Sunday, September 25, 2005
Trickery helps lead Red-Black
by Matt Cordova, Times Sports Writer
First published: Sunday, September 25, 2005
When wideout Todd Kiechle approached the line of scrimmage on the Watertown Red and Black's first punt play of the second quarter, there was nobody there to cover him. He was so shocked that he realigned himself in order to protect against a block.
So, imagine his surprise when on Watertown's next possession, after going three and out, he again lined up wide with nobody in front of him. This time, he stayed right where he was and it paid off when Al Countryman faked the punt, and instead fired a spiral to Kiechle, who raced 60 yards and hurdled the only would-be tackler on his way to a touchdown.
The trick play did more than just give Watertown a 13-point edge 10 minutes before halftime, it kept the Scranton Eagles defense off balance for the rest of the night, and the Red and Black used that advantage to post a 34-6 Empire Football League victory Saturday at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
Watertown improved its overall record to 8-4 and it closed out the regular season with an 8-2 EFL mark. The Red and Black are now set to host either the Montreal Titans or the Broome County Dragons in an opening round playoff game next week.
Countryman fooled the Eagles (4-6) on several other occasions, too. With under a minute to go in the first half, Doug Black connected with Brian Beltz on a 24-yard scoring strike. On the extra-point attempt, Countryman caught the snap and tossed the ball to a wide-open Kenny Anderson for at two-point conversion. Sure, the Eagles' special teams unit was able to apply some pressure, but in the process they blitzed themselves right out of the game. Duped for a second time, Scranton didn't attempt another blitz the whole game.
"The trick plays were nothing planned," said Countryman, who scampered for a one-yard touchdown and rushed for 38 yards. "We just took what they gave us. They brought both corners so I just dumped the ball to Kiechle, and he made a great run.
"(Anderson) said his guy was rushing hard (on the extra point), and said he'd be open."
The school-yard shenanigans started in the first quarter for Watertown. A reverse play to Beltz yielded a 15-yard gain and set up Countryman's scoring run. The Scranton defense also didn't have an answer for Watertown's arsenal of misdirection running plays, on which the running backs would cut back against the blocks of the offensive line.
"We knew we'd have to mix it up," Countryman said. "Doug (Black) called a great game, as usual, and the defense played great. You can't ask for more from them."
Watertown's defense forced four turnovers en route to the team's sixth consecutive win. Brian Williams returned a third quarter interception 47 yards to set up the first of two touchdown runs by James Todd. Todd dashed eight yards for a score on the next play to give Watertown a 28-0 lead and he added an 11-yard touchdown journey in the fourth.
Black completed 15-of-36 attempts for 165 yards. Watertown's offensive play calling and the efficiency with which they moved the ball produced the most balanced effort of the season. And it didn't matter who was on the field for the home team.
"We have starters and we have backup role players," head coach George Ashcraft said. "This team is so full of ability that the backup guys can go in and get the job done. We're just playing great ball."
Andre Chollete provided Scranton's only touchdown on a running play from a yard away. The score was set up by a thunderous 42-yard jaunt by Bill Sandly. It was much too late, though, for the touchdown to be a factor.
Lynn Patrick led the defense with eight tackles while Lorenzo Sanchez contributed five tackles and a fumble recovery. Kyle Roshia and Lamont Lane also made interceptions for Watertown.
The Trailblazers (3-9, 2-8 EFL) sputtered offensively, but did strike first. Joe Hutchinson hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Dave Currier, which gave St. Lawrence Valley a touchdown advantage after the first quarter.
Harkes answered with touchdowns runs of seven and 96 yards to give Ottawa (3-7, 3-7) the lead for good.
Hutchinson finished with five catches for 80 yards. Currier was intercepted five times, but managed 163 passing yards and a touchdown run. Dan Staton also caught five passes for 43 yards.
Cheyenne Dashnaw led the defense with 11 tackles, one sack and a blocked kick. Ricky Delaney added eight tackles, and Justin Martel made six tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery.
Eagles’ playoff hopes over
Albany Metro Mallers Press Release
offense from the outset, providing Scott Lawson's Offense great field possession from which to work. With their first possession Lawson, hit Maceo Clinton with a 23 yard pass then followed it up with a 28 strike Endzone Strike to Collis Martin who scored on a diving catch to get the Mallers on the board.
The Defense came back after the kickoff and Middle Linebacker Woodward notched his second interception of the year off a pass deflection by Farid Baaklini on a Kellen Nolan pass to give the offense another shot. Now it was Sylvester Cooperwood's time to shine. First
with a 3 yard off tackle warm-up followed by a 20 yard power sweep into the endzone for the second Albany touchdown of the night. The Mallers then followed it up with a 39 yard Vinnie Cirincione field goal and yet another scoring strike by Scott Lawson again to Collis Martin again from 28 yards out.
tackles from his outside linebacker spot, along with Brian Northern, Damon Walker, and Brian Northern all having stellar defensive performances.
with 8 carries for 66 yards and Jadel Whitfield added 7 carries for 50 yards with each scoring touchdowns.
