 - 22 win.

Following a strong first quarter in which the Mallers jumped out to a 9-0 lead on the heels of a Farid Baaklini Safety and a 43 yard Collis Martin Touchdown reception from  Quarterback Scott Lawson,  The  Titans, worked to shift the momentum in their favor, with a strong rushing defense which continually kept Lawson off his step in the second quarter
harassing the veteran into a season high 5 sacks and an unforced lost fumble.

As the second quarter began, Albany was deep in their own territory at the 15 and started to mount a  drive. But 5 plays later under pressure Lawson completed a 1 yard dump pass to Martin who coughed up the ball at the Maller 34 to the Titans. The Canadian team tried to advance on the Mallers but to end a 6 play drive Montreal Place Kicker Andrew Blevings
was on the field, to try to remove the goose egg from the board. Albany Nose guard Tony DiChiaro broke the line to Block the Kick.

From that point the Titans returned to the field more intent on stopping the league leaders and for the rest of the half they commanded the turf. After picking up a first down on a 12 yard pass to Sylvester Cooperwood, Lawson was out of options, as a pair of penalties and a 10 yard sack by Corbel Isaacs, forced an Albany punt by Jason Bradwell. This started a 62 yard 7 play drive capped off by a Sean Hoas 7 yard scoring strike to Zawdie Parahoo with 2:03 left in the half, followed by a successful 2 point conversion toss from Hoas to his brother Tyrell.

The Metro Mallers took over after the kick off and again appeared to shoot themselves in the foot, starting on their own 37 and ending up 3 plays later at their 21 from which Bradwell again set up to punt. Again, disaster ensued as a bad snap found Bradwell's Punt being blocked by Jean Marc Michael and Oral Billy with Michael getting the handle on the ball and dove into the endzone for the touchdown from the 1 yard line, with just 44.8 seconds on the clock. 
The ensuing kick off added even more to the first half action as it caught a gust of
wind and sailed into the endzone where it was retrieved by Maceo Clinton for Albany.
Clinton brought it out of the endzone but could only muster 4 yards on the return. Lawson took a knee to end the half.

Following the half time conferences,  both teams came back with a new look, as each changed quarterbacks; Hoas out and Michael Hyatt in for Montreal while Kenneth Schaeffer stepped in for Lawson. Both changes yielded dramatic results. Hyatt, a big strong run & gun QB was promptly intercepted by Damon Walker for the Mallers along with a 37 yard return
to the Montreal 37. Schaeffer went to work, executing the Albany attack, hitting Culture Branch on the 4 yard line with a 27 yard strike, setting up a quarterback sneak from Schaeffer, to bring the Mallers back into the game  trailing 16-15. The remainder of the period was a back and forth affair with turnovers ending 4 of the last 5 drives of the quarter.

The fourth quarter arrived with Albany in possession of the ball at the Montreal 10, following a 30 yard interception return by Brian Domingo on Sean Hoas return to action at QB for the Titans. Albany still couldn't punch it in for the touchdown. Jason Bradwell came on and nailed a 22 yard Field Goal to put the Mallers back into the lead. Now the tide had turned and Albany's defense turned up the heat Tony DiChiaro and Alvin Foy teamed up to drop RB Ricardo Moreau for a loss and Jarris "Train" Jones followed that up with a 12 yard sack on Hoas. Then on fourth down, put 2 more up on the board, as Titan Punter Andrew Blevings, thought better of trying to kick it out of the back of the end zone under pressure and took a knee for Derick Senior to rack up the Mallers second safety of the night. Then the Mallers rolled. On the free kick, WR Maceo Clinton fielded a low liner, and brought it back 42 yards to set up an Albany drive from the Titan 31. The Mallers again turned to the running game as Jadel Whitfield racked up a dozen yards down to the 19 where Schaeffer completed a 15 yarder to Collis Martin at the 4 yard line. With a first and goal at the four, Whitfield went off tackle left and scored with 7:22 on the clock. Jason Bradwell added the PAT.

The Montreal Offense was still in a downspin as they went four and out on their next possession, punting away to Gabe Young who set Albany up with a first down at the Maller 47 from which to operate. Again the Blue & Gold pounded away at the defense and the clock as Cooperwood blasted ahead for 18 yards on two carries, down to the 35 yard line. With a 3rd and 5, Schaeffer bobbled the exchange and lost 7 yards back to the 42 to bring up 4th down. Jason Bradwell came on to punt. Bradwell barked the signals, and the snap went right to  the waiting hands of  the veteran Albany Center  -  Drez  Morris  who lines up as a blocking back in punt formation. Morris powered his way ahead for 11 yards carrying Titans
Steve Crompton and Corvell Isaacs on his back to get the first down. Schaeffer came back on and rewarded his center on the next play by hitting WR Collis Martin 6 yards deep in the end zone with a 31 yard strike to extend the Albany lead to 33 - 16. Montreal managed a final score as time expired to make the final score 33 - 22.

Albany maintains its lead in the Empire Football League, undefeated at 7 - 0 in league action, and 10 - 0 overall on the 2005 schedule. They came into the game ranked #1 on the American Football Association Power Ranking, #2 in the Eastern Region of the US by Minor League Football News, and #6 in the Nation on the National Football Events Coaches Poll.

The Empire Football League traditionally takes the Labor Day Weekend off and so the Metro Mallers return to action on Sept. 10th on the road at Broome County and will return home to Bleecker Stadium for the EFL regular season finale on Sept. 24th as Albany will host the Lake City Stars of Plattsburgh. Kick off at 7:30

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Scranton Eagles play well under pressure

BY DAVE LAURIHA staff writer

The Scranton Eagles have not been in many tight games this season.

Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, coach Mike Woodard learned his team can play under the gun.

Their execution, however, was not perfect. Those imperfections — and in some Eagles’ eyes, mistakes by the officials — caused the Eagles to fall short against the Broome County Dragons.

The Dragons got a 55-yard scoring pass from Ty Fish to Jonathon Bechy with 6:23 to play, the deciding points in a 30-25 victory in the Empire Football League game.

“It was the worst officiated game I’ve seen in my life,’’ Woodard said. “Pee Wee, high school, never in my life.’’

The final, and loudest complaint came in the final minute. After Eagles running back Andre Chollete went 18 yards to set up a second-and-2 at the Dragons’ 16, the Eagles sidelines yelled for a timeout.

No official, or no Eagle on the field, heard the yells. It cost Scranton dearly. Quarterback John Kennedy reached out to hand the ball off to Chollete, who wasn’t expecting the ball. The Dragons recovered the fumble with 34 seconds to go.

“I thought John was going to spike it,’’ said Chollete, who ran for 129 yards on 23 carries. “I didn’t hear him call it.”

The Eagles (3-5) came out on the short end of a more blatant mistake by the officials in the first half.

In the second quarter, the officials inadvertantly gave Broome County a fifth down. Not only did the Dragons convert, they scored on the drive to take a 14-7 lead.

The Eagles battled back to take a 25-23 lead on Marvin Wilson’s 11-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

But Broome County made the play of the game on the first play after the ensuing kickoff. Fish pump-faked a short pass to Bechy, who raced behind the defense, latched on to Fish’s high, soft throw and raced to the end zone with a 55-yard scoring pass. 

Red and Black alumni remember era of domination

by John O'Donnell, Times Sports Writer
First published: Sunday, August 28, 2005

A few of them still looked like they could take some snaps. Others, some with artificial hips and knees, walked gingerly around the Clayton Pavilion.

Last Sunday, those former players renewed old friendships during the Watertown Red and Black reunion for players from the 1954-1960 era, one of the most successful periods for the semipro football team.

