Monday, August 27, 2007

EFL Post Game Press Coverage August 26th (Part 2)

Late TD propels Titans past Stars

CHATEAUGUAY, Que. -- The Lake City Stars' playoff hopes suffered a severe blow Saturday night when Chateauguay scored the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute to play in a 16-10 decision in Empire Football League play.
The Titans, in third place in the East, improved their record to 4-3, while the Stars slipped to 1-5-1. To make the playoffs, Lake City would have to win its three remaining games and have Chateauguay lose its three remaining games.
Lake City erased a 10-0 deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter only to have Chateauguay's Kevin Wyeth connect on a 12-yard scoring pass to Marvin Joseph with 58 seconds left.
"The big play in their drive came on a fourth-and-one at midfield," Stars head coach Pat Keleher said. "Their quarterback ran a bootleg, and we bit on it.
"Then there was kind of a freak play where a pass deflected off the hands of one of our defenders 15 yards down the field, where their receiver caught it. That helped set up the winning touchdown."
Andrew Blevings gave Chateauguay a 3-0 lead at the half with a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter.
"We didn't get off the bus," said Keleher. "We were very sluggish in the first half, even though it was just a 3-0 game at the half. We played much better in the second half."
The Titans improved their lead to 10-0 early in the fourth quarter when Wyeth hooked up with Akked Moore on a 42-yard scoring play.
But Brandon Keleher's 12-yard touchdown run and Ryan Decamp's point after pulled Lake City to within 10-7 at the 7:00 mark of the fourth.
Decamp then pulled the Stars even with a 29-yard field goal with 4:05 left in regulation.
"Despite playing well in the second half, we had two critical fumbles on drives that hurt us," Keleher said. "I thought we were beginning to wear them down.
"We did have a great drive late in the game to get the tying field goal."
Wyeth completed 15-of-26 passes for 184 yards, and Denis Houle led the Titans with 76 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Stars quarterback Kellen Nolan finished with 8-of-13 for 96 yards through the air. Brandon Keleher ran for 78 yards on 12 carries, and Matt St. Clair hauled in three passes for 84 yards.
"It was an evenly-played game with very few penalties," Keleher said.
The Stars have a bye this weekend before hosting St. Lawrence Valley.
Chateauguay 16, Lake City 10
Lake City 0 0 0 10 -- 10
Chateauguay 0 3 0 13 -- 16
Second quarter
C- Blevings 27 field goal, 6:00.
Fourth quarter
C- Moore 42 pass from Wyeth (Blevings kick), 3:55.
LC- B. Keleher 12 run (Decamp kick), 8:00.
LC- Decamp 29 field goal, 10:55.
C- Joseph 12 pass from Wyeth (kick blocked), 14:02.
Individual statistics
Lake City- B. Keleher, 12-78, TD; Ky. Nolan, 5-13; Geiser, 3-10; Ke. Nolan, 3-12; M. St. Clair, 1-12. Totals: 24-125, TD.
Chateauguay- Houle, 12-76; Blevings, 5-14; Dottin, 4-27; Moreau, 1-2; Wyeth, 1-7. Totals: 23-116.
Lake City- Ke. Nolan, 8-13-95-1; Geiser, 1-1-28-0.
Chateauguay- Wyeth, 15-26-184-1, 2 TDs. Sacks- 1-(-14). Net passing, 170.
Lake City- M. St. Clair, 3-84; J. Keleher, 2-12; T. St. Clair, 1-7; Verkey, 1-5; Geiser, 1-13; B. Keleher, 1-3.
Chateauguay- James 5-45; Blevings, 2-10; Moreau, 1-15; Kennedy, 2-33; Joseph, 3-38, TD; Moore, 2-43, TD.

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.


Semi-pro football

Vermont 21, Amsterdam 13: At Colchester, the Vermont Ice Storm, ranked 10th in the nation for semiprofessional football, had to rally from behind in the second half to top the Amsterdam Zephyrs in Empire Football League action on Saturday night at Colchester High School.

Amsterdam's 250-pound fullback Elijah White scored in both the first and second periods for a 13-0 lead.

Vermont responded with a 5-yard touchdown run by Jason Young of South Burlington in the second quarter to cut the lead to 13-7.

Troy Canada tallied a 65-yard punt return to help take a 14-13 lead in the third quarter. John Fahey (12 carries, 84 yards) added the insurance score on a 5-yard run in the fourth period.

Vermont quarterback Brad Ruderman was 8-for-17 for 140 yards as Amsterdam attacked the Vermont passing game.

On the defensive side, Chris Coppins had eight tackles, while Donny LaFleur had five tackles. Aaron Pyer had an interception, while Del Randall and Collin MacDonald each had a sack in the game.

The Ice Storm improved to 7-0 in the EFL and 10-0 overall. Vermont has next week off as part of a league-wide bye for the Labor Day weekend. The following weekend the Storm play at the Scranton (Penn.) Eagles.

Get a sneak peek of the all-new

Sunday, August 26, 2007

EFL Post Game Press Coverage August 26th


Scranton Eagles defense key in win over Ottawa



A stout defense got just enough help from the offense to lift the Scranton Eagles to victory Saturday night at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

Rob Wehner scored on a three-yard run with three minutes left as the Eagles rallied for a 10-7 win over the Ottawa Deacon Demons in an Empire Football League game.

The defense, which held Ottawa to a third-quarter touchdown and little else, put the exclamation point on the victory. Defensive back Deshwan Meyers picked off a pass after Ottawa had driven to the Eagles 40-yard line with 35 seconds left in the game.

Scranton (3-4) moved into second place in the EFL Western Division with the victory, dropping Ottawa (2-4-1) to third place.

The Eagles offense moved the ball early in the game, driving deep into Deacon Demons territory before stalling. Scott Perry, whose first run with the Eagles began in 1989, salvaged three points from the drive by booting a 32-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Defensively, George Romiti and Nick Parlanti started racking up tackles, as Romiti finished with 12, two more than Parlanti. Parlanti, a Mid Valley product, delivered one of the Eagles' three interceptions, as did Wehner.

But the Deacon Demons finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter as Sean Harkes scored from the 1 six minutes into the second half. Dave Walters tacked on the extra point to give Ottawa a 7-3 lead.

The Eagles turned to the pass on their game-winning drive, as quarterback Ted Wallingford connected on a 23-yard pass to Cory Champi to the Deacon Demons 1 to set up Wehner's game-winning touchdown.

Wallingford finished 14-for-22 for 162 yards and one interception. Matt Williams hauled down five passes for 55 yards while Champi accumulated 62 yards on his three receptions.

Former Valley View standout Phil Ross led the running game with 65 yards on 17 carries for the Eagles, who return to action on Sept. 8 to play division-leading Vermont at Memorial Stadium.

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©The Times-Tribune 2007




Watertown Daily Times

Red & Black rollicks on road

EMPIRE FOOTBALL LEAGUE: St. Lawrence Valley fails to put up much fight




Sunday, August 26, 2007

POTSDAM — George Ashcraft has had enough of the long road trips.

The longtime head coach of the Watertown Red and Black hopes his squad won't have to leave their football field at the Watertown Fairgrounds for the remainder of the Empire Football League season. The Red Black capped off a monthlong stint of away games with a convincing victory on Saturday night.