Vinnie Cirincione was 6 for 6 on point after kicks to add with his field goal to chip in 9 total points. Collis Martin lead all receivers with 4 catches for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Metro Mallers complete the Empire Football League's regular season a perfect 10-0 and will receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs next weekend. They will return to action in the Semi-Final game of the playoffs on October 8, 2005. This game will be played at Union
College in Schenectady, Due to scheduling conflicts at Bleecker Stadium.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Eagles face formidable opponent
Watertown welcomes old nemesis Scranton
First published: Saturday, September 24, 2005
One of the most successful franchises in the history of the Empire Football League visits the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds tonight to take on the Watertown Red and Black.
Since their inception in 1982, the Scranton Eagles have claimed 10 EFL championships, the most recent one being in 1999. Twenty-five years have passed since the Red and Black last earned the right to be called league champion.
Those facts, though, are irrelevant side notes, as far as the teams are concerned. The reality of tonight's game actually breaks down quite simply. The Red and Black has locked up the No. 3 seed in the EFL playoffs that begin Saturday. For the Eagles, well, this game will be their last. Scranton, currently one game behind the Montreal Titans in the standings, have no shot at the sixth-and-final playoff berth. The Titans receive a forfeit victory this week and will finish the season 6-4. Even with a win, the Eagles (4-5) would end the regular season at 5-5.
Red and Black head coach George Ashcraft knows that the Eagles would like nothing more than to give Watertown (7-4, 7-2) a few lumps heading into the postseason. Ashcraft said he has a strong feeling that his team's leaders won't allow for a letdown following last week's emotional 44-14 beating of the Lake City Stars.
"The veterans already know what Scranton is capable of," Ashcraft said. "They are a quality ball team. We're not taking them lightly by any means."
Scranton, an EFL member since '82, dominated the Red and Black for practically an entire generation. Prior to Watertown's 31-0 win over Scranton in 1996, the Eagles had bettered the Red and Black 19 times in a row.
But, history is history, and more than getting even for past defeats, Ashcraft wants to keep alive the charge that has led his team to five consecutive wins.
"We don't want any kind of letdown going into the playoffs," he said, "and any time you beat a team with such a great history it feels good."
The Eagles are coming off a big win, too, after beating St. Lawrence Valley last week 37-14. Running back Bill Sandly is the third-leading rusher in the league, averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
Though his statistics have been mediocre this year - he is seventh in total passing yards and has completed half of his pass attempts while tossing just five interceptions - Ashcraft said the defense will take extra care to keep track of Eagles veteran quarterback John Kennedy. Kennedy was instrumental in Scranton's 19-game win streak over Watertown, according to Ashcraft.
"This guy is an awesome quarterback," he said. "He makes things happen. We won't rest easy until after the game."
Wash leads league's receivers
Veteran Watertown wide receiver Earnest Wash is again among the leading receivers in the EFL. Wash is the league leader in touchdowns scored with eight, after catching two in last week's victory.
Tied for the league lead in receptions with 36, Wash is second in receiving yards with 513.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Empire Football League Engages Area Youth for Play Football Month Activities
Nine Semi-Pro teams give back to the community to share their love of football
The Empire Football League (EFL) http://eteamz.active.com/empirefootballleague/ currently has nine active teams, all of which have been hosting Play Football Month events. Their celebrations include youth flag football competitions, skills clinics, NFL Punt, Pass & Kick, youth football nights, and military appreciation night.
“Upon discussion with Empire Football League members and sharing our collective career experiences as a result of football, we were inspired to make Play Football Month a league project which would allow us the opportunity to give something back by supporting and recognizing our youth starting out on their life’s journey,” said EFL Commissioner Dave Burch.
Founded in 1969, the EFL was launched with five franchises hailing from New York State. As an amateur league, neither players nor coaches are paid. Currently, the league’s active teams are Broome County Dragons (Binghamton), Albany Metro Mallers, Lake City Stars (Plattsburgh), Orange County Bulldogs (Monroe), St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers (Potsdam), Watertown Red & Black, Scranton Eagles, Montreal Titans, and Ottawa Deacon Demons. During the season, teams use high school and municipal stadiums for games and later compete in league playoffs for the EFL title.
As a member of the American Football Association (AFA), http://www.americanfootballassn.com/ EFL league champions are eligible to compete in the AFA’s national post-season tournament. Created in 1980 by Ronald J. Real, the AFA was designed as a non-profit dedicated to advancing and promoting semi-pro/minor league football in the U.S and to conducting an annual post-season championship tournament for said teams.
The names of players and head coaches from every team to win an AFA’s Semi-Pro National Championship in the past 25 years are engraved on the Arthur S. Arkush Memorial Cup. Currently with 1277 engravings, the cup is symbolically awarded to the team winning the championship each year. The EFL has had a team win the national championship twice.
A handful of EFL players have entered the National Football League over the years. One of the more notable players Ray Seals, formerly of the Syracuse Express, played ten years in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Carolina Panthers starting in 1986.
Among the many events that brought communities of football fans together were those that involved interaction between semi-pro players and youth. The Lake City Stars decided to host a free skills clinic for all area youth football players. The 65 youth players joined 20 Stars players and head coach Ed McCallister, better known as Coach Mac, to participate in a day filled with warm-ups, agilities, and individual position drills. All youth received a free t-shirt, autograph session, and the opportunity to cheer on the Stars in their game against the Ottawa Deacon Demons later that evening.
