Thursday, October 27, 2005
Empire Football League Press Release October 27, 2005
EFL PRESS RELEASE: (October 27, 2005)
Media - contact Dave Burch at (877) 624-4485
The Empire Football League is proud to announce the Albany Metro Mallers as its 2005 EFL Champions. Albany won their Empire Football League title Saturday with a 33-0 victory over the Orange County Bulldogs capping a undefeated EFL season. The Metro Mallers are now ranked #1 in the AFA’s Power Ratings.
This Championship Game between the Orange County Bulldogs and the Albany Metro Mallers was broadcast via the internet. Bill Callahan, Empire League Historian and AFA Hall of Fame Broadcaster, handled the announcing chores working with Teamline from Ohio. This game has been archived at http://mediamorphis.com/minorpro.ram
The EFL announced the following 2005 EFL Award recipients at its season ending league meeting on October 23rd:
- Sharon Barbagallo, Karol Cronin, Williams Family - Gary Shaver Team Administrator Award
- Mike Acquino & Fritz Brownell - Bill Higgins Officials Award
Monday, October 24, 2005
Empire Football League Sends $5 Coupon
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Semi-pro Football Scoreboard 10/22/2005 thru 10/23/2005
* Semi-pro Football Scoreboard *
* 10/22/2005 thru 10/23/2005
* Provided as a service by the *
* American Football Association *
* http://www.AmericanFootballAssn.com/ *
* http://www.AmericanFootballNews.org/ *
* http://www.eteamz.com/minorleaguehalloffame/ *
*** Empire Football League ***
Albany (NY) Metro Mallers 33, Orange County (NY) Bulldogs 0
*** Ironman Football League ***
Madison (WI) Seminoles 20, Lake Country (WI) Cyclones 6
Waukesha County (WI) Soldiers 19, Milwaukee (WI) Cyclones 7
*** Mason-Dixon Football League ***
Virginia Ravens 38, Carolina (NC) Heat 21
*** Associates ***
California Outlawz 41, Inland Empire (CA) Blitz 12
Detroit (MI) Black Ravens 26, Michigan Renegades 12
Iredell (NC) Warriors 21, Catawba County (NC) Hornets 7
Knoxville (TN) Knights 22, Greeneville (TN) Raptors 15
North County (CA) Cobras 28, San Diego (CA) Warriors 15
San Diego (CA) Thunder 66, Long Beach (CA) All-Americans 0
San Luis Obispo (CA) Panthers 40, Southern California Aztecs 0
Virginia Thunder 26, Virginia Beach (VA) Rhinos 12
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Metro Mallers in the championship
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Head Coach Norman Mann
Albany's semi-pro football team, now known as the Metro Mallers, hasn't won an Empire Football League championship in 17 years. The Mallers will try to change that Saturday night at Bleeker Stadium when they host Orange County for the EFL Championship.
Head Coach Norman Mann and the Mallers are in the title game for the second straight season. They lost last year's big game after going 10-1 during the regular season. But the Mallers enter this year's championship undefeated, a perfect 11-0.
In the 1970s and 80s, Albany's semi-pro team was considered one of the best in the country. It certainly looks like the Mallers are back.
Quarterback Scott Lawson said, "I think this is the first time in this league that anybody has had the opportunity to finish undefeated. In two years we have gotten to this point and I don't think we could be more pumped."Mann said, "You know I have a saying, 'the only team that should beat us are our own selves.' And that's what happened in last year's game. We actually beat ourselves. To have the off season that we had – we've done a lot of recruiting, we've added ball players to certain spots that we were weak at last year. Because of that, we've taken right off."
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Mallers savor return to glory
By PETE IORIZZO, Staff writer
First published: Thursday, October 20, 2005
Practice begins in 23 minutes. Players dress behind their cars in the Bleecker Stadium parking lot. Rap music blares from an SUV's speakers. The stadium lights flicker on as dusk sets in.
"Why do I do this?" he says. "A chance for one more down, man. One more down."
Duncan jogs toward midfield, where between 40 and 50 players dressed in tattered sweats and mismatched jerseys prepare to practice a brand of football that's anything but ragtag.
The Albany Metro Mallers, a semiprofessional team in the Empire Football League, finished an undefeated regular season (11-0) Sept. 24. On Saturday at Bleecker Stadium, they play the Orange County Bulldogs for a chance at their first championship since 1989.
For the organization, the game represents an opportunity to reclaim status as one of the country's best semipro teams. For the players, it's one more chance at fulfilling a dream.
"Maybe it's no big deal to the average person," quarterback Scott Lawson says. "Maybe they don't understand. But there's something about this that just makes us crazy."
Crazy? Just look at their routines.
Lawson, 36, wakes up by 5 a.m. every morning to report to work at Rifenburg Construction Inc., where he's a manager. He often heads directly from work to practice. Despite a height of, "Oh, say 6-foot," and a weight of "2 ... 15 ... about," he has played quarterback his entire career.
Mallers coach Norman Mann lives in Plainfield, N.J. For practices and games, he commutes 2 hours to Albany after leaving work at Newark Liberty International Airport. Mann shrugs off suggestions his routine is anything exceptional. One season he flew to Fairfax, Va., three times a week to coach the Virginia Storm.
"I love the sport," Mann says. "As long as I'm doing this, I don't care, I'll go to Canada."
