Saturday, August 04, 2007

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage August 4th


Scranton Eagles look to make it two in a row



Coming off their first win of the Empire Football League campaign, the Scranton Eagles take to the road Saturday as they make their second trip to Canada in three weeks when travel to Montreal to battle the Chateauguay Titans at 7:30 p.m..

The Eagles (1-2), a 28-7 victor over St. Lawrence Valley, are led offensively by quarterback Ted Wallingford and receiver Louis Verdetto. Wallingford, a Honesdale product, hit Verdetto, of Old Forge, with a pair of 30-yard touchdown passes. Lackawanna Trail graduate Tim Pazienza paced the Scranton running attack with 82 yards on 12 carries and a score.

"Offensively, we needed to get our running game going," Eagles coach Mike Arcure said. "Before the game, I challenged our (offensive and defensive lines) to be more aggressive."

Defensively, player-coach George Romiti has 44 tackles in three games this season, including 14 in last week's win. Linebacker Nick Parlanti of Mid Valley added nine tackles and safety Cory Champi intercepted the Eagles' first pass of the season last week.

In the Eagles' return game, rookie Rob Solimini from Bishop O'Hara continues to impress, averaging 30.7 yards per kickoff return.

As far as injuries are concerned, fullback Bill Sandly from Riverside, recovering from a knee sprain, and Solimini, nursing a sprained ankle, hope to be in Saturday's lineup, according to Arcure.

Like the Eagles, coach John Mouland's Titans picked up their first victory of the regular season with a 34-18 home win over the Amsterdam Zephyrs. Chateauguay lost to the Vermont Ice Storm and Lake City Stars to open the season.

"That is a tough place to play," Arcure said. "And according to our reports, they have a big, fast and tough team."

This is the first of three straight road games for the Eagles, who will also visit Amsterdam and St. Lawrence Valley before returning home Aug. 25 to take on the Ottawa Demon Deacons at Scranton Memorial Stadium ... Chateauguay holds a 1-0 lead in the all-time series, defeating the Eagles in 2005.

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©The Times-Tribune 2007


Watertown Daily Times



Saturday, August 04, 2007

Watertown Red and Black vs. Vermont Ice Storm

When, where: 7:30 p.m. today, Colchester (Vt.) High School.

Head coaches: Watertown, George Ashcraft; Vermont, Doug Perez.

Records: Watertown (5-1 overall, 3-0 EFL); Vermont (3-0).

Last meeting: Oct. 7, EFL playoffs, Watertown won 23-9.

NOTES: Tonight's game is the first of four straight on the road for the Red and Black. ... WR Lester Cole has caught a touchdown in each regular season game. He has six scoring catches to go along with 279 yards. ... Watertown boasts the EFL's highest scoring offense with 116 points. The defense has been equally as dominant, allowing just 7.3 points per game. ... Unlike recent seasons, Watertown has not been susceptible to long passing plays. .... Vermont QB Brad Ruderman last week tossed three scoring strikes — two to Rob Joy . ... The Red and Black will continue to operate a strong, ball-control attack. Watertown orchestrated two sustained drives during the second half of last week's victory over Ottawa. Each ate up more than 13 minutes of game time. ... RB Ernie Miller is coming off a 101-yard performance.

Amsterdam Zephyrs vs. St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers

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

Head coaches: Amsterdam, Dominic Ruggeri; SLV, Offense, Mike Britton; Defense and special teams, Jim Compeau.

Records: Amsterdam (1-2); St. Lawrence Valley (0-3).

Last meeting: Amsterdam won, 19-6, on July 15, 2006.

