Saturday, September 30, 2006

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage September 30th

ESPN 1390, WCAT in Burlington, Vermont is pleased to announce the station will air this weekend's Empire Football League playoff contest between the Vermont Ice Storm and the Lake City Stars. The game can be heard outside of the Champlain Valley on the web at

Larry Richards will have the call of the game. Richards, along with Sports Director Chris Fells have broadcast six of the team's games this season. Richards is also the play-by-play voice of WCAT's Friday night high school football coverage.

Sports Director Chris Fells will be joining the game in progress. Fells will be returning from Middlebury College football play-by-play duties for sister station ESPN 1490, WFAD in Middlebury, Vermont. Fells says of the broadcast, "This has been a tremendous year for Ice
Storm football. Vermont has a class organization, and we are looking forward to a long relationship with the team."

Contact Information:
Chris Fells--Sports Director--802-318-1012

Sports Director--ESPN 1240 WSKI, ESPN 1390 WCAT, ESPN 1420 WRSA, and


 Stars, Ice Storm meet again in Empire Football League playoffs

Staff Writer

September 30, 2006

PLATTSBURGH — It's now or never for the Lake City Stars.

In two meetings this season, the Stars and the Vermont Ice Storm have been virtually equal on the football field. The end results, however, tell a different story. The Ice Storm took a 37-31 victory in overtime in Colchester, Vt. in game 1 and a 34-25 triumph at Melissa L. Penfield Park in the rematch.

Tonight, Lake City and Vermont tangle for a third time — in the first-round of the Empire Football League Northern Division playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7:30 in Colchester, Vt. with the game to be broadcast over 1390-AM.

In both games, the usually stout Stars' defense yielded big yardage — 497 and 439, respectively. Wide receiver Austin Partain, in particular, proved to be a thorn with eight catches for 175 yards in the first meeting and seven catches for 176 yards in the second.

"Somehow we have to figure out a way to slow him (Partain) down," Lake City head coach Ed McCallister said this week. "In two games against us he had 15 catches for 351 yards.

"They are one of the most explosive offensive teams in the league and we have to figure out a way to slow them down."

Brad Ruderman's passing attack has been able to pick apart the young Stars' secondary in both games with a combined 588 yards and six touchdowns.

As expected, the Ice Storm rushing attack didn't get a lot of work, but the ground game can be quite effective. It has amassed 348 yards in two games.

"We are going to need to handle their runs," McCallister said. "They don't run the ball very often, but they have excellent runners."

The good news for Lake City is that they have been there until the end in both games. The Stars held a late advantage against Vermont in Colchester, despite losing starting quarterback Kellen Nolan to a broken rib in the first quarter. The Ice Storm scored the game-tying touchdown with less than 30 seconds remaining and kept Lake City from getting the ball in overtime.

Back at Penfield, the Stars dug themsevles a 27-3 hole before the offense finally got track. In his first game back from injury, Nolan hooked up with Chris Verkey on an 11-yard touchdown and Brandon Keleher scored on a 4-yard run — with Trevor St. Clair hauling in two 2-point conversion — to pull Lake City to within eight points.

However, a late touchdown by the Ice Storm and a failed 2-point conversion attempt on their next touchdown sealed the Stars' fate.

If nothing else, the Stars showed they could play with Vermont.

"Kellen is 100 percent healthy," McCallister said.

"He should be rid of a little bit of rust and hopefully in a better groove. We have to take care of shutting them down early in the game; we can't let them go down and score at will.

"They finished 8-2 and their only losses were against Albany and Watertown, who were the two division leaders. They are a good football team, I believe we can beat them as long as we are solid and do not make mistakes.

"I think it will be a very good game and when the dust settles we hope to be in Watertown next week. It's the end of the season for whoever loses and I know we don't want to go home early."


Semipro football

By Andrew J. Westley
Free Press Staff Writer

September 30, 2006
The Vermont Ice Storm head into their first Empire Football League playoff game facing a very familiar foe.

The Ice Storm, who moved up from the AA New England League to the higher level AAA Empire League this year, take on the cross-lake rival Lake City Stars in the first round of the playoffs at 7 tonight at Colchester High School.

Vermont went 8-2 in its first season in the Empire League, including two wins over the Stars of Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Head coach Doug "Doc" Perez offered a little insight into his unique recipe for success: "You have to go into battle a little audacious and a little frightened."

