Sunday, August 27, 2006

EFL Post Game Press Coverage August 27th

Partain, defense lift Ice Storm to victory
August 27, 2006
COLCHESTER -- Austin Partain hauled in four catches for 115 yards, including two for touchdowns, as the Vermont Ice Storm powered past the Ottawa Demon Decons 20-0 in Empire Football League action Saturday night at Colchester High School.

The Ice Storm (6-2) took a 7-0 lead into halftime on Jason Young's 10-yard scoring run.

Brad Ruderman hooked up with Partain on two scoring passes in the second half, from 27 and 11 yards.

Ruderman completed 14 of 28 passes for 255 yards and one interception.

Young finished with 32 yards rushing on eight carries while Troy Canada and Matt Bombardier each caught two passes for 41 yards.

Chris Coppins led the Ice Storm defense with 12 tackles and a sack while Kevin Fournier added 10 tackles and a sack. Brad Lamell added seven tackles and an interception while Tom Kleefisch and Joe Barnier each had five tackles and an interception.


Eagles handed 33-0 defeat by Tri-State


The Scranton Eagles had a better defensive effort against the Tri-State Bulldogs on Saturday night at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

But the offense did not improve in its second try against the Bulldogs, dropping a 33-0 decision in their Empire Football League game at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

The first time the teams met, Tri-State rolled up a 70-0 victory at home, but a defense led by George Romiti (14 tackles) and Lati Woodruff (six) kept the Bulldogs from scoring as often this time around.

Jovan Garcia still found creases in the Eagles’ defense, scoring three touchdowns to help Tri-State (5-3) take a 27-0 halftime lead.

Garcia scored three different ways — a 70-yard punt return and a 12-yard run in the first quarter, and a 19-yard touchdown catch from Jared Tillitteri in the second quarter.

Paul Reed caught a 34-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter while Dwayne Allen closed the scoring with a three-yard run in the third quarter.

Rasheed Nelson paced the Eagles ground game with 13 carries for 57 yards. Quarterback John Kennedy hit just seven of 20 passes for 41 yards. The leading receiver was Louis Verdetto with two catches for 22 yards.

The Eagles (1-5-1) have a bye next week, then play road games at Albany and Amsterdam before closing at home with Watertown on Sept. 23.
Contact the writer:


Stars strike early
Lake City pulls away from St. Lawrence

Staff Writer

August 27, 2006

PLATTSBURGH — The Lake City Stars met up with the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers on Saturday in what Coach Ed McCallister called a trap game.

The Stars, however, put that to rest on the first drive of the game as Eddie Castine hooked up with James Blocker on a 6-yard touchdown pass.

Lake City would end up taking a 30-14 victory over the Trailblazers at Melissa L. Penfield Park.

"Two really good things came out of this game tonight," McCallister said. "We got the win and we didn't sustain any injuries.

"That's one down. This was the first round of our playoff system."

The Stars looked to be well on their way to an easy victory when the St. Lawrence Valley punter fumbled a snap in the end zone and Earl Parks tackled a Trailblazer player to record a safety, giving Lake City a 9-0 lead.

The score jumped to 16-0 when Heath Geiser took the handoff from Castine and bounced to the left sideline for a 6-yard touchdown run.

The Stars made a huge mistake late in the second quarter, however. Castine and a Lake City running back fumbled the handoff and St. Lawrence Valley's Norm Martel recovered the ball at the Stars' 4-yard line.

After a Don Tambini sack moved the Trailblazers back to the 12, quarterback Lamont Lane scrambled in the backfield to find Gregory Roberson open on the left side of the field for a 12-yard touchdown strike with just 17.9 seconds remaining in the half.

"I think there was definitely a lack of focus a lot of the times tonight," McCallister said. "The offense had a lot of false starts and unfortunately that is bound to happen coming off of a bye week.

"I thought the defense did a tremendous job in the first half. (The Trailblazers) only scored once after our offense made a mistake. St. Lawrence Valley always plays very hard games against us — I don't really know what it is."

Lake City appeared to have regained some focus as the third quarter started when Tom Brindise intercepted Lane on the first play of the half, and set the Stars up at the Trailblazers' 39-yard line.

New quarterback Johnny LaPlante appeared to have Matt St. Clair for a 20-yard touchdown pass, but Roberson face-guarded St. Clair and was whistled for pass interference.

On the next play, Jed Randall bowled through the line for a 1-yard touchdown, increasing the Lake City lead to 23-6.

St. Lawrence Valley didn't give up, though. After a Cory Lawyer sack set the Trailblazers up at their own 26-yard line, Lane continued to scramble around in the backfield to buy time for his receivers to get open. Lane hooked up with Chris Tom on two consecutive plays, one for 30 and the other for 13. On the very next play, Lane found Joe Hutchinson, who made a difficult catch over the cornerback in the right side of the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown. Lane then found Roberson for the 2-point conversion.

The Trailblazers would get no closer, however, as the Stars put them away when Brandon Keleher bowled in for a 1-yard touchdown with 3:34 left in the fourth quarter.

"We made some substitutions in the second half," McCallister said. "But, guys have to realize that they need to step up and make plays when they get in there. It isn't like our backups are slouches, but tonight they didn't take advantage of their playing time.

"St. Lawrence took advantage and they didn't quit. My hat's off to them. Lane has really stepped up and played a strong quarterback for them. It is very hard to play at this level and they have struggled this season, but they still come to play hard despite being 0-8 — they never laid down."

Geiser led the Star rushing attack with 66 yards while Keleher finished with 40. Lake City as a whole rushed 37 times for 145 yards and three scores.

Castine completed two passes for 23 yards and a touchdown, and LaPlante completed two passes for 17 yards. Blocker led the receiving corps with two catches for 21 yards and a touchdown.