Former players replayed games and stories and laughed at the capers of those long ago days as nearly 50 former players, their wives and guests attended.

Budgo Alteri, who recently had his second knee replacement, recalled the work involved when he and several other former high school players wanted to reorganize the semipro team after a two-year hiatus.

"Dickie Doe, Earl Cole and myself approached Johnnie Marra, who at the time owned Johnnie's Fruit Stand, to seek his sponsorship of the team," Alteri said. "There was a lot of hard work involved. We went around town to get merchants to donate for equipment. The word got out that we were reorganizing, and we had a pretty good response from guys that wanted to play."

Marra, who was well know in the area, sponsored several Kiwanis baseball teams for area youth. He was also commissioner of the Pop Warner League for over 25 years and served as the Red and Black's general manager for several years.

"Most of the players on the 1954 team were former Watertown High players and some from the old Immaculate Heart Academy (now Immaculate Heart Central)," Alteri said.

Clarence "Boots" Gaffney and Nelson Sholette were head coach and assistant, respectively, in 1954.

"We had a good team in 1954," Alteri said. "We went unbeaten. And in four seasons we lost only two games."

Alteri, who played end on both sides of the ball, would later help coach the Red and Black in the 1970s.

The 1954 team was 6-0 with wins over Syracuse, Rochester, Batavia and Utica teams. In 1955, the Red and Black went 7-0-1, with all seven games being played in Watertown. Irondequoit, Batavia, Niagara Falls, Rochester and Syracuse provided the opposition. After playing a scoreless tie with Rochester, the Red and Black played Syracuse on Nov. 13 and came away with a 6-0 win.

Cole played for seven straight seasons for the Red and Black. He was a linebacker on defense and fullback on offense.

Cole said that Marra had scheduled games against teams from Toledo, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Syracuse, Rochester, Batavia and many other places.

"We'd play against anyone that wanted to play us," Cole said. "We practiced two or three nights a week at Kostyk Field off Coffeen Street. We started playing games around Sept. 1 and usually finished up on Thanksgiving Day."

Wendy Tederson and John Ramus were the Red and Black starting offensive guards. Neither Tederson nor Ramus weighed over 160 pounds. They both played through the 1960 season.

"I had just gotten out of the Navy in 1954, but didn't join the team until 1955," Tederson said. "I knew most of the players from high school."

"I was coming out of the movies one night back in 1954 and Ritchie Doldo, who played for a number of years, told me to come out for practice," Ramus said.

Ramus noted that all the teams they played against had bigger players lining up against the two undersized players.

"I guess you could say our quickness was the only thing that saved us," Ramus said.

Archie Parish played in 1954, and after a year away from the team, played from 1956-60. Parish played just about every position. At 300 pounds, Parish was considered one of the top nose tackles at that level.

"I guess I was the biggest, although George Searles was right up there, too," Parish said. "I actually started practicing with the team back in the late 1940s as a young kid. Rocco Canale was the coach then. In the 1950s, we played a lot of teams such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, who were like a feeder system for the NFL teams in those cities. Some of the players were on their way down from the NFL and played with those semipro teams."

Many of the former players recalled how Dickie Doe blocked several punts every year thanks to the gaping holes opened by Parish.

"It seems like Dickie blocked nine out of every 10 kicks one season thanks to Parish knocking a few players to the ground and giving Dickie a clear shot at the punter," Alteri said.

Jack Williams was elated to see many of his former players. Williams served as an assistant coach for one season for the Red and Black. He coached track and baseball at Watertown High School for several years before having a successful high school coaching career in the Syracuse area.

"I only helped out coaching for one season," Williams said. "Many of the same guys playing for the Red and Black were forwer wrestlers and baseball players that I coached in high school. There were a few guys I didn't know, but not many."

Over the years, the Red and Black football tradition has included many second and third generation players. John Ramus's son, John, played for the Red and Black in the 1970s and 1980s.

"I didn't get a chance to see my father play," John's son said.

"But I got a chance to see my son play," the elder Ramus said.

John's son was born in 1953. The son's only recollection of seeing his father in a Red and Black uniform was one night after practice.

"I recall my dad standing near the back door of our home in his muddy uniform," John said. "We lived near what was then North Junior High School and the team sometimes practiced there."

From 1954 through the 1960 season, the Red and Black compiled a 38-7-4 record. In 1957, the Red and Black began a rivalry with the Massena Warriors. The Red and Black won both games in 1957, 13-0 and 7-0. In 1958, the Warriors prevailed 6-0. In 1959, the Red and Black swept the Warriors 9-6 and 14-7. But in 1960, Massena got revenge with a sweep of the two-game series 12-7 and 31-10.

At Sunday's reunion there was a moment of silence for several of the players from the 1954-60 era that have since died. Nearly all of the players who are still alive and living in the area attended Sunday's reunion. It was the first such reunion in several years.

Stars escape with victory


POTSDAM — A pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns helped the Lake City Stars avoid an upset bid by the host St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers Saturday at Sandstoner Park.

Trailing 8-7 entering the final quarter, the Stars (6-3) scored twice on the ground to pull out a 20-8 victory and improve to 5-2 in the Empire Football League.

"We didn’t start playing until the second half, we were complacent, we had our backs against the wall," said Lake City head coach Ed McCallister.

Lake City wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard in the first, with Marlowe Boylan connecting on a 57-yard scoring strike to Chris Verkey on the opening series. Fortunately for the Stars, by the time they found the endzone again, it wasn’t too late.

Matt St. Clair set up the first of the two fourth-quarter scores with a 40-yard punt return. Heath Geiser eventually bounced in from 15 yards out and after a failed two-point conversion try, the Stars held a 13-8 lead with about 10 minutes left on the clock.

On the ensuing possession for St. Lawrence Valley (2-5 EFL, 3-6), Lake City’s Ronnie Foster picked off a pass and ran it back 35 yards. This time, Kyle Nolan ran his way into the endzone from eight yards out and with a Ryan Decamp extra point the Stars stretched their lead to 20-8.

Another interception sealed the game for Lake City, as Kellan Nolan picked off a pass in the closing minute and ran it back 60 yards. The Stars were able to kneel on the ball at the St. Lawrence Valley 5-yard line, running out the clock.

The Trailblazers took an 8-7 lead in the second after a punt bounced off a Lake City player. Quarterback Dave Currier eventually squeezed in from two yards out on fourth and goal and Ernie Miller’s two-point conversion run was good.

The Stars were able to pick up the win despite the absence of several key starters, including quarterback Eddie Castine and running backs Vern Harrison and John Faheey.

"We were short some of our offensive weapons and if you don’t have the threat of a pass, it’s hard to run the ball, the yards we got, we earned," said McCallister. "The offensive line did a great job.

"The bottom line is these games are tough to win, but we figured out a way, it wasn’t a gimme."

The entire league has a bye next week for Labor Day. The Stars’ next game will be September 10 at home against Ottawa.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Eagles, Romiti searching for positive momentum


A broken jaw, a cracked sternum, torn ligaments and countless concussions.

That's what linebacker George Romiti has endured during his 10-year career with the Scranton Eagles. And through all the pain and agony, he still loves the brutality of the game.

It's what keeps him coming back week in and week out, even during these dark days of the once proud franchise of the Empire Football League.

Tonight, the 43-year-old West Scranton graduate will lace up his spikes, pull on that traditional blue jersey and strap his helmet tightly for the 131st straight time as the Eagles (3-4) host the Broome County Dragons (4-3) at 7:30 p.m. at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

"I enjoy it a lot," Romiti said. "I still work out besides practice. I love the sport and love playing. I'm going to try and keep going for as long as I can."