For the first two decades after their 1971 inauguration, the Mallers embodied the blue-collar, hard-working characteristics of both their players and namesakes -- the laborers who constructed Albany's Empire State Plaza. The team played in the league title game seven times -- winning twice -- and became one of the EFL's flagship franchises.
But 13 years ago, a group of investors from Troy bought the Mallers and changed their name to the Collar City Chiefs and then Capitaland Thunder. The franchise lost games, players and its reputation.
"We were the bad boys of the league," Duncan says. "Back then, we'd be at a game, like in Watertown, and guys would be chasing the referees back to their cars. We had a black eye."
In 2004, the Mallers returned under their original name, with local businessman Frank Rogers as owner and former player Joe Barbagallo as general manager. Barbagallo brought 88 players to the team's first minicamp. He found players at the University at Albany, RPI, Union College and Hudson Valley Community College, among other places. Former players also returned.
"I knew we had something special going," Barbagallo said.
Barbagallo then hired Mann, a coach with more than 25 years of semipro experience. At the first team meeting in the East Greenbush Community Library, Mann asked all the players to stand and introduce themselves. As each player spoke, others interrupted with wisecracks. Mann allowed the scene to play out, then told the team, "First of all, we need to learn to respect each other."
He changed codes of conduct and vowed more discipline. If a starter misses a practice, he plays second string during the next game. Any player who skips two practices risks not playing at all. Mann demanded players act like professional athletes off the field.
"Discipline was the biggest thing," Mann says. "We had to have the discipline. This is the first team I've coached in a long time that averages 40 to 45 players at every practice."
The Mallers reaped results immediately. They lost only twice last year, once during the regular season and then in the championship game. This year, the Mallers started their season by allowing only eight points over the first six games while averaging 34. They're led by Lawson's 1,510 yards passing, the rushing tandem of Jadel Whitfield (514 yards) and Sylvester Cooperwood (397), and middle linebacker Greg Woodward's 63 tackles.
"The talent here is top-notch," Woodward says. "We're going to bring this one home. I guarantee we're going to bring this one home."
Duncan stands near the sideline while the special teams practice on one side of the field and the offense and defense line up on the other. He plans to soon end his football career to concentrate on his professional one. He hopes to earn his master's degree in education administration and, someday, become a superintendent.
"This has been fun," he says, "but there are some other things I've got to take care of now."
He straps on his helmet and trots back onto the field. Before all that, Duncan has at least one more down to play.
Iorizzo can be reached at 454-5425 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Times Union materials copyright 1996-2005, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, N.Y.
Empire Football League Championship Game Webcast October 22, 2005
|Empire Football League Press Release|
October 21, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Empire Football League is proud to announce that this year’s Championship Game between the Orange County Bulldogs and the Albany Metro Mallers will be broadcast FREE coast to coast and around the world via the internet. Bill Callahan, Empire League Historian and AFA Hall of Fame Broadcaster, will be handling the announcing chores working with Teamline from Ohio.
"I have had the privilege of broadcasting the last five EFL Championship games on Television. The EFL Championship game is always very competitive and this year will be no exception. I am honored and thrilled to be in the booth for another EFL Classic!", Callahan stated.
When asked who he thought would win, Callahan said, " Really too close prognosticate...you'll have to tune in to your computer and find out....."
Callahan went on the say " The advantage of internet broadcasting is that it allows people ANYWHERE to access the game; you are not restricted by limited broadcast signals. I discovered this when I did internet broadcasts for the Albany Conquest of Arena2 in 2002. Relatives of the players and coaches from all around the United States were able to follow their loved ones play."
Game time is 7:30 p.m. Saturday October 22nd ...The Broadcast will start at 7:20. To access the game click:
Sponsors of this broadcast include:
·Empire Football League
·American Football Association
·Semi Pro Football Headquarters
·EFL Logo Products and Cafe Press
·Pre-Paid Legal Services
·Sports Supply Group
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Albany Redskins NFL Youth Flag Football
The Redskins consist of Brad Campion, Nick Gentile, Adam Gersowitz, Nick Hess, Kyle Reilly, Noah Rhynhart, Marty Ryan and Morgan Smith. They are coached by Bob Gersowitz and Frank Rogers.
The team excelled by racking up 5 wins against teams from Moorestown, NJ, Peabody, MA, Stamford and Waterbury, CT. They went unbeaten in the tournament and did it in true Metro Maller fashion; with great defensive play. The Redskins didn't give up a single point in the competition, outscoring the opposition in the five games by a score of 115 to 0.
They will now get practicing for the tough road ahead as they will represent the Northeast Region, The NY Giants, and of coarse the Capitol Region in the NFL Youth National Tournament of Champions on November 18th - 20th from the Walt Disney World - Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
Metro Mallers Vie for The Crown
This Saturday Night the Albany Metro Mallers take to the gridiron at Albany's Historic Bleecker Stadium in the premiere game of the season, The 36th Empire Football League Championship Game. They will take on the Orange County Bulldogs, who defeated the Watertown Red & Black, last Saturday in a game that was postponed from Oct.8th by rainstorms and flooded fields.
The Mallers drenched the Lake City Stars 23-0 during those same storms at Union College to earn their second strait berth in the big show.
Last season the Mallers returned like the Phoenix to its Albany home after a 13 year absence and stunned the Empire Football League winning the Southern Division Title and earning the right to host the title bout in its first year back. But the dream season ended as Northern Division Champ Glens Falls, came to town and took the Bob Van Ness Trophy back to the Adirondacks.