The Stars defense accounted for five sacks, led by Brindise with one and a half. Tambini, Cory Lawyer and Matt King each finished with one while Mike Thwaits added half a sack.

Lane completed 5-of-16 passes for the Trailblazers for 97 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Tom hauled in two passes for 48 yards while Hutchinson had 26 on his touchdown catch.

St. Lawrence Valley's rushing attack was held to minus-10 yards by the Stars defense.

"The main thing tonight is that we got the win," McCallister said. "I am not really going to concern myself with the points against because our destiny is in our own hands.

"We have another bye week this week and then we are back at it in Ottawa the week after. After tonight's win we have one game down with five to go to be Empire Football League champions."

Lake City 30, St. Lawrence Valley 14
St. Lawrence Valley 0 6 8 0 — 14
Lake City 9 7 7 7 — 30
Scoring summary


Mallers Slay Dragons 31-0

By John Ginder -

August 26, 2006
The Albany Metro Mallers and their high powered offense put their 6-0 regular season record on the line against the Broome County Dragons and their stingy defense, in a match up of divisional opponents last night at the Mallers home field in Albany.


It wouldn’t take long to see who had the upper hand in this one.  The Dragons would win the coin toss and take the ball to start the game.  After a kickoff out of the endzone by the Mallers Vinnie Cirrincione, the Dragons would start things off at the 20-yard line.  The Mallers defense led by linebacker Greg Woodward, made the Dragons look overmatched in the first series forcing them to go three and out. 


The Mallers moved the ball with ease on their first possession, with the hard-nosed running of the Empire Football Leagues leading rusher Sylvester Cooperwood, the well timed throws by the EFL’s leading passer Scott Lawson, and the skilled hands of receiver Culture Branch.


It would be Lawson and Branch who opened the scoring for the Mallers.  On a play that looked as if it were dead, Lawson would scramble to the right to buy himself more time and find a wide open Branch who was practically standing still in the endzone for a 34 yard touchdown pass.  “The initial play was not there, Scotty did a great job eluding the rush” Coach Luke Posniewski said in a post game interview “They are on the same page those two, and Scotty pushes him to get there” Posniewski said of Lawson and Branch.


The Mallers would continue to suffocate the Dragons offense forcing them to go to the screen pass on just about every down due to the lack of time Dragons QB Ty Fish had to throw the ball.  It would be Woodward again who would pester the Dragons all game.  “He makes the difference and I am not afraid to say it” Posniewski said of Woodward “Not taking anything away from the defensive line, but when you have Woody in the middle its goodnight”.


Sylvester Cooperwood would get on the score sheet when he pounded the ball up the middle and scamper in from 11 yards out.  That play was setup after a 3 and 29 conversion by a Lawson bomb to Branch.  The team was clicking on both sides of the ball.


After a couple of fourth down stops by the Mallers defense and a few failed drives on offense, it would be kicker Vinnie C. who would get in the scoring next by kicking an impressive 50 yard field goal with eleven seconds remaining in the half, to bring the score to 17-0 in favor of the Mallers.


It wouldn’t be much different in the second half for the Dragons.  They still couldn’t penetrate the Mallers defense, and still could stop the Mallers offense.  That makes for a long night. 


The Mallers would open the scoring in the second half when Lawson hooked up with Branch (who seemed to be in single coverage most of the night) for the second time in the game on a 36 yard touchdown pass after a fumble recovery by Greg Woodward.


It wouldn’t be long for Cooperwood to hear his name called over the PA again.  Coop again, pounded his way through the Dragons defensive line on fourth and one and galloped fourteen yards for his second score of the night bringing his season total to 10 touchdowns.


The Dragons would finally have some success moving the ball in the third quarter.  But all good things come to an end after an interception by Jeff Turman ending any hope of the deflated Dragons scoring in this game.


“That was our best game by far” Posniewski said after the 31-0 win “Our team played smart football”.


When there is a game when a running back rushes for two touchdowns, a receiver catches two touchdown passes, a quarterback throws two touchdown passes, and a linebacker is in on just about every tackle, it is hard to come up with the player of the game.  So, I decided to seek assistance from one of the aforementioned players, Sylvester Cooperwood.  “Scotty, any time a quarterback comes in and wins he is always the player of the game” Cooperwood said.  So there you have it. player of the game is quarterback Scott Lawson.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage August 26th

Colonials host CNY Express; Zephyrs have week off

By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald

One week ago, both area semi-professional football teams traveled poorly and both lost. Now, it’s time to recover and get back at it.

For the Amsterdam Zephyrs, that recovery time is a little longer as they have tonight and next Saturday off. For the Glove Cities Colonials, it’s time to rally the troops for a meeting with the visiting CNY Express.

Last week, just 13 players showed up at the Southern Tier game, but with low numbers, the Colonials managed to put a good number up on the scoreboard.
Amsterdam Zephyrs (2-5) bye
The Empire Football League’s Zephyrs enjoy a bye week tonight before the entire league has next weekend off. That gives Amsterdam two weeks off to lick their wounds before going back into the fray.

Last week, the Zephyrs lost 38-0 to the Tri-State Bulldogs. Like the Colonials, they had a short roster, Amsterdam coach Dom Ruggeri said, as they traveled with just 26 players.

“We were missing four starters on offense and five on defense,” he said. “I suited up and I haven’t played in 10 years. I had to go in a few plays here and there just to spell a few guys.”

The Zephyrs desperately need the break, Ruggeri said, as they prepare for their last shot at making the post-season. To make the playoffs, Amsterdam has to beat St. Lawrence (0-7) after the break and Broome County (4-2) the following week. Both are teams Amsterdam has already beaten. If the Zephyrs beat Albany (6-0) in their final game of the season, they will be in better position still.