Behind four touchdowns from its defense and special teams, Watertown steamrolled St. Lawrence Valley, 47-0, in an EFL matchup at Sandstoner Park. It was Red and Black's third straight road win and the team's final regular-season game away from home.

Watertown (6-1) will play its final three games in September at home, and Ashcraft figures that with a little help, the playoffs will have to be completed at the Fairgrounds.

"I hope Amsterdam can back up what they said in the paper," said Ashcraft of Amsterdam's plans to knock off unbeaten Vermont on Saturday. "If they do what they say they're going to do, then Amsterdam still will have to play Vermont in the playoffs. If they can do that, we can still run the playoffs through Watertown."

The Red and Black wasted little time disposing of the Trailblazers (0-7) on the way to punctuating the road trip with a win. Just a minute after the opening kickoff, Keith Jones ran back a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown to get Watertown on the scoreboard.

Following Anthony Noel's first of two rushing touchdowns to begin the second quarter, Mike Dumaw tiptoed into the end zone with a 60-yard punt return for a score.

"We haven't been rushing (the punter) lately because we've been returning so well," Dumaw said. "We've returned a bunch back (for touchdowns) this year, but most of them get called back. This game, it didn't seem to go that way. Everyone blocked the right way."

Watertown's defense was equally impressive with another stingy performance against an inept Trailblazers offense. The Red and Black notched its best statistical output of the season by holding St. Lawrence Valley to minus-38 yards of total offense.

Defensive back Brian Harris supplied the R&B with a pair of interception returns for touchdowns. The defense totaled three turnovers and three sacks, and Ron Troxler and Rob Hughes also added six tackles apiece.

"We've had that go on in nearly every game this year," Ashcraft said. "Even when we lost up in Vermont, the defense played an outstanding game. They made two mistakes for two touchdowns. They were both for over 30 yards, but take those two mistakes away, and I'm not going to complain."

The Trailblazers staggered through most of the game hoping to come out unscathed. Quarterback Christopher Tom was shaken up on a blind-side hit in the second quarter and didn't return. The lone highlight was Joe Hutchinson's interception in the first half.

"People weren't where they're suppose to be," Trailblazers defensive coach Jim Compeau said. "People are playing out of position and playing in places they haven't been before. We had to make some game-time decisions."

The Red and Black also started backup quarterback Gary Pelletier on Saturday. Ashcraft said Pelletier shook off some early rust and became more comfortable as the game progressed. Noel also finished with a game-best 99 yards on the ground on 12 carries.

Even though Watertown is running away in the EFL's West Division, Jones said the loss at Vermont earlier this month is proof that the team must remain focused on a title run.

"It shows, that by no means, we are immortal," Jones said. "On any given day, any team can be beaten. We want to make sure no one sneaks up on us, and we're our biggest opponent."


Watertown's Anthony Noel drives upfield during Saturday's Empire Football League game against St. Lawrence Valley at Sandstoner Park in Potsdam.


Copyright 2007. Watertown Daily Times, Inc., Watertown, NY. All rights reserved.



Zephyrs let another one

get away vs. Ice Storm

For the second time this season, the Amsterdam Zephyrs had the first-place Vermont Ice Storm right where they wanted them.

And for the second time this season, they let Vermont slip away with a victory.

Amsterdam led 13-0 in the second quarter, but a pass interference penalty led to a Vermont score late in the second quarter, and the Ice Storm returned a punt for a touchdown late in the third en route to a 21-13 Empire Football League victory.

"We had them beat, we just couldn't close the door," Zephyrs coach Dominic Ruggeri said.

The Zephyrs fell to Vermont, 26-14, in the teams' first meeting on July 21.

Amsterdam fell to 4-3 on the season, still good for second place in the EFL East, while Vermont improved to 7-0.

The Zephyrs took control of the game early on a pair of Elijah White touchdown runs, giving him five in the last two weeks since his move to tailback.

Amsterdam is off this week before hosting Ottawa in its final home game of the season on Sept. 8 at Lynch Middle School.

Get a sneak peek of the all-new

Saturday, August 25, 2007

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage August 25th

Stars' future can still include playoffs

Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH -- The young Lake City Stars were thrust into another change last Saturday as Kellen Nolan made the switch from defensive back to quarterback, replacing the departed Matt Bezio.
The Stars weren't able to find the end-zone, but showed glimpses that fortunes could be turning the corner in a 10-0 defeat to the undefeated Vermont Ice Storm.
Brandon Keleher rushed for 70 yards on 15 carries to lead the way as Lake City wnet over 100 yards rushing in the contest with 133 and nearly five yards per carry.
Nolan, who guided the Stars at quarterback last season, was hesitant in his first stint under center, but completed 7-of-22 passes for 80 yards and an interception. Matt St. Clair hauled in five passes for 70 yards.
The Stars' defense again was strong in defeat, limiting a powerful Ice Storm offense to just 10 points in the game.
Lake City still has a lot of work to do to make it into the Empire Football League playoffs, but a small step could be taken tonight as the Stars face off against the Chateauguay Titans (3-3), out of Quebec, who currently reside just ahead of them in the standings.
Tonight's game gets underway at 7:30 p.m. in Chateauguay.
The Titans fell to Amsterdam a week ago, 35-28, after holding a 28-21 lead late in the fourth quarter.
The Zephyrs' Elijah White scored a touchdown with just over two minutes remaining to tie the game. On the ensuing kickoff, however, Chateauguay fumbled the ball giving Amsterdam a short field, and White won the game with a 13-yard tochdown scamper.
The Titans' Kevin Wyeth was 19-of-28 throwing the ball for 187 yards and a three touchdowns. Zan Symonds added 84 yards on four completions and a touchdown.
Sean Kennedy (6-for-78), James Treldon (4-for-77) and Akked Moore (6-for-66) hauled in a total of 16 passes for 221 yards and four touchdowns.
The EFL is off next week for Labor Day weekend. With a win tonight, Lake City could move within just a half game of Chateauguay and the Titans still hold contests against Watertown, Vermont and Ottawa -- all on the road.
The Stars, after tonight's game, will finish their season with home games against St. Lawrence Valley and Amsterdam, followed by a road contest against Scranton.
Despite such a poor start in the victory department, Lake City's road to the playoffs still looks favorable, but will definitely need a win tonight and a little help.
Last Week
Vermont Ice Storm 10, Lake City Stars 0
Amsterdam Zephyrs 35, Chateauguay Titans 28
Watertown Red & Black 20, Ottawa Deacon Demons 14
Scranton Eagles 25, St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers 19

This Week
Amsterdam at Vermont Ice Storm
Lake City Stars at Chateauguay Titans
Ottawa Deacon Demons at Scranton Eagles
Watertown Red & Black at St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers


Watertown Daily Times

 Trailblazers try to hang tough

EMPIRE FOOTBALL LEAGUE: St. Lawrence Valley gets most out of dwindling number of players




Saturday, August 25, 2007

POTSDAM — The head coaches of the Empire Football League should strongly consider looking at one team when deciding on this year's Ironman Award.

Any of the remaining players on the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers could be in line for the recognition. The squad is once again facing the unfortunate circumstance of filling in the holes left by injured or departed players. As a result, the best athletes participate on almost every snap.

