Sunday, November 04, 2007

Amsterdam players earn EFL all-star honors

Amsterdam players earn EFL all-star honors

By JAMES A. ELLIS, The Leader-Herald

Published on Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Leader-Herald/Bill Cain

Elijah White (44) gains ground against the Scranton Eagles. Both players earned Empire Football League first team all-star honors.

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AMSTERDAM — The Amsterdam Zephyrs semi-pro football team wrapped up its 2007 Empire Football League season with a 5-6 record. In recognition of their on-field performance, nine members of the team were honored by the EFL by being selected to its first team all-star squad, while 14 members were selected to the second team.

Evan Degeorgio earned first team honors at two positions, tight end and punter, while Alvaro Montes was selected the first team place kicker.

Wide receiver Cedric Pearman and Elijah White garnered honors respectively as wide receiver and running back. The Zephyrs offensive line also was recognized with Kelvin Vasquez earning first-team honors at guard and Bob VanHoesen at tackle.

Rafael Nicosia and John Sausville were selected to the defensive first team. Nicosia was the top choice at nose tackle and Sausville earned first-team honors at linebacker.

White also was named the Empire Football League offensive rookie of the year.

"We had a very good team this year," coach Dom Ruggeri said. "We had a couple of games get away from us at the end of the season, but I thought the all-star list was accurate. We had a lot of players have very good seasons and that is a credit to them, the whole coaching staff and the Zephyrs organization itself."

Pearman also received second team offense honors as a return specialist. He is joined on the second team offensive team by linemen Frank Pease (guard), Bob Lofferdo (guard) and centers Ed Bauman and Jay Garvey. Mike Philo was selected at second team fullback and Ken Schaefer was selected second-team quarterback.

Tackles Jason Majestic and Dwight Chasten were selected to the second-team on defense, while Rich Johnson, Jeremiah Newborn, Eugene Maye and Luke Posniewski were selected second-team defensive backs. End Rick Halest rounds out the Zephyrs' second-team defensive honorees.

Ruggeri resigns as Zephyrs head coach

By JAMES A. ELLIS, The Leader-Herald

Published on Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis

Dominic Ruggeri is shown on the sidelines of an Amsterdam Zephyrs semi-pro football game during the 2006 season.

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AMSTERDAM — After two seasons as head coach of the Amsterdam Zephyrs semi-pro football team, Dominic Ruggeri has resigned.

"It was a difficult decision for me, but I need to spend more time with my family and would not be able to devote the time necessary to do the job properly," Ruggeri said. "We start working toward the next season recruiting in February and working right through November. It would not be fair to the team or the organization."

Zephyrs' team president Tony Marotta approached Ruggeri to coach the team when the organization reformed and joined the Empire Football League in 2006.

Ruggeri was named the EFL Coach of the Year in his first season on the sidelines and guided the team to a 5-6 record this season before falling to the Chateauguay Titans 19-17 in the opening round of the EFL playoffs.

"We have had a lot of fun over the past two years," Ruggeri said. "I consider myself very thankful for the opportunity to coach this team. If anybody is looking to get involved in semi-pro football either as a player, coach or any level of the organization, this is a class team to be associated with."

After filing his resignation with the Amsterdam squad, Ruggeri was contacted by the Albany Metro Mallers to help out as they make a postseason run at the Harvest Bowl.

"I was approached by them a couple of days after I resigned, not before," Ruggeri said. "They fired their head coach and defensive coordinator and were looking for help to finish out the season. When their season ends, I will be done."

The Metro Mallers cut ties with the Empire Football League before the start of the 2006 season to join the North American Football League. Albany played in the Harvest Bowl last season and, after winning the 2007 NAFL title are looking to return for a second shot at the title.

The Metro Mallers were scheduled to play the Monroe County Sting this weekend in the opening round of their drive toward a return trip to Florida

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