Local sporting events to be televised
PLATTSBURGH — The following sports events will be televised by the North Country Cable Network on Charter Communications public-access channel (Channel 15).

Friday- 1 p.m., 6 p.m. and midnight, Empire Football League, Chateauguay Titans at Lake City Stars, with Bryan Benway, play-by-play.

Saturday and Sunday- replay of Friday's schedule.
Wednesday, Aug. 30- 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., 1993 Empire Football League, Montreal Condors at Plattsburgh North Stars.
Keleher powers ground game

Staff Writer

August 26, 2006

PLATTSBURGH — Brandon Keleher has played in his share of big games.

Keleher holds both the Peru rushing record and the single-season touchdown record for the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference.

In 2002, Keleher was the starting tailback for the state-champion Indians team that knocked off Chenango Forks, 14-7. Keleher rushed for 1,051 yards and 20 touchdowns that season.

With that type of success under his belt, one might think that stats are a priority for Keleher. But there's only one stat he's focused on.

"I am mostly concerned that we get a win each and every week," Keleher said. "I mean we aren't getting paid for this. The only thing we have going for us is our pride and getting that victory."

Keleher leads the Stars with five rushing touchdowns and 331 yards on the ground this season. He is also tied with three of his fellow running backs with a 6.6 yards-per-carry average.

"I definitely wouldn't mind being in the top-five in rushing at the end of the season." Keleher said. "That should be pretty easy though when you have as big of a line as I have in front of me, not to mention two fullbacks who love to hit someone on every play."

Keleher's main reason for coming out and playing for Lake City is love of the game.

"I just can't give up playing football yet," Keleher, in his third season with the Stars, said. "It has been a part of my life for what seems like forever."

His favorite memory while putting on a Stars uniform was of course the victory over the Red & Black to open this season.

"Knocking off Watertown in Watertown," Keleher said. "That was such a big momentum victory. We didn't have a lot of numbers early in the season, and that victory was the start of a pretty good season so far."

The season outlook is pretty simple for Keleher and the Stars — win and the rest will take care of itself.

"I expect to win out," Keleher said. "And we definitely have a chance to win in the playoffs.

"Home-field-advantage in the playoffs would be great, but even if we have to play away I think we have the skill players now to take that on. And now we are more of a team and more people have been showing up for practices this year.

"I think we have a good chance."
Kicker enjoys success at Penfield
Staff Writer

August 26, 2006

PLATTSBURGH — Ryan DeCamp's football career at Seton Catholic started one year too late.

In DeCamp's sophomore season, the Knights finished 6-3 while DeCamp was on the junior varsity.

Throughout his years on varsity, Seton Catholic only managed a 5-13 record.

"In high school we didn't win too many games," DeCamp said. "A lot of (Lake City Stars players') favorite memory has been the victory at Watertown this season, but unfortunately I wasn't able to attend that game.

"For me, the best memory I have is winning at Bailey Avenue the first home game of the season. This was my home field in high school, but we didn't come away with many victories. It's nice to know that on this team we are more than likely winning on our home field — that is something new for me."

Despite his team's struggles, DeCamp still made first-team all-CVAC as a punter in his senior season.

His leg has gotten him pretty far over the years, including kicking at Canisius College in his freshman and sophomore seasons and at Cortland for his junior and senior years.

"I was able to kick the game-winner in the Cortland-Ithaca game in 2003," DeCamp said. "And it wasn't a game-winner, but a very important kick, when Cortland knocked off Montclair St., who was ranked ninth in the country, 16-12 in 2004. That was also my career-long field goal of 46-yards."

As for his kicking game for the Stars, DeCamp, in his second season, has kicked a perfect 12-for-12 on extra points and is 2-for-3 on field goals.

"It doesn't seem like much, but extra points are important," DeCamp said. "Last year against Broome County in the playoffs, I was 4-for-4 on extra points and their kicker missed one or had one blocked and we won 28-26.

"That was pretty special because it was my first playoff victory, and it was done at home."

DeCamp is hoping to get the chance this season for one or two more meaningful kicks during the playoffs.

"We control our own destiny," DeCamp said. "We know we have to win, but we can only worry about our next game. Bottom line is if we win we know where we are going.

"The Stars haven't been able to capture a championship, and winning one would give this town and this team a lot of notoriety."
Lake City chasing division title

Staff Writer

August 26, 2006

PLATTSBURGH — The Lake City Stars head into tonight's matchup with the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers knowing they control their own destiny.

The Stars have four games remaining on their schedule, including tonight's contest at Melissa L. Penfield Park at 7:30 p.m. With four victories, Lake City would capture the Empire Football League Northern Division Title.

"If we take care of our own business," Stars head coach Ed McCallister said, "then we will not need any help from anyone, and we will win the Northern Division.

"We have to play each game from here on out like it is a playoff game, because that is basically what they are."

Lake City heads into tonight's contest fresh off a bye week. Two weeks ago, the Stars defeated the Chateauguay Titans, 38-14.

St. Lawrence Valley comes into the game 0-7 on the season, including a 30-0 loss to the Vermont Ice Storm last week.

"St. Lawrence has struggled a little bit this season," McCallister said. "But they are the kind of team that if we get caught looking past them, we can end up with a loss.

"This is what we call a trap game, and they always seem to play us very tough. I don't know what it is, but they are very familiar with us, and we always play hard, smash-mouth football games."

In their first meeting this season, the Stars went into halftime with a close, 14-7 lead. But in the second half, Lake City scored 18 unanswered points en route to a 32-7 victory. McCallister noted that the Stars were hurt by the Trailblazers' passing game until making defensive adjustments at halftime.

"This is the time of year where some guys are going to hit a wall," McCallister said. "Some guys are not used to this type of season, and we have been practicing now since May — it's easy to lose focus.