The Ironman Award, which is one of several awards presented in October following the conclusion of the EFL season, can be explained or defined in a plethora of ways. Trailblazers offensive coach Mike Britton describes an "ironman" as someone who "does an outstanding job in all levels of the game."

Britton and defensive coach Jim Compeau can check off several viable candidates on this year's team.

"It's been a tough adjustment, but the guys want to do it," Compeau said. "They actually are coming to us and asking to play those positions. And the ones that want to do it are natural athletes."

The latest example is veteran lineman Norm Martel. Not only is he currently ranked third on the team in tackles, but he volunteered to play center for the first time two weeks ago at Chateauguay. Starting center Gordie Leonard suffered a knee injury, and his return to the field this season is questionable.

"It's worked out well, but the injuries are taking a toll at this point," Compeau said. "So, now we have more players going both ways than we had before."

Compeau's son, James, is the epitome of an "ironman" player for St. Lawrence Valley. He plays every down except for punts. He's the team's top running back and defensive back, and even earns time at safety. He's also recorded the most interceptions (four) and logged the most yards on kickoff returns.

But for the first time, Jim said his son is beaten up, and James wishes they had more help.

"Every practice we have is critical," James said. "To see someone come once a week or not at all, it's not going to help us at all. We need those guys that want to play and be here to play in the positions we need."

St. Lawrence Valley had approximately 25 players in uniform in last week's slim defeat to Scranton. Quarterback Christopher Tom orchestrated two touchdown drives and nearly notched a third to almost complete a late-game comeback. Tom stepped in as the team's primary signal-caller three weeks ago after providing admirable performances at wide receiver and defensive back.

You also can't forget starting wideout Danny Staton, who volunteered to return to his natural position as a defensive back against Chateauguay.

"I first converted from defensive back to a wide receiver mostly because of my speed, and my hands developed after a while," Staton said. "(The adjustment) hasn't really been hard. I've been waiting four years to play defensive back."

Granted, the coaches would never nominate the Trailblazers for the Ironman Award as a team since they're forced into this scenario every season. But Martel, Compeau, Tom, Staton and others deserve mention for grinding it out on every snap.

More importantly, it's those core players who are keeping the franchise afloat, hoping that victories will soon follow.

"That's why everyone keeps coming back," Compeau said. "It's these guys that know we have a chance that keep coming back."


James Compeau passes the ball during the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers' practice Tuesday in Potsdam.

Copyright 2007. Watertown Daily Times, Inc., Watertown, NY. All rights reserved.



Zephyrs hit the road looking to avenge loss

By MIKE ZUMMO, The Leader-Herald

Published on Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Leader-Herald/Bill Cain
Amsterdam quarterback Ken Shaffer (12) gets the pass away as Tarquan Pearman (15) blocks Chateauguay's Sabastien Archambault (5) and Amsterdam's Mike Philo (5) and Jay Garvey (73) protect him on his left in an Empire Football League game at Lynch Middle School in Amsterdam August 18.

COLCHESTER, Vt. — The Amsterdam Zephyrs have had only two hiccups this season.

They avenged the second last week when they beat the Chateauguay Titans 35-28. They'll get a chance to pull themselves within a game of first place if they can manage a win against the first-place Vermont Ice Storm, which enters today's game with a 6-0 record.

"It's going to be very difficult," Amsterdam coach Dominic Ruggeri said. "The guys know they play very good football. They're sound and very disciplined. We have to play mistake-free. We can't afford a big mistake or we're going to be in trouble."

The Ice Storm beat the Zephyrs 26-14 at Lynch Middle School during the second week of the season after some sloppy play cost Amsterdam 14 points and the victory. After the game ended, Ruggeri said his team gave the win away.

"We've been waiting for this one," Ruggeri said. "We knew that if you take them away, we had them beat at home. We're really looking forward to this one."

Brad Ruderman did most of Vermont's damage through the air the last time the two teams met up, completing 18 of 30 passes for 268 yards with a touchdown. He hit Rob Joy six times for 105 yards and threw a touchdown to Troy Canada.

The rushing game wasn't effective, as the Zephyrs allowed only 43 total yards on the ground, 18 to Jason Young and 15 to Akeem Williams.

"We're going to make some changes defensively to match up to their passing game," Ruggeri said. "They weren't able to run on us the first game. We have to play much better in the secondary."

The Zephyrs are looking to patch up a defense that allowed 287 yards in the air as the Chateauguay Titans exploited the Zephyrs' secondary.

"We had some blown coverages and guys weren't dropping in their areas," Ruggeri said. "They did tightening up when they needed to, but they were giving up too much in the meantime."

Special teams nearly undid the Zephyrs last week as the kickoff return squad let two possessions go back over to the Titans.

"I [focused Thursday] on special teams," Ruggeri said. "We're going to really work on that. The focus is special teams and cutting down on mistakes."

Ken Shaffer was just as effective through the air, completing 20-of-41 for two touchdowns. Cedrick Pearman hauled in 10 of those passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns and eight passes for 85 yards to Evan DeGeorgio.

Offensively, Amsterdam has some new weapons to bring to bear against the Ice Storm. Last week, the Zephyrs added Elliot Swint, who contributed a long kickoff return, and Bo Geaudreu, who caught two passes for 29 yards and saw some time at defensive tackle.

The Zephyrs also added Chucky Dukes, who Ruggeri expects to help shore up the running game.

"I think Chucky's going to be a big asset," Ruggeri said. "He's a top-notch tailback. He's been out of the game about five years, but he's going to be ready to go. I would anticipate about 10 to 12 plays out of Chucky this week."

The offense got itself going against the Titans last Saturday as Shaffer completed 15 of 24 passes for 175 yards, completing five each to Cedrick Pearman and Eric Johnson, who Ruggeri said could be a big key in tonight's game.

"They're going to be so concentrated on other guys that Eric can have a big game," he said. "He made some big catches for us last week. He's one of the guys that knows where the sticks are."

Tonight's game will have serious implications on the Empire Football League playoffs, as Ruggeri said if the Zephyrs win by 12 points, they'll have home-field advantage over the Ice Storm if both teams have identical records at the end of the season.

"The guys are really focused and we've been waiting for this one," Ruggeri said. "We're going into the lion's den and we really have to come out fighting."

Zephyrs facing key game


Recorder Sports Staff

Amsterdam Zephyrs head coach Dom Ruggeri is describing tonight's road game against the Vermont Ice Storm as "huge" for the team's playoff standing.

With a record of 4-2, Amsterdam has a strong hold on an Empire Football League playoff spot. More importantly, the Zephyrs are in contention for the East Division championship, which would include a first-round bye. Vermont is currently 6-0, and an Amsterdam loss would make its chances of catching the Ice Storm difficult at best. Vermont defeated Amsterdam 26-14 at Lynch Middle School on July 21.

Ruggeri says the key to the early season loss to Vermont were two critical errors.

"We made bad mistakes that were really uncharacteristic of this football team. We made mistakes on our part and they capitalized,"Ruggeri said. "They are a disciplined, good football team that plays well at home. It's like going into the lion's den. It's going to be tough."

In the teams' first meeting, Vermont scored a touchdown on a hook and ladder reception with no time left on the clock in the first half. Amsterdam also botched a punt that allowed Vermont to score another touchdown. "Take away those two scores in that time period of a minute and a half and we beat them," said Ruggeri.

Despite being on the road and the early season loss, Ruggeri says his team is ready for the big game.