As 2005 rolled in, the Metro Mallers gelled behind veteran experience, and newcomer exuberance as seasoned vets like Scott Lawson, Sylvester Cooperwood, Greg Woodward, and Jeff Turman, integrated newcomers like Collis Martin, Culture Branch, Damon Walker, and Gabe Young into the fold. The result was a powerhouse of experience and depth that rolled over opponents through the EFL and competing leagues as well.
Racking up an undefeated 14 - 0 record along the way while outscoring their opponents 404 - 69, and are ready to host their second title game in a row.
The OC Bulldogs come in at 10 - 1, their only defeat was at the hands of Albany 17-12 at Monroe, NY on August 20.
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 $7 for Adults 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 at $10 each. Tickets are available at the Stadium Box Office.
Red & Black falls game short of final
Countryman scored early in the game, but the Red and Black trailed 12-7 after the first quarter.
The Bulldogs denied Watertown any more points, while Orange County tallied two more touchdowns to secure the victory and eliminate the Red and Black for the second straight season.
Doug Black registered 16 completed passes out of 37 attempts, and threw for 186 yards, with one interception. Earnest Wash, Brian Beltz and Todd Kiechle each caught five passes for a combined 175 yards.
Kyle Roshia led the defense with 11 tackles, while Mike Dumaw recorded 8.
A disheartened Red and Black coach George Ashcraft expressed pride in his team's effort.
"This is not the same team we started with," said Ashcraft, noting the team's improvement during the season. "(Orange County) had some great ball players, but so do we."
Ashcraft said the team may not be done for the season as they are considering playing in the Harvest Bowl on Nov. 5.
Copyright 2005. Watertown Daily Times, Inc., Watertown, NY. All rights reserved.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Red-Black heads back to the O.C.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
When practice began in April, the Watertown Red and Black had one goal -- and that was to be playing a game on October 15.
The day has come and, indeed, the Red and Black will take the field tonight. The circumstances, however, are just a little bit different than originally expected.
Due to the postponement of last week's Empire Football League semifinal between Watertown and the Orange County Bulldogs, the league was forced to push back the EFL title game to next Saturday. For the second week in a row, the Red and Black will make the 5-to-6 hour trek to Orange County and try to earn the right to play for the team's first championship since 1980.
In addition to holding regular practices this week, Watertown head coach George Ashcraft met with EFL officials to decided where the game would be played. Ashcraft believed that his team should have been given an opportunity to host at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds. But after hearing arguments from both sides, the EFL voted to keep the game in Monroe. Ashcraft said he had no problems with the league's ruling. He also recognized the fact the Orange County did earn the No. 2 seed with their 9-1 regular season record. Watertown, which finished 8-2, drew the No. 3 seed.
"The bottom line is we already made the drive," Ashcraft said. "But I'll accept it, and move on."
Orange County owners Paul Williams Sr., Frank Williams, and Paul Williams Jr., were sympathetic to Ashcraft's concerns and apparently agreed to fund the Red and Black's bus trip for today. Ashcraft had much praise for the Williams family.
"They understand and they are just great people," he said.
Who wants to spend another weekend on the interstate just to come home with a season-ending loss, though? Certainly not the Red and Black, who, with a victory, would advance to next week's title game against the Albany Metro Mallers.
"If the motivation of making a six-hour trip and then having to do it again helps, we'll take it," Ashcraft said. "Hopefully we'll be going to Albany to play a championship game."
Copyright 2005. Watertown Daily Times, Inc., Watertown, NY. All rights reserved.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Red and Black to travel to Orange County, again
After a meeting with Empire Football League officials on Monday night, Watertown Red and Black head coach George Ashcraft learned that his team's second round playoff game against the Orange County Bulldogs will be played in Monroe, as originally scheduled.
Unplayable field conditions forced the postponement of the EFL playoff game that was originally scheduled for Saturday.
The EFL rescheduled the league championship game for Oct. 22. The title game will be hosted by the Albany Metro Mallers.
Copyright 2005. Watertown Daily Times, Inc., Watertown, NY. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Empire Football League Press Release October 11, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Consistent with the Empire Football League’s By Laws and policy regarding postponement of games due to “acts of God”, the Orange County vs. Watertown Playoff game has been rescheduled for October 15th in Orange County. As a result, the EFL Championship has now been rescheduled for October 22nd against the Albany Metro Mallers.
The final EFL Meeting will be held at site of EFL Championship Game, Sunday, October 23rd.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Red & Black playoff game postponed
MONROE -- The Empire Football League's semifinal playoff game between the Watertown Red and Black and the Orange County Bulldogs was postponed Saturday due to unplayable field conditions, said Watertown head coach George Ashcraft.
Ashcraft said that he hopes the EFL will make a decision sometime today on when the game will be played.
The Red and Black were contacted at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday and informed that the Bulldogs' home field, Smith Clove Park, was under water following heavy rains in the Poughkeepsie area.
Facing an approximately 51/2-hour trip, the Red and Black had already departed Watertown by the time they got the news. They were informed that the game would be played on an alternate, artificial turf field, but that was later deemed unplayable, too.
If the game is rescheduled for next weekend, the EFL would be forced to reschedule the league championship game, which is set to be played on Oct. 15.
No. 2 Orange County (9-1) and No. 3 Watertown (9-4) met in Monroe on Aug. 6, with the Bulldogs coming away with a 38-10 victory.