Playing with a youthful energy, Romiti, a three-time first-team EFL all-star, leads the team with 73 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Doubling as the team's president, he's trying to keep the franchise afloat both financially and on the playing field. His duties have him out with John Kennedy, Mike Arcure and Susan Foley appealing to area businesses trying generate funds through sponsors.

That task has been more daunting than tracking down opposing players on the field.

"I truly believe if any of us in that group were to leave, we'd really be in trouble," Romiti said. "I try my best. Playing is a way of life for me now. It's like a job for me. A job I love to go to."

The Eagles, who have two forfeit wins, one win on the field against Ottawa, and three lopsided defeats, have shown improvement as they are maturing.

This week, they face Broome County, the team formerly known as the Binghamton Jets, the arch-rival of the Eagles during their glory days of the 1980s. The Dragons are led by quarterback Ty Fish, who is the second-ranked quarterback in the EFL. He's thrown for 956 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In addition to Romiti, the Eagles will be led by former Riverside wide receiver Eric Paroby, who has nine receptions for 173 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Bill Sandley, who leads the team with 166 yards rushing.

"Each year there are new faces and new people," Romiti said. "I'm excited about the new talent on the team."

Contact the writer:

©The Times-Tribune 2005

Lake City guards against taking EFL foe too light



PLATTSBURGH — Lake City Stars head coach Ed McCallister knows better than to take any team for granted.

The Stars travel to Sandstoner Park tonight for a 7 p.m. matchup against the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers. The Trailblazers bring a 2-4 record into the contest, with both victories coming in the form of forfeit wins over disbanded Amsterdam and Green Mountain.

In the four games decided on the field for the Trailblazers, they’ve been outscored 176-14, including a 20-14 loss to the Montreal Titans. The other games were a pair of 46-0 setbacks to Albany and the Broome County Dragons and a 64-0 shellacking by the Orange County Bulldogs.

"We’re going to practice this week and hopefully play this week like it’s the Albany Metro Mallers, because that’s the first-place team, you need to play every week like it’s the championship game," McCallister said as his team suited up for practice earlier in the week at Melissa L. Penfield Park.

"I want us to come out and execute on every series, that doesn’t mean that we have to score every series but I want to see execution. I want to see us moving the ball, when we’re running the ball I want to see us hit the holes by design, I want to see us complete passes...obviously I want to put the ball in the endzone but I want us to score as the drive operates."

Lake City is coming off a 27-6 victory over the Scranton Eagles a week ago, a game that was 12-6 at halftime before the Stars pulled away on rushing touchdowns by Brandon Kelleher in the third quarter and Jed Randall in the fourth.

"I was real happy with the way we played the second half, but the first half it kind of looked like we were just going through the motions," said McCallister, whose team stands at 4-2 in EFL play and 5-3 overall. "When this team wants to play to our ability and not to someone else’s ability, we’re a good football team."

The two losses were by a combined eight points, 12-7 to Orange County and 14-11 to Broome County.

"It’s been a good season of football but there’s a lot of season to go and fortunately or unfortunately the last four games are going to determine where we’re going to be at the end of this thing," said McCallister. "We just need to go over there and we need to execute because the following week the league is off on a Labor Day bye."

Running back and last year’s EFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Ernie Miller’s 117 yards on 36 carries are both team highs for St. Lawrence Valley, while Joe Hutchison — an all-league selection last year — leads the receiving core with eight catches, 123 yards and a score. James Compeau hauled in the only other touchdown this season for the Trailblazers, pulling in one of quarterback Dave Currier’s two scoring strikes against Montreal. Currier is 21-of-70 for 256 yards on the year and has been picked off nine times.

The Trailblazers are led on the other side of the ball by linebacker Cheyenne Dashnaw, who has a team-high 41 tackles and six forced fumbles. Dashnaw, a league all-star, was the leading tackler in the EFL last season.

St. Lawrence Valley hasn’t played a game since the loss to Broome County on the opening weekend of the month, coming off a bye-week and a forfeit win over Green Mountain.

Friday, August 26, 2005


For Immediate Release
GAME PREVIEW - August 27, 2005
The Albany Metro Mallers return to Bleecker Stadium, Saturday, August 27th,  with Empire Football League Action. Albany will host Canada's  Montreal Titans from Quebec Provence.

The Titans are in their first season in the Empire Football League, are currently in third place with a 5-2 record. Quarterback Sean Hoas with a 99.2 quarterback rating, has 2 of the EFL's top 10 targets in  Geoff Brown and Zawdie Parahoo and Ricardo Moreau in the backfield. Montreal's Defense, led by Andrew Blevings, has given up 119 points in league action thus far into the season.

The Metro Mallers are atop the Empire Football League, at 6-0 undefeated thru the 2005 campaign with an overall American Football Association 9-0 record.With a high powered big play offense and a ferocious team defense the Albany team has given up just 12 points to
Empire Football League teams this season. Overall they have outscored the opposition 260 - 23 thru 9 games in 2005. Albany is the top rated AAA team  in the  AFA national survey and are ranked #2 in the East by the Minor League Football News, trailing the 9-0  Central  Pennsylvania Piranha of the North American Football League. Montreal ranks 27th the
MLFN Poll.

Metro Maller Middle Linebacker Greg Woodward, was named by the Minor League Football News as Co- Eastern Region Defensive MVP of the Week, following his 17 tackle, 3 QB Pressure, and 1 Interception performance last weekend in Albany's victory over the Orange County Bulldogs.

Kickoff at Bleecker Stadium is 7:30 pm on Saturday Evening.

(no subject) Empire Football League News & Highlights
Contact: Empire Football League

PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH is a celebration of the great sport of football, and it’s coming to your community sponsored by the Empire Football League (see events below). From Pro-Football Hall of Fame Quarterback Dan Marino to NASA Astronaut Michael Bloomfield, football has played an important role in the lives of many young boys and girls along with their communities.

“Last year, more than 12 million boys and girls played football, giving them a chance to learn a great deal about themselves, about life, and about getting along with people of other races, religions, and nationalities,” said USA Football Chairman JACK KEMP. “Play Football Month celebrates these values learned on the gridiron, as well as the tradition of the community coming together from Friday night lights to Monday Night Football.”

Throughout PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH, events will be held in towns across America, including clinics, skills competitions, scrimmages, picnics, and parades. Youth football organizations, schools, communities, and NFL and college teams will take part in the celebrations.

“Getting youngsters involved in football encourages them to be active, and the lessons they learn on the field go far beyond the fundamentals of the game. They learn to tackle life’s challenges,” said NFL Commissioner PAUL TAGLIABUE. “It’s important that we celebrate what the game of football provides for our children and our communities.”

“Without the opportunity of participating in youth football, most professional football players would not have had the chance to play in the National Football League,” said GENE UPSHAW, NFL Players Association Executive Director. “All NFL players, past and present, owe a great debt to youth coaches and other volunteers who made football a positive, life-affirming experience. Play Football Month reminds all of us what a great game football is for all ages.”

The Empire Football League supports youth through various programs and are proud to join with USA Football in sponsoring events throughout Play Football Month.

Join the celebration and be part of the Football Family! For more information on PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH, visit

Play Football Month is a national campaign created by USA Football, the NFL, and NFL Players Association.