"They are really focused this week. We are stressing special teams going into this game. We can't make any mistakes on the road. My guys are going to go up and fight to the end. They know it's a huge game," said Ruggeri.

Last week Amsterdam moved fullback Elijah White over to tailback. The move worked out, as White rushed for three touchdowns in the 35-28 win over the Chateauguay Titans to move Amsterdam into second place in the EFL East.

"Elijah is coming into his own. He is a powerful guy who is gaining confidence with every game. He is going to get even better as he gets stronger and more confident," Ruggeri said.

Amsterdam could get a big boost this week with the announcement of the acquisition of Chuckie Dukes from Colonie. Dukes helped Colonie High School win the only Section 2 championship in the program's history back in 1988. Dukes went on to have a successful career at Boston College and then played for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ruggeri says Dukes, who now in his mid-30s and has not played football in six years, is in shape and ready to play.

"Chuck Dukes will play at tailback this week. Chuck is in phenomenal shape and he is healthy. He looks like he has not lost a step at all. He is eager to get going and help us make a push. He is going to be an asset and help Elijah come along," said Ruggeri.

Despite last week's win, Amsterdam let Chateauguay hang around. Ruggeri has made some defensive alignments in preparation for Vermont in hopes reducing the opponent's score, something that has been more difficult to do since the injury to defensive end Rick Hulett. Ruggeri calls Hulett the most dominant defensive player in the EFL.

"We lost Hulett, which is a big hole to fill. We moved around guys' positions to try to counter balance Vermont's quick and skilled receivers. We have to make sure we don't give them the easy score and let them go the distance of the field," said Ruggeri.



Ice Storm sit 10th nationally

August 25, 2007
The Vermont Ice Storm has cracked the top 10 in the national coaches poll published by nationalfootball-

The Ice Storm secured the No. 10 position.

"The ranking is a tremendous accomplishment for the entire organization," said head coach Doc Perez in a news release. "We have been putting the pieces together for seven years and are beginning to see the hard work pay off.

"We can't celebrate too much. An extremely talented football team is coming to town (tonight) and we need to be ready to play.

Vermont is 6-0 in the Empire Football League and 9-0 overall. The Ice Storm is scheduled to play the Amsterdam Zephyrs at Colchester High School at 7:30 p.m. today. Amsterdam is second in the league with a 4-2 record.

Central Piranha (7-0) of Pennsylvania is the top-ranked team in the coaches poll, followed in order by the 10-0 King County (Wash.) Jaguars, the 7-0 Dallas Diesel, the 9-0 Pittsburgh Colts, the 8-0 Boston Panthers, the 6-0 Detroit Seminoles, the 6-0 Virginia Ravens, the 8-0-1 South Jersey Lynx and the 7-0 Prince William (Va.) Monarchs.







Eagles battling financial woes


The Scranton Eagles are fighting for their life.

As the Eagles prepare for tonight's 7:30 game against the Ottawa Demon Deacons, the team has fallen into desperate financial straits. So bad, in fact, there is a distinct possibility they may not finish the 2007 season.

According to General Manager Ben Simmons, the combination of a decline of sponsorship revenue and poor drawing at the box office have brought the Eagles to this point.

"Right now, it's the crowds that are the big thing. It's the thought that we've had big crowds over the years," Simmons said. "We are just not getting the crowd size that a sponsor needs."

Another factor in the decline in attendance is the constant struggle for the area's entertainment dollar.

"I think the real decline started when the Red Barons came to town (in 1989)," Eagles vice-president and head coach Mike Arcure said. "Now, you have the Penguins, movie theaters, concerts. There is just so much more now to do in this area."

The term "semi-pro" is a misnomer. The Eagles' players do not draw a salary. Monies derived from the team's revenue streams help defray the cost of team expenses, including stadium rental, referee's fees, uniforms, medical tape for players and travel costs. While the team furnishes jerseys and game pants, a player is responsible for the remainder of his equipment.

Despite the off-field problems, the Eagles bolstered their kicking game this week when they signed former kicker Scott Perry. Perry, an Abington Heights and Moravian College product, first played with the Eagles in 1989. Perry holds the team record with a 54-yard field goal set in 1996.

The Eagles (2-4), sit just a half-game behind second-place Ottawa in the EFL Western Division. The top three teams in the division will make the league playoffs.

"On the field, this team is good enough to make the playoffs and possibly win the championship," Scranton Eagles team president and linebacker George Romiti said. "Off the field, it's been tough to pay the bills. Every week, we scrimp and scrape to pay them."

Ottawa (2-3-1) defeated the Eagles 49-0 at home in week two. Since that game, however, the Eagles have gone 2-2, with the two losses coming by a combined four points.

"Since the last time that we played them, we've moved some players into different positions," Arcure said. " Phil Ross has seen more time at tailback and Cory Champi has played some wide receiver."

Last week, Ross ran for 61 yards on eight carries while Champi grabbed a pair of passes for 63 yards in the victory over St. Lawrence.
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©The Times-Tribune 2007

Get a sneak peek of the all-new

Sunday, August 19, 2007

EFL Post Game Press Coverage August 19th

Watertown Daily Times

Out of time: Trailblazers come up short

CLOSE, BUT NOT QUITE: St. Lawrence Valley moves to 3-yard line, but Eagles prevent TD for win




Sunday, August 19, 2007

POTSDAM — One more play and 3 yards separated the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers from ending a four-year winless drought.

Quarterback Christopher Tom threw an incomplete pass as time expired, and the Trailblazers were six points away from forcing overtime on Saturday night.

Scranton narrowly dodged a major comeback and escaped Sandstoner Park with a 25-19 victory in an Empire Football League matchup.

"I hope that we gained a little bit of respect," said Trailblazers linebacker Cheyenne Dashnaw. "There have been some games this year where we've been wiped off the field. We just haven't quit as a unit."

As a seasoned veteran, Dashnaw did all he could to keep aspirations for victory alive for St. Lawrence Valley (0-6). But the Eagles struck first, however, on a pair of Ted Wallingford touchdown passes to Louis Verdetto to build an early 12-point cushion in the first half.

"We just wanted to come out and score points quick(ly)," Scranton head coach Michael Arcure said. "I've been trying to get us to run the ball more lately, so I wanted to keep them off guard and build our confidence."

While the Trailblazers' offense continued with its weekly struggles, Dashnaw ignited the squad with an unexpected scamper. The veteran linebacker intercepted Wallingford and dashed 80 yards for a touchdown before halftime.

"It was unbelievable," Dashnaw said. "I knew it was going to (the receiver) because they were switching sides on their plays. I kind of baited him and cut off the out pattern. It was pretty much open field from there."

But the third quarter resembled a scene similar to a football nightmare to which St. Lawrence Valley has been too familiar. The Trailblazers lost two fumbles, and Tom tossed his second interception, allowing the Eagles to add 13 more points. St. Lawrence Valley finished with five turnovers.

"As a defense, we kept telling ourselves that we were handling them," Dashnaw said. "At the goal lines, we were stuffing them. For a while, it looked like it was going to be another one of those games. But every guy just kept right in it."

Inspiring play from St. Lawrence Valley's defense motivated a bruised and beaten Joe Hutchinson, as well as the rest of the offense. The six-year starting wide receiver snagged nearly every ball thrown his way. He hauled in a 15-yard touchdown reception to trim into the deficit midway through the fourth quarter.

