Saturday, September 22, 2007

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage September 22nd


Eagles' Romiti taking the field for 150th consecutive straight game



When George Romiti steps onto the turf at Scranton Memorial Stadium tonight against the Lake City Stars, it will be the 150th consecutive game he has played for the Scranton Eagles. But while such an accomplishment is a story in itself, the better tale might be how the veteran linebacker got to this point.

A moment that may never have come.

Following a stellar football and baseball career at West Scranton, Romiti ended up playing baseball at Seminole Community College in Florida. Seminole has a rich baseball tradition. Among its alumni include former teammate Bobby Thigpen, who set the major league record for saves with 57 in 1990, and former Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Red Barons' manager Bill Dancy.

"I actually walked on as a catcher at Seminole, but after a few weeks of seeing me play, they offered me a scholarship," Romiti said.

In his second year at the school, Romiti was attending a tryout camp for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then fate would intervene, Romiti was injured sliding into second base.

"I broke my foot and ankle in 17 places. I thought that I would never walk again," Romiti said. "I was in a cast up to my stomach for six months."

After multiple surgeries to repair the damage, doctors told the now 45 year-old Romiti that he would never play any sports again, effectively ruining Romiti's chance to move onto bigger things in baseball.

"Before the injury, Mississippi State offered me a scholarship and the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers had an interest in me."

Romiti eventually returned home to start the rehabilitation process. But after a few weeks of consulting doctors, he decided to rehab on his own.

"I really wanted to get back and play sports, but the doctors in Florida thought that I would never walk without a limp again," Romiti said. "So, when I decided to rehab on my own. I just started going to gyms to work out. It took me six months just to walk again."

In 1996, Romiti was approached by then Eagles tight end Lou Sottile if he would be interested in playing with the team.

"So I came out for the team and after 11 years, seven knee surgeries, a broken sternum, a broken jaw and many broken fingers and lost teeth, I'm still here," Romiti said.

And so is his wife, Joan, his high school sweetheart, and his daughter Nicole, and his son George Jr. who is a First Sergeant in the United States Army currently stationed in Iraq.

"Without my wife and family, along with my teammates over the years, I would have never been able to accomplish what I have."

The Eagles currently sit in third place, one-half game behind Ottawa (3-5-1), but have clinched a playoff spot. The Eagles (3-6) must defeat Lake City and the Demon Deacons must lose to the Chateauguay Titans in order for the local team to clinch second place in the Empire Football League Western Division. Ottawa and Lake City tied, 10-10, on August 4.

 ©The Times-Tribune 2007

 Zephyrs hit road to face Watertown

By JAMES A. ELLIS, The Leader-Herald

Published on Saturday, September 22, 2007

AMSTERDAM — Many of the coaches on the Amsterdam Zephyrs sideline remember the battles in their playing days against the Water-town Red and Black.

Now the Red and Black stand in the way of the Zephyrs chances of hosting an opening round game of the Empire Football League playoffs.

Amsterdam is coming off a controversial 30-29 loss to the Lake City Stars, a game in which they could have locked up the opening round game.

The Zephyrs led with 1:20 to go when a pass interference call in the end zone put the ball on the 1-yard line. The Stars capitalized on the play to pull off the victory.

"That was a huge call in their favor," Zephyrs coach Dom Ruggeri said. "I don't believe the ball was catchable and I got my 15 yards worth out of the officials on the call."

The Zephyrs were also down six starters for the game but will face a tough challenge this week as starting quarterback Kenny Shaffer will not be available due to a previous commitment.

"Eric Johnson will be starting at quarterback this week," Ruggeri said. "Plus Rick Hulett will rejoin the team after being sidelined since the second game with a shoulder injury."

Elijah White led the Zephyrs (5-4) against the Stars with 162 yards and three touchdowns, while Shaffer threw for 220 yards and a touchdown to Jon Bechy.

Cedrick Pearman had 11 catches for 127 yards and Luke Posniewski had seven tackles, including four solos, for Amsterdam.

"Now we have to face our old nemisis Watertown," Ruggeri said. "Playing there is like walking into the lion's den. It think it is going to come down to the final drive of the game and we have an excellent kicker in Alvaro Montes. A win here would be huge for the organization. Basically, it is win, we host … lose and we go on the road."

The game will be broadcast on WCSS-1490 AM as well as on the internet at


Zephyrs searching for home playoff contest


Recorder Sports Staff

The Amsterdam Zephyrs are still looking to clinch a first round playoff home game going into the final week of the regular season against the Watertown Red and Black.

Amsterdam has already clinched a playoff spot but their head coach Dom Ruggeri wants to bring a semi-pro post-season game to the city for the first time since the first incarnation of the Zephyrs, in the 1950s. In order to do that, Amsterdam must win on tonight on the road against the 8-1 Red and Black who are in first place of the Empire Football League's West Division. Amsterdam is 5-4 and in second place in the East Division.

