Friday, July 28, 2006

Mallers host Bulldogs in Afternoon Showdown!

For Immediate Release:
Mallers host Bulldogs in Afternoon Showdown!

    The Empire Football League extends its week four schedule by a few hours this week as a rare Saturday Afternoon Matinee takes place at the Frank Bailey Field at Union College, when the defending champion Albany Metro Mallers host their Southern Division arch-rival, the Tri State Bulldogs in a battle of early season unbeatens. The Bulldogs, formerly of Orange County have moved south to Torne Valley outside of Ramapo, NY, are 3-0 in league play and a half game ahead of the Mallers, playing once again at Union College while the renovations at Albany’s Bleecker Stadium continue. Tri-State comes in following last Saturday’s home blowout over the Scranton Eagles, while Albany is off a close 28-21 come from behind road win at Broome County.

    Gates at Schenectady’s Union College open at 1PM and Kick off on the Frank Bailey Turf is slated for 2 PM.

Members of the working media and press are always welcome at Metro Maller games. Please present your credentials at the gate to receive your entry pass.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Zephyrs breeze to win over St. Lawrence Valley

Zephyrs breeze to win over St. Lawrence Valley

By ERIC FONTES, The Leader-Herald

The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis

Amsterdam Zephyrs linebacker Bob Oddy (33) and Jorge Rodriquez (22) wrap up St. Lawrence Valley quarterback Christopher Tom in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Empire Football League contest. Also in on the pursuit is Alex McKinsey (95).

AMSTERDAM — Eric Johnson called it picture perfect.

One week after yelling at his offensive linemen for their lack of protection, the Amsterdam Zephyrs quarterback couldn’t ask for a better opening drive.

The offensive line opened gaping holes for running backs Jared Brown and Tim Stewart. It gave Johnson ample time to throw a 16-yard dart on third-and-long for one of four first downs on the opening drive, matching the Zephyrs’ entire total from last week’s 37-7 loss.

Once in the red zone, Johnson lofted a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mike Herrington.

After the extra point, the Zephyrs didn’t need any more points, but the opening-drive production continued throughout Saturday night’s Empire Football League game at Lynch Middle School. A rested Amsterdam defense did the rest, as it all came together for the Zephyrs in their 19-6 victory over St. Lawrence Valley.

“The adjustments that were made by coach [Dave] Nicosia and coach [Mike] Finocchi were tremendous,” Amsterdam coach Dom Ruggeri said. “That won us the game. The offensive line won the game because they kept the defense fresh. And when this defense is fresh, we’re the best defense in the league. I don’t care what anybody says.”

That Amsterdam defense showed its teeth, allowing just 47 total yards and knocking SLV quarterback David Currier out of the game on a punishing blindside hit by Rick Hulett. Currier finished the day with 56 yards on 4-of-14 passing, while SLV running back James Compeau finished with minus-3 yards on seven rushes.

Meanwhile, the Zephyrs (1-1) ran up 301 yards of total offense. Johnson threw for two touchdowns and 119 yards on 7-of-12 passing. Tailback Brown rushed for 61 yards, and fullback Stewart motored for 99 yards on 12 attempts.

The reason for that production started right up front with new center Ed Bauman, Ruggeri said, who transferred from the Glove Cities Colonials and has thrived for the Zephyrs. Along with Ralph Nicosia, who also rushed for 23 yards on two attempts, Bob VanHoesen, Jay Garvey and Chad Crandall filling out the front five, the offense moved the chains for 14 first downs and totaled 41 minutes of possession to the Trailblazers’ (0-2) four first downs and 19 minutes of possession.

“These guys got up on the line and fired off the ball instead of hitting their guy and stopping,” Ruggeri said. “This week they drove their guy downfield and there were lanes. There were holes that were all over the place. Once they did that, it was just a matter of time before Eric got in a rhythm. Eric picked them apart and had a tremendous game.”

Although the scoring pace slowed after Johnson’s opening-drive touchdown pass, Amsterdam’s dominance did not. The Zephyrs still put points on the board after their first punt.

SLV returnman Lamont Lane tried fielding the punt at the 1-yard line, recovered it in the end zone, but Jeremiah Newborn tackled him for a safety.

“I was stunned,” SLV coach Mike Britton said. “For a seasoned veteran — he was an all-league defensive back and returnman for Watertown — it’s not a good football play.”

Other than committing double-digit offensive penalties, the Zephyrs didn’t make many mistakes, Ruggeri said.

Even when linemen weren’t in front of Brown on a harmless 2-yard screen pass at midfield, the Zephyrs made something happen.

With linebacker Ricky Delaney charging at him, the Zephyrs’ tailback swiftly eluded the tackle. He then ran up the left side and cut back toward the middle of the field, burning safety Gregory Roberson for a 50-yard touchdown to make it 16-0 with six minutes left in the first half.

“As soon as I threw it to him, and I saw him cut back across the field, I walked off the field,” Johnson said. “I had that much confidence in him. He’s small. He’s fast. He’s quick.”

Johnson’s only hiccup came on a broken play with 21 seconds left in the half. Facing third-and-9 at Amsterdam’s own 29, Johnson audibled to a short slant, but receiver Charlie Castro didn’t hear it and ran up the sideline while SLV’s Brendan Harris returned the interception to the 2-yard line.

One play later, Compeau snuck through the line to make it 16-6, but the Trailblazers wouldn’t reach pay dirt again.

The defensive line clogged the middle, allowing negative rushing yards. The Zephyrs constantly pressured Currier with blitzes from all angles, and when he did get a pass off, the defensive backs batted it down.

“We really went after them [on defense],” Ruggeri said. “I called a much more aggressive game and let them play to their abilities this week. I didn’t put the reins on them. I told them before the game, ‘I’m going to let you loose.’”

Ruggeri said the Zephyrs still have some kinks to work out, such as limiting the illegal procedures and holding penalties that limited the Zephyrs to just one second-half field goal despite getting inside the 10-yard line three times.

There was very little to complain about Saturday.

Johnson certainly wasn’t. He loved what his offensive linemen provided him — right from the “picture-perfect” start.

“It was real nice to take my drop, look around and see what’s there,” Johnson said. “It feels good to win, but it feels even better to know that our team is coming around. This is just a stepping stone now. We are getting to the point where we know our faults and our strengths. Now we know what we’re capable of.”

Zephyrs earn first win

Zephyrs earn first win


Recorder Sports Staff

Amsterdam Zephyrs head football coach Dominic Ruggeri didn't mind getting doused with a bucket of water Saturday night.

The Zephyrs turned away the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers, 19-6, in Empire Football League play at Lynch Middle School field.

It marks Ruggeri's first win as a head coach in the EFL.

"We got the monkey off our back,"Ruggeri said. "The offense stepped up overall. If the offense plays like that and the defense stays off the field, we can play with anybody in the league."