"Throughout the rest of the game, I was only getting short passes," said Hutchinson, who finished with seven receptions and 146 yards. "They weren't really testing me out on long (routes) because my ribs have been sore. I told the quarterback I wanted to go deep, throw it up, and I didn't care where it was. I told him I'd do the rest."

Danny Staton hauled in a 25-yard scoring pass from Tom to get the Trailblazers within a touchdown. Then, Dashnaw's 15th tackle of the game forced Scranton (2-4) to punt with over a minute remaining. Ricky Delaney blocked the Eagles' punt attempt, and despite two pass-interference penalties — and being 1 yard away from the end zone at one point — St. Lawrence Valley couldn't notch one final score.

"This meant a lot to us, especially with Watertown coming in next week," Hutchinson said. "We needed to show that we still had the heart that we've always had. Unfortunately, the season hasn't been as great as we hoped it would've been. But we're trying to turn things around here."


Todd Kiechle completed six passes for 135 yards, including one touchdown, to help fuel the Red and Black to a victory over the Deacon Demons at Nepean Sportsplex in Ottawa.

Kiechle also rushed 13 times for 114 yards, including a 55-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Anthony Noel started the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and Lamont Lane completed Kiechle's 43-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter as the Red and Black led 20-7 at halftime.

Lane finished with two receptions for 63 yards, while Noel caught two passes for 33. Ernie Miller rushed 12 times for 53 yards.

Mike Dumaw, Kyle Roshia, Brian Harris and Greg Roberson led the defense for Watertown (5-1), coach George Ashcraft said.

The Deacon Demons (2-3-1) scored on a 7-yard run in the second quarter and a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Copyright 2007. Watertown Daily Times, Inc., Watertown, NY. All rights reserved.



Wallingford-to-Verdetto spells victory for Eagles



Ted Wallingford hooked up with Louis Verdetto on a pair of touchdown passes and the Scranton Eagles defense made a goal-line stand in the final minute to preserve a 25-19 victory over the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers in a Empire Football League game at Sandstoner Park in Potsdam, N.Y.

Five minutes into the game, Wallingford found Verdetto on a 27-yard scoring strike to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead.

With three minutes to go in the second quarter, Wallingford found Verdetto with a 17-yard touchdown pass to give the Eagles a two-touchdown advantage.

St. Lawrence Valley struck back with 23 seconds to go in the first half when Cheyenne Dashnaw scored on a 81-yard interception return. With the extra point, the Trailblazers pulled to within 12-7 at the half.

The Eagles scored on their first two possessions of the third quarter when Phil Ross scored on a 17-yard scoring run and Gary Visnofsky bolted in from the one-yard line. The extra point gave the Eagles a 25-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

With 9:29 left in the game, Chris Tom found Joe Hutchinson with a 15-yard touchdown reception. With a missed extra point, the Eagles held a 25-12 advantage.

Danny Staton pull the Trailblazers to within six points with a 10-yard touchdown catch from Tom with 1:47 to go.

With less than a minute left, the Trailblazers got the ball back and moved to the Eagles 1. However, the Eagles defense was able to stop St. Lawrence Valley on downs to preserve the win.

Wallingford was 11-for-18 for 178 yards and a pair of scores. Cory Champi had four receptions for 62 yards, while Verdetto had four catches for 52 yards and a pair of scores. Ross led the Eagles running attack with 54 yards on eight carries and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Eagles were led by veteran George Romiti. Playing in his 146th consecutive game, Romiti had 10 tackles while Nick Parlanti and Jim Shaffer had eight tackles each. Chris Clancey had a key sack and fumble recovery late in the third quarter to stop a Trailblazers drive.

The Eagles (2-4) return home Aug. 25 when they battle the Ottawa Deacon Demons at Scranton Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Contact the


©The Times-Tribune 2007


Amsterdam avenges loss to Titans

By MIKE ZUMMO, The Leader-Herald

Published on Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Leader-Herald/Bill Cain

Amsterdam quarterback Ken Shaffer (12) is chased out of bounds on a scramble by Chateauguay's Sabastien Archambault (5) and Kevin Lloyd (7) in Saturday's Empire Football League game at Lynch Middle School in Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM — Elijah White knew the game was about to be over.

The Amster-dam Zephyrs had just tied Saturday night's Empire Football League game against the Chateauguay Titans and Jared Brown recovered a fumble on a kickoff return, giving the Zephyrs with a short field.

White gained 30 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown with 22 seconds left in the game, giving the Zephyrs a 35-28 victory.

"The line opened up some good holes for me," White said. "All I had to do is pursue it and take it to the house."

White was filling in at tailback for the injured Jorge Rodriguez, who suffered a concussion during last week's win over the Scranton Eagles and ran through and over the Titans, gaining 162 yards and scoring three touchdowns.

"He's just turning into one heck of a running back," Amsterdam coach Dominic Ruggeri said.

The Zephyrs' special teams weren't so special early in the game as the kick return unit let two balls turn over to the Titans.

"One minute they're playing great, another minute, they can't do anything right," Ruggeri said. "I had to put faith in the offense the way we were running the ball. Kenny was playing a great game on offense and it was just a matter of whether we were going to turn the ball over."

However, it was the Cheateauguay kickoff return squad that opened the door for the Zephyrs' victory.

Phillippe Leduc fumbled the kickoff after Amsterdam tied the game, giving the Zephyrs' a first down on the Titans' 24-yard line.

"That's what really brought us the win. We just had to get that ball back, pick it up and take it to the house," White said.

White gained six yards on the first play and gave the Zephyrs' a first-and-goal on the Titans' 6-yard line. After Ken Shaffer lost six yards on a sack, White plunged 13 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

"I just kept going hard," White said.

The game, however, wasn't over just yet. The Titans recovered the onside kick and after two incompletions, the Zephyrs had the victory.

"Now we're rolling," Ruggeri said. "We knew we made some mistakes. We'll just have to make some adjustments. These guys are ready for Vermont and we know we can beat Vermont."

The Zephyrs (4-2) took sole possession of second place and head to Colchester, Vt., next week to face the first-place Ice Storm, who beat the Zephyrs 26-14 at Lynch Field on July 21.

"This was real big," White said. "We have to get ready for them in practice this week and take it to them."

Elliot Swint, who returned to Amsterdam for Saturday's game, put a jolt into the Zephyrs as he opened the game with a 51-yard kickoff return to the Titans' 30, which set up Shaffer's 14-yard touchdown pass to Cedrick Pearman.

"He was our return man last year and he finally moved back to the area," Ruggeri said.

A 22-yard pass from Shaffer to Pearman on the Zephyrs' next drive helped set up White's first touchdown of the game, a 1-yard plunge to give Amsterdam a 14-0 lead.

Then, the Titans started chipping back.

Chateauguay quarterback Kevin Wyeth hit Akked Moore with a 22-yard touchdown pass and Denis Houle's 13-yard run set up Wyeth's 6-yard touchdown pass to Moore that cut the Zephyrs' lead in half, 14-7.

After Amsterdam's special teams turned the ball over, Wyeth opened the second quarter with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Moore.

"Once again, special teams hurt us," Ruggeri said. "We gave them two easy scores when they only had to go 10 yards or 30 yards. You can't do that."