Amsterdam can also get a home playoff game with a loss from the Chateauguay Titans who are playing on the road at the Ottawa Deacon Demons. A Titans win combined with the Lake City Stars defeating the Scranton Eagles on the road would give Chateauguay a home game.

A Titans home game is the last thing the Zephyrs want. Located near Montreal, half of Amsterdam's team is unable to cross the border and would create a huge advantage for the Titans.

Lake City can still get into the playoffs with an Amsterdam and Chateauguay loss. If this happens, the Titans would come to Amsterdam.

Ruggeri, who certainly does not want to lose at Watertown, said he would not be disappointed if the scenerio played out so Lake City had to travel to Amsterdam for the playoffs after the Zephyrs' controversial 30-29 loss to the Stars last week.

With about a minute left on the clock, Lake City attempted a pass on 4 and 12 from the Amsterdam 25 yard line. The pass went incomplete but Amsterdam was flagged for pass interference in the end-zone which put the Stars on the one yard line. Lake City scored a touchdown on the next play setting up the final score.

"We could have locked everything up and cruise this week while resting starters but now we can't," said Ruggeri.

Ruggeri says there was nobody within two-feet of the receiver and is sending the game footage to EFL officials while filing a complaint against the crew of referees.

"The officials were an embarrassment. I don't know where they got them from. They railroaded us pretty bad. There will be some calls that go against us on the road but blatant rule violations is hard to swallow," said Ruggeri. "Anybody who was at that game would agree that it was blatant. This isn't us being sour about the loss."

Ruggeri says after the controversial loss combined with an upcoming road game against their new rival, Watertown, his team is fired up and ready to go.

Ruggeri was blunt when talking about the rivalry.

"This is going to be a street fight. We don't like them and they don't like us. They've been a big bully so we gotta go in there and not be intimidated," said Ruggeri. "We have all the respect in the world for their organization and coaching staff but we're not backing down from anyone. We're going right after them," said Ruggeri.

Ruggeri says the rivalry between the teams began last season during a heated game. The heat carried over into a Zephyrs 17-13 preseason win over Watertown in this summer's preseason game. Amsterdam also picked up eight former Albany Metro Maulers players when that organization left the EFL at the end of last season. Ruggeri says those two teams hated each other and some of that heat has been carried over with the eight men signing.

"Albany and Watertown were true enemies and now they don't like us," said Ruggeri.

Ruggeri will be going after Watertown without three starters including his reliable quarterback Ken Shaefer. The EFL's leading passer will be attending a family wedding. Also out of action is starting left offensive tackle Aaron Robinson and defensive tackle Ralph Nicosia.

Eric Johnson who was the Zephyrs' starter all last season will take the snaps this week. Johnson also started in a win over Scranton earlier in the season when Shaefer was a last minute scratch due to a migraine headache.

"Eric knows our offense in and out. He won in Scranton and ran the offense efficiently. I have all the confidence in the world he can get it done," said Ruggeri.

One thing Ruggeri can look forward to is the return of impact linebacker Rick Hulett. Ruggeri says he is about 85 percent and is ready for the game.

Two weapons Ruggeri will have available is starting tailback Elijah White and wide receiver Cedrick Pearman. White is leading the EFL in rushing while Pearman is leading in receiving.

"We have weapons but we need to execute and not make mistakes. We'd like to win and not have to worry about anything what is going on in other games this week," said Ruggeri.



Titans' Jean Lerouge returns a kick for long yardage.(Photo Andrew Clark)

Le Soleil du samedi - Édition du 15 septembre 2007

Titans self-destruct in Watertown

Dan Rosenburg

Despite the enthusiasm of head coach John Mouland, the Chateauguay Titans have apparently not have clinched an Empire Football League playoff berth after all.

Mouland had announced after a recent Titans victory that a playoff spot was in the bag, but he may have been premature. "That's the impression the league gave me, but now it seems we need one more win to make the playoffs," Mouland said after his team self-destructed in a 26-7 loss to the Watertown Red & Black last Saturday.

"I was disappointed in our lack of discipline," Mouland mentioned after the Titans took several penalties for objectionable conduct that put the team in a hole. "I hope we've learned our lesson," he said, ruefully.

Although quarterback Kevin Wyeth completed 21 of 37 passes for 253 yards, the Titans managed only one touchdown on an eight-yard strike to Denis Houle. Treldon James was the leading Titans' receiver with 146 yards on 11 receptions.

The loss plunged the Titans to the .500 mark with a 4-4 record. Plattsburgh's Lake City Stars, meanwhile, boosted their mark to 2-5-1 with a 34-7 romp over winless St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers. If the Stars win their last two games and the Titans lose their last two, Lake City would edge out Chateauguay for the final playoff berth by one point.

The Titans visit unbeaten Vermont Ice Storm and arch-rival Ottawa Deacon Demons to close out the regular schedule.

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