Saturday, August 11, 2007

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage August 11th

Watertown Daily Times


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Watertown Red and Black vs. Lake City Stars

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Melissa L. Penfield Park, Plattsburgh.

Head coaches: Watertown, George Ashcraft; Lake City, Pat Keleher

Records: Watertown (5-2 overall, 3-1 EFL); Lake City (1-2-1).

Last meeting: Lake City won 12-9 on July 8, 2006

NOTES: Watertown is coming off last week's tough one-point loss to Vermont, and spent significant time in practice fine tuning its special teams. ... The Stars are under the leadership of first year coach Pat Keleher, and have allowed the third most total points (114) in the league. ... Ernie Miller rushed for a league best 110 yards last week. He has 211 yards in Watertowns previous two games. ... Punter Perry Willett has returned to the Red and Black. Mike Dumaw's 44.6 yards per punt is second in the league, but Willett's presence could offer Dumaw a break. ... Concerns about the Red and Black's passing game have faded. Todd Kiechle's 101.8 quarterback rating is second in the league. He has completed an efficient 45.9% (17-for-37) of his pass attempts with six touchdowns and two interceptions.

St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers vs. Chateauguay Titans

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, LPP High School, Chateauguay, Quebec.

Head coaches: SLV, Offense, Mike Britton; Defense and special teams, Jim Compeau; Chateauguay, John Mouland.

Records: St. Lawrence Valley (0-4); Chateauguay (2-2).

Last meeting: Chateauguay won 21-2 on Sept. 16, 2006.

NOTES: With a sputtering offense and a tiring defense, the Trailblazers couldn't stop Amsterdam in a 35-7 home loss last week. James Compeau provided the lone bright spot on offense with 87 rushing yards and a touchdown. ... Andrew Blevings nailed an 18-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining to give the Titans a narrow 15-14 victory over Scranton last week. Blevings, a veteran running back, and Dennis Houle have given Chateauguay a formidable backfield. ... St. Lawrence Valley's Mike Britton said he isn't sure when or if quarterback Dave Currier will be returning to the team. Until he knows, Christopher Tom will be the team's starting signal caller, and Joe Hutchinson will return to his primary position at wide receiver. ... After Zan Symonds received most of the snaps at quarterback at the beginning of the season for Chateauguay, Kevin Wyeth has countered with solid performances in both Titans' wins. He finished last season at Chateauguay's starting quarterback. ... Chateauguay outscored the Trailblazers, 62-5, in their two meetings last year.

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

Lake City back home tonight

Staff Writer

— PLATTSBURGH "" After a two-game road trip the Lake City Stars are back at Melissa L. Penfield Park tonight. The Stars welcome the Watertown Red & Black with game time set for 7:30 p.m.
Tonight also will be Mac McClary Night with the Stars paying tribute to their longtime fan and assistant. McClary also will handle the coin toss.
Lake City (1-2-1) had a rough going on the road the past two weeks, falling to Vermont, 35-7, before tieing Ottawa, 10-10, last week.
The Red & Black has a definite size advantage, but their running-oriented offense could be playing into Lake City's strengths.
"From what I have seen on film, they are big and physical," Stars head coach Pat Keleher said. "They are old-fashioned, I guess. They want to run it down their opponents throat which is very similar to Ottawa. They have big backs and are big up front.
"They have a very talented receiver in Lester Cole, and he is their go-to guy in the passing game. We are going to have to worry about him because he can take it to the house on any given play."
The Stars have been particularly stingy against the run in their first four games, which could force Watertown's hand on offense.
"Defensively, we have to play solid up front," Keleher said. "We can't let them push us around; no one has been able to run the ball well against us. We have done well against the run in all four games and no one has been able to run the ball down our throats. Watertown is probably the most efficient run team that we play against "" that is what they do well.
"We have to be able to shut them down and make them throw. They are not as comfortable in the passing game. It's not that they can't, but it's not their first choice."
Lake City is coming off a pretty strong game offensively against the Deacon Demons, except in the scoring department.
Matt Bezio completed 15 of 28 passes for 208 yards, but tossed a pair of interceptions. Matt St. Clair hauled in six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown while Jordon Keleher added five catches for 85 yards.
On the ground, Kyle Nolan paced Lake City with 42 yards on 11 attempts.
"I still believe that we need to run the ball better," Keleher said. "We haven't done it well all year; we've done it OK, but haven't been great at it. We have to be able run with consistency.
"If we can protect Matt Bezio, he can deliver, and we have receivers who are as good as any in the league. If we can get a more efficient run game that will allow more time and will open up the passing game.
Watertown dropped to 3-1 last week with a 17-16 loss in Vermont.
The Red & Black had a pair of chances to pull it out late in the game, but missed two long field-goal attempts.
Ernie Miller rushed for 110 yards on 16 carries to lead the way for Watertown. Coles hauled in three passed for 63 yards while Brian Beltz had two receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
Todd Kiechle tossed 135 yards through the air on 5-of-15 throwing.
"The kids are excited to be home," Keleher said. "We have four of the next five at home, so the guys are excited to be back which should help.
"This is the second of four weeks in a row Watertown is on the road, so that should bode well for us."