AUGUST 27, 2005
Albany Metro Mallers
4 on 4 Youth Flag Competition
Bleecker Stadium
Albany, NY
Joe Barbagallo

SEPTEMBER 10, 2005
St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers
- NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick Competition at Sandstoner Park
Potsdam, New York
It will be our 4th year in hosting this great event for both boys and girls.
- Also on Saturday Night host Youth Football Night at Sandstoner Park
Potsdam, New York
Mike Britton
(315) 265-3324

SEPTEMBER 10, 2005
Broome County Dragons
Youth Football Night
Binghamton Alumni Stadium
Binghamton, New York
Karol Cronin - GM

SEPTEMBER 10, 2005
Lake City Stars
PAL Youth Football Night
Melissa Penfield Park
Plattsburgh, New York
Ed McAllister - GM

SEPTEMBER 17, 2005
Watertown Red & Black
Youth Football Night
Watertown Fairgrounds
Watertown, New York
George Ashcraft - GM

SEPTEMBER 17, 2005
Albany Metro Mallers
NFL Punt, Pass and Kick Competition
Bleecker Stadium, Albany NY
Albany, NY
Joe Barbagallo - GM

SEPTEMBER 17, 2005
Scranton Eagles
Youth Football Night
Scranton Memorial Stadium
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Sue Lunger - GM

SEPTEMBER 24, 2005
Albany Mallers
NFL Youth Flag Tourney
Bleecker Stadium
Albany, NY
Joe Barbagallo - GM

SEPTEMBER 24, 2005
Watertown Red & Black
Military Appreciation & Camp Drum Youth Football Night
Watertown Fairgrounds
Watertown, New York
George Ashcraft - GM
Play Football Month

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Short-handed Eaglesfall below .500 mark

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — When the Scranton Eagles assembled before driving to their road game Saturday with the Lake City Stars, Eagles coach Mike Woodard knew his team’s challenge had grown.

With just 24 players, the coach worried the Eagles would get tired late in their Empire Football League game.

He was right, as Lake City pulled away for a 27-6 victory that dropped the Eagles to 3-4 on the season.

“We were outmanned against a good team,’’ Woodard said. “They just wore us down.

“Guys were playing special teams, offense and defense, the whole game.’’

The Eagles climbed within a 12-6 deficit at halftime with the help of their special teams as Jim DeJoseph blocked a punt to set up a short scoring drive. When former Riverside player Bill Sandly scored on an 11-yard run midway through the second quarter, the Eagles were within six.

However, they did not score again while Lake City added a touchdown in both the third and fourth quarters.

Sandly finished with 80 yards on 16 carries while quarterback Mike Arcure was 5-for-14 for 100 yards and two interceptions.

“John (Kennedy) called a great game, but we still need to execute,’’ Woodard said. “We moved the ball, we just made mistakes.’’

George Romiti made 15 tackles and Lati Woodruff nine for the Eagles, who host the Broome County Dragon next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

©The Times-Tribune 2005

Stars top Scranton 27-6


By KEITH KANE Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH — The Lake City Stars appeared to be in for another long night when Vern Harrison fumbled on the first carry of the game and the Scranton Eagles recovered.

The fumble, however, was one of just a few mistakes made by the Stars in the entire football game as they rolled past the Eagles, 27-6, at Melissa L. Penfield Park on Saturday.

Lake City scored the first points of the game as Eddie Castine hit Shane Racette on first down for a 25-yard touchdown.

Lake City Stars’ Matt St. Clair (2) runs past Scranton’s Bill Sandly (15) and Lati Woodruff (11) during a 35-yard run in the second quarter which set up a touchdown. The Stars defeated the Eagles, 27-6, at Melissa L. Penfield Park Saturday. (P-R Photo/MICHAEL BETTS)

The score was set up as the Stars defense held the Eagles deep in their own territory and gave Lake City’s offense the ball in great field position, thanks to an Eric Bjornstad and Shane Cheeseman sack. The score put the Stars up for good as Scranton could only climb to within six points the rest of the game.

"We definitely picked it up tonight," Lake City head coach Ed McCallister said. "We killed ourselves early and often in the first half, though, but Scranton was very aggressive on defense. We came back and played a strong second half."

The defense again played a strong set of downs holding Scranton to a three-and-out while a terrible punt by the Eagles set the Stars up at the Scranton’s 37-yard line.

On first down, Matt St. Clair took a reverse hand-off from Castine and raced 35 yards down to the two. Three plays later, Castine took it over for a one-yard touchdown run and a 12-0 lead.

Scranton got on the board late in second quarter as Bill Sandly bowled in for a four-yard touchdown run. It was the lone points allowed by the Stars on the night. Sandly finished with 55 yards rushing on 18 carries. The Eagles, as a team, picked up just 85 yards on the ground.

"We need to come focused and ready to play a football game; like we did against Orange County," McCallister said. "I never thought we’d get to the point where we are complacent.

"A win is a win though and our defense was solid all game."

The Stars secondary, which a week ago was torched for 143 yards and two touchdowns, picked off two of Mike Arcure’s passes. Earl Parks picked one off in the second quarter and Evan Murphy grabbed an interception in the end zone late in the fourth.

Lake City rounded out the scoring with two touchdowns in the second half as the rushing attack really picked up. Brandon Kelleher went over for a three-yard run and Jed Randall ran for a four-yard score in the fourth.

The Stars picked up 145 yards on the ground as nine different players touched the ball. Harrison led the attack with 31 yards while John Faheey picked up 25 and Kelleher added 23.

Castine finished with 96 yards through the air as James Blocker picked up 27 yards, St. Clair and Racette 25, and Chris Verkey 19.

"We moved the ball much better in the second half," McCallister said. "We were able to mix the pass and the run very well.

"We will look and see where we are at tomorrow, but the bottom line is we have to keep winning. As long as we are winning we know where we will be."

Watertown beats Dragons through air

Press & Sun-Bulletin

BINGHAMTON -- An inexperienced, injury-riddled secondary spelled disaster for the Broome Country Dragons on Saturday night.

Watertown quarterback Doug Black torched the Dragons for nearly 300 yards passing and four touchdowns, as the Red & Black rolled to a 31-20 victory in an Empire Football League contest at Binghamton Alumni Stadium. The loss snaps the Dragons' (4-3) four-game winning streak.

"I'll be blunt, we're running a patchwork secondary right now," Dragons coach Tommy Manny said. "I'm not making excuses, but it is what it is."

The Dragons secondary, already shorthanded due to injuries, took a huge blow in early in the game. Jeff Newton, the starting strong safety and team's leading tackler, left the game with a knee injury.

Newton's injury left the Dragons struggling against Watertown's (4-2) potent offense. Black finished 21 for 31 for 278 yards. Earnest Wash caught a game-high 10 passes for 129 yards and three second-half touchdowns.

The Dragons came up empty on two first-half drives. On their second possession of the game, the Dragons drove inside the Red & Black 10-yard line, but Jemall Johnson fumbled on the 6-yard line and Watertown recovered.

Just before halftime, with Watertown holding a 3-0 lead, Steve Tammariello had a 25-yard field goal blocked.

"When those two things happened, I thought, 'Man, this is going to come back and hurt us later,' " Manny said.

Sure enough, after the blocked field goal, Black marched his team 80 yards in 41 seconds. He hit Anthony Noel on a 6-yard scoring pass to give the Red & Black a 10-0 lead.

Ty Fish threw two second-half touchdown passes for the Dragons and ran in another. He finished with 317 yards passing. Jonathan Bechy caught eight passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns for the Dragons, who are at Scranton on Saturday.

"We'll beat Scranton next week, you can put that in the paper," Manny said.