"I hope that we are a mature enough team to realize the opportunity at hand. It would be nice to take care of this and not have to hit the road for the playoffs.

"These next four games we have to treat like playoff games. There is no guaranteed spot for us yet in this year's playoffs."

In their last outing two weeks ago, the Stars' running attack provided 146 yards and a touchdown. Eddie Castine returned at quarterback for Lake City and connected on four passes for 86 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Earl Parks also scored for the Stars on an interception return while Heath Geiser found the end zone on a 54-yard punt return.

With the bye last week, Lake City was able to heal some injuries and work on a few of the mistakes that have been made during the first half of the season.

"We have to improve each and every week, starting tonight," McCallister said. "We are heading in pretty healthy; we should have close to 50 dressed.

"Everything is in our hands right now and we have to take care of business — starting with this game."


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Watertown Red and Black at Chateauguay (Montreal) Titans

When, where: 7:30 p.m., today, Billings Field.

Records: Watertown (4-2); Chateauguay (2-4).

Head coaches: Watertown, George Ashcraft; Chateauguay, John Mouland.

Last meeting: Aug. 13, 2005, Watertown won 45-22.

NOTES: Coming off a loss to Albany last week, Watertown is looking to stay within a half-game of division-leading Vermont (5-2). A win by the Red and Black coupled with a Vermont loss would put Watertown in first place by a half-game. ... The Titans have allowed more points (115) than they've scored (107), while the Red and Black have put up 28.3 points per contest. ... Watertown's Anthony Noel remains third in the league in rushing yards (419), and teammate Lester Cole is now third in receiving yards (524). ... Wide receiver Akked Moore leads Chateauguay with five touchdowns and 18.5 yards per catch. ... The entire EFL has a bye next week for Labor Day weekend, before Watertown plays two of its final three regular-season games at home.

St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers at Lake City Stars

When, Where: 7:30 p.m., today; Melissa L. Penfield Park, Plattsburgh.

Records: St. Lawrence Valley (0-7); Lake City (4-2).

Coaches: St. Lawrence Valley, Mike Britton; Lake City, Ed McCallister.

Last meeting: July 22, Lake City won 32-7.

NOTES: Following a two-week hiatus, the Trailblazers are moving on without quarterback Dave Currier. Wide receiver Joe Hutchinson stepped in the past two weeks, and fellow wideout Lamont Lane is the most-recent player taking snaps under center in practice. ... The Stars are coming off a bye week. They upended Chateaugay 38-14 on Aug. 12. ... St. Lawrence Valley linebacker Cheyenne Dashnaw returned to his usual form after being sidelined with a knee contusion. He recorded a team-high 11 tackles in last week's loss to Vermont. ... Lake City's Brandon Kelleher is fourth in the EFL in rushing yards (331) and second in rushing touchdowns (five).

Compeau steady for SLV

VERSATILITY IMPORTANT: Trailblazers player shows love for sport in EFL



Saturday, August 26, 2006

POTSDAM — He's channeled his fiery aggression to praise teammates. He's used his athleticism at cornerback to become a three-way player. The once big fish realizes he's no longer in a small pond.

Call it the maturation of James Compeau.

As an impact high school football player at Massena nearly three years ago, Compeau was the big man on campus. Entering the Empire Football League last spring was like enrolling as a freshman in college. Compeau needed to build his reputation and start from scratch with the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers. His desire for contact immediately won over his coach.

"I do appreciate what he does," Trailblazers head coach Mike Britton said. "It's nice to see someone who loves contact and plays the game as hard as he can."

"I'm not a big guy," Compeau said. "I don't feel anything when I'm down on the field, and I don't stay down long. Something may be hurting me, but I won't stay on the ground."

Standing 5 feet, 11 inches in cleats and weighing 165 pounds, Compeau is more than willing to dish out any type of punishment on the field. Stepping in as a cornerback in 2005, Compeau gradually caught tendencies of opposing quarterbacks and used his athleticism to his advantage.

"You can pick up a lot of quarterbacks in the EFL," Compeau said. "You can tell where they are going to throw it; not many are that experienced."

Compeau had a knack for letting frustration get the best of him, despite having a soft-spoken demeanor off the field. He thought the best remedy was to be playing at all times. Britton was more than willing to oblige.

Since a 41-3 loss at Chateauguay on Aug. 5, Compeau has utilized his speed and vision to become the Trailblazers' primary running back. He has burrowed through holes, absorbing that first pop and yearning for another, on his way to 176 yards and the team's lone rushing score this season.

"My best feature is yards after contact," Compeau said. "Once we're through the line of scrimmage, I want to do the rest."

"He's doesn't want to come off the field," Britton said. "That's the sign of a good athlete."

Compeau is a returner on every kickoff (he's returned 15 this season), in the backfield on offense, and still attempting to lock up one of the opponent's top receivers on defense. Even with the Trailblazers on their way to another disappointing season, he has earned respect.

"He's given praise where it needs to be," Britton said. "He doesn't need to be in the limelight. He enjoys playing in the shadows."

"Winning isn't everything," Compeau said. "I've learned that in this league, you play because you love football. That's why .