Watertown or Orange County will move on to play the Albany Metro Mallers, who defeated the Lake City Stars 23-0 in the other semifinal game at Albany. When it is played, the championship game will be hosted by the Metro Mallers.
Copyright 2005. Watertown Daily Times, Inc., Watertown, NY. All rights reserved.
Metro Mallers going for title
First published: Sunday, October 9, 2005
The Albany Metro Mallers are taking their undefeated season to the Empire Football League Championship following a 23-0 victory over the Lake City Stars of Plattsburgh in Saturday's semifinal game at Frank Bailey Field on the Union campus in Schenectady.
The Metro Mallers (13-0) relied on the ground game. Sylvester Cooperwood was the leading rusher with nine carries for 130 yards and a touchdown. Jadel Woodfield followed with 11 carries for 89 yards and a score, while quarterback Scott Lawson scrambled for a 20-yard touchdown run.
Albany's defense, led by Ryan Domingo's eight tackles and a fumble recovery, did not allow Lake City to pass midfield until 3:00 left in the game when the Stars got as far as the 14-yard line before Norman Lewis ended that drive with an interception.
Albany's opponent, and the site and time of its title game in two weeks are as yet undetermined.
All Times Union materials copyright 1996-2005, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, N.Y.
ALBANY -- The Lake City Stars saw their season come to a close at the hands of the top-seeded Albany Metro Mallers, 23-0, in Saturday's Empire Football League playoffs.
Lake City had trouble sustaining any flow on offense against an Albany team that improved to 11-0.
"We just didn't have enough for them offensively," said Lake City head coach Ed McCallister. "We had to run the ball mainly, and when you don't possess the threat of a passing game, they have athletes they can pack it down and it makes things tough.
"I know coaches use a lot of sports cliches, but if wins were awarded on heart, we would have had the win. We were short with some injuries and the guys were overmatched but there was no quit in them."
Lake City trailed 10-0 at halftime before Albany put the game out of reach with touchdowns at the end of the third and another in the fourth.
The Stars finish the 2005 campaign three games above .500 at 8-5.
"And two of those losses are to Albany," noted McCallister. "We're anxious to get to work during the offseason. We know what we have to do. The guys are bummed out right now, but we're not going to give up on this thing. We'll find our weaknesses and work during the offseason but by no means are we throwing in the towel. We've worked too hard this year,
"This team doesn't know how to quit."http://www.pressrepublican.com/Archive/2005/10_2005/10092005s1.htm
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Albany Metro Mallers take on the Lake City Stars of Plattsburgh
Metro Mallers: The Albany Metro Mallers take on the Lake City Stars of Plattsburgh in an Empire Football League semifinal at 7:45 tonight at Frank Bailey Field at Union College.
The No. 4-seeded Stars defeated the Broome County Dragons 28-26 in the quarterfinals.
The top-seeded Metro Mallers received a bye in the preliminaries because of their perfect (10-0, 12-0) record in 2005.
If the Metro Mallers win, the Empire Football League championship game would be at Albany's Bleecker Stadium next weekend.
Albany Metro Mallers Press Release October 7, 2005
Plattsburgh, at the Frank Bailey Field on the campus of Union College.
Kick off will be at 7:45 PM.
The #4 seeded Stars earned their second trip to the Capital District in three weeks by defeating the Broome County Dragons, 28-26, in last weekends' quarterfinal playoff round. The #1 ranked Metro Mallers received a bye in the prelims by virtue of their perfect (10-0, 12-0) record in 2005 and defeated the Stars 45-4 in the regular season finale on Sept 24th. The EFL's other semi-final game pits the #3 seed, Watertown Red and Black (9-2) against #2 Orange County Bulldogs (9-1), also Saturday Evening.
A Metro Maller victory would bring the Empire Football League Championship Game back to Albany's Bleecker Stadium next weekend.
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 Reserved Seats are also available for $8. Tickets are available at the Stadium Box Office.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Semi-pro Football Scoreboard 9/30/2005 thru 10/2/2005
Lake City (NY) Stars 28, Broome County (NY) Dragons 26
Watertown (NY) Red & Black 28, St. Lawrence Valley (NY) Trailblazers 0
*** Ironman Football League ***
Lake Country (WI) Cyclones 42, Milwaukee (WI) Venom 6
Milwaukee (WI) Bulldogs 7, Madison (WI) Seminoles 0
Milwaukee (WI) Maniacs 8, West Allis (WI) Predators 0
Muskego (WI) Hitmen 35, Milwaukee (WI) Cyclones 0
Waukesha County (WI) Soldiers 15, West Milwaukee (WI) Gladiators 6
*** Mid-Continental Football League ***
Central Ohio Lions 27, Indiana Mustangs 24
Kings (OH) Comets 39, Southern Michigan Timberwolves 16
*** Associates ***
Augusta (GA) Super C Seminoles 12, Carolina (SC) Titans 6
California Outlawz 23, San Luis Obispo (CA) Panthers 6
California Predators 45, Long Beach (CA) All-Americans 7
California Raiders 36, Inglewood (CA) Blackhawks 13
Compton (CA) Jaguars 34, Antelope Valley (CA) DirtDevils 8
Hoosier (IN) Hurricanes 21, Hardin County (KY) Wolverines 3
Irvington (NJ) Knights 28, New York Bandits 7
Kenosha (WI) Vikings 42, Chicago (IL) Dolphins 0
Lafayette (IN) Lions 27, Belleville (IL) Justice 14
Long Island (NY) Panthers 19, Frankford (PA) Chiefs 14
Mid-State (IL) Steel 27, Twin City (IL) Storm 13
Milwaukee (WI) Rattlers 41, Washington County (WI) Patriots 18
Milwaukee (WI) Warriors 48, Green Bay (WI) Eagles 0
Moreno Valley (CA) Mercury 40, High Desert (CA) 49ers 8
New England (CT) Knights 14, New York Rebels 14 (tie) (OT)
Northwest (PA) Giants 9, Bensalem (PA) Packers 0
Overbrook (PA) Chargers 25, North Philly (PA) Cowboys 0
Philadelphia (PA) Scorpions 34, Maryland Marauders 26
Racine (WI) Raiders 19, Milwaukee (WI) Marauders 6
Santa Clarita (CA) Knights 34, Southern California Cobras 0
Southern California Steelers 33, Southern California Smash 22
Twin Cities (MN) Titans 28, Central Minnesota Thunderbirds 23
Virginia Hornets 21, Virginia Thunder 18
Warminster (PA) Colts 28, Olney (PA) Blaze 6
West Bend (WI) Junkyard Dogs 43, Caledonia (WI) Horsemen 23
West Coast (CA) Sharks 17, North County (CA) Cobras 14
Wilmington (NC) Tigers 32, Carolina (NC) Stallions 18
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Injured Red & Black players find ailments hurt day job, too
When Rodney Harrison blew out his knee last weekend, the New England Patriots' chances to win a record third straight Super Bowl were dealt a major blow.