Charlie Castro returned the opening kickoff 19 yards to the 40 to get the Zephyrs going.

Tim Stewart and Jared Brown took turns getting the handoff from quarterback Eric Johnson and put together 25 yards. The Zephyrs were marching on the Trailblazers' 35.

Then Johnson found Castro open for 16 yards and Stewart galloped 11 yards to the eight.

After an illegal procedure penalty, Johnson connected with Mike Herrington for a 13- yard touchdown pass with 8:01 left in the first quarter. Alvaro Montes booted the extra point and a 7-0 advantage.

Then the Zephyrs' special teams took center stage.

Lamont Lane fielded a Zephyrs punt and was hit immediately by Jeremiah Newborn in the end zone for a safety and a 9-0 lead.

The Zephyrs weren't satisfied with that margin and wanted more. Starting from their 45 after a Trailblazers punt, Brown picked up eight yards and brought the ball to midfield.

Johnson hit Brown with a screen pass and the speedy back did the rest going 50 yards for a touchdown. Again, Montes booted the PAT and the Zephyrs went ahead, 16-0.

A costly mistake by the Zephyrs gave St. Lawrence Valley its only score. With possession at its 28, Johnson's pass was intercepted by Terrance Harris who returned it 32 yards to the 3.

Then James Compeau went off tackle and scored a touchdown with just 16 seconds on the board to cut the deficit to 16-6 at halftime.

For the most part, both offenses couldn't muster any yards and Montes kicked a 25 yard field goal with 6:22 left in the third quarter to conclude the scoring.

"We just didn't play the type of ball we can play. The offensive line didn't do the job and that's two weeks in a road. We were able to move the ball but then we lost our starting quarterback (David Currier)," said Trailblazers coach Mike Britton.

Johnson had a much better performance, completing 6-of-17 passes for 111 yards with one interception.

"It was great the way the offense finally came through. It was nice to drop back and see what's there,"Johnson said. "Now we know what we're capable of. This is a stepping stone."

Stewart was the big rusher with 102 yards on 13 carries and Brown contributed 61 yards on six rushes.

"The offense is still growing. We moved the ball. Eric (Johnson) got time to throw the ball and see what happens. Our team healed a lot of wounds from last week. This was a character builder. We're gaining a lot of confidence with this win. The adjustments we made have to be credited to coaches Dave Nicosia and Mike Finocchi. The offense won the game for us."

Aaron Robinson had one solo and two assisted tackles plus one sack, Rick Hulett had two sacks, one solo and one assisted tackle to spark the defense.

The Zephyrs (1-1) will visit the Watertown Red and Black on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

EFL Post Game Press Coverage July 16

Sunday July 16, 2006           

Gilmore's TD provides spark for Dragons
By Robert Bonaparte
Press & Sun-Bulletin

BINGHAMTON -- A turnover early in the second half paved the way for the B.C. Dragons to defeat the Chateauguay Titans, 14-0, Saturday night in their Empire Football League home opener at Alumni Stadium.

Andre Gilmore scored the first touchdown on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line to give the Dragons (2-0) a 6-0 lead with 8 minutes left in the third quarter. The score capped a 53 yard drive after running back Andrew Blevings fumbled on the Titans' first possession of the second half.

Gilmore ran 12 times for 36 yards. Running mate Jermall Johnson added 40 yards on six carries including a 20-yard run through the middle of the Titans' defense on the first scoring drive.

"We knew we needed the touchdown in order to get the second half going." said Gilmore who leads the Dragons with three touchdowns. "After the touchdown, we just came alive and the defense stepped it up."

Dragons quarterback Ty Fish went 8-for-17 for 89 yards, including a 19-yard pass to wide receiver George Graham early in the fourth quarter.

In the first half, neither team was able to generate much offense. Overthrown passes and fumbles on running plays and blocked punts led to a scoreless 30 minutes.

Chateauguay, from Montreal, threatened in the closing minutes. It drove to the Dragons' 13-yard line with less than five minutes remaining. Titans quarterback Zan Symonds' potential touchdown pass was intercepted by defensive back Keair Hopewell to seal the win.

The Dragons marched to the Titan's 12 and Fish took a knee to run out the clock.

"Last year we only had eight veterans on the team," said coach Thomas Manny of the Dragons 0-2 start in 2005. "Now with our experience it makes a difference especially when it comes to closing games."

The Dragons' next game will be 7:30 p.m. Saturday against the Albany Metro Mallers at Binghamton Municipal Stadium. Albany is the defending EFL champion.

Mallers Turn it On In Return to EFL Action
The Albany Metro Mallers started the day with a rather unimpressive 3-1 record, against talented teams from around the Northeast, but coming off of a rather lackluster home opening win over Rockland County last Saturday at Union College, the team realized that today was different. Today, as they boarded the Wade Tours Cruiser at Albany’s Westgate Shopping Center, it was evident that the attitude was different. Today,  it was all business. Today, their Title was up for grabs. Today the were back in Empire Football League play, and the new team on the block was about to learn who was the undefeated defending Champion.
    The Vermont Ice Storm was the  gracious host coming into their second EFL contest, hot on the heals of a week 1 win over St Lawrence Valley, the Albany Metro Mallers rolled into town to make a statement to their EFL counterparts. What a statement it was as they proceeded  to roll out of town with a commanding 40-13 win.
    Vermont QB Brad Rudeman found him self under the microscope of Defensive MVP Greg Woodward , Alvin Foy Athan Schindler and the rest of the Maller Defense of all game long.
    Meanwhile the Scott Lawson lead Albany Offense clicked like a fine Rolex. The veteran QB went 18 for 26 on the night while picking up the vertical game with 350 aerial yards and 4 touchdowns.  Offensive Coordinator Chris Brown utilized the entire playbook spreading the ball around with Maller QB’s depositing the scoring passes to 4 receivers and let the running game score set up the pass and score one as well.
Veteran Wide Out Maceo Clinton hauled in 3 passes for 94 yards, 2 for touchdowns while second year man Culture Branch continues on the road to EFL Stardom with a 9 reception , 166 yards  and 1 touchdown performance. The sure handed John Mulino hauled in 5 passes for 69 yards and a score, while Tight End Dwight Chasten made the most of his sole reception on the night, a 13 yard Touchdown. The ground game complimented the pass like the Yankees wish their middle relievers could set up Marino Rivera. Powerhouse Tailback Sylvester Cooperwood again punished the Vermont Defense with a  15 carry for 101 yards, while Rookie Julius Irving gained 34 yards on 6 carries and added a  touchdown. Joe Bonfonte’s leg added 4 extra points to the Mallers total.
    The loss drops the Ice Storm to 1 – 1 on the EFL Schedule and 1-2 for the season and head across the Northern Boarder to take on the Ottawa Demon Deacons next week.
    Albany advances to 1 – 0 in league play and are 4 –1 Overall.  The Metro Mallers  remain on the road for another week as they head across the southern tier to take on the Broome County Dragons at Alumni Stadium at The University at Binghamton next Saturday.  Albany returns home on July 29th to take on the Tri State Bulldogs.