That mix, Perez said, will keep a team from becoming complacent, a condition he worries his team will fall into after having defeated Lake City twice in the regular season.

"There are a lot of examples of teams in the NFL that beat a team two times, but then can't finish them off," Perez said.

Perez has looked to quarterback Brad Ruderman for leadership. Ruderman has passed for 1,787 yards and 20 touchdowns in nine games.

His favorite target has been former Essex High School standout Austin Partain, who finished the regular season with 40 catches for 889 yards and eight touchdowns.

Troy Canada, who has scored six TDs this year, said the team's chemistry is a big reason for this season's success.

"Most of us have been together for the last three years," he said. "The thing that helps us is that we play well together as a team."

The offense has played well against Lake City. Ruderman has passed for 588 yards and six TDs in the two victories.

Canada, however, feels offensive balance makes this group so effective. "That's been key. It's our passing that sets up our runs," he said.

The Ice Storm rushed for 348 yards in their first two matchups with Lake City.

As tough as it is to beat a team for a third time and then face perennial power Watertown for the Division title, Perez feels good about his chances in the postseason.

"I think they're very good."

Sunday, September 24, 2006

EFL Post Game Press Coverage September 24th

Lake City Stars hold on to win season finale

September 24, 2006

MONTREAL, Que. — After a difficult loss to the Vermont Ice Storm a week ago, the Lake City Stars found themselves in the middle of a battle with the Chateauguay Titans on Saturday in Empire Football League Football.

The Stars held a slim 27-22 lead with the Titans driving inside Lake City's 35-yard line.

But Earl Parks came to the rescue with a huge interception which set up the Stars at their own 5-yard line and helped preserve a 27-22 win in the regular season finale.

"That interception was huge," Lake City head coach Ed McCallister said. "They were driving and Earl just made a great play.

"We were able to run the ball to their 45-yard line and then were able to take a knee to run the last four minutes out."

The Stars opened the game's scoring when Kyle Nolan plunged into the end-zone from a yard out. They took an 8-0 lead when Kellen Nolan hit Trevor St. Clair for the 2-point conversion.

Leading 8-6, Lake City took a 14-6 lead when Kellen Nolan tossed a screen pass to Heath Geiser, who took it 55 yards for the touchdown. The 2-point conversion pass failed.

The Titans didn't stop there, however, as they too scored late in the first half and scored the 2-point conversion tying the score at 14 at halftime.

After a scoreless third quarter, Kellen Nolan again found Geiser, this time for a 28-yard touchdown pass. Gus Terry's extra-point gave the Stars a 21-14 lead.

Chateauguay took a brief 22-21 lead when they scored on their next possession and completed the 2-point conversion.

With just under five minutes remaining, Brandon Keleher gave Lake City the lead for good as he found the end-zone from four yards out.

"I know that nobody believes me when I say (Chateauguay) is a lot better than the record indicates," McCallister said. "But they have some weapons and their quarterback is good at what he does, and they have some good receivers.

"We got tested out here and it was touch-and-go there for a bit. It was definitely a game the entire time and we ran the ball well."

Keleher finished the game with 153 yards rushing on 19 carries. Geiser added six carries for 38 yards.

Kellen Nolan was 7-of-20 passing for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Geiser caught two passes — both touchdowns — for 83 yards. James Blocker added 31 yards on a pair of catches.

"Now we play Vermont," McCallister said. "We have to have a good week of practice to give ourselves a good chance. We need to get focused and come together as one team.

"On July 5 I looked around and we had 17 guys on the roster, and we almost thought about folding the team. If you would have told me that we would be 7-3 I would have thought you were crazy. They have overcome a lot and we are probably the most inexperienced team with a lot of rookies.

"I am very proud that this team is 7-3, and the sponsors, fans and the team should be proud of what they have accomplished and hopefully we can go to Vermont and get something done — we have been in both of those games, this is obtainable."

Lake City 27, Chateauguay 22
Lake City 8 6 0 13 — 27
Chateauguay 6 8 0 8 — 22


Retiring Eagles end with loss to Watertown



The Scranton Eagles wanted to give George Romiti and John Kennedy a victory in the veterans’ final game with the team on Saturday night.


Even though Kennedy scored a rushing touchdown and passed for another, the Watertown Red & Black sent the quarterback and Romiti to defeat with a 21-14 decision at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

Kennedy’s No. 17 and Romiti’s 57 were retired by the team, and each had memorable moments in their final game.