The game was delayed more than 30 minutes early in the third quarter when Watertown defensive back Jon Fisher broke his leg and had to be carted off the field by ambulance.

RB on roll with road win Watertown prevails

Times Staff Reports
First published: Sunday, August 21, 2005

BINGHAMTON - Earnest Wash was on the receiving end of three touchdown passes as the Watertown Red and Black earned its second consecutive Empire Football League victory, 31-20 over the Broome County Dragons on Saturday night at Alumni Stadium.

The Red and Black improved its overall record to 4-4, and 4-2 in the EFL, but the victory proved costly for the defense as starting linebacker John Check suffered a broken leg. Head coach George Ashcraft said Check was being treated at a Binghamton hospital.

Quarterback Doug Black continued to post impressive statistics. Ranked second in the league in total passing yards before Saturday's game, the veteran quarterback completed 20-of-30 pass attempts for 269 yards and four touchdowns.

In addition to his three scores, Wash registered 10 receptions for 136 yards.

The Red and Black also enjoyed a solid defensive effort, recording seven sacks. Wayne Dupree led the charge with three sacks, while Graig Hodge added two. Former Carthage standout Mike Dumaw contributed eight tackles, and Dylan Kirker had seven tackles.

"Defensively, we were really swarming," Ashcraft said.

Anthony Noel reeled in a scoring strike from Black and kicker Leo Grant added a second quarter field goal.

Jerry Parker scored two touchdowns for the Dragons (4-3, 3-3) and Ty Fish added another.

The Red and Black will receive a forfeit victory next week due to Green Mountain's exodus from the league and will remain idle until a Sept. 10 showdown with the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers in Potsdam.

Watertown closes out the EFL regular season with home games against the Lake City Stars and Scranton Eagles on Sept. 17 and Sept. 24, respectively.

NOTES: Brian Podvin added a sack and four tackles for the Red and Black. ... Ben Pritchard had three tackles and a sack. ... Grant converted all four extra-point attempts. ... Al Countryman led the rushing attack with 44 yards and Brian Beltz caught four passes. ... Rod Gleisner made three receptions for 45 yards.


For Immediate Release

Traveling south to Monroe, NY, the Albany MetroMallers enjoyed a 17 - 12 road victory over the Orange County Bulldogs tonight in Empire Football League Action. The win puts Albany in sole possession of first place in the league and remain undefeated at 6 - 0 in the EFL & 7 - 0 overall on  the season.

The contest was another defensive gem for the Metro Mallers, led by Linebackers Greg Woodward and Jarris Jones as the team racked up 4 interceptions and 3 sacks on the night. Jones supplied 2 of the sacks while Woodward was in on 17 tackles, and had one of the picks.

Offensively, Maceo Clinton scored his fifth touchdown of the year on an 18 yard pass reception from Quarterback Scott Lawson who went 16 for 26 for 226 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.  Meanwhile, Matt Holmes got his second TD in two weeks with  a 20 yard run. Vinnie Cirincione added a 29 yard field goal and 2 extra points to complete the scoring
for the Mallers.

The Albany Metro Mallers return to Bleecker Stadium in Albany next Saturday, August 27th to take on the Montreal Titans from Montreal, Canada in Empire Football League action. The game kicks off the Metro Mallers' and USA Footballs' National - Play Football Campaign with a 4 on 4 youth flag football tourney during the day and at half time. For more information,  visit Kick off for the Titan - Metro Maller game is 7:30pm

MetroMallers tame Bulldogs

 August 21, 2005
   By Rich Thomaselli
   For the Times Herald-Record
   Monroe – In the end, it came down to exactly what everybody thought it would – a matchup of two teams whose respective defenses were about as stingy as a 3-year-old being asked to share his toys.

   This time, the Albany MetroMallers were slightly more petulant than the Orange County Bulldogs. The MetroMallers scored the go-ahead touchdown with a long drive to start the second half and then shut down Orange County the rest of the night, beating the Bulldogs 17-12 in an Empire Football League showdown between nationally ranked and unbeaten teams.

   An estimated crowd of 1,000 fans packed the bleachers and the north end zone of Smith Clove Park to root on the Bulldogs, who fell to 6-1 in the EFL with three games remaining. Orange County was ranked fifth in the country in the latest American Football Association poll; Albany, now 7-0, was ranked sixth.

   "It went exactly how we figured," Orange County coach George St. Lawrence said. "We knew it would be hard to get points, we knew we'd be able to slow them down, but you can't have the mistakes we made."

   You had to figure something was amiss with the Bulldogs when quarterback Jared Pillitteri, who had only two interceptions all season, threw three in the opening quarter. And you had to figure something was really wrong when the Bulldogs, who had allowed 17 total points in six games, gave up 10 in the first 16 minutes.

   But Orange County came back to capture the momentum. Pillitteri's 41-yard touchdown pass over the middle to a streaking Louis Allen cut the deficit to 10-6 just more than 10 minutes before halftime.

   Then, a 67-yard drive highlighted by Freddy Riullano's 28-yard run and Pillitteri's 12-yard run out of a shotgun draw gave the Bulldogs the lead, and the momentum, at 12-10 despite missing both extra points.

   But Albany quarterback Scott Lawson came out after halftime on fire. Lawson completed 5-of-6 passes for 79 yards on the MetroMallers' opening drive, capping things with a 17-yard strike to Macio Clinton for the 17-12 lead.

   Orange County made two critical mistakes on the drive, dropping a sure interception on Lawson's only incompletion and then watching helplessly as at least one member of the Bulldogs' secondary appeared to be playing zone defense instead of man-to-man on the touchdown pass.

   "You can't make those kinds of mistakes against a team with a defense like that," St. Lawrence said. "You leave yourself little room for error."

   The MetroMallers held the Bulldogs in check the rest of the game, their only sustained drive ending in a punt after reaching Albany's 46-yard line.

   Lawson finished the game 15-for-28 for 222 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Pillitteri was 5-for-18 for 59 yards, one TD and four interceptions.

Staff trainers do much more then tape ankles

by Matt Cordova, Times Sports Writer
First published: Saturday, August 20, 2005

Six years ago, after a Watertown Red and Black equipment box was left behind for a game in Syracuse, Sam Verbeck began living his football life by a checklist.

"I was running around, I had to borrow a screwdriver, hardware and stuff. I was really embarrassed," Verbeck said. "That was the impetus behind the checklists."

Verbeck, a physician's assistant in his eighth season as the head athletic trainer for the Red and Black, does so much more than tape ankles and heal wounds. Thanks to his efforts and those of Michelle Dolmanet and Matt Melvin, head coach George Ashcraft, the coaching staff and the players can concentrate on pursuing an Empire Football League championship.

More often than not, Verbeck, Dolmanet and Melvin arrive at practice before and leave after most players have vacated the locker room. Before Mike Dumaw crushes a quarterback or Doug Black lofts a touchdown pass, the three have already put in hours of work.

Mix the Gatorade, fill water bottles, make sure there is enough tape - the list of things to be done is seemingly endless and routine. Those darn checklists.

But their constant activity means Ashcraft can focus on his players and the game plan.

"You don't have to worry that things aren't done," Ashcraft said.

Thursdays are often one of the most hectic days for the Red and Black, particularly when Saturday's game is on the road, as are the team's next two contests. According to Verbeck, a majority of the preparation for a road trip is completed after Thursday's practice.

"A bin is packed with extra pads, extra tape and we even take an extra helmet," Verbeck said. "We make sure the equipment and medical box is up to snuff, right down to making sure we have enough towels for the players. We make sure I didn't forget stuff.

"Thursday is also last call for equipment fixes. You don't want to have to wait until game time to fix stuff."