When Kyle Roshia suffered a broken left hand during the Watertown Red and Black's Empire Football League game against the Albany Metro Mallers on July 30, he didn't just hurt the team. He put his ability to make a living in jeopardy.
While Harrison undoubtedly faces a long road of rehabilitation and hard work to return to NFL play, his paycheck surely is sufficient enough to get his family through his time off the field.
But in the world of semipro football, the game is "professional" only in name. Semipro players don't receive any type of financial compensation. They are rewarded only in that, if they're lucky, they make it to play another game. Or, more importantly, they are able to return to work on Monday in one piece.
Several current members of the Red and Black have suffered serious injuries during their football careers. With every snap, they are risking much more than just the possibility of missing a game or a season.
Calling in hurt
Jon Fisher feels fortunate that his employer is so understanding. Fisher, who has been in the military for 16 years, broke his left fibula and tibia in the Red and Black's game against Broome County in August.
Surgery followed and a metal rod the length of Fisher's lower leg was inserted to stabilize it. For Fisher, going to work wasn't an option right away and he was placed on 30-day leave.
"I'm lucky that I work with some good people," Fisher said. "I can't complain. They are working with me."
Al Countryman was in a similar situation in 2000. When the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in his knee were torn, he was forced out of work for four months.
Countryman, who works for the New York State Department of Corrections, was able to subsidize the time he needed to heal by trading shifts with his colleagues. His fellow Correctional Officers were willing to help, but that help came with a price.
"Luckily I was able to swap shifts. If I wouldn't have been able to swap, I would have been in a bind," Countryman said. "I ended up with a lot of time off but eventually it had to be paid back."
Time is a valuable commodity. Many employers allow for accumulated sick or vacation time to be used if needed. But who wants to spend their vacation with a cast on?
Roshia, a manager in the lumber department at Lowe's, wasn't able to work for a month. The 160 hours of sick time he had saved up virtually evaporated when his hand was broken. Even when he returned to Lowe's, he wasn't at full capacity.
"I went back on light duty. It's pretty crappy because you really can't do what you want," he said.
It turns out Roshia's honesty prevented his injury from causing him more than just physical pain. "I guess it's good I only called in sick one time in three years," Roshia said.
Give it up already?
Lynn Patrick said relatives have asked him, "Are you stupid?" when he says he's going to play football another year. Patrick, who suffered fractures to his left leg in 1989 and '98, doesn't feel stupid for playing a game he loves. He thinks "stubborn" fits better.
"I didn't want to quit because of injury. I want to go out on my own terms," he said.
Players have different reasons for staying with the Red and Black, but only a true passion for football can drive a man to risk his body and get nothing tangible in return.
Roshia said that he wants to get the most out of his youth, while he still has it, no matter what family and friends tell him.
Usually, the fact that they get no money is first on the list of criticisms.
"People ask, 'what do you get out of it? You don't get paid,'" Roshia said.
Patrick's answer to such a question: "Hey, I get the satisfaction out of it. There's not a lot of guys who play professional football until they're 42."
Patrick has indicated 2005 will most likely be his last season with the Red and Black.
But when does the risk become too much? When is enough, enough? Eventually, the time comes when the risk far outweighs the reward. After undergoing knee surgery just a couple of years ago, suffering a major shoulder injury last season that had him sidelined for several months, and the busted leg, that time appears to be now for Fisher. His love and concern for his wife and children trumps even the feelings he has for the game of football, which he has played since he was 8 years old.
"My wife and mainly my family would be the biggest factor if I was able to come back," Fisher said. "To be honest, I'd come back in a heartbeat if it looked like I could."
Said Countryman, "family is forever, football is not."
Head coach George Ashcraft lived the experience of being forced off the field by an injury when he suffered a broken leg as a Red and Black player in 1975. The sudden loss, he said, is difficult for a player to handle.