The Albany Metro Mallers put together a variety of flag football activities for their area youth throughout the month of September. Mallers players took part in 4 on 4 games with the youth and also warmed up the kids leading them in a variety calisthenics and agilities exercises. The Scranton Eagles observed Play Football Month by giving free admission to junior football players and cheerleaders who wore their team jerseys to their game versus the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers. The Broome County Dragons recognized their local youth football teams by allowing them to display their talents during a halftime football game.“We felt that the football opportunity provides our youth a solid foundation for life’s journey with lessons in teamwork, perseverance, humility, respect, leadership,” said Burch. “I can’t think of any other sport that can be so rewarding on so many levels.”
to keep their record clean as they head into the post season.
Lake City travels the Northway to the Capitol City with a 6-3 league record and are in fourth place in the EFL. Eddie Castine leads the Stars at Quarterback with an offense that features a balanced backfield headed up by Heath Geiser with 42 carries on the year and a quartet of
teammates who have combined for 95 additional runs. The Star defense features Mike Lawyer, Earl Parks, & Kellen Nolan who have combined on 74 tackles this season.
The Metro Mallers will take to the gridiron lead by Veteran QB Scott Lawson, who is having another stellar season calling the signals, racking up a Quarterback Rating of 135.2, completing 65% of his passes at 81 for 122, gaining 1319 yards, 17 touchdowns and a mere 2 interceptions. His receiving corp adapt to each play as Lawson picks his targets play by play. Collis Martin leads the way with 20 receptions and 6 scores, with John Mulino, Sylvester Cooperwood, Culture Branch, Matt Holmes, and Maceo Clinton all on the receiving end of scoring strikes this season. Jadel Whitfield, Sylvester Cooperwood and Matt Holmes are the core of the Albany powerhouse backfield that punishes defenses into submission every week.
The Albany Defense is a pounding fast deep squad that shows no mercy. Opportunistic and hard hitting the D battles behind Greg Woodward in the Middle, leading the way with 55 tackles, Damon Walker the pick leader with 4 interceptions on the year, and the sackmeister -Jarris Jones with a team high 9 sacks robbing opponents of over 70 yards on the season.
Combined with Anthony DeChairo, Gabe Young, Athan, Schindler, Alvin Foy, Brian Northern & "Nitro" Domingo, and all of rest of the D-Squad, The team's great depth is perhaps its biggest strength.
The Albany Metro Mallers in conjunction with the NFL, The NFLPA, and USA Football will also celebrate the conclusion of Play Football Month tomorrow at Bleecker Stadium with 2 extra events in conjunction with their regular season finale with Lake City.Prior to the game at 5:00 a special NFL FLAG Football event, featuring the children of the Albany NFL FLAG program, that plays every Saturday morning at Albany's Hoffman Park.
Then at half time of the Metro Maller game, the Albany finals of the NFL Punt Pass & Kick Competition,will have 9 kids from 3 age divisions competing to find out who will represent Albany and the Metro Mallers at the NYS Regionals of this 43rd annual NFL youth event.
The Gates open for the NFL Flag event at 4:30, with The Metro Mallers and Lake City Stars kicking off at 7:30pm
Metro Maller Football is Fan Friendly - Family Friendly Sports Entertainment & features low cost tickets and concessions making it an affordable sports value to the average fan.
Tickets are $6 for Adult General Admission, $4 for Seniors & Students w/ID, $3 for Children 6-12 and Children 5 & under are free with a paid adult. A limited number of Premium On-Field Endzone Corner Seats are also available. Tickets are available at the Stadium Box Office.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Scranton Eagles win
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Meet Sue Lunger Foley
RB romps to win
by Matt Cordova, Times Sports Writer
First published: Sunday, September 18, 2005
Revenge can be so sweet.
The Watertown Red and Black knew it was a different team Saturday night than the one that was embarrassed by the Lake City Stars in a July 23 exhibition. Lake City appears to be, too, after Watertown's 44-14 drubbing of the Stars in an Empire Football League game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
"I've said it all season, when this team finally decides to play together, it will be hard to beat us," said Red and Black head coach George Ashcraft.
He couldn't have been more accurate.
Watertown's defense swarmed and its offense operated with precision in its fifth straight victory. The Red and Black improved its overall record to 7-4 overall, 7-2 EFL.
Doug Black tossed four touchdown passes while completing 14-of-28 attempts. Black found Earnest Wash and Brian Beltz two times each for scores and finished with 193 yards through the air.
"This was our best game of the season," said Wash, whose five receptions covered 65 yards. Wash said that the defense was the heart of his team Saturday night. "The defense pretty much set the tempo, (the offense) just fell in line."
Lake City's offense was rendered useless and played at the mercy of the Red and Black's defensive unit all game long. Mike Dumaw led the charge with nine tackles and two interceptions. Ben Pritchchard, Lynn Patrick and Dylan Kirker racked up five tackles apiece to give the Red and Black the spark it has been looking for all season.
"We had a hell of a ball game," said Brian Podvin, who made a crucial stop on a two-point conversion attempt in the second quarter. "We controlled the tempo and everybody came together. Football is fun when it's like that."
Lake City (7-4, 6-3) managed one interception - Ron Fisher caught a tipped pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown with just over a minute left in the first half.
Black couldn't have asked for more from his supporting cast. His blockers provided enough time for Black to throw the ball to his third or fourth options. The receivers had sure hands and made tough catches in heavy traffic.
