Sunday, August 13, 2006

EFL Post Game Coverage August 13th

Sunday, August 13, 2006 — Time: 9:18:38 AM EST
Unbeaten Metro Mallers roll past Zephyrs, 41-7
By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald

The Leader-Herald/Bill Cain

Amsterdam’s Mark Holmes, right, breaks up a pass intended for Albany’s John Mulino during Saturday’s game.

AMSTERDAM — The inability of the Amsterdam offense to control the ball or the Albany defense Saturday night was largely responsible for their 41-7 loss to the rival Metro Mallers in an Empire Football League contest.

The Zephyrs (2-4) moved the ball for just 67 yards against Albany (5-0).

Eric Johnson passed for 91 yards on 8-for-27 passing with five interception while the ground game moved backward, 24 yards.

“The defense was on the field for three-quarters of the game,” Amsterdam coach Dom Ruggeri said. “I can’t fault the defense. They were dead tired and gave it everything they had. Offensively, we’re not growing.”

Albany’s first touchdown came on the Zephyrs’ fifth play from scrimmage when Johnson threw his first interception to Jeff Turman, who returned it 25 yards for the score. Turman intercepted three of the five errant Johnson passes.

With the offense struggling, the defense had its job cut out for it. They gave up 462 total yards, 234 on the ground and 187 to Albany halfback Sylvester Cooperwood.

Cooperwood took over for the Metro Mallers when their passing game faltered early. He gained 102 yards in the first half.

“It’s his speed getting to the outside,” Ruggeri said. “That, and he has the size to go with it.”

Although the rush defense that has led the league this season had trouble containing the top back in the league, the much-maligned secondary of the Zephyrs stepped up and played well against the top quarterback in the league.

Albany quarterback Scott Lawson was 1-for-7 to start the game, but finished 7-for-16 with one interception and 128 yards. Lawson ran for one touchdown and threw for two while Cooperwood ran for two.

“The secondary played great,” Ruggeri said. “Beside one busted coverage, they played great. But Albany went to the rush and then back to the pass. They’re a good team and they’re very balanced.”

Mark Holmes broke up two passes in the end zone in the first half and Jared Brown recovered a fumble and was always around the ball.

Amsterdam’s lone touchdown came with 8:48 left to play in the third quarter when Gabe Young, who recently played for the Metro Mallers, returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Young also caught two passes for 42 yards.

The loss puts Amsterdam further from a playoff bid and they may now be in a two-team race with Broome County for the last ticket to the post-season, Ruggeri said.

Albany 41, Amsterdam 7
Albany 7 13 14 7 — 41
Amsterdam 0 0 7 0 — 7
Copyright © 2006 — The Leader-Herald

Lake City Stars come to their own defense
Lake City comes up with 4 turnovers in 38-14 win over Titans

Staff Writer

August 13, 2006

PLATTSBURGH — A week ago against the Vermont Ice Storm, the Lake City Stars defense fell victim to Brad Ruderman and the passing attack.

On Saturday, the defense was back in full force.

The Stars intercepted three passes, recovered a fumble and allowed just 14 points — none after the half — as Lake City got back on track in a 38-14 victory over the Chateauguay Titans at Melissa L. Penfield Park.

"The defense was told that they were going to have to step it up," Stars head coach Ed McCallister said. "They knew they weren't going to be able to allow a lot of points on the board and they did a much better job tonight.

"The defense definitely won the field-position battle tonight."

Saturday also marked the return of quarterback Eddie Castine, filling in for the injured Kellen Nolan, who injured his ribs in the Vermont game. Castine was under center the past three seasons for Lake City and it didn't take him long to get back into the groove.

Trailing 7-3, Castine, on just his fourth pass of the game, hooked up with Matt St. Clair on a 33-yard touchdown pass to give the Stars a 10-7 lead.

"Eddie looked good," McCallister said. "He's been with us for the past three seasons, but to come in on Thursday and fumble just one snap was outstanding. He did a good job of taking care of the football."

The lead didn't last for long, however, as the Titans Akked Moore hauled in a 54-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Wyeth, in for the injured Zan Symonds. It was Moore's second touchdown of the game, the first of which was 67 yards from Symonds.

The Stars took the lead for good with 1.1 seconds remaining in the first half. Castine found his sure-handed tight end Trevor St. Clair for a nine-yard touchdown giving Lake City a 17-14 lead. The touchdown was set up by a pass-interference penalty on Jean Lerouge, who was covering Chris Verkey. Lerouge, however, ended up with two interceptions in the game.

The game was put away in the second half as Heath Geiser and Earl Parks each had huge returns for touchdowns.

Geiser first pulled down a Chateauguay punt at the Stars 46-yard line, hit the sideline and out-raced the Titans punt team for a 54-yard touchdown.

