Sunday, August 13, 2006


    On what should have been a hot summer night in Amsterdam, ideal autumn football weather prevailed as the Defending Champs of the EFL came to town to take on the upset minded Zephyrs.
High off their overtime upset of Broome County just a week ago, Amsterdam could taste another victory and the opportunity to even their record and jump into the EFL Southern division playoff race. Add to the equation that the Zephyrs added former Albany Conquest WR/DB Gabe Young to the squad on Thursday and their hopes raised substantially. Especially since Young was released on Wednesday from the Mallers, as he was upset with a lack of playing time on the All Star laden Maller team.
    But this was all before the nationally ranked Mallers came through the toll booths at Exit 27!
Once the pads were put on and ball put in play the Zephyrs hopes went out just like the classic movie “Gone With The Wind”.
    After Vinnie Cirrincione rejoined the EFL with the opening kickoff, Amsterdam’s offense started on their own 23, with a run for a 2 yard loss, and then the flags started flying. It took 4 tries to get the next play out of the snap as the officials took control early on, with a false start, a delay of game, and an off sides call all came in  succession. Then, Amsterdam QB Eric Johnson met Albany’s Safety Jeff Turman. Turman picked off Johnson’s first pass of the game and took it in for a 23 yard Albany touchdown. Turman’s number 1 is now engraved in the Amsterdam QB’s playbook as the Veteran d-back victimized Johnson for a total of 3 picks on the night. The rest of the Albany defense was just as tenacious as Amsterdam’s offense never got it rolling. The Zephyrs O only entered Albany territory twice all night, once on a questioned muffed punt at the Albany 25, and on a pass from Johnson to Young late in the game inside the 40, but both drives ended with turnovers.
Besides Turman, who added 3 tackles and a forced fumble to his stats, Albanys Mo James, and Brian Domingo each picked off passes. Domingo added 5 stops, while Tony DeChairo, Brian Northern, and Greg Woodward each added 4 as Amsterdam was held to a total offensive output of 67 net yards.
    Defensively, with the addition of Young, who like in his career with the Conquest, played on both sides of the ball, Amsterdam did show promise against the Albany high power aerial game. All Star QB Scott Lawson was without his favorite target Maceo Clinton, and came out cold of the gate hitting connecting on only one of his first seven passes. But watch out for that eighth pass! It was a 25 yard scoring strike to Culture Branch. Branch, along with John Mulinio and TE Bo Gaudreau each pulled down 2 passes as  Lawson finished a the night going 7-16 with 128 yards and he was victimized by his former teammate Young for an Interception.
    Taking advantage of old teammates was Young’s calling card on the evening, as he also took on his former 2 team partner Cirrincione, by taking one of the kicking specialists kickoffs back 95 yards for the only Amsterdam touchdown.
     The mark of the champion that is the Mallers, is the team’s versatility and depth. Whereas the Amsterdam defense stalled the Maller passing game, the Zephyrs’ had no way to stop the Mallers hurricane called Copperwood, or Cooperfield, or even when Amsterdam’s PA got it correct, Sylvester Cooperwood,  the reigning EFL Offensive player of the year kicked it into high gear taking the hand-offs 20 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns. And when Coop runs well, it opens it up for the rest of the team, as Rookie RB Julius Irving, took one in from 13, and even QB Scott Lawson was able to fool the Zephyrs’ D by using Cooperwood as a decoy to score on an 11 yard QB counter play.
    The Zephyrs fall to 2-3 on the season, all in league play head south to take on The Tri State Bulldogs in Ramapo, who dropped 15-14 decision to Broome County in other action.
    The Metro Mallers advance to 5-0 in league play and 8-1 on 2006, and return to their Albany home for the showdown of division leaders as the Watertown Red and Black come to the capital city next Saturday at 7:30 pm.

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