Eagles tie Ottawa


Another first in Scranton Eagles history occurred Saturday night in Ottawa, Canada.

A controversial finish left the Eagles with the first tie in their 25-year history, 19-19, with the Ottawa Demon Deacons. Both teams fell to 0-1-1 in the Empire Football League.

After the Eagles rallied from a 19-7 deficit to knot the score, Cory Champi caught a long pass and was hauled down at the Ottawa 5 as the final seconds of overtime wound down.

Inexplictably, the clock stopped with four seconds left, and Eagles quarterback John Kennedy spiked the ball with two seconds left, leaving time for another play.

But the officials huddled, and emerged from their conference saying the game was over.

“They said if the clock not stopped, time would have probably run out,’’ Kennedy said.

Having their last shot taken away, it prevented the Eagles from getting their first win.

Kennedy was sharp enough to hit 17 of 32 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns, including a 10-yarder to Louis Verdetto in the third quarter to pull the Eagles within six, 19-13.

Bill Sandly ran for 50 yards, including a five-yard scoring run with five minutes left in regulation to tie the game, but the ensuing extra-point kick was blocked.

Kennedy hit Champi for a 28-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring on the Eagles second drive.

The defense was sparked by George Romiti as the veteran linebacker made 19 tackles. Nick Parlanti added 11 tackles and blocked both an extra point and a field goal. Champi picked off two passes.

The Eagles return to action next Saturday with a road game against the Tri-State (N.Y.) Bulldogs

Tri-State spoils Lake City's home opener

Staff Writer

July 16, 2006

PLATTSBURGH — After a strong opening week to their Empire Football League season, the Lake City Stars were hoping to ride an emotional victory over Watertown in Saturday's contest against the Tri-State Bulldogs.

Unfortunately, the breaks didn't go the Stars way and they had a hard time finding the end zone as the Bulldogs captured a 24-6 victory at Melissa L. Penfield Park.

Tri-State came out aggressive early as quarterback Jay Hawes hooked up with Collis Martin for a 36-yard touchdown pass on the games opening drive.

Lake City had its first hard break on its first possession as quarterback Kellen Nolan was sacked and appeared to fumble the ball after being down, but the Bulldogs recovered the fumble and were setup on the Stars' 24-yard line.

Hawes again was the dagger to Lake City's heart, this time scrambling for a 16-yard touchdown run on fourth down. The score gave Tri-State a 14-0 lead all within eight minutes.

The Bulldogs scored once more in the first half as Brian Harris kicked a 21-yard field goal.

The Stars had a chance to get on the board before the end of the half as Nolan hit Chris Verkey with a 23-yard pass to the seven, but Verkey wasn't able to get to the end-zone before being called down.

"They jumped out on us early," Lake City head coach Ed McCallister said. "But, at halftime the guys didn't lay down and they came out hard in the second half.

"(The Bulldogs) just had a lot of the breaks in the game, not to take anything away from them. But, if a couple of those go our way, it might have been a different ball game."

The Stars took over on their own 35-yard line to start the second half, and marched 45 yards to the Bulldogs' 29.

On second down, Nolan dropped back and hit tailback Brandon Keleher coming out of the backfield for a 26-yard touchdown strike to get the Stars on the board. Nolan's two-point conversion attempt failed, and Tri-State held onto a 17-6 lead.

On their next possession, the Bulldogs returned the kick-off to the Lake City 27-yard line and on first down Andre Evans carried the ball 21-yards to the six.

The Bulldogs had four cracks at the end zone, but the Stars' defense held strong as they held Hawes out on a fourth-and-one quarterback sneak.

Lake City, however, couldn't find the end-zone the rest of the way as Tri-State held them to two, three-and-outs to finish the third quarter, and just two first downs in the fourth.

The Bulldogs added a late touchdown by Ray Morales after most of the starting unit for the Stars was out of the game.

"(Tri-State) knows that they were in a ball game here," McCallister said. "And I think our guys know that we were in this ball game as well."

Hawes completed seven of his 22 pass attempts for 118 yards and a touchdown, while being intercepted once by Lake City's Joseph Conway.

Martin hauled in five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown, with Paul Reed pulling in a pair for 30. Raheem Ridley led the way on the ground with 55 yards and Morales added 50 and a touchdown.

Kelleher led the Stars' attack with 45 yards on the ground and also picked up 29 through the air with a touchdown. Nolan completed four passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. Matt St. Clair, James Blocker and Verkey each pulled in a catch a piece.

"I am very proud of the way the team performed tonight," McCallister said. "It's like the old saying goes 'We live to fight another day'.

"Hopefully this week we will be able to get back on track and get ready for St. Lawrence next week."

Tri-State 24, Lake City 6

Tri-State 14 3 0 7 — 24
Lake City 0 0 6 0 — 6

Scoring summary
First quarter
TS- Martin 36 pass from Hawes (Harris kick), 4:01.
TS- Hawes 16 run (Harris kick), 8:02.

Second quarter
TS- Harris 21 field goal, 6:17.

Third quarter
LC- Keleher 29 pass from Ke. Nolan (pass failed), 5:22.

Fourth quarter
TS- Morales 24 run (Harris kick), 13:02.

Individual statistics
TS- Morales, 7-50, TD. Ridley, 9-55. Hawes, 6-39, TD. Evans, 3-36. McCloud, 2-9. Allen, 1-0. Totals: 28-189, 2 TD.
LC- Keleher, 5-45. Ky. Nolan, 2-3. Ke. Nolan, 2-7. Geiser, 3-(-6). C. Lawyer, 3-6. Randall, 3-9. Totals: 18-64.

TS- Hawes, 7-22-1-118, TD. McCloud, 0-2-0-0. Totals: 7-24-1-118, TD.
LC- Ke. Nolan, 4-14-0-94, TD. Ky. Nolan 0-1-0-0. C. Lawyer, 0-1-1-0. Totals: 4-16-1-94, TD.

TS- Martin, 5-82, TD. Reed, 2-30.
LC- Blocker, 1-31. M. St. Clair, 1-11. Verkey, 1-23. Keleher, 1-29, TD.

TS- Allen.
LC- Conway.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage June 15th

Colonials, Zephyrs return to gridiron tonight

By ERIC FONTES, The Leader-Herald

The way Frank Van Skiver and Dom Ruggeri look at it, things can only get better from here.

In their season openers, the two local semi-professional football teams each played one of the top teams in their respective leagues.