Sunday, August 20, 2006


    On the arm and poise of Veteran Quarterback Scott Lawson and the
dominating team defense the Albany Metro Mallers, defending champion and
current leaders of the Southern Division of the Empire Football League,
defeated their Northern Division counterparts, the Watertown Red and Black
29-22 on Saturday evening in Albany.
    Lawson passed for 2 touchdowns in a 13 for 20 performance under the
rainy Albany sky while gaining 265 yards thru the air. Touchdown passes went
to Maceo Clinton who had a banner night with 6 catches for 133 including his
18 yard score, and John Mulinio with a 7 yard score and an additional 24
yard reception. Culture Branch also contributed to the aerial attack with 3
receptions for 74 yards. The Mallers offensive line broke ground for
Sylvester Cooperwood who rushed 21 times for 176 yards on the night.
Cooperwood scored two touchdowns, each from 4 yards out and added a 2 point
conversion. Vinnie Cirrincione added 3 pats to round out the Albany scoring.
    The game was a defensive gem for both teams as the offensive squads
continually drove to grind out yardage but points were a luxury on the
    Albany's defense lead by Anthony DeChairo and Greg Woodward who combined
to clog the middle of the field with a total of 13 tackles, while Cornerback
Carson Johnson continued to emerge as a solid cornerback with 7 stops on the
right side. Safety Jeff Turman continued where he left off last weekend in
Amsterdam, picking up 2 more interceptions giving him a total of 5 picks in
the last 2 weeks. Turman also contributed with 3 tackles and a pass
deflection on coverage. The Red & Black offense was held to a total of 232
yards on the night, with the bulk of that coming on a single play, a 75 yard
halfback option pass from Anthony Noel to Lester Cole with 105 left in the
half. The Maller defense came through on 3 out of 3 attempts to stop
Watertown on 4th and short in Albany territory as well as snuffing the Red
and Black's 2 point conversion attempt. Watertown came back to within 7 with
2:53 on the clock following a 4 yard QB option from back up signal caller
Todd Keichle. The Watertown on side kick attempt failed as Akili Dunkin
scooped up the squibber and the Mallers ran out the clock to end the game.
    Watertown drops to 4-2 on the season, all in league play, and gives up
the leadership of the Northern Division to the Vermont Ice Storm, at 5-2.
The Metro Mallers advance to 6-0 in Empire Football League action and are
9-1 overall. Albany will host the Broome County Dragons next Saturday
evening at 7:30.

EFL Post Game Press Coverage August 20th

Sunday August 20, 2006                             SPORTS                                                                                          

Turnovers key Dragons' win
By Robert Bonaparte
Press & Sun-Bulletin

BINGHAMTON -- Heavy rain at Binghamton Alumni Stadium didn't bother quarterback Ty Fish and the Broome County Dragons in their most comfortable victory of the Empire Football League season.

Fish threw a season-high three touchdowns and the defense did not allow a point for the second straight game as Broome County completed a season sweep of the Scranton Eagles, winning 36-0 Saturday night.

"The Wilson footballs, being true leather, actually have a good grip on them when they're wet," Fish said.

The Dragons (4-2) are in second place in the Southern Division with their next two games on the road against the division leaders. They play the Southern Division-leading Albany Metro Mallers next week and the Northern Division-leading Watertown Red & Black the week after.

Ahead 7-0 late in the first half, the Dragons took over at the Eagles' 10-yard line after Jamie Hoover blocked a punt with 1:08 remaining in the second quarter.

On fourth-and-2, Fish followed with the first of his two touchdowns to tight end Jonathon Bechy giving the Dragons a 13-0 lead. Steve Tammariello's PAT gave B.C. a 14-0 lead at halftime.

With 3:55 left in the third quarter, Hoover recovered Scranton's Andre Sholay fumble at the Eagle's 5 and carried it in for a TD. Duane Short, the holder for the PAT, picked up a bad snap and scrambled before finding Bechy in the end zone for a two-point conversion and a 29-0 lead.

"Defense once again set the tone, defense gave us great field position to score, and the defense scored," Dragons coach Thomas Manny said. "The defense did everything it possibly could do to win this ballgame."

John Kennedy, a 42-year-old quarterback, struggled for the Eagles (1-4-1). He completed two of seven passes for 1 yard and was intercepted once.

The defense will be tested against Albany, who won the teams' first meeting, 28-21.

"Our guys definitely believe we can beat Albany," Manny said.


Broome County shuts out Eagles



A week off did not help the Scranton Eagles.

Turnovers and special teams mishaps combined the ruin the Eagles’ trip to Binghamton, as the Broome County Dragon blanked the Eagles, 36-0, before 110 die-hard fans who sat through a steady rain Saturday night.

Ty Fish threw three touchdown passes for the Dragons (4-2), who are second in the Empire Football League standings.

The Eagles (1-4-1) had a chance to open the scoring, as Andre Chollette had three runs covering 33 yards on an opening drive that rolled to the Dragons 12. But quarterback John Kennedy was intercepted, and their best chance at scoring went by the way side.

Four minutes into the second quarter, Fish connected with Sam Ragsdale for a 45-yard touchdown pass to start the scoring.

A turnover gave the Eagles a chance to score in the second quarter after Scranton’s Rob Wehner recovered a fumbled punt at the Dragons 19.

But on a field goal attempt, the snap was bobbled, and with it the Eagles last good scoring opportunity.

The Eagles nearly got to halftime trailing by just seven, but a blocked punt gave the Dragons the ball at the Eagles 2. A stout defense led by George Romiti, Jason Sandly and Jim Schaffer denied the Dragons on three running plays, but Fish dumped a short pass to Jonathon Bechy for a one-yard scoring play as the half ended.

In the second half, the Eagles started going for broke, faking a punt in their own territory, but when it fell short, Fish hit Bechy for a 27-yard touchdown on the next play for a 21-0 lead.

It got worse on the next play from scrimmage as the Eagles fumbled and the Dragons’ Jason Hoover picked up the ball and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. Duane Short hit Bechy with a pass on the conversion try for a 29-0 lead.

A fumbled punt snap left the Dragons with the ball at the Eagles 11, and three plays later, Jemal Johnson scooted in on a 10-yard run to close the scoring.

The Eagles return to action next Saturday at Scranton Memorial Stadium to play the Tri-State Bulldogs, who beat the Eagles 70-0 earlier this season.