Romiti, who made 22 tackles, picked up a fumble and got into the end zone, but was ruled to have been downed.

But Kennedy got the Eagles (1-8-1 in Empire Football League play) points after the turnover, hitting Andre Chollette with a 13-yard scoring pass with two minutes left in the first half, bringing Scranton within 7-6.

Watertown came right back and Ernie Miller scored from the 1 for a 14-6 halftime lead.

Noel Anthony tacked on a 3-yard run at 10:10 of the third quarter to finish the Red & Black’s scoring.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Kennedy scored from the 6, then hit Ben Worlinsky for the two-point conversion to close the scoring.

Watertown, which opened the scoring with a Cole Lester 6-yard scoring reception from Doug Black in the second quarter, drove to the Eagles 1, but the Romiti-led defense stiffened with a minute left.

Kennedy went 9-for-24 for 122 yards passing in his final game. Gary Visnofsky ran 13 times for 88 yards in a losing effort for the Eagles.
Contact the writer

Red and Black prevails to claim division crown

Sunday, September 24, 2006

SCRANTON, Pa. — Anthony Noel rushed for a pair of touchdowns and 103 yards Saturday as the Watertown Red and Black clinched the Empire Football League's Northern Division title with a 21-14 victory over the Scranton Eagles at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

With the win, the Red and Black also earned a bye for next week's first round of the EFL playoffs.

Doug Black completed 8-of-16 passes for 179 yards against the Eagles (1-8-1). A 54-yard connection to Lester Cole in the final minute of the second quarter set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Ernie Miller. The play helped to give Watertown an eight-point lead after Scranton quarterback John Kennedy hooked up with Andre Chollette for a 13-yard score to bring the Eagles to within 7-6

Kennedy, a 24-year veteran, played in his final game, according to a report in The Times-Tribune of Scranton, and capped a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter with a touchdown.

But Watertown's defense shut down Scranton's attack when necessary. Dylan Kirker led Watertown with 16 tackles, and Mike Dumaw finished with 15 tackles and an interception. Keith Jones deflected five passes for Watertown, while Dan Robl added 12 tackles.

Watertown will host either Vermont or Lake City in a second-round playoff game on Oct. 7. With a victory, Watertown would host the EFL championship game Oct. 14. The Red and Black, which lost in the 2003 championship, is seeking its first league title since 1980.

St. Lawrence Valley closes out winless EFL season at Ottawa

Sunday, September 24, 2006

OTTAWA — Shawn Harkes collected two rushing touchdowns as the Ottawa Deacon Demons held off the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers 28-8 in each team's Empire Football League finale on Saturday.

Quarterback Chris Wakeman connected with Chad Culver on a 50-yard touchdown in the first quarter for the Deacon Demons (3-6).

Ricky Delaney recorded a team-high eight tackles, including a sack and a second-quarter safety for the Trailblazers (0-10). Trailing 14-2 at halftime, Greg Roberson broke off a 76-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the third quarter. He also added six tackles.

Jamie Pau's 28-yard scamper in the fourth quarter sealed the win for Ottawa. With St. Lawrence Valley dragging to the finish line, coach Mike Britton said the Trailblazers still have a future.

"There were only 24 guys that came over tonight," Britton said. "But the guys are determined more than ever to make sure there is a team next year."

Regular Season Finale – a Playoff Tune-up
    The Albany Metro-Mallers used the season finale of the Empire Football League regular season as a tune up for the upcoming post season. Taking on a depleted Amsterdam Zephyr squad, the defending champion of the EFL ran  away with a 40 – 0 decision.

  Sylvester Cooperwood, Culture Branch, and Maceo Clinton each scored 2 touchdowns. League Leading QB Scott Lawson in limited action, threw for two scores including a 95 yarder to Branch early in the second quarter. Ken Schaefer, in second half relief of Lawson connected for Branch’s second score from 36 yards out.

    Clinton scored on Albany’s first drive of the second half on an  8 yard toss from Lawson, and then took a misplayed kick off 37 yards into the endzone with just over 2 minutes to play.

    The EFL’s top running back Sylvester Cooperwood opened the scoring with a  32 yard cutback run barely 4 minutes into the game.
Cooperwood would later tally his league leading 15th touchdown of the EFL season on a 2 yard dive at the end of the second quarter.
Coop also kicked 2 point after touchdowns and converted a 2 pointer after an errant snap. Already well atop the league rushing statistics, his sixteen points on the evening cements his spot at the top of the leagues scoring list with 100 points on the night. Culture Branch meanwhile, broke the 1000 yard mark in receptions for the league season.