NOTES: The Trailblazers suffered a difficult road loss against Scranton last weekend, 28-7. The lone touchdown came on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Joe Hutchinson to James Compeau . Hutchinson completed nine of 14 passes for 101 yards — all to Compeau — and an interception. ... The Zephyrs also lost on the road last week to Chateauguay, 34-18. Amsterdam carried only 21 players on the roster after several were unable to cross the border. The team was missing 26 total players for the game. In 2005, the franchise skipped an entire season due to lack of players. ... St. Lawrence Valley's Ricky Delaney continued to showcase his importance and efficiency on defense against Scranton. He logged a team-best 13 tackles and leads the team in that category with 38. ... Amsterdam will look to attack the Trailblazers defense through the air. Zephrys quarterback Ken Shaffer made 38 attempts against Chateauguay, completed 16 passes, and connected for 209 yards and two TDs.

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



Watertown Daily Times

Trailblazers take pride in stingy line

PROTECTION PLUS: Winless St. Lawrence Valley has given up just 1 sack




Saturday, August 04, 2007

POTSDAM — Danny Miller takes pride in being one of the smallest left tackles in the Empire Football League.

The Canton product and four-year veteran of the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers is also the first to mention that no player has registered a sack against him this season. But the team's entire offensive line can almost boast the same sentiment.

Despite a winless start to the 2007 campaign, the Trailblazers' offensive line has gradually improved during the course of the franchise's existence. What used to be a porous unit has become one of the more consistent facets of the team.

And Miller said he and his linemates don't mind if they're never lauded for their effort.

"There is more heart on the offensive line this year," Miller said. "It's not the most popular position because no one gets the glory."

Where the offensive line will gladly take credit is in the one recorded sack they've allowed in three games this year. They surrendered 18 sacks in 10 games in 2006. Installing a shotgun offense from the beginning of the season has also helped improve those numbers.

"I think it goes back to the leadership and team work that the unit has demonstrated," said Ray Holz, who's in his third year as the offensive line coach. "Honestly, as the coach of the offensive line, I take no credit for that. They let me hold the clipboard. At this level, they're working their own deal."

Holz said the anchor to the offensive line happens to be first-year center Gordie Leonard. Leonard sacrificed touchdowns and receiving yards as a former wide receiver and tight end to aid an offense that's now moving the ball with more consistency.

"We try to give our quarterback confidence," Leonard said. "In the last three or four years, we've really struggled at that position because our quarterback always seems to be running for his life back there. We wanted to instill confidence in the leader of our offense."

Leonard is flanked by two capable veterans on his right side — Malone's Barry Hazen and Lee Blythe of Saranac Lake. But the left side of the line is where Miller and former Ogdensburg Free Academy player Matt Bogart carry the greatest responsibility.

In Michael Lewis's recent book "The Blind Side," he explains how the position of left tackle has evolved into one of most critical positions in the NFL today. Lewis said the player's presence is felt solely by limiting the number of sacks against crazed pass rushers.

Lewis's opinion holds true for Miller and even Bogart, who said he gets his best work in twice a week.

"We've got some of the best defensive ends and linebackers in the league," said Bogart, the team's left guard. "We get to go against them in practice and that's the biggest challenge for us; (it) keeps us ready all week."

Quarterback protection should eventually lead to more points for the Trailblazers. Because of the group's ability to make quick adjustments and communicate positively, Leonard hopes their mission goes beyond this year.

"We're not afraid to make mistakes, even though we're young," Leonard said. "... It would be nice if we could stick together for three or four more years."