For much of the game the Stars' defense seemed confused by what Watertown was doing on offense.
"Their defense didn't adjust well to our shifting and misdirections," said assistant coach David Parker.
Said Black: "I was going to my second and third receivers, going through reads and not keying on receivers."
The Stars didn't do much to help themselves, either. They committed nine penalties in the game, including three personal fouls and two unsportsmanlike conduct citations. In the second quarter, Lake City had a 55-yard gain negated due to a personal foul. Head coach Ed McCallister, who was flagged in the second quarter for going on to the field to dispute an official's call, had no comment following the game.
Watertown wore down the Stars as time in the second half elapsed. Black and Co. put together a string of seven consecutive first downs en route to a Beltz touchdown in the third.
Al Countryman rushed 23 times for 69 yards and a touchdown to keep the Stars guessing. Anthony Noel accounted for 42 yards on the ground. The Stars appeared intimidated by Watertown's power running game. Wash was left wide open on a play-action pass in the second quarter. The play gave the Red and Black a 16-0 lead and set the tone for the rest of the night.
Linebacker John Check said that an adjustment during last week's game against St. Lawrence Valley set up this week's overpowering performance. "Some veterans suggested we switch to a 4-4 (formation)," Check said. "We've got the linebackers who can play the run well plus drop back in coverage if we have to. Guys are more relaxed, having fun."
The lopsided score also surprised some players. "I didn't think the score would be like that, it never stopped," Check said.
"I didn't expect a game like that after how we struggled up there," Black added.
Watertown basically wrapped up third place with the win and will most likely host a playoff game on Oct. 1.
John Kennedy threw two touchdown passes to help lead the Scranton Eagles to a win over the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers in an Empire Football League game in Scranton, Pa.
Kennedy threw a 6-yard pass to Terry Vieney and a 22-yard pass to Tadeusz Witeck to give the Eagles (4-5) a 21-6 lead after three quarters.
The Trailblazers scored on a 45-yard run by Rob Scott in the first quarter but were hindered in the second quarter when quarterback David Currier left the game with a pulled muscle in his leg.
Jimmie LeClair filled in for Currier and threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Joe Hutchison early in the fourth quarter to cut Scranton's lead to 21-14. But the Eagles responded with a 17-yard touchdown run from Bill Sandly and a 3-yard touchdown run from Andre Chollette.
Cheyenne Dashnaw led the Trailblazers defense with 20 tackles, including a forced fumble, and also recovered a fumble. Norm Martel made 11 tackles and Ricky Delaney had 10 tackles.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Preview: Empire Football League; Saturday, September 17, 2005
First published: Saturday, September 17, 2005
Lake City Stars at Watertown Red and Black
When, where: 7:30 p.m., today, Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
Records: Watertown (6-4 overall, 6-2 EFL); Plattsburgh (7-3, 6-2).
Last meeting: July 23 (exhibition), Lake City won, 27-12.
Notes: Watertown can take sole possession of third place with a victory. ... The Red and Black hasn't lost since Aug. 6, at Orange County. ... Watertown is averaging 32.3 points per game in its last three wins. ... Stars QB Eddie Castine has completed just 44 percent of his pass attempts for 387 yards this season. Castine has thrown only one interception, however. ... Both teams' only losses are to Albany and Orange County.
St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers vs. Scranton Eagles
When, where: 7:30 p.m., today; Scranton Memorial Stadium, Scranton.
Records: St. Lawrence Valley (3-7, 2-6 EFL); Scranton (3-5).
Notes: This is the Trailblazers' first meeting against the Eagles. ... Running back Andre Chollette is Scranton's top rusher, averaging nearly five yards per carry. ... St. Lawrence Valley has added Potsdam's Jeremie Keleher to the roster. Keleher saw time on both sides of the ball and special teams last week against Watertown. ... Eagles quarterback John Kennedy has only totaled 62 passing attempts this year. ... Trailblazers wide receiver Joe Hutchinson returned to his all-league form Saturday. He hauled in six catches for 93 yards and threw for a touchdown against the Red and Black. ... Keep an eye on Richard Gross, who leads Scranton with 31Ú2 sacks. Trailblazers quarterback Dave Currier was sacked six times last week.
Time is now for RB
by Matt Cordova, Times Sports Writer
First published: Saturday, September 17, 2005
During tonight's Empire Football League game against the Lake City Stars, the Watertown Red and Black will find out if they truly are one of the EFL's best.
Basking in the glory of a four-game win streak, the Red and Black appears to be, once again, among the elite teams in the league.
Three of those victories, however, have come against St. Lawrence, Valley, Broome County and Montreal - each of which is below Watertown in the standings. With two forfeit wins, Watertown's only other victory was in its opener against Ottawa.
The teams that lost to the Red and Black have a combined record that is 13-20. The league's top three teams - Albany, Orange County and Lake City - have already dealt Watertown convincing losses this season.
So, in addition to having the chance of taking a huge stride toward hosting at least one home playoff game, the Red and Black has a golden opportunity to legitimize its recent success.
"We all knew this game was coming down the stretch," veteran Al Countryman said. "That's not a knock to any other teams but each game was a building block to this."
Tonight's game will most likely determine third place in the league as Albany and Orange County have all but locked up first and second places, respectively.
"We pretty much got our butts handed to us last time (by Lake City)," Countryman said. "We'll give it our best shot and hopefully get a better outcome this time."