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.

True fan of Lake City Stars

Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH "" Things are constantly changing for the Lake City Stars.
Players, coaches and trainers come and go. The color of the team has switched from blue and red to maroon and gold. Even the name of the team has changed "" Lake City Stars from Plattsburgh North Stars.
With all of that change, however, there has been one constant on the Lake City sidelines "" "Mac" McClary.
McClary has been around the Stars since the beginning and before they were even a team. His job title has changed through the years "" he has been the secretary, public address announcer, photographer, chain gang member and has even helped out with the water bottles now and then.
One thing hasn't changed, though, his love for the Lake City Stars.
"I got involved with this sort of by accident," McClary recalls. "I was around back in 1990 when the powers that be decided to put a team together.
"They held a Montreal-Glens Falls league game in Plattsburgh one night and the response was so good from the area. It was then that I became aware that a team was being formed. I was hosting a sports-talk radio show on the weekends and I would talk about the meetings from the week "" that's sort of how I got roped in and as luck would have it, I am the only one who is still involved."
McClary is also the main historian for the Lake City Stars. He has kept notes, clippings and statistics since the beginning of the franchise.
"I started keeping records and stats and I put them in a scrap book," McClary said. "I guess I was the only one who thought to do that and I have sort of evolved into the team's historian. I have three large books now."
Former Stars head coach Ed McCallister holds McClary in high regard, labeling him "the biggest Stars fan".
"There's not a bigger fan and no other guy lives and breathes Stars football more than him," McCallister said. "I don't know if everyone realizes it, or appreciates everything he does, but he is iconic when it comes to the Stars.
"Last season when we beat Watertown on the road I don't know who was happier "" him or me. He is one of the original founders and truly loves the football team and all the guys that have been part of it.
"I don't know how successful or how many years this team would have lasted if he had not been such an integral part. Whatever the colors of the team is, he is bleeding them. He is diehard, true to the core "" he is the Stars."
Mike Archer, an all-star offensive lineman for the Stars, was one of the original North Stars. He retired before this season.
"The main thing that comes to my mind about Mac is he is more dedicated then even some of the players,"
Archer said. "He shows up at all of the games and the practices and he keeps track of everything. The guy even paid his player dues "" even though he is not a player.
"He just has a huge amount of dedication and does a lot of things that he doesn't have to do. But, that's just the type of guy that he is."
New Lake City Stars head coach Pat Keleher has only been part of the organization for less than a year, but already can tell just what McClary means to the organization.
"He is just a great person," Keleher said. "He has been with the organization since its inception and I know that the guys really like him.
"He comes to practice at lest once a week and talks to the players and usually watches. I know they appreciate someone who cares so much about them and the team. He is a great person, a great fan and a great supporter of the team and we all really appreciate that."
In nearly two decades, McClary has seen a lot of football games, but he was quick to recall his favorite memory "" and it came in year one.
"We were playing the Scranton Eagles in our first game and at that time Scranton was the powerhouse of the league," McClary said. "We were trailing, but we came back to win the game in the last 17 seconds."
According to McClary, the main thing that keeps him coming back is his love for the game.
"It's like keeping track of your kids as a parent,"
McClary said. "When you give birth to something you like to keep track of it.
"I enjoy the game and my hope is that one day I will get to see them win the league championship.
"To me this is a labor of love. I enjoy all of the fellows and they are fine young men. I just try to do what I can to help out and root them on the best I can."
E-mail Keith Kane at:

Mac McClary is undeniably the No. 1 fan of the Lake City Stars and the team will pay tribute to their biggest backer before tonight's game with Watertown at Melissa L. Penfield Park.