Contact the writer:

Vermont deflates, defeats St. Lawrence Valley



Sunday, August 20, 2006

POTSDAM — Their body language told the entire story.

High expectations at the first practice in May left the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers spirited, hoping to finally work their way to the Empire Football League's apex. Once the Vermont Ice Storm scored on their first possession Saturday night, shoulders sunk, legs became heavy and stares turned cold.

Backup quarterback Matt Paul tossed three touchdown passes as Vermont (5-2) rolled to a 30-0 victory over the Trailblazers at Sandstoner Park. Paul started in place of veteran signal caller Brad Ruderman, who missed the game due to a family commitment.

"We were a little concerned seeing as how Brad Ruderman has 10 years of experience, post high school," Ice Storm head coach Doug Perez said. "Matt only has one."

Paul fit in perfectly, however, completing eight of 11 passes for 143 yards in the first half. Austin Partain caught three balls for 93 yards, including a 40-yard score.

St. Lawrence Valley's quarterback situation, however, is the polar opposite. Joe Hutchinson started for the Trailblazers (0-7) after receiving limited reps in practice last week and was battling flu-like symptoms. Head coach Mike Britton said two-year starter Dave Currier attended practice, but was a no-show for Saturday's game, leaving his future in doubt.

"Obviously (Joe) doesn't know the plays as well as Dave did," said Dustin Burley, offensive tackle and captain. "He struggled a little bit, but he's getting the plays down."

The unfortunate result? The Ice Storm caught more of Hutchinson's passes than his teammates. Vermont hauled in three interceptions on the night to Hutchinson's one completion.

"These guys aren't quitters," Burley said. "We came out and gave them everything we had. It doesn't matter who it is."

After holding Ottawa to two points last week, the Trailblazers' defense was out of sync from the opening snap. Frustrations began to mount when a Paul pass in the second quarter deflected off the fingertips of defensive backs James Compeau and Lamont Lane. The ball conveniently landed in the hands of Vermont receiver Troy Canada for a 25-yard touchdown.

The climax came in the third quarter when the Trailblazers received 60 yards worth of unsportsmanlike penalties and an ejection for defensive end Norm Martel.

Compeau was certainly one of the bright spots on the field for St. Lawrence Valley. In a gritty performance, the second-year back totaled 53 yards on 15 carries.

"Our passing game earlier in this year has opened our running game, and our blockers are doing a great job," Compeau said.


St. Lawrence Valley defenders team up to stop ball carrier Donny LaFleur of Vermont at the line of scrimmage on Saturday.

Compeau and Lane, among others, have continued to play nearly every down in the last two weeks — offense, defense and special teams. Compeau snagged an interception in the third quarter.

"It definitely wears you down," Compeau said. "But as far as toughness goes, it's pure adrenaline. I love being out there, and I'll play every down if they need me to."



The Watertown Red and Black saw its four-game win streak come to an end with an EFL loss to the Albany Metro Mallers at Bleecker Stadium.

Albany quarterback Scott Lawson tossed two touchdown passes, and rushed for another as the Mallers (5-0) remained the only unbeaten team in the EFL.

Red and Black QB Doug Black didn't fare quite as well. He finished 4-for-17 with 38 yards, in addition to two interceptions.

After falling behind 14-2, Watertown running back Anthony Noel hurled a 75-yard scoring strike to Lester Cole, and the Red and Black (4-2) went to halftime trailing by just six points.

Noel added a three-yard touchdown run, and Kiechle scampered four yards for a score as the teams traded touchdowns in the second half. The Red and Black attempted, but failed, to complete a successful onside kick following Kiechle's score with 2:53 remaining. Albany then ran out the clock.

"If we do a couple things differently, this game could be attainable," Watertown coach George Ashcraft said.

On defense, Mike Dumaw recorded 11 tackles, while Jamar Cherry contributed six. Jeremy Podilla and Duane Woodall each notched a sack for Watertown. Defensive back Keith Jones was taken to an Albany hospital with a neck injury, but team staff reported him to be OK following the game.

With its win over St. Lawrence Valley, the Vermont Ice Storm regained a half-game lead over Watertown in the Northern Division standings. The Red and Black are now tied for second place in the division with Lake City, which was idle.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage August 19th

Saturday August 19, 2006                               SPORTS                                                                                           


B.C. Dragons set for Empire League rematch with Scranton

From staff reports

With their top rusher on the sidelines and a playoff berth in sight, the Broome County Dragons host the Scranton Eagles in a rematch of the Empire Football League season opener at 7:30 tonight at Binghamton's Alumni Stadium.

Andre Gilmore, who leads the Dragons (3-2-0) with four rushing touchdowns, will miss his third straight game after suffering an ankle injury July 22 against Albany. Jemall Johnson has managed just 35 yards rushing in his absence.

"We've got to get our run game back in operation," Dragons' head coach Thomas Manny said. "We've got to get Jemall back in gear."

The Dragons, who won 28-21 at Scranton in the first meeting between the two teams, are in second place in the league's Southern Division, two games behind unbeaten Albany with five games to play.

Tri-State, which lost to the Dragons 15-14 last Saturday, is in third place, a half game behind. The top three teams in the division make the playoffs.

The Eagles (1-3-1) lost to Tri-State 70-0 and Albany 45-9 after losing their season opener.

The Dragons, who snapped a two-game losing streak with the win over Tri-State, have allowed one offensive touchdown in the past two games


Rested Eagles seek road victory



The Scranton Eagles hope a week off and an energized aerial attack powered by two of the Empire Football League’s top receivers will help post a victory tonight against the Broome County Dragons at Binghamton Alumni Field.

Eagles quarterback John Kennedy will rely heavily on an aerial attack with Louis Verdetto and Thad Witek, the league’s No. 7 and No. 9 receivers, as his primary targets. Verdetto has 18 catches for 279 yards and two TDs, while Witek has 17 for 213 yards and two TDs.