"It sets you back when you know you can't play but want to," Ashcraft said. "It makes you really appreciate being able to play the game when you could."
As head coach for 15 seasons, Ashcraft has known plenty of injured players. If a guy is ready to work to get back on the field, he has the coach's support. Ashcraft understands the bond a player can feel with the game of football and the Watertown organization.
"If a guy wants to play, I let him," Ashcraft said. "If he can't play, I tell him to be around (the game), come support it."
Players know their bodies will someday pay for the pounding they endure every summer and fall. For an injured player, the helplessness of knowing there is nothing he can do to help is unbearable.
"You are still part of the team and want to help any way you can," Countryman said. "It was frustrating for me because I am not a big rah, rah type guy. But that was about all that was left for me to do."
Countryman said his knee is completely healed now and he no longer even wears a brace on it while playing.
The knowledge that each play could be a player's last is definitely understood. But it is seldom acknowledged.
"The thought is always there, and you think 'Is this worth it? Do I want to risk my career?'" he said. "But if you go into a season thinking you will get hurt, maybe you should have hung it up a long time ago."
Red and Black defense steps forward to stuff Trailblazers in playoff opener
By Matt Cordova
Sunday, October 02, 2005
It's not like the defense of the Watertown Red and Black hadn't carried its own weight as the team put together a series of six consecutive victories.
While the offense scored 30 or more points five times during the winning streak, quarterback Doug Black and Co. gathered up all the attention.
During the opening round of the Empire Football League playoffs on Saturday, though, it was time for the Watertown defense to bask in the spotlight of a big win. The Red and Black blanked the visiting St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers 28-0 at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds to advance to next round of the EFL playoffs. Watertown will travel to Monroe to face the Orange County Bulldogs next Saturday night.
As early as the first play from scrimmage, it looked as if it was going to be a long night for the Trailblazers, who accepted an invitation to the playoffs after Montreal, Ottawa and Scranton declined it.
After his team accepted the opening kickoff, St. Lawrence Valley quarterback David Currier discovered that Watertown planned to blitz early and often. Watertown's Ben Pritchard crushed Currier as he let a pass fly that ended up the hands of the wrong guy -- Red and Black safety Lamont Lane.
The interception set up the offense at its own 37-yard line, but Black only needed four plays to post a score. Brian Beltz took the ball on a reverse, followed a thunderous block by Black, and weaved his way to a 43-yard touchdown run.
The Trailblazers went three and out on their next possession and were forced to punt. But the Trailblazers defense held strong and forced a fumble by Beltz on the St. Lawrence Valley 3. The momentum was short-lived for the Trailblazers as two plays later, Watertown's Wayne Dupree stopped James Compeau in the end zone for a safety and an 8-0 lead. It became clear then, that St. Lawrence Valley wouldn't have an answer for Watertown's defensive game plan.
"It's great to come right out and apply some pressure," Red and Black linebacker Mike Dumaw said, "it sets the momentum, gets everybody enthused and sets up the offense. "
Trailblazers head coach Mike Britton said that the Red and Black rush disrupted his team's strategy and that it was tough to recover from the big plays Watertown made in the first half. At times, it looked as if Watertown's defenders were simply unblockable.
"It built their momentum," Britton said. "We hurt ourselves when we had a chance to do something. That's hurt us sometimes this season."
Earnest Wash caught two more touchdowns for the Red and Black in the first half, giving his team a 22-0 lead before St. Lawrence Valley made its initial first down of the game. Pinned on their own three late in the second quarter, the Trailblazers did avoid another safety as Currier hooked up with Dan Staton on passes of 17 and six yards.
Head coach George Ashcraft said he wasn't surprised by his team's dominant performance. "I know how good the team is that I have," he said.
The teams traded turnovers late in the game and Watertown could have easily ended up with much more than the three interceptions it did produce.
"One thing that did shock me is the interceptions we could have had," Ashcraft said. "The defense still got that goose egg, though."
Anthony Noel ended the scoring for Watertown in the third quarter on a 33-yard scoring run.
The Trailblazers were facing an uphill battle even before Saturday's kickoff. Britton had to assemble his players, coaches an staff in whirlwind-fashion last week when he found out they might have another game. Even though they practiced Tuesday and Thursday, the Trailblazers' offseason had begun last weekend. To get the team back into game mode was a challenge for Britton.
"Some guys didn't find out until last night we were playing," Britton said. "I called all the players and they whole-heartedly agreed they wanted to play this game. We're grateful for the chance."
Said Dumaw, "it says a lot about their character to come down here and play us, no matter what."
NOTES: Brian Williams and Dumaw also notched interceptions. ... Wash caught six passes for 95 yards. ... John Check led Watertown with six tackles. ... Cheyenne Dashnaw recorded a game-high 14 tackles for the Trailblazers while Ricky Delaney contributed 13. ... Justin Martel recovered for fumbles for SLV. ... Joe Hutchison made five receptions for 53 yards.
Dragons ousted from EFL playoffs
From staff reports
PLATTSBURGH -- The Broome County Dragons had their second-half comeback fall short with an interception in the final minutes of a 28-26 loss to the Lake City Stars on Saturday night in the opening round of the Empire Football League playoofs.
