Sunday, August 06, 2006

EFL Post Game Press Coverage August 6th


Sun, August 6, 2006

True Grid

Deacon Demons battle heat, mosquitoes and football foes for the love of the game


It's a hot, humid night at Ken Steele Park off Ogilvie Rd., in the city's east end.

The only thing closer than the humidity are the mosquitoes. They have come screaming out of the thick woods that surround the illuminated football field, which is lush and green in the artificial lighting.

In the thick of the humidity and the ravenous bugs, the Ottawa Deacon Demons football club grinds through the last few minutes of practice, one of three they have each week.

Coach Jim Brunton doesn't have a great turnout tonight, but the players who are here are working hard in the heat.

The Deacon Demons compete in the Empire Football League, playing four-down American football (it's the league in which the Ottawa Bootleggers played in the '90s).

The players, who range in age from 23-45, have jobs and families and lives away from the field, but the fire to play the game burns bright enough to bring them out on this hellish night.

The sweat glistens on their faces and their jerseys are dark with perspiration as assistant coach Jeff Pinck gathers them under the south goal posts to wrap up practice.

"I just love the game," quarterback Garry Pelletier says as he comes off the field, helmet in hand. The mosquitoes don't stand a chance when he swings it at them.

"I've played it since I was eight. I think I still have a lot in the tank and I just love the game."

"Football is my passion. I've grown up with it all my life," says defensive back Filipop Flocco, who leads the Empire League in interceptions with four this season. "The game has made me who I am. I think I've got a strong work ethic and I think the discipline I learned in football carries through everything I do."

There's no locker room after practice. The players change in the parking lot, fighting off the bugs, sitting on the back bumpers of their cars or the tailgates of pickup trucks to change their shoes.

Brunton, who played with the Bootleggers, took some time away from football to focus on his contracting business. When the Deacon Demons needed some players when the franchise moved here from Montreal, he returned to play.

There are nights like this when work or family commitments limit the number of players at practice, but the guys who show up are working hard.

"For the most part, we have a bunch of guys in their late 20s who are out for the love of the game," Brunton says. "We want to have fun, but we also want to be productive.

''We're looking better this year than we have the last couple of years. We've kind of let ourselves down at times because some of the guys weren't up for the game. You have to work to keep the spirits up. We want to win. We've got to win, put out some good showings to get some respect."

The Demons have had a tough go of it this year. They are coming off a 21-0 loss to the Lake City Stars and now sit at 0-3-1 and in fifth place in the six-team Northern Division of the Empire Football League.

"For me, it's discouraging. Losing sucks," says Pelletier. "But we're this close. It's just a matter of a couple of little things. A couple of bad calls, a couple of missed plays can take you right out of it. Losing doesn't sit too well with me. Winning makes everything more fun."

Pelletier grew up playing with the Nepean Rams, then the Redskins and was a contemporary of Jesse Palmer, who's still trying to make it in the NFL.

Pelletier played for the Junior Riders and was told he was good enough to play Canadian university ball, but the prospects for a Canadian quarterback were, and are, bleak. He's seen guys at scouting combines he thought would be great Canadian pro quarterbacks switched to other positions without getting a chance at pivot.

"I knew it would be going nowhere," he says of his football career as a Canadian QB.

He started a cleaning business and took six years off from playing football, but he says he still had the desire.

"I have no regrets (about not playing university football)," says Pelletier. "I knew what reality was and wasn't."

He's played in the Empire League the last four years, spending money each year to do it. Last year, he commuted to Watertown to play for the Red and Black.

"That was a little costly," he says.

He commutes now from Barrhaven for the Demons' practices three times a week at Ken Steele. Gas, road trips, meals ... Pelletier figures it costs him at least $500 a year to play football.

Players drive themselves to games in upper New York state, but used a bus for last Sunday's game in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Pelletier says he figures he'll keep playing as long as his body holds up. The subtleties of the game keep him coming back, too.

"I'm still learning. I wish I could learn more. I'm always learning," he says. "There's guys in their 40s in the league. There's a quarterback in the States who's 44 and he's been in the league for 20 years.