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


Lake City looks to get even

Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH "" The Lake City Stars ran into a bit of a snag last weekend in the form of the Vermont Ice Storm.
Their rivals from across Lake Champlain erupted for 35 points "" all in the second quarter "" as the Stars fell, 35-7.
Tonight, Lake City will look to even its record to 2-2 as it travels to Ottawa to take on the Deacon Demons at 7:30 p.m.
"Vermont is a good football team," Stars head coach Pat Keleher said. "They are solid right across the board. They have the size, the experience, the speed and the depth.
"That being said, we played with them for two quarters. We had a very good opening drive, but couldn't finish. We moved the ball well, and we played with them in the first quarter and early on in the second."
Again, though, Lake City was plagued by the turnover.
Vermont scored three times within a two-minute span in the second quarter, thanks to an interception and a fumble. The Stars turned the ball over five times in the game.
"The play that was most detrimental was the fumble that Vermont scooped up and set up a score," Keleher said. "That put them up 14-0, and some of the younger players started to panic "" it really took some of the wind out of our sails.
"Before we knew it, it was 21-0, and that really rattled us. We had been down to both Amsterdam and Chateauguay, but we didn't regroup against Vermont like we did against them. We got discouraged, and they greatly took advantage."
Besides the turnovers "" and the 35 points in the second quarter "" the Stars played pretty well.
Brad Ruderman, who normally torches Lake City's secondary, only managed 128 yards passing. The Stars defense also held the Ice Storm rushing attack in check.
"Like in the Amsterdam game, I saw good things out there," Keleher said. "We were very solid for the first and third quarters, and you might even say we outplayed them in those quarters. The most discouraging thing is we played with them.
"The biggest issue is we gave them 21 points "" I think if we don't fumble on the first play after they scored then it's a different game. Do we beat them? I don't know, but I don't think that they beat us 35-7."
The Deacon Demons are coming off their first loss of the season, 28-13, to Watertown.
Ottawa is more of a rushing team compared to some of the Stars' earlier opponents, who have primarily attacked through the air.
"Traditionally, they are a physical team," Keleher said. "They are a run-control type of team that tries to muscle you. But, so much can change from year-to-year, so they could be a completely different team."
Shaun Harkes is leading the way on the ground for the Deacon Demons with 258 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns.
Quarterback Brent Hill has completed 16 pass for 285 yards and four touchdowns. His favorite receivers have been Derek Manning (117 yards, touchdown) and Doug Watters (79 yards, three touchdowns).
"Our focus this week in practice was to eliminate the mistakes," Keleher said. "We have to go to Ottawa and get a win. If they try to run the ball, I think we will be fine, we can handle that unless they are so much bigger than us up front. The big thing practice-wise was to get the offense a little bit more consistent and to get Matt Bezio to see his reads. He tried to force the ball into places last week.
"I really believe that we will get better every week. The more game experience that they get, the better they will become. I think we have the potential to be better each week, and so far we have played three really good teams.
"The whole mindset was different once Vermont got up on us. A positive mindset is very important for the young kids. We are looking to go up there and not make mistakes and hopefully get some success early. If we do that, then I think we are OK."

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.

Zephyrs to meet winless Trailblazers

By MIKE ZUMMO, The Leader-Herald

Published on Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo

Amsterdam's Evan DeGeorgio (81) makes a catch during a July 21 game against the Vermont Ice Storm. The Zephyrs travel to Potsdam today to face St. Lawrence Valley.

View additional photos and order prints online at

POTSDAM — The Amsterdam Zephyrs knew they were going into last week's game against the Chateauguay Titans seven men short.

Then, they lost seven more that weren't allowed to cross the border into Canada, causing coach Dominic Ruggeri and defensive coordinator Rodney Schur to suit up.

With limited personnel, the Zephyrs were unable to keep up with the Titans and lost 34-14.

"For the 19 guys that we had, they did well. I'm very proud of them," Ruggeri said.

Numbers shouldn't be as big a problem tonight as the Zephyrs will remain in New York to face the winless St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers.

"We'll be fully loaded," Ruggeri said. "We've got our full squad. We're not going to Canada again. That took an easy win from us last week. We should be 2-1. That's really frustrating."

Fully loaded, but with some injuries. Rick Hulett is still out and offensive lineman Bob VanHoesen is still expected to be out for the next three or four weeks.

"Everything but that, we're pretty healthy," Ruggeri said.

The Zephyrs will also get Terry Coleman this week, who Ruggeri said is one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Coleman tore his hamstring last year and has been rehabilitating it ever since.