    With a number of Mallers sitting out or playing only part time on the evening to get some additional healing time of nagging injuries, the defense bent but wouldn’t break. Amsterdam threatened on a long drive in the first and second quarter over a nearly 14 minute span marching downfield from their own 33 down to the Maller 1, on the legs of workhorse running back Jared Brown and the 3rd down play of QB Eric Johnson and Evan DeGregorio, but couldn’t get into the endzone, as they turned it over on downs. Their only other scoring opportunity was a 35 yard field goal attempt by Alvaro Montes which fell short of its mark. Ray Russell, Athan Schindler Anthony DeChairo and Terry Cumberbatch anchored the defense, and along with outstanding play from Brian Domingo, June Mitchell, and Sean Snoop Singleton and others resulted in the shutout.

    The Zephyrs complete their season with a 3-7 record.
    Albany has the best record in the EFL at 9-1 and are 12-2 overall for 2006. The Mallers have earned a first round bye in the upcoming playoffs which start next weekend. Albany will host the winner of next weeks Broome County Dragon


  Tri State Bulldog contest for the Southern Division Title on October 7th. An Albany win, would put the Metro Mallers in their third consecutive Empire Football League Championship game, having lost to Glens Falls in 2004, and beating The Orange County Bulldogs for the crown last year. The Metro Mallers have amassed a 39-5 record since their return to play in 2004.


Titans quarterback Kevin Wyeth dodges an opposing behemoth in recent Empire Football League contest.(Photo courtesy Carl Chamberland)

Le Soleil du samedi - Édition du 23 septembre 2006

Ironman Titans outlast Trailblazers

Dan Rosenburg

With four of their players turned back at the U.S. border, the Chateauguay Titans - thus confined to only 20 players dressed - had to resort to ironman football in order to subdue the winless St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers 21-2 in an Empire Football League contest last Saturday in Potsdam, N. Y.

The Titans, who had thrashed the Trailblazers 41-3 in an earlier meeting in Chateauguay, close out their season tonight when they entertain Plattsburgh's playoff-bound Lake City Stars at Billings at 7:30 p.m. The Titans, with their 3-6 record, were long ago eliminated from post-season action.

Andrew Blevings provided the Titans with their margin of victory in the first quarter when he rushed for an eight-yard touchdown. Quarterback Kevin Wyeth supplied some insurance when he hit Sean Kennedy with a 20-yard TD pass. Wyeth completed 21 of 32 aerials for 259 yards all told.

Michael Coles recovered a fumble in the end zone to give the Titans their final score and boost the defence. Corvell Isaacs contributed an interception and 3.5 sacks, while Jean Lerouge also had a pick. Oral Billy and Bobby Diabo of Kahnawake recorded QB sacks.

"I am really proud of the guys who played Saturday," noted Titans' offensive co-ordinator Jeff Craig. "Knowing that you are eliminated from the post-season and going on the road with 20 guys, many of whom are playing both ways, is not easy. But they sucked it up and did (what they had to do.".

"Hopefully, they can continue to play with heart and pride going into our last game of the year against Lake City Stars," he concluded.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage September 23rd

Route 5 Rivals Close out Empire Football League Regular Season
   The 2006 Empire Football League Regular season comes to a close Saturday night as 10 teams
across the Northeast meet in 2 countries and 2 states to close out the leagues 37th regular season, with the playoffs getting underway next weekend.
    Locally the Amsterdam Zephyrs travel Route 5 to the State Capital to take on the defending champion Albany Metro Mallers at Bleecker Stadium, kicking off at 7:30 PM. Amsterdam comes in at 3-6 having been eliminated from playoff contention last weekend by Broome County, while Albany at 8-1 in league play leads the Southern Division and will have a bye in the first round.
    Six of the leagues eleven teams will meet in the playoffs leading up to the Empire Football League Championship Game on October 14th at a site to be determined.    
    The rest of tonight’s schedule includes St. Lawrence Valley (Potsdam) at Ottawa, Lake City (Plattsburg) at Chateauguay (Montreal), Watertown at Scranton, PA, and Broome County visits Tri-State in Torne Valley/Suffern, NY



Kennedy, Romiti to retire



It pains both to admit it, but the clock is striking midnight.