''It's fun and the competitiveness of the league is huge. Some guys don't think it's that competitive, but the calibre of the ball is way up there, way better than junior ball in Quebec. In the States, you have 21- and 22-year-old kids who are still trying to go somewhere. This is pretty real football.

"But what it boils down to," he says, "is it's fun."

Albany “Tire’s” Out  Another Host Along Their Road Odyssey
Albany Metro Mallers 45 - Scranton Eagles 9

        The Defending Champion of the Empire Football League has eight games under their belts in 2006, yet the comforts of home have been few and far between as the Albany Metro Mallers have played six games out of the Capital District. So today’s trek across the state and south to Pennsylvania was like most other game days this season. While individual routines vary, they all meet at about noon and board the Wade Tours “Metro Maller” Cruiser for the trip wondering what the Scranton Eagles would be like this week, as they have performed the classic “Dr. Jekyll - Mr. Hyde”  over the past two weeks. Last Saturday, while the Mallers orchestrated their fourth quarter, fourteen point, comeback to beat the Tri State Bulldogs 17-13 at Union College, the Eagles were flying high over the Amsterdam Zephyrs 38-6. But just a week earlier the Eagles were shot down and roasted by the Bulldogs 70 – 0.
        So out of the gate as Scranton QB John Kennedy tried to keep the Eagles in flight, and managed to get Scranton an early lead up 9 – 6, but from there it was all Albany, as the Maller Bus revved up their engine. Quarterback Scott Lawson, a roster question mark after leaving last weeks comeback after the third quarter, was back in form after Scranton took the lead, completing a 46 yard pass to Maceo Clinton on the left, and followed it with a 14 yarder to John Mulinio on the right to set up a first and goal on the 4. Then Lawson handed off to Albany’s diesel turbo, Sylvester Cooperwood, who powered it in for the go-ahead score, and from there Scranton was in the rear view mirror. Lawson finished the evening with a 14-18 performance garnering 254 yards and 3 scores, while Cooperwood racked up 11 carries for 121 yards, and 4 catches for 36 yards. Albany featured an Offensive line pieced together at game time due to injuries that did a remarkable job opening holes for Cooperwood and Rookie Tailback Julius Irving who added 5 carries for 41 yards, and 2 touchdowns, while also giving Lawson time to nail Mulinio with 6 passes for 84 yards and a score as well as Culture Branch who pulled down 3 aerials for 61 yards and 2 Maller Touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, the defense was led by All Star Middle Linebacker Greg Woodward with 7 tackles as Nose Guard Anthony DeChairo and Defensive Back David Lumpkin both hauled in Kennedy passes for interceptions. Special teams also impacted as PK Joe Bonfante’ nailed 3 PATS, and Maceo Clinton took an Eagle Kickoff back 90 yards for a Metro Maller Touchdown.
        Albany advances to 4 – 0 in the Empire Football League and 7-1 overall in 2006. Scranton falls to 1 – 3 – 1 on the season, all in EFL play. The Eagles head into a bye week next week, while Albany keeps the Bus rolling as they head to Amsterdam next Saturday Night to take on the Zephyrs in EFL action.

Lake City Stars fall to Ice Storm in overtime

August 06, 2006

COLCHESTER, Vt. — The Lake City Stars had given up only 40 points in their first four games this season.

On Saturday, however, Vermont found a crack in the Stars' defense and knocked off Lake City, 37-31, in overtime to leapfrog the Stars in the Empire Football League Northern Division standings.

Brad Ruderman completed 17-of-31 passes for 322 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime. Ruderman hit Matt Bombardier on a 24-yard strike on the first drive after winning the coin toss.

Ruderman also had a pair of rushing touchdowns and finished with 10 yards on the ground.

"They moved the ball very well," Lake City head coach Ed McCallister said. "They were very successful throwing the ball and then were able to run the ball in the second half.

"They beat us at our own game and we did not stop them.

"Unfortunately, this was a night where the team that had the ball last was going to win the game. And, unfortunately, we lost the coin toss."

The Stars were able to get on the board first in the back-and-forth battle and took a 14-10 lead into the half.

The Ice Storm grabbed a quick lead at 17-14 to open the second half, but Lake City went into the final quarter leading 21-17.