Verbeck still is responsible for the medical needs of the players during games and practices. He and Dolmanet, a physical therapist in her third season with the team, now team up to care for the more than 50 Red and Black players. Verbeck said that Dolmanet's expertise has been invaluable to the team.

"She knows all the rehab stuff these guys need to do, and we have a good working relationship," Verbeck said, "I'd really be lost without her."

While Verbeck and Dolmanet are busy preparing the players to stay safe and healthy during a game, 23-year old Melvin is flying around doing anything that is asked of him.

"Spider," as Melvin is known to the team, joined the Red and Black three seasons ago. His desire to be a part of the nation's oldest semipro football team is obvious to the Red and Black. Ashcraft said he offered Melvin a "job" after he saw him hanging around at practices and even showing up to greet the team before a road trip.

"He's a good young man," said Ashcraft, "we don't have to ask him twice to do anything. He does the things people don't notice - like clean up the sidelines, gather equipment - unless you are the one who has to do it."

Melvin enjoys the work he does for the Red and Black. "They are nice people and I enjoy working with them," he said. "Plus, I have made some friends."

All three work for the Red and Black on strictly a volunteer basis. So, what motivates them to give so much time for no financial return?

"I believe they are just true football fans," Ashcraft said.

The coach knows his staff. Said Dolmanet, "I just love football."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

'Dogs, Mallers clash of titans

August 20, 2005
By Keith Goldberg
Times Herald-Record
Terrell Baity was ready to start his second season with the Orange County Bulldogs.
But on May 25, a softball changed those plans. Specifically, a softball to the New Windsor resident's face, breaking his jaw. Baity didn't return to the football field until last weekend, when the Bulldogs blanked the Scranton Eagles 36-0 – their third shutout of the Empire Football League season. It took a few plays for the 28-year-old linebacker and 1996 James I. O'Neill graduate to feel comfortable again.
"It was nerve-wracking the first three or four hits," Baity said.
He's comfortable now. And just as obsessed with perfection as the rest of his teammates on a defense that's allowed just 17 points this season. "We know, unless we kill ourselves with mistakes, we believe no one can score on us," Baity said. "We plan on going in (games) and getting a shutout."
That won't be an easy task tonight at Monroe's Smith Clove Park, when the Bulldogs (6-0) face the Albany Metro Mallers (6-0) at 7:30 p.m.

The two teams couldn't be any more alike. The Bulldogs are ranked fifth in the American Football Association national rankings, and the Metro Mallers are ranked sixth. The Metro Mallers have been even stingier than the Bulldogs, allowing just 14 points and pitching four shutouts.

So, first one to a field goal wins? "This game means a lot," Baity said. "It's all that stands between us and an undefeated season and a championship."
Record Online is brought to you by the Times Herald-Record, serving New York's Hudson Valley and the Catskills.

Stars look to bounce back against Scranton


By KEITH KANE Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH — The Lake City Stars have suffered two heart-breaking losses over the past two games.

With the Scranton Eagles coming to Melissa L. Penfield Park tonight, game scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start, Stars coach Ed McCallister feels the team will be able to break back into the winning mode.

"We played a good football game against Orange County," McCallister said. "But we did not against Broome County. We gave one away last week and we cannot allow that to happen this week or anytime again for the remainder of the season.

"We made it very difficult on ourselves last week as we committed far too many turnovers. We made too many mistakes, especially offensively, we have to pick it up and be more productive in the red-zone and I think we can do that."

The Eagles are coming off a 36-0 loss to Orange County last week. Quarterback John Kennedy, now in his 23rd Empire Football League season, completed 4-of-11 passes for 62 yards. Scranton finished with a total of 93 yards rushing on 38 carries.

For the season, Kennedy is 23-of-48 for 317 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. Kennedy’s favorite target appears to be Eric Paroby, who has hauled in nine passes for 173 yards and nine touchdowns.

The Eagles, like the Stars, use a platoon backfield as four different backs take the bulk of the hand-offs. Andre Chollette leads the team in yardage with 132 on 32 carries and has scored one of the two rushing touchdowns by the team. Gary Visnofsky (32-125), Bill Sandly (26-84) and Marvin Wilson (23-82) round out the backfield.

The Stars last week were led by quarterback Eddie Castine’s 34 yards on eight carries. Castine also completed 11 passes for 173 yards. Matt St. Clair pulled in three passes for 69 and James Blocker added four catches for 44 yards.

"I think the team knows we gave one away to Broome County," McCallister said. "We had a good week of practice and I think we have fixed some of the mistakes and got some people back healthy that we didn’t have and hopefully they can make a difference."

Lake City’s starting running back Heath Geiser, who injured his leg against Orange County, gave it a go last week and picked up 24 yards on nine carries, but the leg was not at 100 percent.

"Geiser is still not at 100-percent," McCallister said. "He had some runs last week that he wasn’t able to finish where he normally could make a cut and finish, but he will be in the lineup. Vern (Harrison) should be more comfortable tonight after taking some reps last week and Brandon Kelly should get some touches out of the backfield."

The Stars have hit the halfway mark of the season and are now looking to position themselves for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

"I think we will be a different team tonight as opposed to last week," McCallister said. "We are a young team and hopefully we have learned something and we are lucky enough to learn it early in the season. We can control our own destiny and it starts tonight. Losing is not an option — expect a team that is extremely aggressive and that will play 60 minutes of football.

"I am excited about this game. This can start us on a good run for the final half of the season and we will see what happens."

To contact the Press-Republican, Phone: (518) 561-2300 or send mail to:
Press-Republican, 170 Margaret St., P.O. Box 459, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Watertown Red and Black vs. Broome County Dragons

Preview: Empire Football League
Times Staff Reports
First published: Saturday, August 20, 2005

Watertown Red and Black vs. Broome County Dragons

When, where: 7:30 p.m., today, Alumni Stadium, Binghamton.

Records: Watertown (3-4 overall, 3-2 EFL); Broome County (4-2, 3-2).

Notes: Watertown is coming off its most convincing win of the season, 45-22 over Montreal. ... Several Red and Black players are among the league's statistical leaders: WR Earnest Wash is second in receptions with 17 and fourth in receiving yards; QB Doug Black ranks first in total completions with 56 and second in total passing yards (647); Al Countryman's 36.7 yards per punt is the EFL's fourth best. ... Broome County's Dan Jennings is the league's sacks leader with 3.5. ... The Red and Black aren't scheduled to play at the Duffy Fairgrounds again until Sept. 17 against the Lake City Stars.

Coach shakes up Scranton Eagles lineup

BY DAVE LAURIHA staff writer
Scranton Eagles coach Mike Woodard is a rookie on the sidelines, but he has gone to an old trick to jump-start his offense.
When the Eagles visit Plattsburgh, N.Y., to face the Lake City Stars in an Empire Football League game tonight, Woodard will be sending in Mike Arcure to take the first plays at quarterback, in place of veteran John Kennedy.

“We’re going to shake things up,’’ Woodard said. “John’s going to be on the sideline, calling plays.”

The coach refused to call it a demotion.

The quarterback who led the Eagles to 10 EFL championships during the franchise’s glory years said he isn’t taking it as one, added that he’s going to “get my snaps.”

Really, Woodard’s plan is to take advantage of Kennedy’s experience in a different way. A defensive lineman during his playing days, Woodard admits he is still trying to learn the offensive terminology. So he turned to Kennedy, essentially an offensive coordinator in shoulder pads, for help.

“In this league, it’s hard to formulate much of a pre-game game plan because you just don’t know who will be showing up, or what the defense will look like,” Kennedy said.