Longtime Scranton Eagles standouts John Kennedy and George Romiti will play their final game tonight — both are retiring from semi-professional football — when the Eagles host Watertown at Scranton Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

“I know that I’m going to miss it,” Kennedy said. “It will have to happen before I realize how much. We have had some tough years and I wanted to be around when we turned it around. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen.”

For Kennedy, the decision to step away from the game closes a career that began 24 years ago out of Scranton Prep High School.

During his career, the 42-year-old was the leader during the glory years of the 1980s, helping guide the Eagles to seven Empire Football League championships with the last coming in 1999, and four national championships. He was the EFL Offensive Most Valuable Player in 1993 after throwing for 2,466 yards and 34 touchdowns.

Kennedy, who had tryouts with the New England Patriots and the Miami Tribe of the Professional Spring Football League, has thrown for 39,556 yards and 387 touchdowns, completing 2,632 passes on 5,158 attempts with just 280 interceptions.

What Kennedy was to the offense, Romiti was to the defense for the past 11 years. He has 704 tackles, 10½ sacks, seven fumble recoveries and five interceptions in his career.

In the last two years, the 45-year-old has led the EFL in tackles with 109 and 122. He has also played 140 straight games.

“We both came to the conclusion that we should retire now,” Romiti said. “I think it’s about time that we step down. I had fun for 11 years. Me and John are two of the last ones to have championship rings, so it’s going to be tough. I had a blast.”

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Lake City heads to Montreal, looking to rebound from loss

Staff Writer

September 23, 2006

PLATTSBURGH — The Lake City Stars, a week after falling to the Vermont Ice Storm, look to regroup tonight against the Chateauguay Titans at 7:30 p.m. in Montreal.

The Stars' defense struggled against the Ice Storm, giving up 257 yards through the air by quarterback Brad Ruderman. He connected with Austin Partain seven times for 179 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Lake City is looking to rebound against a Titans' team that turned the ball over four times to the Stars in a Week 6 loss.

"From what I have seen this week, practice could have been a lot better," Stars head coach Ed McCallister said. "Obviously, we are coming off a big letdown in losing to Vermont, but when you get to this stage there is always going to be a lot at stake.

"The good news is we are in the playoffs, but we are going to Chateauguay and we definitely want to go up there and win. You never want to go into the playoffs on the losing streak. With the win, we would be 7-3, which is a great record."

In their first battle, the Stars knocked off the Titans 38-14, including scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half.

Heath Geiser's punt return and Earl Parks' interception return — both for touchdowns — capitalized an extraordinary second half for Lake City. The Stars caused four turnovers in the game, three interceptions and a fumble.

"If we are going to be a serious contender, then we need to go and win this game and we have to play well," McCallister said. "I hope the guys can stop feeling sorry for themselves and realize that we need to get back on the right track.

"The (Vermont) game is over and done with and we can't change last week. Our goal is still to get to the championship game and there is only one way to get there, and that is through Vermont. They are a good team and we will see what happens."

Against Chateauguay, the quarterback combination of Kevin Wyeth (138) and Zan Symonds (109) totaled 247 yards through the air, including a pair of touchdowns and three interceptions.

"We are going to have to learn to execute better," McCallister said. "The good news is we will get a good test tonight. Both of their quarterbacks are good passers. I think it's a good thing to play them now and be able to get some work for Vermont."

There is still an outside chance that Lake City will host the first round of the Empire Football League Northern Division playoffs. If the Stars defeat the Titans tonight and Watertown loses to Scranton, Lake City will finish in second place and host the third place Red & Black on Sept. 30.

If Lake City loses or Watertown wins, the Stars will head to Vermont on September 30 for the first round of the playoffs, and the Red & Black will receive a first round bye.

"There is only one way to win and that is going through both Watertown and Vermont," McCallister said. "We are definitely going to have to play both of them.

"Tonight is about getting ready to play and we are going to have a real test, but hopefully we will be able to get it done."

Zephyrs wrap up season tonight

By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald

AMSTERDAM — The Amsterdam Zephyrs, technically, have little to play for tonight against the Albany Metro Mallers.

Amsterdam (3-6) dropped out of the playoff race last week with a loss at Broome County. A win over Albany (8-1) won’t affect Albany’s top-seed status. Still, the Zephyrs are taking the field tonight at Albany with every intention of knocking off the top team in the league.

