Saturday, September 08, 2007

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage September 8th

Watertown Daily Times


Belleville Henderson and Cornell graduate Matt Greene, the starting center for the Watertown Red and Black, did not play football in high school or college.


Red/Black's Greene makes adjustments

QUICK LEARNER: Watertown center recalls days as basketball player while making blocks on line




Saturday, September 08, 2007

Matt Greene has come up with a pretty good method for learning how to be an offensive lineman: He just visualizes a backboard.

A 1996 Belleville Henderson graduate, Greene grew up playing basketball, and he never dreamed that he'd be a football player when he grew up.

He was wrong.

Now in his second season with the Watertown Red and Black, Greene is the team's starting center. It's an impressive accomplishment considering he never played a down of organized football until 2006.

Greene and the rest of the offensive line have cleared the way for Watertown to become the league's best running team, featuring the league's top rusher in Ernie Miller (473 yards).

Greene didn't expect such immediate success.

"I had no idea what to expect but to come out, work hard and get a good rapport with the guys," he said.

Head coach George Ashcraft said Greene approached him during the preseason with a desire to play center. According to Ashcraft, Greene's quiet demeanor and work ethic were key to him winning the job.

"He gives his heart and soul," Ashcraft said. "He's very intelligent, dependable, and doesn't talk smack about anything. He's just a good man."

A lifelong football fan, Greene wasn't sure how he was going to learn to play the game. Physical strength wasn't a problem. He stands over 6 feet tall, has been a weightlifter for years and grew up working on a farm.

But there were the finer points of the game to perfect. For those, the Cornell University alum thinks back to his days on the hardwood.

"I was incredibly nervous coming out," Green admitted. "If you think about it, though, blocking is a lot like playing basketball. It's like boxing out, but from reverse. A lot of it is the same footwork, too."

He's never too far away from the basketball court. Before Greene begins every play, he surveys the defense in much the same way he used to look over a free-throw lane. He said tracking a rebound off the rim is similar to trying to figure out where a linebacker may be headed, and that anticipating what a ball or an opponent might do next is a big part of both sports.

And, there's a slight pause before the snap to quarterback Todd Kiechle.

"You're just thinking everything out in your head. And when I'm making the pre-snap read it's like that deep breath before shooting a free throw," Green said. "It's a lot of fun, and I love playing this game. There's nothing like it."

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



Stars host St. Lawrence tonight

PLATTSBURGH -- The Lake City Stars play host to the winless St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers tonight in their next-to-last home game of the Empire Football League season. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Melissa L. Penfield Park.
The Stars (1-5-1) will host Amsterdam next Saturday before closing out the season at Scranton, Pa., on Sept. 22.
Lake City is looking for its first victory since July 21 when the Stars turned back the Chateauguay (Que.) Titans. Chateauguay avenged that loss two weeks ago, 16-10, to extend Lake City's winless streak to five.
St. Lawrence Valley (0-7) has struggled all season while being outscored 251-46.
Alumni night tonight
All former Lake City players will be admitted free to tonight's contest and they will be introduced at halftime.
The Stars will be holding food drives at their last two home games. For every two food products, a fan will receive a free raffle ticket.
The raffle will be drawn at halftime of the Sept. 15 game. Raffle items include gift certificates for area restaurants, membership to the Court Club, two sets of 5-speaker Surround Sound Systems donated by Tuners.
Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.

Zephyrs playing for home game in playoffs

By JAMES A. ELLIS, The Leader-Herald

Published on Saturday, September 08, 2007

AMSTERDAM — The Amsterdam Zephyrs have made the Empire Football League playoffs, but that is not enough.

They want a home game.

"We really are in control of our our destiny and would like to bring a home playoff game to our fans," Zephyrs coach Dom Ruggeri said. "They have been great this year and the crowds have been getting bigger every game. I am confident that we will get the job done."

The Zephyrs have been idle since their 21-13 Aug. 25 loss to Vermont and are anxious to get back on the gridiron.

"After watching the tapes of the Vermont game, I feel that is a game that we let get away," Ruggeri said. "We outplayed them, but made a couple of mistakes and they capitalized on them to get the win."

Amsterdam (7-4) hosts the Ottawa Deacon Demons (2-4-1) Saturday night at Lynch Middle School with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.

"The Ottawa team coming in is not your typical 2-5 team," Ruggeri said. "They run the ball hard and throw the ball only when necessary. They play physical football as do we. It is going to be interesting to see how the team responds after a week off. I know they are hungry to get back on the field."

Amsterdam will take to the road next Saturday to play the Lake City Stars before returning home Sept. 22 to close out the regular season against the Watertown Red and Black.

"We need to win two out of the next three games to host a home game for the opening round of the playoffs," Ruggeri said. "But I honestly believe these are three games we are capable of winning."

The Empire Football League playoffs begin Sept. 29.

Zephyrs at full strength


Recorder Sports Staff

After a 21-13 loss to the Vermont Ice Storm on August 25, the Amsterdam Zephyrs can't win the Empire Football League's East Division title or get a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

The good news for the Zephyrs is they have clinched a post-season birth and can still earn a home game in the first round of the playoffs. Even more good news for Amsterdam is they are expected to be at full strength for Saturday's game at home against the Ottawa Deacon Demons after the league's Labor Day weekend bye. The game will be played at Lynch Middle School at 7:30 p.m.

In their last game, Amsterdam was called for a pass interference penalty which brought Vermont to the Zephyrs' 5-yard line and eventually set up the winning touchdown.

"With the exception of the bad call that allowed them to score from five yards, we dominated Vermont and should have won the game," said Amsterdam head coach Dom Ruggeri. "The offense played well and controlled the game. We just made some mistakes. That was a tough one to swallow."

The game will be Amsterdam's first matchup against Ottawa this season. Despite a 2-5 record, Ruggeri and his team are not taking Ottawa lightly. Amsterdam is taking the Ottawa running game very seriously.

"Their record is not indicative of their skill. They have a big line and a good running game. They can hammer you. They don't throw the ball much. They only pass when they have to in order to move the chains. They can run with precision and do a nice job with their counters and power runs," said Ruggeri.

Ruggeri says the key to a Zephyrs victory is for his defense to not be over-aggressive.

"We gotta tell our defense to stay home. We're so aggressive that sometimes we take ourselves out of the play. We can't do that against this team," said Ruggeri.

One thing working to Amsterdam's advantage is having their whole team healthy. Running back Jorge Rodriguez should be at full health and return from an injury while wide receiver Cedrick Pearman, who missed last week's game due to personal reasons will be back according to Ruggeri.

"We got everyone back. We had some guys healed up so we should be at full strength," said Ruggeri.

It does not look like Amsterdam will have former NFL running back Chuckie Dukes. He is on the roster but not with the team as he is trying out for the Canadian Football League.

The team will however have Elijah White who has scored five touchdowns in his last two games including two in Vermont. White, who began the season as the starting fullback, will get the start at tailback.

Rodriguez and Tarquan Pearman will also get a number of carries on Saturday according to Ruggeri.

"We will mix it up. We'll start with Elijah at tailback and work Jorge and Tarquan in there. We have three capable running backs. Jorge and Tarquan have the speed to go outside and Elijah can power it up the middle," said Ruggeri.

Ruggeri indicated that the passing game could be utilized as well.

"Our passing game could make it tough on them because I don't believe their corner backs are that fast," said Ruggeri.

Ruggeri says his team is ready for another home game.

"We are at full strength, looking good, hungry and we control our own destiny for that home playoff game," said Ruggeri.

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