"Our special teams were amazing tonight," McCallister said. "The effort was definitely there. Geiser did a great job on his returns and there were just some great blocks out there for him. Mike Lawyer and Shane Cheeseman on one punt laid out two guys.

"Gus Terry did a very nice job kicking off and Ryan DeCamp was 5-of-5 on extra points and kicked a field goal. In the last two games he is 12-of-12, that says a lot. That means there is a good snap, a good hold, good blocking and a good kick.

"It's all the little things like that which makes the difference in ball games."

Parks then came through with an outstanding interception in near the end of the third quarter as he out-jumped the receiver. He was able to get back onto his feet before being touched and finished it off with a 47-yard touchdown return.

Elija Parks and Zack Howe also finished with interceptions on the night, while Joe Licardi came away with a fumble recovery.

Kyle Nolan finished off the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 5-yard touchdown run.

Castine finished 4-of-12 for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Matt St. Clair pulled in two passes for 63 yards while Trevor St. Clair also hauled in two catches for 26 yards.

Geiser led the way on the ground for the Stars with 37 yards on six carries. Jed Randall added 27 yards on six carries.

The Titans ran the ball just nine times for 39 yards. Symonds finished with 109 yards and a touchdown on 5-of-10 passing before being injured. Wyeth filled in with 138 yards and a touchdown, connecting on 13-of-36 passes.

"I didn't think that we came ready to play tonight, nor did I think we came ready to play against Vermont," McCallister said. "We have to be ready to show up from the start of the game.

"We finished well and were able to get a lot people in different spots tonight and also got Johnny LaPlante some snaps at quarterback. He too just came in on Thursday, and hopefully he got his interception out of the way early — it was a good ball though."

Lake City heads into its bye week at 4-2 and will be back at Melissa L. Penfield Park on Aug. 26 to host the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers.

"This win definitely helps us," McCallister said. "It's good to get the winning feeling back and get different guys some playing time.

"We head into our bye week and we will hopefully be able to get some of the guys healthy and get back at it against St. Lawrence."

Lake City 38, Chateauguay 14
Chateauguay 7 7 0 0 — 14
Lake City 10 7 14 7 — 38
Scoring summary
The is published by Ottaway

Red and Black defense thaws Ice Storm



Sunday, August 13, 2006

Surely, there are tougher fights in store for Ben Pritchard.

But the veteran Watertown Red and Black defensive end was just about unstoppable Saturday.

Pritchard, who is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq this week, registered four sacks, four tackles and a forced fumble in the end zone — a play that led to a touchdown — to lead the Red and Black to a 29-14 Empire Football League triumph over the Vermont Ice Storm at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

The win vaulted Watertown (4-1) into first place in the Northern Division and sent Pritchard to duty with memories of a nearly flawless defensive performance.

"The defense played one hell of a game, and I was just in that zone, you know," Pritchard said. "I thought, 'Hey, I'm going to go out with a bang.' Tonight was a special game, but I'll be back next year."

Twice, Watertown orchestrated long drives only to be turned away on four consecutive running plays. But on both occasions, the defense was there to perform damage control. Pritchard's first sack of the night jarred the ball from the hands of Vermont quarterback Brad Ruderman. Dan Robl was there to fall on it for Watertown's first score.

Mike Dumaw returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown, and the Ice Storm stopped Watertown with another goal-line stand on its ensuing series. But Watertown linebacker Kyle Roshia lassoed Jason Young for a safety. For a majority of the game, the Red and Black's defense was its offense. "You get a few points on defense, and it really pumps up the whole team," said Robl, who contributed four tackles.

"I can't say enough about the defense, just about everything they did put points on the board," Watertown head coach George Ashcraft said. "If there's only 5 yards between you and your end zone, you better get out of there in a hurry, or somebody's going to get you. It happened twice tonight, and it was huge for us."

Anthony Noel continued his standout season, as well. He gained 127 yards, including jaunts of 22 and 32 yards. Ernie Miller added 62 yards on eight carries, while Doug Black completed six passes for 187 yards.

"Some of the holes I had to run in were wide open," said Noel, who carried the ball 21 times. He also praised the efforts of the defense. "Tonight they kept us in it. It's frustrating when you get down to the goal line and can't push the ball in. But all good teams need a good defense."

In stopping the league leader in passing yards (Ruderman) and receiving yards (Austin Partain), the Red and Black took a half-game lead over the Ice Storm (4-2) in the standings.

Vermont scored with 3 seconds remaining in the first half on a pass from Ruderman to Del Randall. Down 19-7 for much of the third quarter, Vermont showed subtle signs of a comeback. Ruderman completed passes of 22 and 32 yards, but dropped passes, untimely interceptions, and too much pressure from Watertown's front four were too much to overcome.