Head coach George Ashcraft also believes that his team can put the memory a rocky start to the season in the past with a win tonight.
"We're one of the best teams in this league, barring turnovers and if we play a full 60 minutes," Ashcraft said. "We've played together enough now that we've gotten over that hump."
The Stars were on the better end of a 27-12 exhibition between the two teams on July 23. The game didn't count but it was eye-opening. The Stars exposed a then weak Watertown secondary, scoring touchdowns on three long pass plays.
For the most part, Watertown had taken care of its pass defense issues, until veteran Jon Fisher suffered a broken leg in a victory over Broome County. The injury will likely keep Fisher on the sidelines for the rest of the season and the question marks surrounding the secondary have returned. New personnel, new schemes and improvement in overall performance have helped to ease the blow of losing Fisher.
"If the secondary can prevent the big play, the linebackers and D-line should be able to take care of things," Countryman said.
And if it seems like it's been an eternity since the Red and Black hosted a game at the Fairgrounds, it's only been 35 days. After forfeits, byes and plenty of road games, the team is anxious to play on its home field, and in front of a usually enthusiastic home crowd.
"There's nothing like playing in front of our fans. It definitely gives us a home-field advantage," Countryman said.
Eagles still battling for playoff berth
Friday, September 16, 2005
Lake City Stars participate in USA Play Football Month
On Saturday morning, when most teams were still sleeping, in preparation for their upcoming games later that night, the Lake City Stars were holding a free instructional clinic for all area youth football players. At 11:00 A.M., 65 future Stars took advantage and joined with 20 Stars and Coach Mac. Over the next 2 ½ hours, they practiced football and had discussions, including being able to "look at the man in the mirror", amongst other things! The early September chill gave way to a beautiful late summer day with temperatures climbing and sweat dripping, as the future Stars were put through their paces. The future Stars were lead through warm-ups, agilities, and individual position drills and in the end left sweating, smiling and tired! The physical aspect ended at 1:00 P.M., followed by a question and answer session until 1:30 P.M., which was followed by an autograph session that left all the pens dry! All the future Stars received a free t-shirt, courtesy Loreman’s Sporting Goods. Later that night, many were back at the field cheering on their new friends, and mentors! It helped, as they saw the Stars beat the Ottawa Deacon Demons, 23-0, in an Empire Football League regular season game. It was a great day for the kids, but between you and me, the Stars had more fun!
I would like to thank Carl Prentiss of Prentissmedia.com for the incredible photographs. If anyone would like to order any photographs, please contact Carl @ www.prentissmedia.com. These photo's helped capture memories of a great day, and for that, thanks Carl! Also, to the parents who allowed your child to attend this event, we hope you and your child enjoyed it and perhaps learned something. We are sorry some children were discouraged from attending this outstanding event, instructed by outstanding young men! And lastly, to my players, thank you for once again going above and beyond, simply, you are the best!
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Pass, punt, kick in Albany
|All Times Union materials copyright 1996-2005, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, N.Y.|
Sunday, September 11, 2005
METRO MALLERS SLAY DRAGONS 35 - 10 !
BINGHAMTON, NY: The Albany Metro Mallers took a bus trip through the New York Southern Tier on Saturday, complete with a stop at the legendary Brooks Barbecue in Oneonta; and then, ended the day with a tail gate party at the University of Binghamton's Alumnae Stadium following a 35 - 10 Empire Football League win over the Broome County Dragons.
The Albany team took the lead in the first quarter and never looked back, scoring in all 4 quarters.
Running back Matty Holmes picked up 65 yards in total offense, handling the ball just 6 times with 4 rushes and 2 receptions, but he also scored 3 touchdowns on the night. Quarterback Scott Lawson threw for 2 touchdowns while completing 13 passes on 16 attempts for 178 yards. Wide receiver John Mulino caught one of those scoring strikes along with Holmes. Metro Maller Fullback Sylvester Cooperwood picked up 49 yard on the ground along with his sixth league touchdown on the season.
Broome County, coached by former Metro Maller player and team owner Tom Maney, got on the board with first quarter field goal, but the Dragons found themselves under the intense heat of the Metro Maller defense all evening as Albany grilled up 10 sacks, lead by Linebacker Jarris "Train" Jones with 4 1/2. Defensive End Athan Schindler stepped up with a game high 9 tackles on the night.
The Metro Mallers, now 8-0 in Empire Football League and 11-0 overall, are ranked #4 in the country by the Minor League Football News Coaches Poll. The Mallers will continue the journey along this undefeated odyssey back at Bleecker Stadium on September 24, when they take on the Lake City Stars from Plattsburgh, NY in the finale of the 2005 EFL regular season.
Next Saturday Morning, at Bleecker Stadium, in Albany, the Metro Mallers, in cooperation with the NFL, the NFLPA, and USA Football, continue the celebration of Play Football Month, with 2 concurrent events. First, The Metro Mallers invite Capital District youth from ages 8 to 15, to come and get in on the 2005 NFL Pass Punt & Kick Competition for the Upstate Capital Region. The preliminary round of competition will take place right there on Saturday morning with the Finals of the local event taking place at half time of the Metro Mallers - Lake City Stars game on Sept.24th. Also, Saturday, The Metro Mallers and All-American Sports Recreation invite kids from 6 to 14, to register for the 2005 season of the NFL-Flag Football League which plays on Saturday Mornings at Albany's Hoffman Park. Both the Pass Punt and Kick Registration and Preliminaries and NFL Flag Registration will run from 9:00am to 12:30pm, Saturday, September 17th at Bleecker Stadium.