"That's a big boost to us in the secondary," Ruggeri said.

The Zephyrs have had some frustration building up between the loss to the Vermont Ice Storm two weeks ago and last week's fiasco at the border and Ruggeri said they're looking to take out that frustration tonight on the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers.

"They know we had Vermont beat and we beat ourselves and the border took an easy win from us," Ruggeri said. "That's a lot of frustration for us and I feel sorry for St. Lawrence Valley. Our guys are looking to seek and destroy and it's unfortunate that St. Lawrence Valley is at the front of the pack."

The Zephyrs also came home from Chateauguay to tragic news last week to learn of the death of running back Tarquan Pearman's 3-year-old daughter. The Zephyrs will wear stickers on their helmets and dedicate the remainder of the season to her memory.

"We're giving him all the support we can and the guys are really rallying behind him," Ruggeri said. "It's making us even tighter."

The Zephyrs are looking to get on a roll against St. Lawrence Valley, which is currently 0-3 and last week suffered a 28-7 loss to the Scranton Eagles.

"We played them here last year," Ruggeri said. "They're very organized. Coach Mike Britton does a great job. We need to go up there and get the job done. There are matchup problems for them, but we can't afford to take anybody lightly at this point."

Ruggeri said the Zephyrs need to get the running game going to take the pressure of quarter back Ken Shaffer and the wide receivers and defensively, Amsterdam has to react to the ball and prevent the Trailblazers from running their trick plays.

"We have to react to what they do," Ruggeri said. "They're good at reverses and counters and we have to stay home."


Zephyrs looking to snap two-game slide


Recorder Sports Staff

Head coach Dom Ruggeri is hoping the Amsterdam Zephyrs can regroup and stop a modest two-game losing streak when they visit the St. Lawrence Valley TrailBlazers in Empire Football League play today at 7:30 p.m.

After beating the Lake City Stars in game one, the Zephyrs lost to Vermont Ice Storm and then experienced a frustrating defeat to Chateauguay Titans.

"We are ready for them (St. Lawrence). We will be at full strength minus the same injuries as before," said Ruggeri.

The injury list has Rick Hulett out for at least three more weeks, Brian Thompson will miss the rest of the season and Bob VanHoesen sidelined for four weeks.

"The guys will bounce back in a big way. They know they had an easy win taken from them due to the border. They have something to prove right now and they are very focused," said Ruggeri.

Prior to the Chateauguay game last week, Ruggeri knew several players were unable to make the trip due to work commitment and injuries.

The situation became worse when more players were denied entrance into Canada.

"It's unbelievable how we were treated. It was just a fiasco. The guys who missed the game stayed at a McDonald's for seven hours. That's just not right," said Ruggeri.

Jared Brown has been reinstated to the team after disciplinary actions by Ruggeri. That should give a boost to the running game.

The Colonials received bad news that tailback Tarquan Pearman's three-year old daughter died, but he's scheduled to make the game.

"The team is dedicating the game to Tarquan's daughter. The rest of the season will be in memory of her. It's just tragic," said Ruggeri.

The Zephyrs are tied for second place in the EFL East Division with Lake City and Chateauguay at 1-2 and the next two games are important, St. Lawrence and then return home against Scranton. Vermont leads the East at 3-0.

"After those games, we go to Vermont at 4-2 and take care of business up there. That's the mindset with the team right now. Win three in a row and go to Vermont with momentum," said Ruggeri.

The Zephyrs also welcome the return of cornerback Terry Coleman who experienced work issues.

So what is Ruggeri's game plan against St. Lawrence Valley?

"We want to take them out early and rest the starters. They are a good organization, but don't match up well with us. Mike Britton, their head coach, is a class act and always has his team ready to play. We can't take them lightly. I can see us getting on a roll and it's unfortunate St. Lawrence (0-3) is first in the path," said Ruggeri.

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