After Vermont took a 24-21 lead, the Stars jumped back on top with a touchdown and later added a Ryan DeCamp field goal to take a 31-24 lead.

The Ice Storm, however, had one last crack to tie the game and did so with 34 seconds remaining.

Ruderman then came through in the extra stanza with his touchdown hurl to Bombardier for the game-winner.

"They won the toss and (Ruderman) threw a pass into coverage in the end zone," McCallister said. "Our players knocked into each other and (Bombardier) was able to come down with it.

"This was a very good ball game. They shows up to play and they played well. They fought very hard and they won.

"Hopefully we can regroup and get ready for next weekend. In no way is this loss the end of our season, but it's just a little frustrating — we looked confused at times tonight.

"We have to put it behind us and move on. It's time to get ready for Chateaugay."

Zephyrs prevail in OT

By ERIC FONTES, The Leader-Herald

AMSTERDAM — Alvaro Montes is no stranger to clutch kicks.

He delivered Amsterdam High School its first state championship, booting home a 23-yard field goal to defeat Lake Shore in the 1995 Class B title game at the Carrier Dome.

The setting was a little different Saturday at Lynch Middle School, but the feeling wasn’t, he said.

Montes still felt the same rush as he watched his kick fly through the uprights and the Amsterdam Zephyrs mobbed him on the field to celebrate their 13-10 overtime victory over the Broome County Dragons.

“It brings back a lot of memories from 1995,” Montes said. “It’s my job. I have to go out there and do it. It’s not just me, but the whole team wins it. I kicked the game-winning field goal, but it’s all about the team.”

Facing a 10-0 deficit with three minutes left in the second quarter, it took the whole Amsterdam squad to mount a comeback and improve to 2-3 in the Empire Football League. Jared Brown’s 55-yard reception set up a Montes’ field goal with one second left before the half.

On the opening drive of the second half, Amsterdam wideout Charlie Castro ran an in-and-go to the right corner on third-and-8 and Eric Johnson hit him with a 22-yard touchdown pass to tie it up with 8:30 left in the quarter.

With Brown, Penta Thomas and Ken Hudson chewing up clock with a solid ground game that featured 101 yards after halftime, the defense stayed rested enough to pitch a shutout in the second half. The Zephyrs forced the Dragons into two turnover on downs and an interception.

Then, after the Dragons conservatively ran the ball with the clock running down in regulation to set up a field goal for Steve Tammariello, Rick Hulett blocked the 30-yard attempt to force overtime.

“We had three huge defensive stands,” Amsterdam coach Dom Ruggeri said. “Rick Hulett blocking that field goal with just seconds left was just huge. The offense finally showed up to play. They drove the ball down somebody’s throat, and that’s what I’ve been waiting for.”

That’s exactly what happened in overtime, as the Zephyrs won the toss and their defense never took the field.

The Amsterdam offense recorded three first downs on the eventual game-winning drive, with Brown running for a first down on third-and-3 and Thomas plowing through the line on third-and-3.

The Zephyrs couldn’t get one more on third-and-4 at the Dragons’ 20, as Thomas came a yard short.

Ruggeri already had his mind made up, telling Montes, “If we come up short here, I’m putting it in your hands.”

“Coach, I’ll make it,” Montes said.

That’s exactly what he did, easily clearing the crossbar.

“I went and got Alvaro Montes for a reason,” Ruggeri said. “He’s the best kicker in the area, and he’s probably one of the best kickers in the league. He’s been under fire in Amsterdam’s championship game. He’s as cool as they come.”

Montes’ kick helped cover up several Amsterdam weak spots. The Zephyrs turned the ball over three times, and the secondary was torched by Broome County quarterback Ty Fish for 287 yards on 19-of-32 passing.

After his 3-yard touchdown pass with 2:55 left in the second quarter, everything changed. Ruggeri credited Amsterdam’s switch to a cover-2 for changing the defensive momentum. The Zephyrs also came up with three sacks in pivotal situations in the second half.

Amsterdam also limited the Dragons to just 12 yards rushing on 15 attempts for the game.

“Our ball control went out the window,” Broome County coach Tom Manny said. “We did not execute the ground game at all, and that’s it. You see the score — overtime speaks for itself.”