“There’s nothing on the line,” Amsterdam coach Dom Ruggeri said. “We can get a game closer in the standings, but that’s about it. We’re basically trying to end the season on a positive note and build toward next year. We put the organization back on the map. We didn’t have a team in the league last year and this year we were on the door to the playoffs.”

The Metro Mallers boast the Empire Football League’s top-rated passer in Scott Lawson. He has thrown for 2,059 yards, completing 65.5 percent of his passes. They also have Sylvester Cooperwood, who has gained 1,020 yards on the ground for Albany and scored 13 touchdowns. The next closest rusher is Shawn Harkes of Ottawa, who has run for 550 yards.

When they met in Amsterdam, the Zephyrs held Cooperwood in check through the first half, but he broke out in the second. Ruggeri said his defense became tired when the Amsterdam offense spent too few minutes on the field and couldn’t continue to contain Cooperwood.

“He’s an awesome back and he knows how to run downhill,” Ruggeri said. “When he gets outside, he doesn’t go out of bounds, he’ll come right at you.”

The Zephyrs will start the same secondary that held Lawson to 110 yards passing in their first meeting. In that game, the young secondary of Amsterdam grew up more than they did in any game this season and started to click.

While the secondary is back in coverage, Ruggeri said Rick Hewlitt and the rest of the pass rush will attempt to keep Lawson and Cooperwood off balance.

“We’re going to blitz,” he said. “I’m going to tell the guys to blitz and get after him and hopefully we can disrupt them.”

To motivate his players, Ruggeri said he told some of them how he’d like to see them finish up the season. Eric Johnson has been a receiver playing quarterback for the Zephyrs and Ruggeri thanked him for his contribution and told him to have fun tonight. Next year, Ruggeri expects increased numbers and already has his eye on a new quarterback, which will allow Johnson to move back to his natural position.

On defense, Ruggeri wants Hewlitt and Mike Philo to finish on a high note. He expects Philo, and possibly Hewlitt, to retire after the game, but he is trying to talk Hewlitt into staying. Hewlitt currently leads the EFL in sacks with 8.5, ahead of Watertown’s Ben Pritchard’s 8.0.

“We had a talk and I told Rick he has a good two or three years left in him,” Ruggeri said. “I’m trying to talk him into staying around, but it looks like he might be retiring. I told him if he is going to do that, to go as hard as he can and go out on top. That’s the way to finish.”

Philo, who has also taken on punting responsibilities, has been a solid presence on defense, Ruggeri said.

“He’s the heart and soul of our defense,” he said. “He’s worked hard all year and he’s going to retire. He’s 41 now and he played like a 20-year-old all year. It’s amazing. He did a hell of a job for us.”

If all the players step up and play as if it were their last game, the Zephyrs could give the Metro Mallers more of a run than they did last time around. More importantly, they could finish their return to the EFL with a win over a quality opponent and build momentum for next season, when they expect to have more numbers following their February team meeting.

Tall order faces struggling Zephyrs
Recorder Sports Staff

Amsterdam Zephyrs head coach Dom Ruggeri would like to see his team finish the season on a positive note — but it won't be easy.

The 3-6 Zephyrs take on the Empire Football League Southern Division-leading 8-1 Albany Metro Mallers at 7:30 tonight at Bleecker Stadium.

In the first meeting on Sept.12, Albany came away with an impressive 41-7 win. Running back Sylvester Cooperwood took the spotlight with 183 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. On defense, Jeff Turman picked off three passes and returned one for a score.

Cooperwood leads the EFL in rushing with 1,020 yards on 152 attempts (6.7 average) and 13 touchdowns. Culture Branch is the primary receiver hauling in 41 catches for 808 yards (19.7 average) and eight touchdowns.

The veteran Scott Lawson will again direct signals. He's experiencing a banner year with 114-of-174 for 2,059 yards and 16 touchdown passes.

The Mallers come at their opponents in every direction and are tough to defend.

Eric Johnson is the Zephyrs quarterback and has put together numbers like 52-of-190 for 735 yards and seven touchdowns.

Evan DeGeorgio leads the EFL in punting with 38 attempts for 1,306 yards (34.4 average) and defensive end Rick Hulett is tops in sacks at 8.5. Both are bright spots for the Zephyrs.

The Mallers have a two-game lead over the Tri-State Bulldogs 6-3 followed by Broome County 5-4, the Zephyrs and Scranton 1-7-1.