Among passers, Kennedy ranks fifth in the league, completing 46 of 87 for 733 yards and nine TDs. He’s been intercepted five times.

Defensively, veteran linebacker George Romiti is the league’s leading tackler with 66 stops, including 28 solo.

For B.C, quarterback Ty Fish is enjoying a strong season, going 72-for-139 for 1,037 yards and four TDs and just three interceptions.

The leading rushers for B.C. are Jemal Johnson, ranked eighth in the league with 224 yards on 43 carries,and Sam Ragsdale, who is ninth with 215 yards in 32 carries.

Andre Chollette leads the Eagles with 141 yards in 45 carries.

Contact the writer:

The Scranton Eagles hope a week off and a energized aerial attack, powered by two of the Empire Football League's top receivers, will help them Saturday night do something they fell short of in the season inaugural last month, beat the Broome County Dragons.

Binghamton Alumni Field, the former North High School Field, just off Interstate 81, will host the return match between the longtime rivals. B.C. won the first game in July at Scranton Memorial Stadium, but the Eagles were within 30 yards of scoring a TD to tie, or possibly win, when the clock expired.

Since then, the Dragons have moved onward and upward to a 3-2 record and second place behind the unbeaten Albany Metro Mallers, 5-0, in the EFL Southern Division, including a 15-14 victory last week over the powerful Tri-State Bulldogs.

Scranton, meanwhile, has had little to cheer about except a win over the last-place Amsterdam Zephyrs and a good first half two weeks ago against Albany, before a freaky TD return of the second-half kickoff and a handful of critical fumbles by the Eagles caused the roof to collapse.

Most of the troubles started weeks before on the road, in the second game, when the Eagles managed a 19-19 tie with the Ottawa Demon Deacons, but lost a number of offensive linemen to injuries, including guard Matt O'Brien and All-EFL center Jeremy Schaffer. Schaffer has since returned, but O'Brien is finished for the season.

Another veteran, Carlo Ciotoli, was absent from the Albany game due to a family commitment, but will be back for B.C. He and Shaffer will be joined up front by Chuck Chulada, who retired a few years ago after helping the Eagles capture national championships in the 1980s and 1990s, but made a comeback a week ago, playing tackle.

He will be switched to guard for the B.C. game, said quarterback and offensive coordinator
John Kennedy. Running back Gary Visnofsky also is called upon regularly to do double-duty along the offensive line.

Kennedy said he will rely heavily this week on an aerial attack with Louis Verdetto and Thad Witek, the league's No. 7 and No. 9 receivers, his primary targets. Verdetto has 18 catches for 279 yards and two TDs, while Witek has 17 for 213 yards and two TDs.

Among passers, Kennedy ranks fifth, completing 46 of 87 for 733 yards and nine TDs. He's been intercepted five times.

Defensively, veteran linebacker George Romiti is the league's leading tackler with 66, 28 solo, nine ahead of Watertown's Mike Dumau with 57.

For B.C, quarterback Ty Fish is a major weapon. He ranks third with 72 completions for 1,037 yards and four TDs. He's thrown the ball 139 times and was picked off three times.

The leading rushers for B.C. are Jemal Johnson, ranked No. 8, with 224 yards in 43 carries for a 5.2-yard average and Sam Ragsdale, No. 9, with 215 yards in 32 carries, a 6.7-yard average.
Andre Chollette leads Scranton's runners with 141 yards in 45 carries.

Another EFL leader for the Eagles is running back Rasheed Nelson who is ranked fourth in kickoff returns, 11 for 217 yards, an average of 19.7 yards per return. His longest covered 40 yards.

Next Saturday night Scranton will be home at Memorial Stadium against the third-place Bulldogs, 70-0 winners in their first meeting, but recently losers in three straight road games, including last week to B.C., 15-14.

"A lot of their guys don't make the road trips," Kennedy explained Tri-State's woes of late. "But you can bet they'll all come here. They're only about an hour away."

In the Bulldogs loss to B.C., Dragon linebacker Brandon Franklin blocked a 30-yard field goal attempt with 1:01 remaining to seal the victory.

"I told everybody before the snap, I was blocking this kick," Franklin said of the kick by the Bulldogs' Victor Ebert. "Brandon Franklin is the leader of this defense," Broome County coach
Thomas Manny said. "There is no doubt about it."

Colonials, Zephyrs take to the road today

By ERIC FONTES, The Leader-Herald

Amsterdam Zephyrs

With the calendar turning to Week 7, the season outlook is getting a little clearer for the two local semi-professional football teams. Unfortunately, not everyone likes what they are seeing.

With four games remaining in their respective 10-game seasons, both the Amsterdam Zephyrs (2-4) of the Empire Football League and the Glove Cities Colonials (0-6) of the New York Amateur Football League are looking up from the bottom of the standings.

Amsterdam coach Dom Ruggeri said the Zephyrs can still grab a playoff spot by winning two of their last four games. Meanwhile, Glove Cities coach Frank Van Skiver just wants to score a touchdown, let alone win a game.

It’s trying times for the two local teams, Ruggeri said. And with it being Week 7 already, time is running out.

“We can tell at this point [what needs to be done],” Ruggeri said. “We know basically what our strengths are and what are weaknesses our. So we’re trying to play to our strengths.”

Amsterdam Zephyrs (2-4) at Tri-State Bulldogs (3-3), 7:30 p.m.

The second time is always better than the first.

That’s what Ruggeri believes when it comes to facing the Tri-State Bulldogs for the second time after suffering a 37-7 loss July 8 in Amsterdam’s season opener.