Amsterdam set to host Scranton

By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald

Published on Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo

Amsterdam's Eric Johnson runs against Lake City in an Empire Football League game played July 14.

AMSTERDAM — Kickoff coverage may be half the battle for the Amsterdam Zephyrs tonight against Scranton.

The Eagles come to town for a 7:30 kickoff at Lynch Middle School, and they have a pair of kick returners who have had a lot of success this season in the Empire Football League.

"They have a very good kick returner, who scares the heck out of me," Amsterdam coach Dom Ruggeri said. "That's our weakness. I've changed our kickoff team probably six or seven times. This week, I went with more starters [on the kickoff team], and we're putting out best guys out there."

Scranton's Robert Solimini has returned 10 kicks for an average of 30.7 yards, his longest a 58-yarder. Phil Ross has two for an average of 41.5, his longest a 62-yarder.

Neither has returned a kick for a touchdown.

Ruggeri said his kicker has done fine with the directional game, putting the ball down the middle or between the hashes and sideline, but getting the coverage to stay in their lanes, close the gap and make tackles has been a challenge.

If they keep the Eagles from starting with a short field, Ruggeri said the Zephyrs can count on their defense. The Amsterdam defense will be looking to stop a new Eagles passing game.

"They've got a new quarterback, the [Ted] Wallingford kid," Ruggeri said. "He's probably about 6-6. He's not really built, but he's a big kid. He played in college and can throw the heck out of the ball. I expect them to come out and try to throw the ball against us. I know they probably don't think they're going to be able to run against us."

Wallingford is completing 56 percent of his passes (42-for-75), has three touchdown passes and three interceptions, for a QB rating of 77.0, according to He has also carried the ball for a touchdown, but has not made a habit of running the ball. Just over 64 percent of the Eagles' offense has come through the air.

The Amsterdam offense will try to take advantage of its speed, Ruggeri said.

"Our wideouts and our backs are really fast and we're going to go right at them," he said. "If we have to, we'll pound it up the middle with Elijah [White], our fullback. He had a great game against St. Lawrence and built a lot of confidence. I think we'll be pretty balanced with the run and the pass this week."

Besides winning the game, the Amsterdam offense has a secondary goal of being more productive in the red zone. Against St. Lawrence Valley last week, the Zephyrs (2-2 East Division) were inside the 20-yard line six times in the first half and came away with two scores. Ruggeri said his players were frustrated with the poor production and are focused on improving those numbers against Scranton (1-3 West Division).

They will be doing so without some key players. Starting left tackle Chris Dominowski is back, but offensive guard and the line's player coach, Bobby VanHoesen, is still out with a cracked rib. VanHoesen may be back next week against Chateauguay, Ruggeri said. Offensive lineman Frank Peace is out with a stress fracture in his foot. Ruggeri said he felt well enough to play this week, but Ruggeri will hold him out until next week.

Defensive end Rick Hulett also is out and may return Aug. 25 for the trip to Vermont.

In the lineup tonight, White leads the Zephyrs with 122 rushing yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns. Quarterback Ken Shaffer also has 122 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carriers. He has thrown for eight touchdowns and one interception, completing 64 of 129 passes for 894 yards. Shaffer leads the league in passing yards and touchdowns.

Cedrick Pearman has 30 receptions for 503 yards and five touchdowns. He leads all receivers in the EFL, followed closely by Amsterdam's Evan DeGeorgio (third behind Watertown's Cole Lester) with 19 catches for 287 yards and two scores.

Ruggeri said the players he has can get the job done, but he wants them to do it one game at a time. He said it would be a bad idea to look past Scranton, but at the same time, the team has Chateauguay and Vermont in its sights.

"We want to win this and then bury Montreal [Chateauguay]. But we can't overlook Scranton," Ruggeri said. "Then we can go into Vermont at 4-2 and take a chunk out of them. They're still a little upset about giving that game to Vermont here in Amsterdam."


Zephyrs begin homestand at Lynch


Recorder Sports Staff

After being on the road up north for two games, the Amsterdam Zephyrs are happy to be home.

The Zephyrs, 2-2, will host the Scranton Eagles in an Empire Football League game at Lynch field today at 7:30 p.m.

Coming off a 35-7 win over the St. Lawrence Valley Trail Blazers, the Zephyrs are situated two games behind the unbeaten Vermont Ice Storm in the EFL East Division race.