"Vermont's a good team, but we just dominated overall," Pritchard said.

After Dumaw, who had eight tackles, rushed for 10 yards on a fake punt, Black closed the scoring for Watertown when he connected for a 59-yard touchdown strike to Lester Cole (four receptions, 149 yards).

Whether it felt outdone by the defense, or just decided to match its intensity, the offensive unit's efficiency and execution vastly improved in the second half.

Matt Paul replaced Ruderman at quarterback for Vermont's final drive, and went 3-for-3 with a 5-yard scoring toss to Marvin Jenkins with 14 seconds left. The effect was merely cosmetic.

Brian Williams had an interception, while Roshia added a sack to his safety stop.

Named Watertown's player of the game, Pritchard received countless accolades and congratulations as the clock wound down on his 2006 season. Ashcraft described Pritchard's efforts as "the game of a lifetime," then added, "And most guys across from him are larger than him. He is just so strong. You light a fire under him a little bit, and he really goes after it."

Trailblazers fall short again

DEACON DEMONS WIN: One TD enough vs. St. Lawrence Valley



Sunday, August 13, 2006

POTSDAM — A couple blades of grass separated the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers from ending its unbearable season-long losing streak.

Capitalizing on a fourth-and-inches play with over four minutes left, Ottawa quarterback Garry Pelletier pounded inside for a 2-yard touchdown to seal the Deacon Demons' 7-2 win at Sandstoner Park on Saturday.

St. Lawrence Valley (0-6) hasn't earned a legitimate victory since defeating the Green Mountain Gladiators of Vermont 46-12 on Sept. 25, 2004. Despite earning two forfeit wins last season, the Trailblazers nearly ended the drought Saturday.

"We tried taking the pressure of our offense for once," defensive tackle Norm Martel said. "We battled as much as possible. It was just two big plays inside the 20 (-yard line)."

The Trailblazers had allowed 166 points in five games this season. They kept Ottawa (1-3-1) off the scoreboard for nearly 56 minutes.

"People want to criticize our organization about the defense over the years," Trailblazers head coach Mike Britton said. "They proved that they can play defense. Hopefully, it's something that we can build on, in that our defense is tough and strong."

Veteran wide receiver Joe Hutchinson proved his worth by playing quarterback for the first time. Two-year starter Dave Currier missed the game due to an illness.

With no preparation or snaps taken prior to Saturday's game, Hutchinson took on the challenge with ease.

"Coach (Britton) asked me before the game if I wanted to play quarterback, and I figured, why not?" Hutchinson said. "It's definitely different from what I expected."

"Joe Hutchinson did a hell of a job at quarterback," Britton said. "Never playing the position before, it just shows what kind of athlete he is."

Hutchinson completed four passes for 50 yards and tossed only one interception. His toughest mistake came on a bad pitch to Kenny Campbell in the waning minutes, and Ottawa's Jonathan Fournier recovered for the eventual win.

"I tried as hard I could," Hutchinson said. "It's different having the ball in your hands on every play. I thought we could do it, but you don't win football games by scoring two points."

St. Lawrence Valley's two points came courtesy of Martel's right hand. He swatted Shawn Harkes's punt in the second quarter. Harkes kicked the ball through the end zone for the safety.

"I watched the center, trying to find an edge," Martel said. "The opening was right there to block it, and the punter played it smart."

Greg Roberson and Ron Dillon each recorded interceptions to anchor St. Lawrence Valley's resilient defense.

Harkes contributed 86 rushing yards on 18 carries for the Deacon Demons. He also added four catches for 34 yards

Sunday August 13, 2006                             SPORTS                                                                                          

Blocked FG helps Dragons win
By Robert Bonaparte
Press & Sun-Bulletin

BINGHAMTON -- Broome County Dragons' linebacker Brandon Franklin blocked a 30-yard field goal attempt with 1:01 remaining as the Dragons beat the Tri-State Bulldogs 15-14 Saturday night in an Empire Football League game at Alumni Stadium.

"I told everybody before the snap, I was blocking this kick," Franklin said of the kick by the Bulldogs' Victor Ebert.

The win lifts the Dragons (3-2) to second place in the Southern Division behind the Albany Metro Mallers.

Tri-State (3-3) started its final drive when quarterback Andre McCloud completed a 44-yard pass to Jovan Garcia to the Dragons' 14-yard line. Two running plays followed -- netting six yards for the Bulldogs -- but on third-and-4, Franklin burst through the offensive line, sacking McCloud for a 10-yard loss.

"Brandon Franklin is the leader of this defense," Broome County coach Thomas Manny said. "There is no doubt about it."