After leading the Dragons (6-5) to a pair of scoring drives after halftime to pull within two points, Ty Fish's final pass of the night was intercepted in the end zone as he was looking for Brian Mister. The interception came on first down from the Lake City 42 just after the two-minute warning. Fish connected with Rob Stokstad for a 12-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter but his pass to tight end Jonathan Bechey for the potential game-tying two-point conversion was broken up. The Dragons fell behind 28-6 in the second quarter but cut the deficit to 14 with a 2-yard TD run by Fish and a two-point pass to Bechey. Fish finished with two rushing touchdowns and two more passing and the one interception. STARS 28, DRAGONS 26 D -Rob Stokstad 35 pass from Ty Fish (kick failed) D -Fish 2 run (Jonathan Bechey pass from Fish) D -Fish 2 run (pass failed) D -Stokstad 12 pass from Fish (pass failed) INDIVIDUAL LEADERS Dragons rushing: Jamal Johnson 16-167. Dragons passing: Fish 18-for-31, 225 yards, 2 TD, INT. Dragons receiving: Jonathan Bechey 5-91, Rob Stokstad 3-52. (Lake City stats unavailable)
B.C. Dragons 6 8 6 6 -- 26 Lake City Stars 14 14 0 0 -- 28
Fish connected with Rob Stokstad for a 12-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter but his pass to tight end Jonathan Bechey for the potential game-tying two-point conversion was broken up.
The Dragons fell behind 28-6 in the second quarter but cut the deficit to 14 with a 2-yard TD run by Fish and a two-point pass to Bechey. Fish finished with two rushing touchdowns and two more passing and the one interception.
STARS 28, DRAGONS 26
D -Rob Stokstad 35 pass from Ty Fish (kick failed)
D -Fish 2 run (Jonathan Bechey pass from Fish)
D -Fish 2 run (pass failed)
D -Stokstad 12 pass from Fish (pass failed)
Dragons rushing: Jamal Johnson 16-167.
Dragons passing: Fish 18-for-31, 225 yards, 2 TD, INT.
Dragons receiving: Jonathan Bechey 5-91, Rob Stokstad 3-52.
(Lake City stats unavailable)
Stars move on
By Keith Kane, Staff Writer
PLATTSBURGH -- The Lake City Stars weren't exactly ready for their season to end on Saturday.
Heath Geiser, Matt St. Clair and a strong defensive line made sure that it didn't as the Stars defeated Broome County 28-26 at Melissa L. Penfield Park in the first round of the Empire Football League playoffs.
|Heath Geiser (21) of Lake City sheds off Broome County tackler Pasquale Iacono (50) on his way in for the touchdown. The Stars knocked off the Dragons, 28-26. (Staff Photo/ROB FOUNTAIN)|
With the victory Lake City will travel to play No. 1 seed Albany at Union College on Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
The Stars held a 7-6 lead with five minutes gone in the second quarter when they used a bit of trickery to open the game up. Coach Ed McCallister had quarterback Kellen Nolan line up the team and yelled onto the field that they were not in the right formation. Nolan was walking down the line when center Joe Bushey snapped the ball directly to fullback Kyle Nolan who threw a strike to Matt St. Clair down the right sideline for an 87-yard touchdown. The touchdown was the only reception Lake City had for the game.
"They were packing the middle pretty good," McCallister said. "With the lead we didn't want to fling the ball all over the place; we wanted to run some time off of the clock."
Heath Geiser gave the Stars a 14-point lead when he ran it in from four yards out, his second four-yard touchdown run of the game.
Broome County's Ty Fish led his team down the field, however, and scored on a one-yard touchdown sneak up the middle with just 25 seconds left in the half. A key to the score was a 15-yard personal foul penalty on a late hit of the quarterback.
St. Clair hauled in the second-half kick off at the 24 yard line and shed multiple Dragon tacklers as he returned the kick off 66 yards down to the 10 yard line. Two plays later, Geiser scored his third touchdown of the contest on a four-yard run, giving Lake City a 28-14 lead.
Broome County didn't give up, however, as Fish led them on two consecutive scoring drives; the first in which he finished off with a one-yard touchdown run. The second touchdown, a nine-yard pass to Robert Stokstad, was helped along by another personal foul call against the Stars, their third of the game.
"The personal fouls ended up costing us three touchdowns," McCallister said. "They were bang-bang plays though and the referees have to protect the quarterback. The defense was just trying to make plays.
"Fish is a very good quarterback. We thought we scouted him well, but he was still able to hook up with on a lot of good pass plays. They were just able to make some big plays."
The Dragons, trailing by two, had one last drive for the win, but Fish was intercepted by Earl Parks with 1:30 left in the game and the Stars were able to run out the clock for the win.
Geiser finished with 81 yards rushing to go with his three touchdowns. Brandon Kelleher added another 49 on seven carries. St. Clair finished with one catch for 87 yards and a touchdown, while Kyle Nolan was the leading passer with the 87 yards.
Fish, who completed his first nine passes of the game, finished with 251 yards through the air and two touchdowns. Jon Bechy hauled in seven passes for 113 yards with Stokstad grabbing three balls for 61 and a pair of touchdowns. Jemall Johnson carried the load on the ground with 15 carries and 117 yards.
"Regardless of how nerve racking the game ended up, the defensive line was able to get to the quarterback and out on some pressure," McCallister said. "That rattled him a little bit and Earl just made a big play."
Don Staley led the defensive attack with a pair of sacks. The Stars also received sacks from Jeff Way and Craig Lamoy.
"Bottom line is we accomplished what we wanted to do tonight," McCallister said. "Our objective was to win our home playoff game and we did that. Now we have to go to Albany next week.
