Sunday, March 23, 2008

Brown, Abbott, Guay on Titans' staff

Lancer l'impression

Bob Abbott

Marc-André Guay

Le Soleil du samedi - Édition du 22 mars 2008

Brown, Abbott, Guay on Titans' staff

Dan Rosenburg

The Chateauguay Titans have added Geoff Brown, Marc-André Guay and Bob Abbott to their coaching staff for the 2008 Empire Football League season. Brown becomes the offensive co-ordinator, while Guay becomes the defensive co-ordinator, a post formerly held by head coach John Mouland, and Abbott takes over as offensive line coach.

Abbott stepped down recently as offensive line coach of the Chateauguay Junior Raiders because he was unavailable to attend practices four nights a week. The Titans only work out once a week.

Brown, who holds many team records as a wide receiver, succeeds the controversial Victor Oatis as offensive co-ordinator. He'll be aided and abetted by team president Jeff Craig. Oatis last season became embroiled in disputes with quarterback Kevin Wyeth and wide receiver Zawdie Parahoo, who both quit the squad before the playoffs.

"I'll miss Victor," Mouland proclaimed. "I learned a lot from him and I respect him as a coach. But he had some personal things to take care of and he didn't seem to like the direction in which the team was going."

Following the retirement of special teams coach Bernie Keenan, Mouland will add those duties to his already full load. He is also president and governor of the Junior Raiders.

The Titans have lost offensive lineman Morvan Kerneis to the Junior Raiders, for whom he becomes offensive line coach succeeding Abbott. Mouland is still on the lookout for competent coaches to handle the defensive line and defensive backs.

He is currently trying to recruit players from an arena football league in LaPrairie where the Titans sport a 5-0 record this winter.

Mouland has succeeded in luring former Junior Raiders all-stars Karim Binette and Kishon Thompson back into the fold, and would like to see fellow all-star Ricardo Willis follow suit.

He is still looking for a quarterback to back up starter Zan Symonds. Running back Denis Houle and defensive ace Jonathan Clermont are helping out in the recruiting area.

The Titans have developed a new website at Although home games will once again be played on the synthetic turf at LPP, the spring camp scheduled for May 3 will be held at Billings because of superior dressing-room and canteen facilities. Workouts that day will be held from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2-4 p.m.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Silver & Black are now going into the Empire Football League.

The Silver & Black are now going into the Empire Football League.

Through some lengthy meetings between the owner and the head coach the Silver & Black have decided to withdraw from the NFA and go into the EFL. 

The Reason
When the Silver & Black went to the NFA league meeting the Trailblazers decided to petition the same league because Head Coach Mike Britton had been talking with league officials to put in HIS special rule so he wouldn't loose players. If the Trailblazers had stayed in the EFL some Trailblazers would have left his team to go to the Silver & Black. To stop this from happening Mike decided to go into the same league with his good old boy tactics.  A special rule was put in just as a favor to the Trailblazer head coach Mike Britton. Any player that played for the Trailblazers in 2007 could not play for the Silver & Black unless Mike Britton gave him a release. He was not by any chance gonna let these guys go. This rule was put in to help the Trailblazers keep a team. The actual rule is just suppose to be for existing NYAFL teams. Any new teams that go into a league are not suppose to have rosters but MIke Britton got his way to try and stop guys from playing, it was either play for him or not play for 2 years because the ban was put in for 2 years. He was trying to force guys to play for him or not play at all.

Even though the Silver & Black had already signed 44 players to NFA league contracts, none of which were Trailblazers, The Silver & Black was gonna stick up for these players so they decided to withdraw from the NFA so players could play where they wish. They did this for the players and communities. This level of play is for the love of the game. No player gets paid so after their contracts are up after their last game with that team they become free agents. To have a team jump leagues to go into the same league as a new team to try and keep his team together by force is uncalled for. The Silver & Black are for ALL. We are here to build a tradition and our own history.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Zephyrs reload for '08 season

Zephyrs reload for '08 season
Recorder News Staff
The Amsterdam Zephyrs are coming off their most successful season in 2007 as they finished second in the Empire Football League's East Division and made the playoffs before losing, 19-17, to the Chateauguay Titans in the first round.

Since that loss, the team has gone through substantial changes, but the team hopes tonight's signups at the Crystal Ristorante, starting at 7 p.m., will stimulate interest and attract new players to fill in holes in the lineup.

The biggest team change starts with the head coach. Dom Ruggeri resigned as head coach just one month after the loss in Canada. Ruggeri said he resigned mainly to spend more time with his family.