Once it got there, Amsterdam executed with its season hanging in the balance. A loss, and the playoffs would have been a distant hope.

Now, the Zephyrs should be sitting in third, right in the middle of the pack.

“This game was an absolute must [win],” Ruggeri said. “If we didn’t win this, we were done.”

Zephyrs 13, Dragons 10
Broome County 3 7 0 0 0 — 10
Amsterdam 0 3 7 0 3 — 13

Copyright © 2006 — The Leader-Herald

Montes' field goal lifts Zephyrs
Recorder Sports Staff

It was just like old times for Alvaro Montes at Lynch Middle School field.

This time he drilled a 33-yard field with 6:03 left in overtime to give the Amsterdam Zephyrs a 13-10 victory over the Broome County Dragons Saturday night in Empire Football League play.

"It felt good. I was comfortable. Everything was great. It brings back memories. That's my job. It's the whole team," said Montes.

Montes is a part of history for the Rugged Rams football team when he hit a 23-yard field goal to beat Lakeshore in the Class B state final.

Broome County got off to a fast start as Sam Ragsdale returned the opening kickoff 20 yards to the 42. Then quarterback Ty Fish connected with Ragsdale for a big 30 yard pass and the Dragons were driving at the Zephyrs 28. Ragsdale picked up five yards and Fish and George Graham teamed up for a 15 yard pass and the ball rested at the 11.

Ragsdale lost two yards and then Steve Tammariello sent a 30 yard field goal through the uprights and a 3-0 advantage with 10:56 left in the first quarter.

After a Zephyrs punt, Broome County went to work from its 15. And Fish put the aerial game on display. He passed to Graham four times for 68 yards to highlight the drive culminated with a three yard touchdown pass to Sam Whitney with 2:55 left in the first half. The extra point was good and the Dragons went on top, 10-0.

The Zephyrs' offense woke up as quarterback Eric Johnson spotted Jared Brown for a 55 yard pass and that set up a 28 yard field goal by Montes with one second remaining. The kick was successful and the Zephyrs trailed, 10-3.

When the second half began, Amsterdam came out on fire. A roughing the passer penalty helped the drive as the end result saw Johnson toss a 22 yard touchdown pass to Charlie Castro in the corner of the end zone.

Montes' kick was good and the Zephyrs tied the score 10-10 with 8:30 showing on the board.

The Dragons were driving late in the third quarter when Rich Johnson picked off a pass to end the threat.

Once again, Broome County was marching downfield and decided to call upon Tammariello for a 45 yard field goal. Rick Hulett and Aaron Robinson charged the line and got a piece of the kick which fell short.

Thanks to a turnover, the Dragons had another chance to go ahead with a 30 yard field goal and Hulett blocked the kick with his right hand. The teams battled to a 10-10 regulation and sudden death overtime was coming.

The Zephyrs won the toss and started from its 40. Dominating play with an effective ground game, Amsterdam got the advantage. Twelve plays later, the ball moved to the Broome County 17 and Montes got the call again with 6:03 left.

After each side called timeout, Montes calmly kicked a 33 yard field goal and the celebration began.

"We needed that, we needed that," shouted offensive lineman Bob Van Hoesen who sat out the game with an injury.

Broome County head coach Tom Manny didn't have some players show up for the game but didn't offer that as an excuse.

"We expected a tough fight. We didn't execute well in the second half. Our ball control went ouf the window. You see the score," he said.

The Zephyrs improved their record to 2-3 and will host the Albany Mallers on Saturday at Lynch.

"I don't have anything left. We went zone (cover two) defense in the middle of the second quarter and that helped. They (Broome County) were killing us man to man. The defense was tremendous and the offensive finally showed up and played. We needed this one. This game was an absolute must. Now we got momentum," said Ruggeri.


Metro Mallers crush Eagles


For a time, turnovers were helping the Scranton Eagles against visiting Albany in their Empire Football League game Saturday at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

But once the turnover bug bit the Eagles, the defending EFL champion Metro Mallers took advantage and rolled to a 45-9 victory.

Even though the fourth-ranked Metro Mallers scored first, on a six-yard pass from Scott Lawson to Culture Branch, the Eagles (1-3-1) used some hard hitting to get the lead.