So with level of competition most likely not exceeding what they faced last week, Van Skiver’s Glove Cities Colonials can only improve off their 58-0 loss to the Central New York Express. Same with Ruggeri’s Amsterdam Zephyrs, who lost 37-7 to the Tri-County Bulldogs last Saturday.

Their chance at redemption comes tonight when the Zephyrs host the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers in Empire Football League action and the Colonials visit the Mohawk Valley Vikings in a New York Amateur Football League tilt.

Ruggeri said the Zephyrs hope to rebound from last week with a victory, while the Colonials have their sights set on a rebuilding process that should get better with each passing week.

“We have a very tough road ahead of us,” Van Skiver said. “Each week you’ll see a young team improving. We are a young team [average age 20]. For a lot of these guys, this is their first experience at semi-pro football. We’re going to go through some growing pains. There will be good moments and bad moments. But as long as we stay upbeat and positive, in a few years the Colonials could be back to where they were in their hey-day.”

Eagles head to Ottawa in search of victory

Buoyant Stars host Orange County tonight

PLATTSBURGH — The Lake City Stars enjoyed an impressive opening to their 2006 Empire Football League season last Saturday. The Stars, who had never won in Watertown under head coach Ed McCallister, defeated the Red & Black 12-9.

"We found out last week that we can play with these teams," McCallister said. "That is a really good thing. Last week was a real quick wake-up call for our team and they realize now that they can play with these teams. Last week's victory was just huge."

The Stars look to continue the early-season success tonight in the home opener with the Orange County Bulldogs at Melissa L. Penfield Park. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

Tonight's game will mark the lone cross-over contest for the season as all Northern Division teams will be playing a Southern Division opponent.

A season ago, the Bulldogs came to Plattsburgh and led Lake City 12-0 before the Stars attempted a late comeback. Orange County, however, was able to hold on 12-7.

"I think last season that they might have come to Plattsburgh and overlooked us a bit," McCallister said. "As a result of that I believe that we have gained their respect. This year, though, I think they will try to prove that they are much better than we are.

"If we play the way we can play and give 100 percent — the way we played last weekend — then we will give ourselves a chance. It is going to take as good a game as we played against Watertown and maybe a little more to stick with them."

In their opening game last weekend, the Bulldogs knocked off the Amsterdam Zephyrs, 37-7 in Amsterdam.

Orange County did most of its damage through the air as Jay Hawes completed 12-of-18 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Collis Martin hauled in six passes for 90 yards with two touchdowns and Paul Reed five receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. Running back Andre McCloud also got into the act, as he hit Kelvin McKinney on a half-back pass for a nine-yard touchdown.

The Bulldogs' return game was also plenty busy in their victory over the Zephyrs. Hence Perdue fielded five punts for 100 return yards, including a 72-yard touchdown return.

The ground game picked up just 119 yards on 25 carries, led by Raheem Ridley's 30-yards on seven attempts.

The Stars' defense, which played as a full unit for the first time against Watertown, will need to play as strong as they did last week's game, a game in which they impressed even their head coach.

"We have a lot of new personnel on defense this year," McCallister said. "A lot of them are new to our team and hadn't seen this league before. But they stepped up last week and did a good job.

"It was so impressive to me that we, maybe, had one arm-tackle the entire game. We hit hard and we wrapped up after we hit. After the receivers made the catch we penned them in and did a great job of handling their fakes. We just made solid tackles and swarmed to the ball.

"They did exactly what they were supposed to do and worked very well as a unit."

Lake City, which has been mostly a ground-oriented team over the past few years, stretched things through the air against Watertown as new quarterback Kellen Nolan tossed a pair of first-half touchdown passes. The first, to Chris Verkey, gave the Stars a 6-0 league and the second to Matt St. Clair proved to be the game-winner.

But, when Lake City needed its running game, it was right there waiting.

"I think that Watertown has a very talented football team and their defense is going to be very tough in this league," McCallister said. "We moved the ball well and were able to catch them a few times. And we were also able to hold the ball for a good eight minutes in the fourth quarter.

"We turned the ball over on downs a few times where we had the opportunity for 3 points, but we were missing Ryan DeCamp, or I know we would have come away with more points."

McCallister expects his team to be ready for tonight's game, despite an unbelievable victory against Watertown. He doesn't expect the team to come in overconfident.

"I think it's a good thing that we have such a strong opponent after a big victory like we had," McCallister said. "This way there is no letting up.

"I seriously wouldn't be surprised if Orange County was the last team standing in the Southern Division and that is taking nothing away from Albany. The Bulldogs got Norm Mann back as their head coach this year and that man just demands respect.

"Orange County was a strong team last season, but I think that Mann is what they were missing. They are going to be even tougher now."

A season ago, Mann was the head coach of the 2005 EFL Champion Albany Metro Mallers. Before that he was head coach at Orange County, where he returns this season.

"Every team want to win a championship," McCallister said. "And to win we are going to have to go through either Orange Country or Albany, and I think it's nice to see what they have now.

"We excelled in every aspect of the game last week and I am hoping that it can continue tonight. Tonight's game isn't going to be the tell-tale sign of the season for us, but we still want to come out and play well, and hopefully if we do that we can come away with a win."

 Saturday July 15, 2006                                                                                                                                            

Dragons back home for EFL showdown
From staff reports

Fresh from a season-opening Empire Football League win over Scranton last week, the Broome County Dragons make their home debut at 7:30 p.m. tonight against the Chateauguay Titans at Binghamton Alumni Field.

The site is a familiar one for the Dragons--it served as their home field last season--but a switch from the planned use of the indoor Greater Binghamton Sports Complex for this season's five home games fell through.

"Basically things weren't adding up to what the league needed, as far as needing showers, locker rooms, and goal posts" said team owner Karol Cronin.

Bahij Kashou, owner of the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex, called it "a matter of logistics."

Also at issue was seating. Neither the team nor the complex were able to secure bleachers. Each side said the other was responsible.

Kashou said the team was to lease bleachers. Cronin claimed the team was to get estimates on quantity and cost but the ultimate responsibility was with the complex.

"Possibly in the future we may be able to add shower facilities and bleachers to handle such an event," said Kashou.

Dragons coach Tom Manny said his team will be looking for a quick start against the Montreal-area Titans (1-0).

"We'd like to break out and get out on top quick," he said. "We're looking to put points on the board."

Manny said the team is looking to build on last Saturday's 21-14 win.

"We are just starting to click on offense," he said. "Guys are getting the offense down--quarterbacks are making the reads, receivers are crisper with their routes. We had a good practice (Thursday). We were able to drive when we needed to last week against Scranton, but again, we need to break out offensively."


Only something special could draw more than 11,000 fans to Scranton Memorial Stadium.