"The guys who went to the game last week (against Broome County) are kind of disgusted. The players met (Thursday) night and wanted to make this game special especially for Mike Philo who will probably retire. Mike is the heart and soul of our defense. We don't know about Rick (Hulett) on whether he's coming back or not. He's got two or three good years left. They want to go out the best they can," said Ruggeri.

Of course, the Mallers will have plenty to say about that as they get ready for the playoffs.

Ruggeri also points out it depends on how many players make the trip, if they can give the Mallers a game.

"We played the year with 40-42 guys but on some road trips we missed some people. This has been a successful year. I'm hoping the guys will fight to the end. I think this year was a learning experience for me," said Ruggeri.

After posting just one win two years ago in its first season, Amsterdam didn't field a team in 2005 and made progress this time around.

"I'm definitely not going anywhere. I will be back," said Ruggeri.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Watertown Red and Black at Scranton Eagles
When, where: 7:30 p.m., today; Scranton Memorial Stadium.
Records: Watertown (7-2); Scranton (1-7-1).
Head coaches: Watertown, George Ashcraft; Scranton, Mike Woodard.
Last meeting: Sept. 24, Watertown won, 34-6.

NOTES: A lot is riding on this game for the Red and Black. Watertown can clinch the Northern Division title and can preserve a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the EFL playoffs. A loss would knock Watertown down to the No. 3 spot, and the team would have to travel to Plattsburgh next week. ... Scranton, once the class of the EFL with 10 championships, has fallen on hard times. QB John Kennedy has as many touchdowns as interceptions (10). ... RB James Todd brought even more depth to Watertown's backfield with 81 rushing yards last week. ... The Red and Black should be able to exploit a Scranton defense that has allowed an EFL-high 283 points (31.4 per game) this year.

St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers at Ottawa Deacon Demons
When, where: 7:30 p.m., today, Ottawa.
Records: St. Lawrence Valley (0-9); Ottawa (2-6).
Coaches: St. Lawrence Valley, Mike Britton; Ottawa, Jim Brunton.
Last meeting: Aug. 12, Ottawa won, 7-2.

NOTES: The Trailblazers didn't suffer a more heartbreaking defeat this season than their last meeting with the Deacon Demons. Gary Pelletier scored on a 2-yard run with approximately four minutes remaining in regulation, which was enough to edge St. Lawrence Valley. ... The Trailblazers' Cheyenne Dashnaw is back to full strength after he recorded a league-best 15 tackles on Saturday in their 21-2 loss to Chateauguay. Dashnaw suffered a knee injury earlier in the year. ... Shawn Harkes racked up 120 total yards in Ottawa's win over the Trailblazers last month. He is the league's second-leading rusher with 550 yards and three touchdowns. ... The Trailblazers' defense has allowed 88 points in the last four games, an average of 22 per game. In the first five games of the season, opponents scored 33.2 points per game (166 total points).

Semipro football

September 19, 2006
The Vermont Ice Storm, coming off a 34-25 victory over the Lake City Stars in their regular-season finale Saturday, await the result of other Empire Football League games before learning if they will have the opportunity to play host to more than one playoff game.

The Ice Storm are 8-2 and sit atop the Northern Division with one home playoff game guaranteed.

Watertown and Scranton have a game remaining this weekend. If Scranton defeats Watertown, the Ice Storm will finish first and clinch a first-round bye and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

If Watertown wins, Vermont will play host to Lake City in a first-round game Sept. 30.

Against Lake City on Saturday, Brad Ruderman threw a pair of touchdown passes to Austin Partain and another to Troy Canada as the Storm took a 20-3 lead at the half.

Ruderman hooked up with Canada for another touchdown early in the third quarter and Aaron Pyer finished the Vermont scoring with a 2-yard plunge.

Ruderman was 11-for-19 for 266 yards and four touchdowns. Partain had seven receptions for 176 yards and the two TDs. John Fahey rushed for 79 yards on seven carries and Jason Young collected 71 yards on 10 carries

Regular Season Standings as of 9/16/2006

Northern Division








Vermont Ice Storm






Watertown Red & Black






Lake City Stars






Chateauguay Titans






Ottawa Deacon Deamons






St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers








Southern Division








Albany Metro Mallers






Tri-State Bulldogs






Broome County Dragons






Amsterdam Zephyrs






Scranton Eagles






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