"We will play the best we can play and as long as we do that it will be fin with me. Our season could have ended here tonight, but it didn't and I am proud of them for that."http://www.pressrepublican.com/Archive/2005/10_2005/10022005s1.htm
Saturday, October 01, 2005
By KEITH KANE, Staff Write
PLATTSBURGH -- The Empire Football League begins a new season tonight and the Lake City Stars couldn't be happier.
The Stars host the Broome County Dragons tonight at Melissa L. Penfield Park at 7:30 p.m. in the first-round of the EFL playoffs, where everyone is now 0-0; admission for the contest will be $5 for all attendees.
The Dragons will come to Plattsburgh even though they share a 6-4 record with the Stars. Thanks to a three-way tie with the Montreal Titans and with each team beating each other, the points allowed tie-breaker was put into effect. Because Lake City had only allowed 142 points on the season, the home playoff game was granted to them.
The Stars have had a rough going of late as they have dropped their last two games, both on the road. Also, losing a handful of players including starting right tackle Keith Bushey to a broken leg a week ago.
"I have been here since 1997," Stars head coach Ed McCallister said. "This is by far the worst year for injuries we have ever had. It isn't a lack of conditioning, because we are a very conditioned team; we have just lost a lot of bodies over the year."
Lake City should be back to nearly full strength, minus Bushey. Tonight the Dragons come into town for the second time this season, with the Stars hoping the outcome to be a little different this go around.
"Looking back we have to finish our drives," McCallister said. "We left the ball twice inside the five-yard line and we turned the ball over on our own 25, which in turn gave them the winning score."
Lake City took a hard 14-11 loss to Broome County, giving up only two touchdown passes.
"(Ty) Fish is a good quarterback and he and his receivers have good timing routs," McCallister said. "They will out the ball in the air, but our offense has to put points on the board. We are capable of doing so, we just have to do it."
For the season, the Stars have been led on the ground by a trio of backs with Heath Geiser getting the bulk of the carries. Geiser has 483 yards on 85 carries with a touchdown this season. Brandon Kelleher has compiled 263 yards and three scored on 45 carries and Kyle Nolan adds 242 and three touchdowns on 43.
Eddie Castine should be back under center tonight after missing a couple of starts. Castine has completed 25 passes for 550 yards and six touchdowns on the season.
James Blocker has become one of Castine's favorite targets with 10 catches for 185 yards and a touchdown. Matt St. Clair has hauled in six catches for 141 yards and a score.
Defensively, captain Mike Lawyer leads the team in tackles with 53. Kellen Nolan adds 38 tackles and three interceptions from the secondary while Earl Parks has four picks on the season and 33 tackles.
McCallister said his squad is coming off of a very strong week of practice and know that after tonight the season could be over.
"This is it," McCallister said. "We hope to draw a little bit of energy, some emotion and momentum knowing that this could be it. Lose and we are done
"We aren't ready to let our season be over."http://www.pressrepublican.com/Archive/2005/10_2005/10012005s5.htm
Williams finds Red & Black needs him
Brian Williams had his reasons for not joining the Watertown Red and Black until this summer. He finally ran out of them.
Williams, a graduate of Watertown High School, became a member of the Red and Black just prior to a game against the Montreal Titans on Aug. 13.
He left the area and lived in Connecticut for several years and when he returned to the north country, Williams wanted to wait until he was in good enough physical shape to play competitive football again. He hadn't played since 1996, when he made the varsity team as a freshman at Cortland State.
Also, he hadn't heard the best things about the Empire Football League. As far as he knew, the there were too many dirty players in the EFL and what he had been told about the Red and Black wasn't terribly positive, either. Fortunately for the Red and Black, Williams decided to check things out for himself.
"It's not dirty and this organization really cares about team," Williams said following Thursday's practice.
As an integral part of a revamped Red and Black secondary, the former Cyclones standout's has proven invaluable. Williams has intercepted a pass in all three home games since he joined the team, which is set to play today in a first-round playoff game against St. Lawrence Valley at the Duffy Fairgrounds. During last week's victory over the Scranton Eagles, Williams returned a pick 47 yards to set up a key touchdown.
While following the team via media reports, Williams quickly became aware that Watertown's pass defense was in desperate need of rescue. He approached head coach George Ashcraft and inquired about a tryout. Ashcraft obliged and his team hasn't lost since Williams was issued equipment and a jersey.
"I knew secondary was a big factor. I didn't expect to help out so much, but I was hopeful," said Williams, who has three interceptions in five games played.
Sure, Williams isn't the only reason the Red and Black was able to complete the EFL schedule with an 8-2 record. He has emerged, however, as one of the main reasons Watertown has enjoyed a six-game win streak.
"Brian's doing a great job," Ashcraft said.
With newcomer Truth Napier, veteran Lamont Lane and Williams patrolling the secondary, Watertown now boasts one of the most athletic groups of defenders in the EFL. The Red and Black has forced 11 interceptions during the current win streak. Defensive backs get a notch in the statistics, but the forced turnovers can be credited to the whole defensive unit.
"We're applying pressure to the quarterbacks, they don't have time and we're forcing bad throws," Lane said.
After losing Jon Fisher to a broken leg, the emergence of Williams, Napier and the rest of the new defensive backs has proven vital.
"They came and filled in nicely. We know if we get hurt the new guys can do the job," Lane said. "All these guys make an impact. You can never have enough DBs."