During a time when semi-professional football was extremely popular in the city, the Empire Football League championship game featured the hometown Eagles against their bitter rivals, the Tri-City Jets. The title game was on the same night as a professional boxing card at the Catholic Youth Center, yet the game packed the stadium to near-capacity.

Thanks to two fourth-quarter touchdowns the Eagles hoisted the trophy in their first season with a 26-13 victory.

With the game tied, Tri-City's Al Klump boomed a punt that pinned the Eagles and quarterback John Rogan at the 4. On the very first play, Rogan hit Rich Solan down the sideline for 56 yards, electrifying the crowd.

Frank Survilla picked up 15 yards and Rogan added two running plays, moving the Eagles to the Jets' 19. Three plays later, Rogan found Allen Keller, who would coach the Eagles in their glory days of the 1980s, down to the 5. He then hit Bill Lazor for the game-breaking score.

On the Jets' next series, Stan Kucharski intercepted a pass and returned it 40 yards for the final touchdown.

Tri-City, the defending champions, tried to get back in the game, driving to the Eagles' 7, but Grant Watkins intercepted a pass in the end zone to halt the drive.

As time was running out, the Jets again drove into Eagles' territory.

This time Mike DeFrancesco picked off a pass in the end zone to seal the victory.

Deep in their own territory, the Eagles grabbed all the momentum they needed when John Rogan hit Rich Solan for a 56-yard pass that ignited the two-touchdown fourth quarter.

Turnovers the Eagles forced including picking off four passes
Members of the Scranton Police Force were on hand including two detectives for crowd control
Estimated number of fans already packing the stadium two hours before kickoff
Total yards for the Eagles

"We're No. 1."
- the huge partisan crowd chanted mid-way through the fourth quarter

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Eagles drop opener

Eagles drop opener

EFL Post Game Press Coverage July 9th

Ice Storm enter Empire League with blowout win
Published: Sunday, July 9, 2006
COLCHESTER -- The Vermont Ice Storm started their first season in the Empire Football League in winning fashion Saturday night, ripping the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers 40-0 behind a big second quarter.

Jason Young's 32-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Brad Ruderman was the only score of the first quarter, but the Ice Storm blew the game open with four second-quarter scores.

Young started the surge with a 16-yard touchdown run and Marvin Jenkins' 3-yard scoring run made it 20-0. Drew Gordon, playing on his wedding day, added a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown before a two-point conversion and Ruderman's 22-yard TD pass to Austin Partain gave the Ice Storm a 35-0 lead at halftime.

Lloyd White's safety and Gavin Battaglia's 32-yard field goal wrapped up the scoring in the second half.

John Fahey led the Ice Storm's ground game with 14 carries for 83 yards. Ruderman completed four of nine passes for 89 yards.

Kevin Fournier's seven tackles paced the Vermont defense. Joe Barnier added an interception.


Lake City ends Watertown hex
July 09, 2006

WATERTOWN — It's been a long time in coming for Lake City and head coach Ed McCallister.

McCallister, in his 10th season with the Stars, had never seen a victory for Lake City against Watertown on the Red & Black's home turf.

Saturday, however, the streak was finally broken.

Kellen Nolan tossed a pair of touchdown passes, as the Stars spent most of the night in Watertown's end of the field, to capture a 12-9 victory in the opening game of the Empire Football League schedule.

"I don't think I have seen a game where heart definitely made all of the difference," McCallister said. "I have never seen something like this in the 10 years I have been here. (Our players) were out of shape, but they sucked it up and for 60 straight minutes gave it all that they had — down to the last second."

Lake City took the lead in the first quarter when Nolan hooked up with Chris Verkey on a 26-yard pass play.

The Stars went into halftime with a 6-6 tie after the Red & Black scored a touchdown to draw even in the second quarter.

Nolan then gave Lake City the lead for good as he nailed Matt St. Clair on a 32-yard pass to give the Stars a 12-6 lead.

"We had some opportunities offensively," McCallister said. "We spent a lot of the game in their territory."

Watertown would only manage a field goal the rest of the way.

"We were able to run the ball in the fourth quarter to try and run the time out," McCallister said. "But, when we had to go to the air, James Blocker had two huge catches for us.

"We only had 17 guys at practice on Wednesday and it was almost looking like we wouldn't have a enough for a team. But, we all came together and (Saturday) was absolutely amazing — a great win for us.

"We have never been able to win over here and I know it doesn't mean anything except that we are 1-0, but it’s a lot better than being 0-1. And, anytime you can come to Watertown and play competitive it's a big deal

"I am so proud of these guys. They showed a great amount of effort and just never quit. Heart definitely mattered."

The Stars will be back to practice on Tuesday to prepare for their 2006 EFL home opener on Saturday against the Orange County Bulldogs. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. at Melissa L. Penfield Park.

Lake City 12, Watertown 9
Lake City 6 0 6 0 — 12
Watertown 0 6 0 3 — 9

Scoring summary
First quarter
LC- Verkey 26 pass from Ke. Nolan.

Second quarter
W- touchdown.

Third quarter
LC- M. St. Clair 32 pass from Ke. Nolan.
W- field goal.


Comforts of Home Not So for Metro Mallers

When a team starts its season with three straight road games, the prospect of the home opener usually evokes feelings of relief and a kind of relaxation and release of tension that build up in strange surroundings. But tonight’s 2006 home opener for the Albany Metro Mallers had the team playing as if it were still another road game. The Mallers faced an overmatched team from Ramapo, NY the Rockland County Bruins, and only managed to come away with a 14 – 0 victory in front of 318 fans at Frank Bailey Field at Union College in Schenectady. It was a night of missed opportunities.

Miscues and penalties were the way of the game, as the Mallers seemed to continually keep the door open for a Bruin upset all through the game.

As play started the defending Empire Football League Champs got right on the board the wrong way, with 2 consecutive  5 yard offside penalties putting the Bruins in Maller territory with a First down without ever running a play. But once the Bruins did run a play, they began to wish they hadn’t, as the tough Albany Defense had their way, as Anthony DeChairo, Greg Woodward, Alvin Foy and company kept Rockland QB Fred Michel on the move or on his back,  all night long. They were not with out their lapses as penalties continued to dog the defense keeping Bruin drives alive especially on third or fourth and long  situations.

Back on offense, the early going was rough as a Scott Lawson interception ended the first of Albany’s drives into the red zone. Then came a fumble on the exchange from Lawson to All American Running Back Sylvester Cooperwood, which ended the second drive inside the Rockland 25.

Albany finally struck pay dirt when Lawson connected with Maceo Clinton with 1:56 left in the half from 9 yards out for the only score of the Half. Lawson again was on the mark with 8:48 in the third as he tossed a 14 yard scoring strike to John Mulino. Joe Bonfonte’ added the PAT on both of the Albany Scores.