“It helps us a lot because we know what they do,” Ruggeri said. “The first game we were going in blind. We didn’t have any game film and didn’t know what [plays] they liked to run.”

Now Amsterdam knows it will have to prepare for Tri-State quarterback Jay Hawes, who threw for 178 yards and four touchdowns in the first meeting. While Tri-State also rushed for 116 yards that day, Amsterdam was held without a first down for the first three quarters. So Ruggeri knows the offense will have to change some things in order to mount a few drives and keep its defense off the field.

Though the defense has been dominating at times, the offensive struggles have burdened them with staying on the field for long periods of time, Ruggeri said.

That was the case in last Saturday’s 41-7 loss to the unbeaten Albany Metro Mallers, he said, in which the offense’s turnovers gave the Metro Mallers excellent field position and the defense only gave up 14 points on its own accord.

What’s more, the Zephyrs have been ravaged by a string of injuries recently. In addition to some other players on the shelf, tailbacks Tim Stewart and Penta Thomas are sidelined. Ruggeri also said quarterback Eric Johnson is “playing on about one leg. His ankle is real bad.”

A couple weeks off following today’s game should help the Zephyrs, who are battling with Scranton and Broome County for the third and final playoff spot in their EFL division. With both those squads still on the schedule, the Zephyrs still control their own destiny.

Now it’s just a matter of fixing the problems that have plagued them the first six weeks and eliminating their inconsistencies.

“It is frustrating because this [Amsterdam] team does have a lot of talent,” Ruggeri said. “When they play to their capabilities, they are a very tough team to beat. Sometimes that youth and inexperience creeps in, it takes a while to get going, and it leads to the inconsistencies.”

Injury-ridden Zephyrs face tough task


Recorder Sports Staff

To say the Amsterdam Zephyrs semi-pro football team has a tough task ahead with the host Tri-State Bulldogs is an understatement.

With only four regular season games left, the injury-ridden Zephyrs are fighting for a playoff spot in the Empire Football League. Game time is 7:30 tonight.

These teams met in the first game of the season and Tri-State prevailed, 37-7.

In that game, Collis Martin had a big day with six catches, 90 yards and two touchdowns while Paul Reed hauled in five receptions, 69 yards and one score.

The Albany Metro Mallers lead the Southern Division with a 5-0 record followed by Broome County at 3-2, Tri-State Bulldogs 3-3, Scranton 1-3-1 and the Zephyrs 2-4.

A week ago, the Zephyrs took a double setback losing to Albany, 41-7, and then Broome County surprised Tri-State, 15-14.

The Zephyrs are hampered with so many injuries that head coach Dom Ruggeri will be suiting up preparing to play defensive tackle if necessary.

"We're banged up pretty bad. We're going to try and go down and steal one (victory). They're (Tri-State) tough at home. We have to win this game," said Ruggeri.

Of course, Tri-State has experienced its share of problems with a three-game losing streak falling to the Mallers, 17-13, Watertown, 44-31, and Broome County. Tri-State head coach Norm Mann faced his first two-game losing streak in 15 years and never lost three in a row until now.

"Our starting quarterback (Jay Hawes) had a pulled hamstring and missed a few games. He'll be fine Saturday and that is certainly good news. We're hungry for a win. We're taking it one game at a time," said Mann.

Reed is Tri-State's top receiver with 19 catches and 355 yards and four touchdowns and Martin has 22 receptions for 343 yards.

"I don't know how well Jay (Hawes) will play. It should be a very interesting game. I know the morale of our team is a whole lot better now," said Mann.

One of the bright spots for Amsterdam is former Maller Gabe Young who had two kickoff returns for 115 yards and caught two passes for 50 yards plus an outstanding performance on defense.

Penta Thomas is Amsterdam's leading rusher with 34 carries and 178 yards but is nursing a knee injury, and his status won't be known until game time.

Defensively, Rick Hulett is continuing his fine play at end with 5 1/2 sacks.

Ruggeri is hoping the Zephyrs can bring home a victory and then take care of the injuries with two weeks off. Amsterdam has a bye on Saturday, Aug. 26 and the league bye week is Saturday, Sept. 2.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Watertown Red and Black at Albany Metro Mallers

When, where: 7:30 p.m., today, corner of Ontario Street and Clinton Avenue, Albany.

Records: Watertown (4-1); Albany (5-0).

Head coaches: Watertown, George Ashcraft; Albany, Luke Posniewski

Last meeting: Albany won 39-0, July 30, 2005.

NOTES: Heading into this battle of division leaders, the Metro Mallers are the league's only unbeaten team. ... Sylvester Cooperwood is the EFL's top rusher with 593 yards,while Scott Lawson is No. 2 in passing yards (1,113). ... With 127 yards against Vermont, Anthony Noel is now the league's third leading rusher (382). ... The Red and Black has been led by the defense as of late. Mike Dumaw is second in the EFL with 57 tackles, while Ben Pritchard, who has been deployed to Iraq, is the league-leader in sacks with eight.

Vermont Ice Storm at St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers

When, Where: 7:30 p.m., today; Sandstoner Park, Potsdam.

Records: Vermont (4-2); St. Lawrence Valley (0-6).

Head coaches: Vermont, Doug Perez; St. Lawrence Valley, Mike Britton.

Last meeting: Vermont won 40-0 on July 8.

NOTES: The Ice Storm lost its grip on the EFL Northern Division lead after falling to Watertown, 29-14, last week. ... Even without quarterback Dave Currier, the Trailblazers' defense anchored the load in a heartbreaking 7-2 loss to Ottawa last Saturday. ... St. Lawrence Valley surrendered its second-highest point total to Vermont in the EFL opener. ... Brad Ruderman tossed two touchdowns passes in Vermont's victory over the Trailblazers, and he leads the EFL in passing yards (1,181) and touchdowns (12).


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