Running back Sam Ragsdale scored the game's lone offensive touchdown for the Dragons, his 1-yard run up the middle with 1:53 remaining in the game giving the Dragons a 15-14 lead. The two-point conversion failed as Ty Fish's pass to George Graham was overthrown.

Ragsdale finished with 50 yards on six carries.

Ty Fish, under heavy pressure, finished 14-for-31 with 160 yards. His third-quarter pass was intercepted by Bulldogs' linebacker Terrell Baity, who returned it 63 yards to give Tri-State a 14-7 lead.

The Dragons closed to within 14-9 when the Tri-State punter ran out of the end zone with 7:25 left in the game.

Dragons' linebacker Jamie Hoover also scored a touchdown off an interception. He ran it back 26 yards with 4:10 left in the second quarter to tie the score at 7.

Overall, the Dragons' defense didn't allow a score and limited the Bulldogs to only two first downs.

"My defense has been spectacular not only today, but all season long," said Manny. "They have learned the system so well they know it in their sleep."

Broome County will play the Scranton Eagles at 7:30 next Saturday before heading to Bleecker Field for a rematch against the Metro Mallers, who beat the Dragons, 28-21, on July 22.


Kennedy not ready to hang up helmet, cleats


John Kennedy is playing a game many would believe has passed him by.

He is 42 years old. He’s been the quarterback of the Scranton Eagles for 24 years, and the strange thing is, he still can keep up on the field.

Not as well as he used to, of course, in the years when the Eagles dominated semipro football and won five national championships with him under center. Sometimes his arm’s too sore to practice. Sometimes it’s the rest of his body. But when he feels good, he’s got all the tools.

The talent is still there. He tossed four touchdown passes against Amsterdam a couple weeks ago. But the attitude of the game has changed, and it’s making Kennedy wonder if it’s time to hang ‘em up.

“We had different personalities on the team 20 years ago, but we all knew what our job was and put those differences aside,” Kennedy says. “Society’s different today, and it’s harder to get a large group of guys committed to a team goal.”

These days the football gods aren’t making as many John Kennedys as they used to. Sometimes it seems you can count on one hand the number of quarterbacks in all levels of football that don’t seem to be interested in themselves. Spend half an hour asking Kennedy about his career, though, and all you get is team.

“I’m not a great player, not a great runner, not a great passer or anything else,” Kennedy says. “I’ve been very fortunate to play for great teams.”

The man owns just about every semipro record for passing: attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns. Yet it’s the team he cares most about.

Anyone can tell you he’s a team guy. When the Eagles were winning championships under coach Allen “Butch” Keller in the 80s, they ran the ball 70 percent of the time, but the quarterback didn’t care. The team was winning titles, and he was a part of it. Does anything else matter?

Then the championships stopped coming, as did the fans. When team president Dave Lunger died in 2001 and no one stepped forward to replace him, it was Kennedy who saved the team.

At one point he was the president. And the general manager. And the marketing director. And the offensive coordinator. He’s got a wife, Michelene, and works for Adelphia Cable. Balancing everyday life isn’t easy. Balance the fate of a team as well, and you’ve got an 800-pound gorilla on your hands. Kennedy pulled it off.

“I was the Empire Football League commissioner at the time, so I know what kind of trouble the team was in,” Keller said. “Anybody else would have folded, but John kept it going.”

That’s why today’s me-first player bothers him so much. So when a talented player comes in expecting to start but not to put in any work, then leaves in disgust after two or three games, it’s hard to take.

That retirement thing he’s pushed off so long is getting closer. He almost gave it up this year, but the need to play was too strong. Kennedy and best friend George Romiti, the Eagles middle linebacker, have been talking about retiring, together, and taking over the coaching of the team.

Maybe he can make sure the his type of player doesn’t disappear altogether.
Contact the writer:

Macy's Supports Empire Football League

Macy's is sponsoring a one-day shopping event on Saturday, Sept. 16, to benefit non-profit organizations. Buy an all-day shopping pass from the Empire Football League for just $5 and use it to save 20 percent in most departments at Macy's locations across the country.

(PRWEB) August 12, 2006 -- Macy's is sponsoring a one-day shopping event on Saturday, Sept. 16, to benefit non-profit organizations. Buy an all-day shopping pass from the Empire Football League for just $5 and use it to save 20 percent in most departments at Macy's locations across the country.

The Shop for a Cause savings pass also includes an additional $10 off of every $50 purchase and the Empire Football League keeps 100 percent of the donation. Passes can also be purchased through the mail by sending a check (payable to Empire Football League) to AFA, PO Box 2041, Binghamton, NY 13901or by emailing

This is an exclusive shopping event for non-profit organizations and Macy's has generously offered this event to help support the Empire Football League.

For information visit or contact the Empire Football League at 877-381-6071.
To locate your nearest Macy’s in an EFL Team City click

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