Special teams was not exempt from the shenanigans either, as a 95 yard punt return by Farid Baaklini, was negated by a hold in the second quarter.

Lawson finished the evening with an 11 for 16 performance for 143 Yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Cooperwood punished the Bruins with the ground game 15 carries for 78 yards and a fumble. Despite the scoring strikes going to Clinton and Mulino, second year Wide out Culture Branch turned in a  5 reception for 75 yard performance. Meanwhile the Defense put up a  4 sack, 2 interception and 1 fumble recovery job on the evening.

Albany coaches stressed post game the need for this team to raise its Football IQ and stay focused on the field if they expect to defend their EFL Championship title in 2006.

Rockland falls to 1-1 on the year and the Metro Mallers advance to 3-1.

Albany travels to Colchester Vermont, on Saturday evening to begin its title defense as they take on the Vermont Ice Storm in Empire Football League Action.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

(no subject)

Eagles’ Kennedy returns as opener draws near
Retirement is apparently only temporary for John Kennedy.

The long-time Scranton Eagles quarterback, who retired following last season, changed his mind this week and will likely start in Saturday night’s season opener against the Broome County Dragons at 7:30 at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

The game is the season opener for the Eagles, who hope to return to the ranks of the elite this year. They are coming off one of the worst campaigns — a 4-6 finish and no playoff spot — in the storied history of the 25-year-old franchise.

The Dragons lost their season opener last week, 33-31 to Montreal, on a last-minute touchdown by the Titans.

Kennedy, 42, suited up for drills last week and will likely start with backup help from Deshawn Meyers, Andre Chollette and rookie J.P. Antosch.

Longtime backup Mark Arcure will likely miss three to four games because of leg ailments, but will be on the sidelines coaching.

Head coach Mike Woodard has reason to be optimistic in his second year at the helm. One reason for that optimism is the presence of Malcolm Singleton on the defensive line. The veteran from Kingston played the last several seasons with Binghamton-area teams.

Woodward is relying on Singleton to spark a pass rush that was nearly non-existent last year.

“Our numbers were down last year and we had a lot of important holes to fill over the offseason,” Woodard said.

Broome County coach Tommy Manny blamed his team’s season-opening loss on his team’s inability to finish a game strong. The Dragons also had trouble late in a handful of preseason games.

“We’ve been striving for consistency,” Manny said. “We’ve been trying to stress to stay strong in the closing moments. But we have not done that two weeks in a row.”

The Dragons led most of the game as quarterback Ty Fish threw for 181 yards and three touchdowns. He hooked up twice with Brian Mister and once with Rob Stokstad for touchdowns. Mister had 104 yards receiving and returned a kickoff 61 yards to set up Stokstad’s score.

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage July 8th

Dragons aiming high in return
By Brian Moritz
Press & Sun-Bulletin

Tommy Manny will settle for nothing less than making a run at the Empire Football League title this season.

"Championship game," is what the second-year coach of the Broome County Dragons said would be a successful season for his team. "We do have the talent to get there."

The Dragons are scheduled to begin their second season today at Scranton. Their home opener is scheduled for July 15 against Scranton.

This season, the Dragons are the only semi-pro football team in the area. The Southern Tier Green Machine folded, and the Dragons inherited several players from that squad. The Dragons also have a new home field, the indoor Binghamton Sports Complex on Airport Road. The team played its home games last season at Binghamton Alumni Field.

But the Dragons also return a good core of players from last year's team that went 6-4 in the EFL and lost to Lake City in the first round of the EFL playoffs. The Dragons also made the Harvest Bowl National Championship tournament, losing in the first round to the Boston Bandits.

Manny said that 28 players return from last season's team.

"Numbers-wise, we're up from last year," Manny said. "You do get your core people back from year to year, which is usually between 20-30 people, and then you have the people who come in each year."

One of the key cogs back for the Dragons this year is starting quarterback Ty Fish. Fish was a second-team EFL All-Star last year. He threw for an EFL-best 1,800 yards last season and had 16 touchdown passes. Manny said he felt his quarterback should have been the league's Most Valuable Player.

"To have that kind of experienced starter at quarterback is huge," Manny said. "Guys know who the leader is on the field. That's important. The quarterback needs to be an extension of the coach on the field. He was outstanding last year."

Also back from last season's team is tight end Jonathan Bechy, who led the league with 553 receiving yards. Jemall Johnson, the team's leading rusher last season, also returns.

"If anything, we've gotten deeper at some positions," Manny said.

The Dragons have also added several players at new positions. Matt Willis, who was a wide receiver at Hartwick College, joins the team. Manny said Willis will be the team's punter.

George Graham, a Binghamton High graduate who played for the Green Machine last season, joins the Dragons as well.

"He's going to be a big help for our air attack," Manny said. "George was a nice find."

The Dragons won their only preseason game, cruising to a 37-19 victory over the Crystal City Dragons of Elmira Heights on June 24. Fish threw for 133 yards, 101 to Bechy, and Broome County's defense held Crystal City to 145 total yards. But Manny wasn't happy with his squad's special teams, which gave up punt return touchdowns of 85 and 92 yards.

Manny said the biggest challenge his team will face this season will come from the Albany Metro Mallers, the defending league champions.

"We have to get over the hump with Albany," said Manny, who spent years as a player and coach with Albany. "I think last year, some of my younger players were a little in awe of them. This year, there's a different attitude. They believe."

Lake City Stars kick off campaign tonight

Lake City gridders still looking for first win in Watertown

PLATTSBURGH — The Lake City Stars kick off their Empire Football League season tonight in Watertown, hoping to at least make it back to the semifinals, where they lost to the eventual league champs, the Albany Metro Mallers, 23-0.

The EFL returns to two-division play for the 2006 season, a move that pleases Lake City Coach Ed McCallister.

"I like being able to play everyone in our division twice," McCallister said. "I think it creates more fun for the fans, especially those that travel. They are able to get to know some of the teams a little better as we play them twice. And with gas the way it is, it will definitely help with the travelling."

Lake City will play in the North, along with the Vermont Ice Storm, the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers, the Montreal Titans and the Ottawa Deacon Demons. The Watertown Red & Black will be a floater team and will be included in the Northern Division for the playoffs.

"The Northern Division will be very tough," acknowledged McCallister. "Ottawa is going to surprise a lot of teams. The Ice Storm and Montreal will be tough to play and St. Lawrence is a vastly improved team.

"We will have to fight to make it to the playoffs," he continued. "It's going to be an interesting season. I feel if we stay healthy and mature quickly that we will be okay."

The top three teams in each division will make the playoffs with with the first-place team receiving a bye in the first round.

Lake City, like the EFL, has undergone some significant changes this season, the biggest being at quarterback. Kellen Nolan, a standout cornerback for the Stars, takes over for the recently departed Eddie Castine, who had been under center the past three seasons.