Lake City cruises, 23-0
By KEITH KANE, Staff Writer
PLATTSBURGH — The Lake City Stars showed a little rust in the first half after their two-week layoff.
The second half, however, the Stars were hitting on all cylinders.
Brandon Kelleher rushed for 82 yards on 11 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns as Lake City cruised to a 23-0 victory over the Ottawa Deacon Demons at Melissa L. Penfield Park on Saturday before 1,000 fans.
"We took the first drive and ran the ball very well," Lake City head coach Ed McCallister said of the first-half effort. "We did what we wanted to do.
"We tried to do some things different and we really didn’t have the ball much in the first half."
After a slow first half in which the only points scored was a 25-yard field goal by Ryan DeCamp on the Stars first possession of the game, Lake City stepped it up with a key start to the second half.
DeCamp lined up for the opening second-half kickoff and tapped the ball 10-yards to himself to recover the onside kick. From there the Stars offense was unstoppable.
"DeCamp and I talked about the onside kick at half-time," McCallister said. "He went out and executed it to perfection and it proved to be a tone setter for the second-half.
"We almost played a perfect second-half of football."
On that possession, the Stars had two 25-yard runs, one by Kelleher and the other by Kyle Nolan, to set-up an 11 yard touchdown pass from Eddie Castine to Matt St. Clair.
Kelleher then scored on the Stars next two possessions. The first a one yard rush on fourth down and the second an 11-yard scamper. DeCamp nailed both point after attempts for a 23-0 score.
The Lake City defense again shined as they held the Deacon Demons out of the end-zone for their first shutout of the season.
Don Staley (-7) and Ronnie Foster (-5) each picked up a sack against Ottawa quarterback Scott Boxall. Kellen Nolan setup Kelleher’s first touchdown run with an interception.
"Staley did a great job on defense for us today," McCallister said. "He got after it in a big way.
"We made a few mistakes on defense with some run blitzes that Ottawa just had the right play called at the right time. Overall the defense did a great job."
The Stars had a balanced rushing attack as they finished with 198 yards and two touchdowns. Nine different players finished the game with at least one carry. Heath Geiser picked up 49 yards on seven carries while Kyle Nolan added 42 on four.
Eddie Castine only aired it out six times in the contest, completing two for 16 yards and a score.
The Deacon Demons were led by Shawn Harkes on offense with 62 yards rushing on 18 carries. Boxall completed 5-of-14 passes for 82 yards and an interception. Rani Thoba had three receptions for 70 yards.
"We got a lot of people to play in the game tonight, which is very nice," McCallister said.
"Tonight we climbed the first rung of the ladder and now we have a very tough Watertown team in Watertown. The good new is we didn’t give something on the way there.
"I’m really looking forward to going to Watertown; it’ll be fun."
Red and Black disappoints Trailblazers
First published: Sunday, September 11, 2005
POTSDAM - St. Lawrence Valley coach Mike Britton wasn't having flashbacks, but three players he knows too well kept his Trailblazers from scoring an upset win Saturday.
Doug Black tossed two touchdowns passes to Earnie Wash, and John Check's blocked punt and fumble recovery in the end zone was enough to give the Watertown Red and Black a 21-14 win in an Empire League Football showdown at Sandstoner Park.
The Trailblazers (3-7, 2-6 EFL) pounced on Watertown early, but Britton knew the momentum could subside.
"We jumped out on them, but we knew they were going to come back," Britton said. "They're too good of a team."
The Red and Black (6-4, 6-2 EFL) did have time off, but still came in on a three-game winning streak. The team struggled to find its rhythm early on in the game.
"We haven't played a game in three weeks," wide receiver Earnie Wash said. "I contribute it to rust and underestimating the defense."
An aggressive St. Lawrence Valley defense made Black anxious in the pocket. On the first Watertown possession, a tipped pass was hauled in and returned 13 yards by James Compeau for the opening score.
"We put the pressure on Doug, and I think he was rattled a little," linebacker Norm Martel said. "He wasn't finding his receivers."
Britton, known for his offensive mind, dug in with a trick play two possessions later. A 49-yard reverse touchdown pass from Joe Hutchinson to Dan Staton gave the Trailblazers their largest lead of the season at 14-0.
Holding on to a comfortable lead, the St. Lawrence Valley defense relaxed, opening the door for Black. He connected with Wash for a 5-yard touchdown, cutting the lead in half.
"Once we figured it out, we got rolling," Wash said. "It was just like old times."
Watertown then marched 92 yards down the field in 50 seconds, culminating in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Black to Wash just before halftime.
"That connection has been there since I was a coach there," Britton said. "It's nothing unusual, something I'm very familiar with. I knew when it happened, you could tell."
With the Trailblazers buried deep in their own territory, Check, a linebacker, broke free and blocked a Joule Robinson punt. Check recovered the ball in the end zone.
"You've got to win in all three parts of the game," Britton said. "You've got to be strong offensively, defensively and special teams."