The Zephyrs' special teams, however, preserved the lead as Raphael Nicosia blocked Kevin Lloyd's extra point attempt and Amsterdam clung to a 14-13 with 14:24 to go in the second quarter.

"I give Chateauguay credit," Ruggeri said. "They played hard all four quarters. We got up 14-0 real quick and we just let up. I kept warning them. You can't let these guys back in the game."

White widened the lead with 2:54 left in the second quarter as he broke through the offensive line and sprinted 40 yards for his second touchdown, giving Amsterdam a 21-13 lead at the half.

The Titans opened the second half with a 10-play, 67-yard drive that culminated in Wyeth's 6-yard touchdown pass to Sean Kennedy. Wyeth injured his wrist on the play and Zan Symonds entered the game to hit Moore with the 2-point pass tying the game at 21-21.

"We knew their quarterback was good and we knew that he could throw the ball and had to make some changes when we had to, but the defense just played great when it had to," Ruggeri said. "We had some missed tackles and blew some assignments."

The Titans took the lead with 8:34 left in the game when Symonds hit James Treldon with a 31-yard touchdown pass, but the Zephyrs tied the game with 2:10 left on White's 23-yard touchdown run.

Amsterdam 35, Chateauguay 28
Chateauguay 7 6 8 7 — 28
Amsterdam 14 7 0 14 — 35

First Quarter
A — Shaffer 14 pass to Pearman (Montes kick), 12:40
A — White 1 run (Montes kick), 3:54
C — Wyeth 6 pass to Moore (Lloyd kick)
Second Quarter
C — Wyeth 13 pass to Moore (kick blocked), 14:24
A — White 40 run (Montes kick), 2:54
Third Quarter
C — Wyeth 6 pass Kennedy (Symonds pass to Moore), 8:31
Fourth Quarter
C — Symonds 31 pass to Treldon (Lloyd kick), 8:34
A — White 23 run (Montes kick), 2:02
A — White 13 run (Montes kick), :22

Zephyrs take over second place

Staff report

Elijah White rushed for three touchdowns to lead the Amsterdam Zephyrs to a 35-28 victory over the Chateauguay Titans in an Empire Football League game, Saturday night at Lynch Middle School.

White scored on runs of 42, 32 and 23 yards to help the Zephyrs improve to 4-2 and more important, take over sole possession of second place in the EFL East behind first-place Vermont. Amsterdam, winners of three straight games, travels to Vermont next Saturday.

Chateauguay won the first meeting between the two teams, 34-18 last month.

"We did what we had to do," said Amsterdam head coach Dom Ruggeri. "We got up early, but we kept them in the game. We have to start learning how to put teams away."

Amsterdam jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter advantage and led 21-13 at halftime. The Zephyrs led 28-21 after three quarters.

Amsterdam quarterback Ken Schaefer contributed to the win, throwing two touchdowns — one a 42-yard strike to Cedruck Pearman and a seven-yard scoring pass to Evan DeGeorgio.

"It shouldn't have been this close," Ruggeri said. "We were inside their 20 four times and we shot ourselves in the foot."

Gametime next Saturday night is 7:30 p.m.


Lake City falls to Vermont

Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH "" The powerful Vermont Ice Storm offense came in to Saturday's game against the Lake City Stars averaging 25 points per game.
The Stars' defense held tough against the Ice Storm, surrendering only 10 points. But it was enough for Vermont to capture a 10-0 victory 10-0 in Empire Football League play at Melissa L. Penfield Park.
"I thought we played pretty well in certain aspects," Lake City head coach Pat Keleher said. "We held a team averaging 25 points-per-game to just 10.
"We are still coming along nicely."
The Stars' offense learned early in the week that quarterback Matt Bezio would no longer be with the team due to a job offer out of state.
Cornerback Kellen Nolan was thrust into the offensive huddle for just three practices before Saturday's game, but fared pretty well under the circumstances.
"We had three nights to get Kellen ready," Keleher said. "Those are tough circumstances he faced. He has been mostly with the defense all season long and was thrown into it.
"There were some nerves and uncertainty on his part, but with a few more practices he will be fine."
Vermont took the opening kickoff from their own 44-yard line down to the Stars' six. Lake City's defense tightened, however, and forced the Ice Storm to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Evan Hicks, which gave Vermont a 3-0 lead.
The game would stay that way until midway through the second quarter when Brad Ruderman found Matt Bombardier in the right side of the end-zone for a 7-yard touchdown, and a 10-0 lead.
The Stars offense struggled during the first half, as they would only record one first down on Kellen Nolan's 14-yard scramble on their third possession of the game.
In the second half, however, the offense began to move the ball as they got into Vermont territory three different times during the half.
On their final possession of the game, Lake City drove to the Ice Storm's nine-yard line before a holding penalty sent them back to the 26.
A pair of incompletions set the Stars up with a 4th-and-goal from the 27.
Needing two scores for the tie, Lake City went with a 44-yard field goal try by Ryan DeCamp that fell short.
Vermont picked up a first down on their next possession and ran out the clock.
"Our offensive line played the best that they have played all year long," Keleher said. "Kellen had time to throw and I thought we ran the ball well at times.
"The defense continues to play well. I think the four up front and our linebackers are playing very well; we do well against the run. Our defensive backs aren't bad and they don't get beat that often, it's just that we lose the height battle and receivers out-jump us."
Ruderman finished with 242 yards through the air on 19-of-40 passing with a touchdown and was intercepted by the Stars' Evan Murphy.
Rob Joy pulled in six passes for 67 yards while Bombardier added 61 yards on two catches and a score.
Jason Young paced the rushing attack with 39 yards on 13 carries. The Stars' defense held the Ice Storm to just 46 yards rushing.
Nolan completed six passes for a net of 65 yards. Matt St. Clair hauled in five catches for 70 yards.
The Lake City rushing attack came alive against Vermont with 102 yards rushing on 27 carries. Brandon Keleher led the way with 52 yards while Heath Geiser added 28.
"I think that our defense is going to keep us in about every game that we play," Keleher said. "If our offense can get clicking we can be OK.
"I can see that our offensive line is really starting to gel and is coming together. We're getting better and once Kellen gets a few more practices in him our passing game will start to gel too."
Lake City travels to Chateauguay next Saturday to take on the Titans. The Stars defeated Chateauguay 35-31 on July 21 at Melissa L. Penfield Park.
Vermont 10, Lake City 0
Vermont    3 7 0 0  10
Lake City  0 0 0 0    0
Scoring summary
First quarter
V- Hicks 24 FG, 4:21.
Second quarter
V- M. Bombardier 7 pass from Ruderman (Hicks kick), 7:23.
Individual statistics
V- Young 13-39; Fahey 1-4; Randall 1-5; Ruderman 2-(-2). Totals: 17-46.
LC- Ke.
Nolan 4-12; B. Keleher 15-52; Ky. Nolan 3-10; Geiser 5-28. Totals: 27-102.
V- Ruderman 19-40-1-242, TD; K. Bombardier 0-1-0-0.
Totals: 19-41-1-242, TD.
LC- Ke. Nolan 6-22-1-72. Sack: 1-(-7). Totals: 6-22-1-65.
V- Joy 6-67; Partain 2-22; M. Bombardier 2-61, TD; Howe 3-40; Canada 3-38; Jabour 2-6; Young 1-8.
LC- M. St. Clair 5-70; T. St. Clair 1-2.
V- Coppins.
LC- Murphy.
V- Hartman.