"Kellen is going to be our new quarterback," McCallister said. "He has looked very good in practice and is definitely a competitor. He also has the luxury of some good targets to throw to."

The wide receiving corps will consist of starters Matt St. Clair and James Blocker, as well as deep threat Chris Verkey. Brian Talley and Calab Clark will also be in the mix. Starting at tight end will be Trevor St. Clair while Jean Mirville and Blocker could also see some time there.

The offensive line will be a six-headed monster as Nolan and his backs protected by Mike Archer, Keith Bushey, Nick Moore, Jeff Way, Mike Thwaits and Frank Rooney.

Heath Geiser returns as the team's starting tailback while Kyle Nolan will again be the lead-blocker.

"Again this season, we will be a running back by committee," McCallister said. "We have five backs who will be in the rotation and all will carry the ball."

Cory Lawyer, Brandon Keleher and Jedidiah Randall join Geiser and Kyle Nolan in the offensive back field.

With Kellen Nolan moving to the offense, it creates an opening in the defensive secondary. Brandon St. John will join Earl Parks at starting corner, but don't count out an occasional appearance by Nolan in the defensive scheme.

"I think he will be done at cornerback," McCallister said. "That's not to say that if we needed him to go both ways — say in a playoff situation — that he isn't capable. But, that's not what I want to do."

Travis Tipton and Tom Brindisi will be the starting safeties.

The linebacking corps returns nearly intact with captain, and new defensive coach, Mike Lawyer leading the way. Shane Cheeseman also returns while Ryan Carey figures to be a new starter in the mix.

Don Tambini will return from last season's injury to start on the defensive line, along with Mike Stafford and Jeremy Dowler. Thwaits and Way could also see time on defense in certain situations.

Ryan DeCamp, who has the leg to kick the occasional 50-yard field goal, returns as the team's reliable kicker.

"Things will most likely be changing throughout the season," McCallister said. "Once I can see what we can do on the field and how good we can be.

"Some players will definitely be getting their money's worth in playing time."

Lake City opens against Watertown, which lost to the Stars, 27-12, last year in a non-league affair in Plattsburgh.

However, Lake City has yet to beat the Red & Black on their home turf in Watertown.

"It starts for real Saturday. And our franchise has never won a game in Watertown," McCallister added. "This is going to be a good early test for us.

"I feel if we don't get too caught up early on and are able to play through our mistakes, then we should be okay.

"But I don't feel that we are where we should be as a team right now. We are lucky to have guys with experience, who should help out, and hopefully the youth will be able to catch up.

"We will have to realize that the season is a marathon and not a sprint. We aren't where we want to be, but that doesn't mean we can't get to where we want to be come playoff time.

"This is a long season and Saturday will be a real character test for us," McCallister continued. "Hopefully, we can play well, come away injury free and in the end, on top."

Home Opener Give Mallers Last Chance to Gear Up
Saturday Evening at 7:30, the Empire Football League kicks off its 37th season just as it did last year for its 36th, minus the leagues defending champion.  In 2005, the defending champion Glens Falls Greenjackets abdicated the throne by jumping ship to the larger North American Football League. Their successors, the Albany Metro Mallers haven’t departed for “greener field turf”. They have an unlikely bye week in the first week of league play. 

But rather than take the week off the Metro Mallers are back on the local gridiron with their home opener, as they take on the Rockland County Bruins in a non league contest at Union College’s Frank Bailey Field. 
The Mallers, who racked up 16 straight wins last season including an 11-0 run through the powerful Empire Football League enroute to their third EFL Championship, come in with a 2-1 record on the young season. Having already endured three road games the team has bounced back from a disappointing end to 2005 when they lost their only contest of the year in the Semi-Final round of the Harvest Bowl Championship Tournament which crowns the minor league champion of the Eastern U.S. Coupled to this loss, was team dropping its first game of 2006 at the hands of the Western Mass Blitzen Bears. The talented Albany semi-pro squad has rebounded with 2 wins in a row at Crystal City and Kingston leading into tonight’s home opener.
A mix of seasoned veterans laced with All EFL and All-American Talent, the Mallers have had to reload for the new campaign by supplementing a roster that includes All Americans  and Co EFL Players of the Year Sylvester Cooperwood & Greg Woodward and EFL All Stars  Scott Lawson, Maceo Clinton,  Anthony DeChairo, Andrez Morris,  , Brian Northern, Farid Baaklini, Jeff Turman, Brian Domingo, Bo Gaudreau, Drew Sickels, Mo James, Damon Walker, Carmen Danielle,  Sal Ivarone and Athan Schindler. Despite this strength and experience the team lost an additional 8 members of the 2005 EFL All Star Team to various events ranging from retirement, injury, and defections, including Head Coach and EFL Coach of the Year Norman Mann to the Tri State Bulldogs. Former Capitaland Thunder Boss and Maller Defensive Coordinator Luke Posniewski takes the reigns as the Mallers still have an abundance of top flight returning talent including former Albany Conquest OS Gabe Young, and veterans Alvin Foy, Joe Logsdon, Lawan Cancer, David Rushford, Camillo Ferraro, Norman Lewis, Rick Fish, CT Barker, George Miller,  Justin Ned, Carson Johnson, John Mulino, Terry Cumberbatch, June Mitchell, and the Seniors, Larry and Derrick, among others. Additionally, EFL Rookie of the Year Runner-Up Culture Branch is expected to dispel any ideas of a sophomore jinx with a  strong showing at Wide Receiver. Plus there are the newcomers, who include former Greenjackets Defensive All Star Lineman Anthony Vignola and WR Brian Hahn, along with Matt Callahan, Steve Kowalczak, Wayne Hansbury and George Amobi. Next the Mallers add in the Falcon Factor, The Albany High School Rookie Trio of Tay Tay Rama, Ryan Van Tull and Dr J.jr. Julius Irving, who has already tallied 3 Touchdowns in Maller Blue and Gold.
The Bruins come to the Electric City with a 1-0 record on the season from Hillcrest NY, and are members of the Gardens State Football League. They share the home field at the new Torne Valley Sports Complex in Ramapo, NY with Maller EFL Arch Rival Bulldogs.
The Mallers will start their defense of their EFL Title next week as they return to the road and head to the Green Mountains to face the Vermont Ice Storm on Saturday July 15th.    
Kick off at Union College is Saturday at 7:30 PM. 

Metro Mallers Football is family/fan friendly football, bringing the Capital District big league action at small town prices

Members of the media are invited to cover the game. Contact Communications Director Jim Malone for media credentials prior to 1pm on game day either by return e-mail or by phone at 459-4915.

Monday, July 03, 2006

EFL Press Coverage 7/2/2006

Scranton Eagles look to Mid Valley two-way star
Scranton Eagles coach Mike Woodard hopes former Mid Valley star Nick Parlanti will play a major role on both offense and defense as the season opener approaches.