On a John Vitovsky punt, the Eagles recovered a fumble at the Albany 4 and tied the game at 6-6 on the next play when Ben Worlinsky caught a 4-yard pass from John Kennedy.

Although the extra-point kick was blocked, the defense picked up the tempo and got the ball back when Jason Sandly recovered a Sylvester Cooperwood fumble at the Albany 23.

Vitovsky kicked the Eagles into a 9-6 lead by converting a 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Albany went back on top when Cooperwood caught a 40-yard scoring pass from Lawson.

Scranton tried answering, driving behind the running of Andre Cholette, but the Eagles fumbled and Albany converted the turnover into a 6-yard scoring pass to John Molino, giving the Metro Mallers a 19-9 lead.

The Eagles tried beating the clock, but fumbled at the Albany 4 as the half ended.

Macio Clinton shredded the Eagles kickoff team with a 76-yard scoring return to start the second half when Albany opened by scoring three touchdowns in the first 7:33 of the third quarter.

Lawson hooked up with Branch for a 46-yard scoring pass and Julius Irving ran for the first of his two scoring runs, a 7-yarder with 7:27 left in the quarter.

Reserve quarterback Mike Arcure had a pass picked off and Irving scored on a 15-yard run three plays later to close the scoring.

The Eagles, who fumbled inside the Albany 20 late in the game, will have next weekend off before returning to EFL action with a game at Binghamton, N.Y., against Broome County. The next Eagles home game is Aug. 26 against Tri-State, which handed the Eagles a 70-0 drubbing earlier this year.

Miller, Red & Black race from Bulldogs in 4th quarter

Sunday, August 06, 2006

HILLBURN — Ernie Miller scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, helping the Watertown Red and Black to a 44-31 comeback victory over the Tri-State Bulldogs on Saturday night.

The visiting Red and Black (3-1) trailed 14-0 before a 58-yard scoring pass from Doug Black to Lester Cole started Watertown back with 59 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Watertown added a pair of second-quarter touchdowns before a third-quarter Leo Grant field goal from 26 yards out gave the Red & Black a 23-14 lead.

A 59-yard TD pass by Andre McCloud to Paul Reed pulled Tri-State (3-2) within 30-28 with 13:30 remaining in the game. Miller then responded with the first of his two scores, a 12-yard dash up the middle to restore a nine-point edge for Watertown with 9:51 to play.

Miller, who carried 11 times for 54 yards, sealed the Red and Black win with a 1-yard score in the game's final minute.

Black threw TD passes of 79, 58 and 30 yards, completing 12-of-22 passes for 321 yards with one interception.

Lester Cole also tossed a TD, connecting with a wide-open Anthony Noel on a 30-yard halfback option pass during the second quarter.

Mike Dumaw led the Watertown defense with 12 tackles (seven solo), while Lorenzo Sanchez put in a superb special-teams effort with five tackles.


Andy Blevings rushed for two touchdowns, and Zan Symonds completed two scores through the air as the Chateaugay Titans trounced the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers in an EFL matchup at Billings High School in Chateaugay, Quebec.

Chateaugay (2-2) took advantage of multiple Trailblazers' miscues in the second quarter to blow the game open.

St. Lawrence Valley (0-5) trimmed the deficit to 7-3 on a Mike Darling 17-yard field goal, but Jean Lerouge returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards for a Titans touchdown. Jean-Marc Michel followed with a 30-yard fumble recovery for a score.

"They came at us with a lot of blitzing," Trailblazers head coach Mike Britton said. "We did fine with it last week (against Watertown), but we couldn't adjust well enough tonight."

Several Trailblazers players, such as James Compeau and Lamont Lane, were forced to play both offense and defense. Injuries, work commitments and the prevention of some players from crossing the Canadian border depleted the roster. Lane, who also played defensive back, failed to record a catch.

Compeau did have his best offensive performance of the regular season, totaling 59 yards on eight carries. Joe Hutchinson added five catches and 85 yards.

"We had to do a different type of running style to complement our shotgun offense," Britton said.

Jeremy Thompson led the Trailblazers with six tackles, and Ricky Delaney added four tackles

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Free Web Site Counter
Free Website Counter