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.

The Lake City Stars' Ryan DeCamp (3) and Evan Murphy (24) attempt to tackle the Vermont Ice Storm's Austin Partain (20) on the opening kickoff of Saturday's Empire Football League game at Melissa L. Penfield Park. The Ice Storm defeated the Stars, 10-0.

Get a sneak peek of the all-new

Saturday, August 18, 2007

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage August 18th

Lake City looking up in EFL race

Staff Writer

— PLATTSBURGH "" As the second half of the Empire Football League season gets under way, the Lake City Stars find themselves at the bottom looking up in the East standings.
The Stars (1-3-1) face an uphill climb that begins tonight as they face the undefeated Vermont Ice Storm (5-0) for the second time this season. The contest gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at Melissa L. Penfield Park.
The Ice Storm had the upper hand the first go around in Colchester, Vt. Vermont scored 35 points during the second quarter in a 35-7 victory.
Lake City was plagued by five turnovers in the game, including four interceptions, that helped lead to 21 points for the Ice Storm.
Vermont is coming off a 28-7 victory over the Ottawa Deacon Demons last weekend.
Brad Ruderman was 13-of-21 for 168 yards while tossing two touchdowns and an interception. Jason Young hauled in two passes for 62 yards and a touchdown while Austin Partain also added a score through the air.
Jason Young paced the rushing attack with 73 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.
Lake City, however, is coming off a difficult 22-6 loss to Watertown a week ago. The Stars' defense was strong in the defeat, but the offense had a hard time moving the ball on the Red & Black's defense.
Watertown held Lake City to just 58 yards of total offense in the game, while the Red & Black finished with 281 yards of offense.
Matt Bezio completed 8-of-19 passes for a net of 47 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Matt St. Clair caught four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.
With just five games remaining, the Lake City Stars are on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
Vermont leads the Eastern Division while both Amsterdam and Chateauguay stand at 3-2 heading into this week. Lake City needs to leap frog one of those two teams to land in the 2007 playoffs.
The Stars could get some help tonight as Chateauguay heads to Amsterdam to take on the Zephyrs.
Family Fun Day
The Lake City Stars are holding a Family Fun Day today from 3-6 p.m. at Melissa L. Penfield Park.
The day will include games, food, raffles, autographs, a bounce house, photos and DJ service provided by A&J DJ Services.
Empire Football League

Tonight's games
Vermont Ice Storm at Lake City Stars
Chateauguay Titans at Amsterdam Zephyrs
Watertown Red & Black at Ottawa Deacon Demons
Scranton Eagles at St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.

All Ice Storm home games, and this week's game at Plattsburgh can be heard on ESPN 1390 WCAT in Burlington, and on the web at



Eagles' Klimek delivers game-saving play



In today's sports world, things happen in the heat of battle that may come off to the casual fan as unsportsmanlike or disrespectful.

The taunting after a defensive back makes a highlight-reel hit on a wide receiver. A batter "styling" down the first-base line after hitting a home run.

For most purists and traditionalists, these things leave a bitter taste, knowing how sports used to be. Athletes would go about their job in a business-like fashion, without a lot of flash or style, but still getting the job done.

Then, there is a moment like this.

It happened Aug. 11 in an Empire Football League game between the visiting Scranton Eagles and the Amsterdam Zephyrs.

With 13:42 left in the fourth quarter, Amsterdam running back Jorge Rodriquez took a handoff and was tackled on a hard hit by Eagles defensive back Paul Shanaman on the Zephyr 35-yard line. While Shanaman was able to get to his feet, Rodriquez remained on the turf at Lynch Middle School, having sustained a potentially severe neck injury.

Then, out of nowhere, Nathan Klimek, a 23-year old rookie linebacker with the Eagles, jumped into action to help out.

"It was a bad hit, the two players just collided," Klimek said. I told coach (Mike Arcure) that I think I should go out there."

Klimek, a graduate of Pittston Area and Bloomsburg University, is a paramedic with Lackawanna Ambulance as well as White Haven Medic 22.

"I told them I was a paramedic," Klimek said. "Together, we were able to get him immobilized and on a backboard for transport. (Rodriguez) was conscious and was able to move."

Twenty minutes after the play had ended, Rodriguez was taken to a local hospital.

According to Amsterdam coach Dom Ruggeri, Rodriquez sustained a severely sprained neck as well as several pulled muscles in his back. Ruggeri also said Rodriquez will be held out of this week's game with the Chateauguay Titans, but should return next week.

"Thank God that Nathan was there," Arcure said. "He just went in there and took charge. He just did a great job."

For Klimek, a gut reaction turned into something that some people will remember for years to come.

"I just ran on instincts. That's why I became a paramedic," Klimek said. "It just felt really good to have helped out."

Contact the writer:



©The Times-Tribune 2007


Watertown Daily Times



Saturday, August 18, 2007

Watertown Red and Black vs. Ottawa Deacon Demons

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Nepean Sportsplex, Ottawa.

Head coaches: Watertown, George Ashcraft; Ottawa, Jeff Pinck.

Records: Watertown (6-2 overall, 4-1 EFL); Ottawa (2-2-1).

Last meeting: Watertown won 29-12 on July 28.

NOTES: The Red and Black battered the Deacon Demons defense three weeks ago, mounting two second half drives of over 13 minutes each. ... Ottawa could struggle again as Watertown ran 46 times last week for over 200 yards. ... Tonight is the third of four straight road games for Watertown. ... The Demons lost last week by 28-7 to Vermont, the league's only unbeaten team. ... Ernie Miller (380 yards) has taken the league rushing lead over from Ottawa's Shaun Harkes (318). ... Ottawa's Craig Hodge already has 11 sacks, but he'll have trouble adding to his total against the Red and Black, which has allowed only four all season.

Scranton Eagles vs. St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers

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

Head coaches: Scranton, Michael Arcure; SLV, Offense, Mike Britton; Defense and special teams, Jim Compeau.

Records: Scranton (1-4); St. Lawrence Valley (0-5).

Last meeting: Scranton won 28-7 on July 28.

NOTES: The Trailblazers were dealt their most humiliating loss of the season last week, a 52-0 pounding by Chateauguay. Titans quarterback Kevin Wyeth completed five touchdown passes, including four in the first half. ... St. Lawrence Valley's offense is still stuck in neutral and has reached a critical point in the season. In their loss to Chateauguay, the team totaled 43 yards on 39 plays, and quarterback Christopher Tom tossed four interceptions. ... Scranton quarterback Ted Wallingford connected for two TDs through the air and logged 157 passing yards in the Eagles win over the Trailblazers last month. ... Eagles lineman George Romiti is easily leading the EFL with 72 tackles this season. Right behind him are St. Lawrence Valley linebackers Ricky Delaney (54) and Cheyenne Dashnaw (49).

Copyright 2007. Watertown Daily Times, Inc., Watertown, NY. All rights reserved.


Watertown Daily Times

Consistent kicking bonus for Red-Black




Saturday, August 18, 2007

Enough good things have happened this season that Watertown Red and Black head coach George Ashcraft has been able to overlook kicking woes that have plagued the team during the first half of the season.