Looking to the person with the most experience of all the Eagles, Woodard is hoping Kennedy’s expertise in dissecting a game will pay off with a better offensive effort.

Or, at least, a more consistent one.

In blowout losses to Albany, Montreal and Orange County, the Eagles struggled to move the football.

So far, Woodard and Kennedy are in agreement about what has been working best for the Eagles.

“We’re a running team, and it all starts up front,” Woodard said. “We have to run the ball to be effective. Play-action is our game, and you have to be able to run the football. We’ll see what happens. If we don’t, we’ll lose.”

Woodard can send out plenty of options for Kennedy to use, and the veteran quarterback figures he’ll be call all of their numbers quite a bit.

The Eagles’ strength, Kennedy said, lies in their running backs: Gary Visnofsky, Nick Parlanti, Bill Sandly and Andre Chollette.

“If we use Parlanti and Sandly together,” Kennedy said, “we’ll have two of the biggest backs in the league going.”

Arcure and the rest of the passing game is coming along a little slower. Woodard is hoping Kennedy’s play-calling also will help Arcure be a little more effective.

Perhaps effective enough for the Eagles to pick up their second on-field victory of the season. Because Amsterdam and Green Mountain packed up their bags for the season, the Eagles got EFL wins in back-to-back weeks before losing last week to Orange County, 36-0.

“This team (Lake City) doesn’t have the dominant players like an Albany or Orange County,” Kennedy said. “They’re a scrappy team like us. This is a winnable game, but we’re going to have to play hard.”

Playing hard hasn’t been the problem for the Eagles.

Playing well? That’s another story.

Contact the writer:
©The Times-Tribune 2005

Thursday, August 18, 2005


For Immediate Release:
16 August 2005

Contact: Cathleen Healy, USA Football, 703-918-0007 x103
Adina Ellis, NFL, 212-450-2435


Vienna, VA --The end of summer signals the beginning of the football season for millions of young players, their coaches and families. The NFL, NFL Players Association, and USA Football are teaming again to celebrate the opening of the season and salute the participants in youth, high school, and college football with PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH it was announced today.

PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH, an expansion of last year's Play Football Week, will take place from August 25-September 30 at NFL stadiums and other communities from coast to coast. The celebration theme is: "Be Part of the Football Family."

NFL teams, colleges, high schools, and youth football organizations across the country will host events and recognition programs, including clinics, skills competitions, scrimmages, picnics, and parades.

NFL teams will offer free tickets to youth football organizations for one home game during the third and fourth (August 25-September 2) preseason weekends. Last year, NFL teams donated 55,000 tickets to youth and military personnel. Teams will recognize youth football players during pregame ceremonies of many games by having them line up in full uniform in front of NFL players on the sidelines during the playing of the national anthem. Youth teams also will scrimmage during halftime of designated NFL games.

Youth football organizations coordinating local PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH events include: the Amateur Athletic Union, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Jewish Community Centers Association, National Association of Police Athletic Leagues, National Federation of State High School Associations, National Recreation & Park Association, Pop Warner Little Scholars, YMCA of the USA, American Football Coaches Association, American Youth Football, and military bases.

"As we begin our season, it is important to recognize and salute the millions of players who help make football the most popular sport in America," said NFL Commissioner PAUL TAGLIABUE. "Playing football is a great way for young people to be active and physically fit and part of a team. The lessons they learn on the field will help them in tackling many of life's other challenges."

"Football is more than just passing, running, blocking, and tackling. You learn about working with others to achieve a common goal," said USA Football Chairman JACK KEMP. "During Play Football Month, we salute the more than 12 million children who participate in the sport, along with the parents and volunteers who make it happen, especially the coaches. As TROY AIKMAN said, ‘Youth football coaches are the true gatekeepers of the sport."'

"Without the opportunity of participating in youth football, most professional football players would not have had the chance to play in the National Football League," said GENE UPSHAW, NFL Players Association Executive Director. "All NFL players, past and present, owe a great debt to youth coaches and other volunteers who made football a positive, life-affirming experience."

The Play Football Month Celebration Award will again recognize events that best celebrate the sport of football and bring the community together. While NFL teams are not eligible for the award, non-profit organizations with which they work are eligible for nomination. Last year's winning celebrations included a pep rally, parade, picnic, skills clinic, and scrimmage. Among last year's 11 winners, several worked with their local NFL team, including the Naperville Pop Warner (Chicago), Naples Gators (Miami), San Diego Youth Football & Cheer Conference (San Diego), and Western New York Youth Tackle Football Federation (Buffalo).

National print, radio and television messages about PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH will begin appearing this month. This year's ads feature Hall of Famers DAN MARINO and JOHN ELWAY, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER, St. Louis Rams wide receiver TORRY HOLT, and San Diego Chargers wide receiver KEENAN MCCARDELL.

For information on local events, check the PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH events calendar at

Parents and others may become involved in PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH by signing up online for free materials and using the toolkit or calling 703-918-0007.

USA Football ( is an independent non-profit organization that was launched by the NFL and NFL Players Association through a grant from the NFL Youth Football Fund in December 2002. It is the first national advocacy group created to galvanize, support, expand, and promote the sport of amateur football. Jack Kemp, former Congressman and quarterback who led the Buffalo Bills to the 1964 and 1965 American Football League Championship, serves as chairman.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

PRESS RELEASE POST GAME Saturday August 13, 2005

For Immediate Release :

    Saturday Night, Albany's Bleecker Stadium was the backdrop for yet another fantastic gridiron performance in the storied annals of the belegured historic facility, when  the clash of the semi-pro unbeatens took over the field. The defending national champion Central NY Express from Syracuse and the NYAFL, at 6 -0, came to Albany to take on the hometown Empire Football League powerhouse Albany Metro Mallers in a non league clash of the inter league titans. Albany entered the game at 5 - 0, and unscored upon while   CNY had given up a mere 6 points on the season. When the smoke cleared after four quarters, only one team came out with their unbeaten string intact, The Metro Mallers. Although the winning streak remained intact, the Albany defense which was bent but never broken in their earlier games finally gave way to the opponents endzone, as the Express came away with 2 scores in their 28 -14 defeat at the hands of the Albany team.

    Following the Opening Kickoff, by newly acquired Albany Placekicker Vinnie Cirincione, which stunned the Express as the kick sailed high overhead and out of the endzone, The CNY started their back-up QB, Richard Dykes, normally a Wide Receiver, as regular starter Chris Breshnahan was late in arriving in Albany. After engineering a first down the CNY Signal caller was victimized by the Maller defense as Jarris Jones, Gabe Young, and Greg Woodward combined on the blitz to force Dykes into a fumble which Woodward recovered. The Metro Mallers Quarterback Scott Lawson wasted no time, in striking as he hit Collis
Martin with a 10 yard pass in the endzone, putting Albany on top 7-0 after Cirincione made the conversion.

    The Express' second posession nearly ended the same as the first, as Dykes again under intense pressure, coughed the pigskin up, however he dodged a bullet as the play was ruled dead with an Albany offsides penalty. Before play resumed, Breshnahan, a former New England Patriot Draft Pick, arrived on the scene. Breshnahan obviously not warmed up
went 3 and out and the Express had to punt. As the Express defense exerted itself on the Metro Mallers, possessions exchanged for the remainder of the quarter, when the Express again had to punt at the :31 second mark, Albany return specialist, Farrid Baaklini, worked his magic.  Breshnian, also the Express punter, shanked a 16 yard punt which landed bouncing at the 37 yard line, near the side line. Seeing a lane and all defenders with their backs toward him Baaklini went unnoticed as he beelined down the sideline, fielded the bouncing ball and returned it to the 30 yard line. With just 24 seconds left on the clock, Scott Lawson again caught the Express by surprise, as the Syracuse squad anticipated Albany killing the clock to end the quarter. Lawson connected for 37 yards with  Maceo Clinton  for Albany's second score, and a 14-0 lead after the opening quarter.