Watertown's defense shut down the Trailblazers' running game in the second half and pressured quarterback Dave Currier to toss several incompletions. As St. Lawrence Valley inches closer in the rivalry, the Red Black realizes Saturday's game was a pivotal win.
"I don't take anything away from St. Lawrence Valley," Red and Black head coach George Ashcraft said. "They came out prepared today. I congratulate Coach Britton and his team. Those guys played their butts off."
Albany douses Dragons' fire
BINGHAMTON -- Ty Fish filled the air with footballs but found the end zone only once Saturday night as the B.C. Dragons dropped a 35-10 Empire Football League game to the league-leading Albany Metro Mallers at Alumni Stadium.
Fish had 251 yards passing on 21-for-31 accuracy and a connected with Brian Mister in the third quarter for the Dragons' only touchdown, which helped shave the deficit to 27-10.
B.C.'s Jonathan Bechy caught six passes for 72 yards, and Nick Warren had 21 yards rushing on four carries.
Dan Jennings and Brandon Franklin each tallied 10 tackles, and 10 assists for B.C. Franklin forced one fumble.
Titans face Bulldogs without Blevings
|Opponent takes a bead on Titans' Corvell Isaacs in recent Empire Football League match.(Photo Andrew Clark)|
After winning the easy way (7-0 by default) over the disbanded Amsterdam Zephyrs, the Montreal Titans are having their work cut out for them in three Empire Football League road outings...if a 45-22 thumping by Watertown Red & Black and a 33-22 loss to the Albany Metro Mallers can serve as any indication.
The Titans visit the 7-1 Orange County Bulldogs tonight following a Labor Day breather next weekend. The club will likely be without leading scorer Andre Blevings (59 points), who suffered a knee injury in Albany.
The Titans are slated to return home for an pre-playoff exhibition tuneup against the Broome County Dragons Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Billings. That game replaces an originally scheduled date with the now-defunct Green Mountain Gladiators.
Tyrel Hoas, Andrew Blevings and Max Arthur scored the Titans touchdowns against Watertown but it was not nearly enough. The Titans' defence was constantly under attack in spite of a clutch interception by Steve Crompton and staunch tackling by Adrian Kellman, Corvell Isaacs and newcomer Todd Powell.
Geoff Brown led the way against Albany with six pass receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown. Zawdie Parahoo scored on an eight-yard aerial from quarterback Sean Hoas, who has gained 656 yards through the air this season. Jean-Marc Michel with a fumble recovery notched the other major. Blevings and Tyrel Hoas each contributed a two-point convert.
Playoffs get under way on Oct. 1. Unless the Titans can pull an upset over Orange County tonight, they will finish the season with a 6-4 record (including two wins by default).
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Red and Black, Trailblazers set for clash
First published: Saturday, September 10, 2005
Two teams, two agendas.
The Watertown Red and Black and the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers are aware of the hype surrounding the Route 11 rivalry. But both squads are concentrating on different tasks in the Empire Football league matchup today at Sandstoner Park.
The Red and Black (5-4 overall, 5-2 EFL) is battling for home-field advantage in the playoffs. The team is tied for third with the Lake City (Plattsburgh) Stars in the league standings. But the Trailblazers (3-6, 2-5 EFL) are playing for pride, hoping to corral their first win against their proximate foe. St. Lawrence Valley would need to win its last three games and get some help to make the playoffs. For the Trailblazers, it's a good time to play the spoiler.
"You'd like to see that turn in the rivalry," Trailblazers coach Mike Britton said. "The guys are preparing for it as if it were a playoff battle. But no game is easy, and I'm sure Watertown realizes that, too."
"I don't look at it as a rivalry," Red and Black coach George Ashcraft said. "I see it as our closest opponent to home. We're good friends. But a game at hand is still a game, and you play to win. For a few hours, you put everything on the back burner and just play the game."
Watertown has outscored the Trailblazers 272-58 in three seasons, but the Red and Black players know what to expect once they step between the white lines.
"They've become more competitive and a better team in the past couple years," Watertown quarterback Doug Black said. "We just have to keep doing what we're doing. We have to keep moving the ball downfield and put points on the board."
However, there is no bad blood between these teams. In fact, there's plenty of respect that's handed out.
"We've got to be careful against players like Doug Black, Al Countryman and Earnie Wash," Britton said. "Those guys are all-league every year. Eventually all three of them will be in the Hall of Fame, whether it's Watertown or national in the American Football Association."
"We can't let their offense pick us apart," Trailblazers linebacker Cheyenne Dashnaw said. "(Doug) is a really good quarterback. Most quarterbacks in this league, you can read them. With Doug, he reads off his receivers. He's very experienced."
"We're not taking St. Lawrence Valley lightly by any means," Ashcraft said. "I think Coach Britton will put together some things that will work for him against us. He does a great job up there."
Of those still on Watertown's roster, close to 20 players played for Britton at one time when he was the offensive coordinator for the Red and Black.
"It's great playing against our former coach," Black said. "It's different seeing him on the other sideline. We had a great offense with him for years."
Linebacker John Check played for Britton as a varsity football player at Immaculate Heart Central.
"You always want to produce against your former coach," Check said.
St. Lawrence Valley's offense showed signs of life against the Stars two weeks ago. Fullback Rob Scott believes the offense needs to produce in order for the Trailblazers to be victorious.