The Eagles, who open their 25th Empire Football League season Saturday against the Broome County Dragons at 7:30 p.m. at Scranton Memorial Stadium, hope Parlanti can pick up where he left off last season. The 6-foot-1, 245-pounder was a star at both running back and linebacker in his first season with the club.

Parlanti, who also played at Mansfield University, and former Riverside star Bill Sandly are expected to start in backfield and will share the ball-carrying duties with Gary Visnofsky and Andre Chollette.

Woodard is optimistic about his team’s chances to improve on last year’s dismal 4-6 finish, the worst in franchise history and one of the few times the club did not make the playoffs.

One reason for his outlook is the presence of four players looking to replace retired quarterback John Kennedy.

Newcomers Deshawn Meyers of Wilkes-Barre and J.P. Antosh of Dallas are among the contenders for the starting quarterback spot, as are veterans Mike Arcure, last year’s backup, and Chollette, who played running back last season.

Kennedy, who led the Eagles to EFL and national championships during his 20-plus years under center, retired following last season, but is helping the coaching staff as preseason practice continues.

Four Hazleton products will also do their part to help bring the Eagles back to EFL supremacy.

Linebacker Jim DeJoseph and wide receiver Thad Witek are returning starters after making their EFL debuts last season. Joining them is defensive back John Brady. All three are Bishop Hafey graduates.

Like the rest of the 2005 squad, DeJoseph and Witek got a late start to the preseason because training camp started late and coach Woodard did not take the helm until just weeks before the season.

“We just pretty much showed up and played,” said DeJoseph. But not this year. I’ve been able to train all off-season.”

Brady’s preseason work in the defensive secondary has impressed Woodard, who feels Brady may have a shot at cracking the starting lineup, especially with the loss of Sterling Wade, who retired due to an injury suffered late last season.

The earlier start this year and the addition of several promising rookies, including defensive lineman Malcolm Singleton, give Woodard reason for optimism.

“We’re going to surprise a few people this year. We set goals over the offseason on areas that needed major improvements and we’ve met all our aspirations so far, especially with our pass rush,” he said.

The schedule, with all home games at Memorial Stadium:
July 8: vs. Broome County Dragons
July 15: at Ottawa Demon Deacons
July 22: at Tri-State Bulldogs, Orange County, N.Y. July 29: vs. Amsterdam (N.Y.) Zephyrs
Aug. 5: vs. Albany Metro Mallers
Aug. 19: at Broome County, Binghamton, N.Y.
Aug. 26: vs. Tri-State Bulldogs
Sept. 9: at Amsterdam (N.Y.) Zephyrs
Sept. 16: at Albany Metro Mallers
Sept. 23: vs. Watertown (N.Y.) Red & Black
Sept. 30: Playoffs
Oct. 7: Playoffs
Oct. 14: EFL championship

Contact the ©The Times-Tribune 2006
Semipro football
Published: Sunday, July 2, 2006
COLCHESTER -- The Vermont Ice Storm semiprofessional football team kicked off its season with a 21-18 non-league loss to the Seacoast (N.H.) Hawks at Colchester High School.

Failed extra-point conversions on all three touchdowns came back to haunt Vermont.

Seacoast turned the game its way when Jeff Gregoire snared an interception and rumbled 96 yards for the winning touchdown with 8:33 left on the clock. Vermont's tying field-goal attempt with three minutes remaining sailed wide left.

Vermont posted impressive statistics despite the loss. Veteran quarterback Brad Ruderman completed 20 of 38 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns, including a pair to Austin Partain. Rob Joy reeled in nine catches for 132 yards and Troy Canada gained 77 yards and a touchdown with his seven receptions.

Defensively for the Storm, Del Randall and Pat O'Neil had sacks, Drew Gordon snagged an interception and Donny LaFleur and Chris Coppins combined for 19 tackles.
Ice Storm ready to tackle a new challenge
Published: Friday, June 30, 2006
By John A. Fantino Free Press Staff Writer

The Vermont Ice Storm will bump up to the Empire Football League this season. Head coach Doc Perez is confident the transition will be a smooth one.

"We've played preseason games the last two years with three of the teams that are going to be in our division," he said, "and we beat them all."

The Colchester-based Ice Storm are scheduled to kick off their sixth summer of semiprofessional football Saturday with a non-league game against the Seacoast (N.H.) Hawks at Colchester High School.

The following Saturday, Vermont will play host to St. Lawrence Valley in its Empire Football League debut. The EFL competes at the Triple-A level, considered the highest grade of semiprofessional football. The Storm spent the last five summers in the Double-A New England Football League.

Perez, back with the Storm after a one-year hiatus for personal reasons, is antsy to take the sideline, especially after his team's scheduled opener last Saturday was can- celed because the Monadnock Marauders lacked enough players. He's also excited about his personnel.

"We're loaded," he said. "We've done two years' worth of recruiting in one year."

The big reason is Vermont's inheritance of eight players from the defunct Green Mountain Gladiators, a Burlington-area club that disbanded last year after two seasons in the Empire Football League.

Vermont has also added a slew of young players who starred in the high school ranks last fall, Perez said, and the Storm return all but two players from last year's team that reached the NEFL semifinals.

Brad Ruderman, who will quarterback the squad for the fourth straight year, has already noticed the newcomers' impact.

"The best part of this year is all the new guys," said Ruderman, who lives in Montpelier. "They are filling in some of the holes that we needed and giving us really good depth."

Ruderman's primary target will likely be all-star receiver Troy Canada, a Buffalo, N.Y., native. Fullback Aaron Pyer of Georgia is also a dangerous weapon, while defensive back Drew Gordon of Essex anchors a sturdy defense.

"I'm excited about this season," Ruderman said. "It's already looking good."

Brian Zea, who graduated from South Burlington High School in 2003, played in the Empire Football League for Lake City Stars of Plattsburgh, N.Y., last season and the Gladiators two years ago. This summer the lineman will suit up for the Ice Storm, and he likes the team's chances in the league.

"This is my third year playing in this league and I know we can compete with all these guys," Zea said. "This is a great group of guys here. The practices have been the toughest of anyone I've played for."

Contact John A. Fantino at 651-4851 or
The Albany Metro Mallers Football Team, the defending champions of the Empire Football League, invite the members of the press to Our Annual Media Day which will be held this Thursday Night at 7:00 PM at Hoffman Park in Albany. Meet the staff, and interview the coaches and players 1 on 1 as we prepare for our 2006 home opener on Saturday evening at Union College. The 2-1 Mallers host the Rockland County Bruins of the Garden State Football League in our final tune-up before the EFL actions kicks in on July 15th.
For directions to both locations please visit our website at
We hope to see you at both events.

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