    Again, Vinnie Cirincione's leg pinned the express inside the 20 on the kickoff and again the Defenses took over. After exchanging possessions Albany's QB Lawson, was caught by surprise and was stripped of the ball near mid-field on a scramble. Following a 15 yard penalty the Express got the ball at the Metro Maller 30. Following a loss of yardage on first down, Express tailback Chris Beebe exploded through the center of the line, into daylight and headed for the Endzone. As Beebe approached, Maller D-back Gabe Young caught him from behind and slapped the ball out of his grasp as he crossed the 1 yard line. Although Farid
Baaklini fell on the loose ball in the endzone, the back judge ruled it a touchdown, and the Express were on the board with six.
    After the Albany offense failed to move downfield, Albany Punter Jason Bradwell, fought off intense pressure nailing a 42 yard boot and Albany was aided by a CNY illegal blocking penalty, which forced the Syracuse team back to their own 24 yard line from which to start a
drive. Again under intense pressure, Breshnahan threw downfield across the middle, and Baaklini stepped in front of Richard Dykes, for the pick. The speedy defender then reversed field and took off down the left sideline into the endzone  giving Albany a 21-6 lead into the intermission.

    Coming back after the break, the tone of the game was more of the same, offenses from both teams trying to get the ground game on track, the Express on the back of Tailback Chris Beebe, and Albany on the legs of Jadel Whitfield, and Sylvester Cooperwood. But neither defense would break early in the half. With 4:51 left in the period, Lawson hit Matt
Holmes on the short screen and the EFL Veteran took it 23 yards for the score, putting Albany up 28-6 going into the final period.
    As the teams battled it out, it took yet another miscue to  keep the  crowd  on the edge of their seats when at the 8:10  mark, a bad snap to punter Jason Bradwell, resulted in CNY getting field posession at the Albany 40 yard line to mount yet another assault. Breshnahan
connected with wide receiver Ryshaud Porch with a 27 yard fly giving the Express a first and ten at the Albany 13 yard line. Two plays later, Central shortened the Albany lead to 28-14 with just 6:59 on the clock as Breshnahan connected with  Richard Dykes across the middle from 13 yards out, and Chris Beebe completed the two point conversion.

    With just under 7 minutes left the Express showed why they were the national champions in 2004, as they kept trying to come back. The Express Defense prevented the Albany running backs from getting first down yardage to be able to kill the clock. regaining posession of the ball by stopping both Jadel Whitfield and Sylvester Cooperwood from moving the chains following a third & fourth down and 1 yard to go at mid field.
     CNY took over on downs, and Breshnahan connected downfield with Dykes on a slant, and the receiver broke free down the right side. A great open field tackle by Albany defensive captain Jeff Turman saved a touchdown, but Syracuse had a 1st and goal from the two. Breshnahan handed off to Beebe, who finished the evening with 104 yard rushing. and Beebe went up the middle gaining 1 and three quarter yards an was met by the un breaking Albany D, in the form of Greg Woodward, Tony DiChairo, and Sean Hardy. With the ball resting  inches from the goal line, Breshnahan stepped in under center and barked the signals, failing to see Maller Free Safety Damon Walker shoot the gap on the blitz trapping Breshnian, forcing a fumble which the Quarterback managed to recover but was sacked for a loss of  9 yards.  As the clock ran down, Breshnahan completed a 1 yard pass into the flat to Ryshaud Porch who was immediately smothered by Maller Cornerback Gabe Young. The veteran QB had one more down to work with, but his fourth down pass came under the intense rush of the Maller Line that it sailed high out of the endzone. Following a single snap of the ball, by Albany Center Drez Morris, the ballgame was over. Albany holds on to a 28-14 win.

    This game will be broadcast in tape delay on Albany Time Warner Cable Channel 18, this Thursday evening at 7pm and on Schenectady Cable Channel 18 Saturday at midnight.

    The Metro Mallers are right back in the thick of the Empire Football League battle this coming Saturday Night as they travel the Thruway south to Monroe,  NY to take on their EFL Co-Leaders the also undefeated Orange County Bulldogs. Kick off at 7:30 pm.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Titans clobber Demons in Empire League showdown last Saturday at Billings

Titans quarterback Sean Hoas (14) is pursued by Ottawa defender before firing a pass in 38-0 victory.(Photo Andrew Clark)

Titans clobber Demons in Empire League showdown

Dan Rosenburg

The much-anticipated Empire Football League "grudge" match between the Montreal Titans and Ottawa Deacon Demons turned into a "bust" last Saturday at Billings. The Titans waltzed away with a resounding 38-0 triumph.

The win gave the Titans a 4-1 record but the team received bad news about their scheduled Aug. 20 home-field meeting with Amsterdam Zephyrs. In short, the Zephyrs are no more. Hence, that game has been cancelled, through no fault of the Titans.

In addition to that, the Green Mountain Gladiators no longer exist either. They were supposed to be the visitors here on Sept. 24. In their absence, the Broome County Dragons have been recruited to travel to Chateauguay for an exhibition game that night instead. That will be the Titans' last home appearance until the playoffs.

Local fans were looking forward to the Titans-Demons matchup, largely because of the return to Chateauguay of former Montreal Condors head coach Wilbert Scott, now president and coach of the Demons. The Condors used to play their home games at Laberge Park here before the Titans came along.

But the Demons showed a marked lack of offence Saturday and never succeeded in working the ball past midfield. One of the few times they threatened to do so, they fumbled on their own 40 and James Elias of the Titans recovered. Seven quarterback sacks, including three by Corvell Isaacs and two by Jean-Marc Michel, did not exactly aid the Demons' cause.

The Titans, on the other hand, controlled the game virtually at will from the moment Michael Coles barrelled over the goal line on a 13-yard rumble and then caught a rare Andrew Blevings pass in the end zone for a two-point conversion in the opening period.

A 29-yard pass from quarterback Sean Hoas to Patrice Bernard bolstered the lead to 14-0 at the half.

Treldon James of the Titans electrified the crowd by returning the second-half kickoff 75 yards to paydirt. A two-point convert pass from Hoas to Marvin Joseph and a safety touch upped the count to 24-0.

Blevings bulled over on runs of 30 and six yards in the fourth quarter, and another safety rounded out the assault. Geoff Brown finished up at quarterback in relief of Hoas, who went down with suspected rib injuries. His brother Tyrel was unable to suit up because of an eye injury.

The Titans were also missing vacationing placekicker Dave Miller-Johnston and running back Neville Johnson, out with an ankle injury.

"Now we play the big boys," said Titans head coach John Mouland, referring to the fact that the Titans finish the regular season with three consecutive road games, beginning in Watertown tonight and against powerhouses Albany (5-0) Metro Mallers Aug. 27 and Orange County (4-0-1) Bulldogs on Sept. 10.

If Sean Hoas can't answer the bell tonight, he'll be spelled by back-up quarterback Michael Hyatt.

Mouland admitted his keen disappointment at the token opposition offered by the Demons last week and added that he was particularly upset at the disgusting action of Ottawa's Luc Lacelle who was ejected by referee Roger Villeneuve for kicking a fallen Titan when he was down.

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