"Hopefully, we can get the offense going this week," Scott said. "We haven't had it a lot this year. For them, you know they're going to blitz. They've got a lot of strong players on the defensive side of the ball."
Check said the defense is planning accordingly against a strategic Britton.
"Defensively, we've been working with the defensive backfield," Check said. "We brought in some guys that are helping at that position when we could've used it earlier in the year. But Mike Britton can make you look foolish out there."
Rivalry aside, both teams are optimistic about taking care of business.
"I don't think there are any feelings from last year that will carry over," Ashcraft said. "We have to be prepared. We've got a good mix of veterans and new people. As of right now, I'm as pleased with this team at this part of the season as I have with any other team I've had in my 15 years of coaching."
"We don't plan on changing our game plan at all," Britton said. "Our guys will come to play football."
"I just want to win," Scott said. "It'd be nice for Coach Britton, but we want to win one at a time."
Stars counting on big turnout tonight
By KEITH KANE, Staff Writer
PLATTSBURGH — After a two-week layoff — thanks to the Labor Day weekend — the Lake City Stars will be back in action tonight against the Ottawa Deacon Demons.
Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Melissa L. Penfield Park. Tonight’s contest will be the last home game of the regular season and the Stars are looking for some support in a bid to break the Empire Football League’s single-game attendance record, which currently stands at 15,000.
Anyone attending tonight’s game who brings a canned good for the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort will get one dollar off the admission price. The Stars will also donate all profits received during the 50/50 raffle toward the Relief Effort.
Lake City heads into the game with the league’s third best defense in points allowed. The Stars have only allowed 53 points all season.
Mike Lawyer leads the way for the defense, not only in tackles with a team-high 29 and 1½ sacks, but he also calls the plays on the field. Earl Parks leads the team in interceptions with three and is second in tackles with 23. Kellen Nolan is right behind Parks with two interceptions and third on the team in tackles with 22.
"I am really anxious to start playing after this two-week break," Lake City head coach Ed McCallister said. "This is the first game of the rest of the season. From here on out we play until we are done, whether that is in the playoffs or the regular season.
"I’d like to think we are going to make the playoffs, but there are no guarantees."
The Deacon Demons are coming off a 29-6 loss to Orange County. Ottawa comes in with a league-low 16 points for the season.
Shawn Harkes is the Deacon Demons main weapon on offense with 250 yards rushing on 64 carries; the team has only 416 rushing yards. Harkes is also a threat in the passing game with 71 yards receiving, good for second behind Rani Thoba, with 100.
"Harkes is a pretty good running back," McCallister said. "Obviously they should be able to put together a formidable team with as many people that they can draw from and their defense has always been very aggressive in years past.
"We have been able to play well against them in the past, but that is in the past. A lot of teams now seem to make their season by beating us and I don’t think this is any different. We have to be prepared and play solid football."
The Stars are coming off a 20-8 come-from-behind victory over the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers. They pulled it out the win with fourth-quarter touchdowns from Heath Geiser and Kyle Nolan.
Brandon Kelleher led the way with 88 yards rushing. Geiser picked up 46 yards and Nolan added 34.
Lake City was without John Faheey and Vern Harrison.
Also missing was starting quarterback Eddie Castine. Marlowe Boylan filled in and posted 59 yards through the air, including a 57-yard touchdown strike to Chris Verkey.
"We will probably make a few mistakes coming back from the time off," McCallister said. "Hopefully, we can get back to gelling pretty quick.
"This is the first time Castine will be back on the field in three weeks. It will be nice to get him back under center and get him some reps."
The Stars are looking for a strong finish as they gear up for the playoffs with an eye toward gaining home-field advantage. Lake City comes into the game 5-2 while the Deacon Demons are 2-5, both wins coming as forfeits.
"It is important to win this game," McCallister said. "Basically we are starting the playoffs this week with Watertown and Albany coming up in the next few weeks.
"Hopefully, things will go good tomorrow with the clinic where we hopefully will get a solid turnout. It should be a good, fun day of football."
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
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Monday, September 05, 2005
Metro Mallers Featured In 2005 USA Football "Play Football Month Photo Gallery"
Upcoming Events (September 9th-10th): St. Lawrence Valley TrailBlazers
Friday, September 9, at 6:30 PM the St. Lawrence Valley TrailBlazers will host the NFL-Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick Competition at Sandstoner Park on Pine Street.
All Boys and Girls ages 8 through 15 are encouraged to participate (Age as of December 31, 2005). All are asked to bring a copy of birth certificate and parental permission / entry form must be filled out at the competition site or you can obtain one by accessing www.NFLyouthfootball.com. No football shoes, cleats, or turf shoes are allowed. No one can participate barefooted as well.
All NFL-Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick participants will receive a free pass into the Saturday night’s game on September 10th when the St. Lawrence Valley TrailBlazers host the Watertown Red and Black in their final regular season home game. Kickoff will be at 7:30 PM. For further information, please contact Coach Mike Britton at 315-265-3324.
In partnership with USA Football and with the celebration theme - “PLAY FOOTBALL MONTH” - on Saturday, September 10th, the St. Lawrence Valley TrailBlazers will face their Route 11 rivals, the Watertown Red and Black at Sandstoner Park in the TrailBlazers’ final regular season contest. All local high school and youth football players wearing their game jerseys will be admitted into the game for a $1.00 admission.