"The win was a good one, and we had no injuries. The guys are not satisfied at all, they want to send a message this week and especially next week," said Zephyrs head coach Dom Ruggeri.

Meanwhile, Scranton is struggling at 1-3 in the West Division trailing Watertown, 3-1.

While the passing game has been very effective, Amsterdam finally got its running game on track.

The Zephyrs ran by committee in their last game using Elijah White, Tarquan Pearman, Jorge Rodriguez, Steve Kowalczyk and Mike Philo.

"I went into last week's game wanting to establish the run off the bat, because we know we can throw the ball. But I don't want to always have it on Kenny's (quarterback Schaefer) shoulder to lead the team down the field just throwing the ball. I want a balanced attack," said Zephyrs offensive coordinator Mike Finocchi.

And the Zephyrs did that in a big way.

The Zephyrs had 37 rushes for 249 yards and kept the legs fresh throughout the game keeping St. Lawrence Valley off balance.

"I rotate the guys so much. I will evaluate how it's going in practice and I want to incorporate Elijah more into the offense. He had eight carries for 92 yards last week," said Finocchi.

Schaefer is ranked first in the EFL passing department with 64-for-129 for 894 yards and eight touchdowns. His favorite receiver has been Cedric Pearman with 30 catches for 503 yards (16.8 average) and five touchdowns.

Tight end Evan DeGeorgio has hauled in 19 catches for 287 yards (15.1 average).

Despite Scranton's 1-3 record, Zephyrs head coach Dom Ruggeri feels they have to be ready to play.

"We know that Scranton has a very good kick returner (Rob Solimini) and our kickoff team has not been good all year. There will be a lot more starters playing kickoff this week. They (Scranton) have a young quarterback (Ted Wallingford) but he throws the ball well. Their defense is decent, and we are not looking past them at all. I give their coaching staff a lot of credit. They come to play no matter what. We have a lot of respect for their whole organization," he said.  Solimini has returned 10 kicks for 307 yards.

As far as the injury list goes for Amsterdam.

Defensive end Rick Hulett will be back for the Vermont game on Aug. 25, while Bob VanHoesen and Frank Peace will return against Montreal.

Left tackle Chris Dominowski should be ready after being in an automobile accident the day before the Montreal game.

"As you can see this has been one heck of a challenge for me to fill some big holes and keep the guys focused," said Ruggeri.

Ruggeri is also pleased about the emergence of the running game and hopes it continues tonight.

"I am happy the running game has improved, but now we have to get better in the red zone and score. We've come away to many times without points, I'm confident coach Finocchi will make the adjustments. He is the best offensive coordinator in the league in my opinion," he said.

Defensive coordinator Rod Schur has worked very hard with the defense this season.

"These guys have really pulled together and started playing as a team and that's one of the biggest things I can really comment on. The guys are starting to come through. They're out there to play football. Last week, they played perfectly together," he said.

The Zephyrs experienced their share of injuries, but have managed to plug up the holes.

"The defense is in good shape, good position. I'm comfortable where everybody is playing and I have good back-ups that are playing. If they're not first string, they're right there next in second string. They're jelling so well," said Schur.

Schur also praised free safety Luke Posniewski as being a general on the field and linebacker Greg Woodard, a phenomenal athlete, who has great football instincts and likes what he does on the field.

"My corners have stepped up to the plate this year. You got Jeremiah Newborn, Eugene Maye and Carlos Feliciano, Mark Holmes, and Joe Torres. It's working out well," said Schur.

Scranton first-year coach Mike Accure has seen the Zephyrs on tape a couple of times.

"Their passing game is really impressive. Schaefer is a good quarterback. They're a pretty good team. We're just starting to come around," said Accure.

Ted Wallingford calls the signals for Scranton. He's completed 42-of-75 passes for 569 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

Tim Pazienza leads the rushing department with 129 yards on 18 carries (7.2 average) and Louis Verdetto has caught 15 passes for 224 yards (14.9 average).

The Scranton defense is anchored by linebacker George "Rocko" Romiti who leads the EFL in tackles with 55 (26 solo and 29 assisted).

"I'm looking for them (Zephyrs) to pass first, then run. We just can't give up the big play. I like to grind it out. This game is very important to us. We need the win to get back into it (playoff race)," said Accure.


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