But that doesn't mean the coaching staff hasn't noticed.

Kicker Leo Grant has been effective, connecting on 5-of-7 field goal attempts. But the two misses were consecutive, and would have helped Watertown beat Vermont, which won a game 17-16 on Aug. 4.

Because one try was from beyond 50 yards, and the other beyond 40, Watertown (6-2, 4-1) isn't blaming Grant for the only blemish on its record.

Instead, the team is concerned that it doesn't seem to take every point it can get.

Grant, who is consistently one of the league's best kickers, is just 12-of-17 on extra-point attempts. That total includes a miss against the Ice Storm, and he also missed two last week.

Grant might not be completely at fault, however. He was also affected by the retirement of quarterback Doug Black, Grant's holder. In Black's absence, Watertown has already employed several different players at his former holder position.

That's why the veteran head coach isn't stressing. Not yet, anyway.

"Missing (extra points) sometimes costs you a game, and other times it doesn't matter as much," he said. "I'm not going to get all hysterical about it."

At 4-1 and atop the EFL's West Division, Watertown has not had to dwell on the occasional special teams flub. The league's highest scoring offense (155 points scored), and stingiest defense (44 points allowed) have assured that, most of the time, one point won't matter.

But as the trip to Vermont displayed, kicking struggles may eventually transform from a nuisance to the difference in a game.

Ashcraft said last week's victory over Lake City was beneficial for Grant, who nailed a long attempt in game's final minute.

"We're working with Leo now, and I think he has confidence back. He missed an extra-point, and got down on himself, but then kicked a 37-yarder," Ashcraft said. "He's fine now. He came out feeling a lot better about things."

Despite owning the league's best offense and defense, Watertown can only look up at Vermont, the EFL's only unbeaten team. If each wins the rest of their games, which they should, then Ice Storm would host the league championship game on Oct. 13.

After being away Aug. 4 and Aug. 11, the Red and Black again play on the road this week (Ottawa) and next (St. Lawrence Valley). The final three regular season games are set for the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

The team doesn't view its unusual schedule as a hurdle.

"We're just rolling with it, like I said we would," Ashcraft said. "The only thing we can do is keep playing, keep winning, and hope that if anything happens, it happens to Vermont."

Copyright 2007. Watertown Daily Times, Inc., Watertown, NY. All rights reserved.



Zephyrs ready for rematch with Titans

By MIKE ZUMMO, The Leader-Herald

Published on Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Leader-Herald/Bill Cain

Amsterdam's Elijah White (44) strains for extra yardage during last Saturday's game against Scranton.

AMSTERDAM — The Amsterdam Zephyrs have been waiting for tonight's game for three weeks.

Ever since Zephyrs coach Dominic Ruggeri and defensive coordinator Rod Schur had to suit up to fill out the team roster. Amsterdam was missing seven players before leaving for Canada and lost even more as quite a few weren't allowed to cross the border.

Overall, the Zephyrs were without 23 players and suffered a 34-18 loss to the Chateauguay Titans.

"I've got about 23 guys that didn't make the trip that are chomping at the bit to get them," Ruggeri said.

This time, the Zephyrs expect to have their full squad and Ruggeri said he's looking for his defense to shut out the Titans (3-2).

"We want to shut them out," Ruggeri said. "We don't want them to score. We want them to know that if we had our full team, they wouldn't have won. They're a class organization, but that was a hard one to swallow and the guys have not forgotten it."

The Titans' win over the Zephyrs (3-2) started a three-game winning streak and Chateauguay is coming off a 52-0 blowout victory over the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers last week.

"We're going to go right at them and attack them," Ruggeri said. "We're not going to sit back and wait. We're going to throw the ball and run the ball."

The Week 3 loss to Chateauguay put the Zephyrs two games behind the Vermont Ice Storm in the EFL East. A win tonight will give Amsterdam sole possession of second place.

"This is a must-win not only for the standings," Ruggeri said. "We want to keep the momentum going when we head to Vermont. We know we can beat them. We just have to execute and not make mistakes against them."

The Zephyrs played last week's game without starting quarterback Ken Shaffer, who found himself lying on a locker room bench with a migraine headache.

"That was a big blow," Ruggeri said. "You've got the top quarterback in the league and he can't go. That throws a monkey wrench into our plans. That's hard to adjust from."

Eric Johnson — normally a wide receiver — was forced into the starting quarterback slot on a moment's notice. He went 7-for-16 through the air for 72 yards with one interception in the Zephyrs' 15-6 victory over the Scranton Eagles last week as the offense did just enough to win the game.

"That was the object of what we were trying to do," Ruggeri said. "We asked Eric Johnson to step in. His timing was off and he hadn't run the offense. He did a great job managing the game. He did just what he had to do just to let the defense win it for us."

Ruggeri said he spoke to Shaffer Wednesday and he expects his quarterback to be ready to for tonight's game.

He'll have a new target tonight as well.

Ruggeri learned Thursday that the Zephyrs have added Bo Gaudreau, most recently of the Albany Metro Mallers, last season's Empire Football League champions. The Metro Mallers left the EFL after last season and now play in the North American Football League's Empire Division.

"He's been one of the premier slot receivers for the last five or six years," Ruggeri said. "He's decided to leave Albany and come to us and he will play [today]."

Defensively, the Zephyrs will need to stop Kevin Wyeth, who has thrown eight touchdown passes this season against two interceptions, and leading rusher Denis House.

"I had eight defensive starters that didn't make that trip," Ruggeri said. "It's going to be an emotional game for us because that was an easy win for us that was taken away."

Section: Sports

Zephyrs looking for some revenge


Recorder Sports Staff

The Amsterdam Zephyrs and Chateauguay Titans will play each other for the second time tonight at Lynch Middle School with stakes much higher this time around.

Both teams enter with identical 3-2 record and will be vying for sole possession of second place. in the Empire Football League East Division.

The Vermont Ice Storm own the top spot in the EFL East with a 5-0 record.

"We're in the hunt right now, but we need crowd support," said Amsterdam head coach Dom Ruggeri. "The crowds have been okay, but we need more people. This is a big game for us. We're not looking past Chateauguay. The guys have been focused all week. They're on a mission."

The first meeting between the teams on July 28 was the low point of the Zephyrs season — a 34-18 loss that featured 24 Amsterdam players unable to cross the United States border into Canada. Those 24 players spent seven hours at a McDonalds on the U.S. side.

"It was a very emotional game," Ruggeri said. "We had everybody out of position and no position players. It would have been a different story if we had all our guys there."

Ruggieri won't have that problem tonight. He'll have the services of 6-foot-7, 348-pound offensive tackle Aaron Robinson, who recently finished his fireman training. Another welcome addition is the arrival of Bo Goudrea, a wide receiver for the Albany Metro Mallers. Goudreau has been one of the top receivers in the EFL the last five years. He signed with Amsterdam on Thursday and later practiced with the team.

Ruggeri got more good news when quarterback Ken Schaefer put in a solid practice on Tuesday. He had been battling migraine headaches. Schaefer, one of the top quarterbacks in the EFL, is 64-for-129 with 894 yards this season. He has thrown for eight touchdowns and just own interception.

"He looks 100 percent," Ruggeri said of Schaefer. "He's definitely ready to go."

Gametime tonight at Lynch is set for 7:30 p.m.

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