Recently, the Zephyrs added Tom Manny as their new head coach. Manny has extensive semi-pro football experience. He played for 18 years at the semi-pro level all over the Capital Region. He played for four teams from 1974 to 1992. During that time he played for the Troy Uncle Sams, Albany Metro Maulers, Glove Cities Colonials and Electric City (Schenectady) Chargers.

Prior to his semi-pro career, he played high school football for Catholic Central on two undefeated state-ranked divisional champions before today's sectional championship tournaments existed. He then played at Hudson Valley Community College and Utica College.

Manny has known Zephyrs owner Tony Marotta and vice president Rick Sager for 30 years as both a teammate and opponent.
Most recently, Manny was the head coach for the Broome County Dragons, an EFL franchise currently taking a leave of absence from competition. Last season, Manny returned to the area and became a part-time offensive assistant under Ruggeri before accepting the Zephyrs vacancy.

"Tommy was ready and happy to accept the position," said Sager. "What makes him right is his ability to work one-on-one with the player in a teaching mode rather then negative reinforcement."

"The organization is great, with great ownership," Manny said. "Everyone is easy to work with are they are knowledgeable. With the core guys coming back with recruiting, we can win the EFL title."

Manny and Sager will be at the Crystal Ristorante tonight to talk to potential recruits.
"People have an opportunity to continue their football career," Sager said. "You only have so many years of athletic ability given to you. This is a great way to continue your playing career. It has to be fun, but we're going to practice and play hard while having good times."

"Our job is to keep the dream alive," Manny said. "If you're a young guy who continues to want to play, this is for you. You will be taught and coached. There are more avenues to continue to play football in this era. We aren't looking at players from just Amsterdam. We don't want one group in one area. We want diversification."

One area the team does have a core unit in is offense. Amsterdam received 24 all-star awards for the 2007 season, nine of those were first-team selections. Seven of those nine first-teamers are on offense and include tight end, Evan DeGeorgio, wide receiver, Cedrick Pearman, Guard/Punter, Kelvin Vasquez, tackle, Bob Van Hoesen, running back, Elijah White, kicker, Alvaro Montes.

White was also the EFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year and is confirmed to return. Also confirmed for a return is quarterback Ken Shaefer, a second team EFL all-star who was voted the team's Offensive Most Valuable Player.

"We don't plan on changing much offensively," Manny said. "We will be changing a few things to feature our wide receivers and make them bigger parts of the offense. We will have different motions and sets. This is an intelligent group. This is the third year for this offensive group playing together. I'm excited about this core. The sky is the limit."

Defensively, the Zephyrs will be losing a number of their defensive unit though the team did not specify who at this point. The team struggled on defense at times in 2007 and team officials know that is the focus of off-season recruiting.

"Tommy knows the defensive as well as the offense," Sager said. "He was a linebacker and defensive lineman in his playing days."

"We're going to keep the 4-3 defense with a different style," Manny said. "There 1,001 ways to do things with the 4-3. If there was only one way, we'd all do it. We still have very viable returners as well as recruits."

Manny says announcement on these recruits will be announced once they officially sign 2008 Amsterdam Zephyrs contracts.

The Zephyrs will open the season in mid-July but the 2008 EFL schedule has not been released. The team plays on Saturday nights and their home games at Lynch Middle School.


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Monday, March 10, 2008

Judge rules Red & Black name will stay where it is
Monday, March 10, 2008
Judge rules Red & Black name will stay where it is
03/09/2008 04:29 PM
By: Brian Dwyer

WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- There's been plenty of big hits on the field. But one of the biggest hits the Watertown Red & Black has ever faced was delivered from off the field.

The semi-pro team, the nation's oldest, is trying to prevent a new team from using its now famous Red & Black name.

Thomas Shultz, a Watertown businessman, who owns Re-Sale America, said he was given the rights to the team name and planned to use it for his new team he's creating for a different league.

It's a claim the Red & Black deny and took to court to settle.

"I can't believe the way it went down," Red & Black Head Coach George Ashcraft said. "It's one person's story on the way things were. There's a lot of deep things that have been happening with them. It's just a shame, just a shame."

Red & Black name lawsuit
It's one of the longest running tradition in sports history. And now the Watertown Red & Black semi-pro football team is facing one of its toughest battles. But as our Brian Dwyer reports, it's nothing that can be settled on the field.
Friday, a state judge ruled against Shultz, saying he cannot use the name or logo of the Red & Black for any reason in Jefferson County.

It's a ruling Ashcraft said allows his team to move forward and carry on its history of more than 110 years.

"I think the tradition will go on another 100 years," Ashcraft added. "I truly do. It's an incredible thing to have in this area."

For Ashcraft, it's back to the field hosting a sign up day on April 11th for interested players.

But he said he expects Shultz, who is out of the country on vacation and was unavailable for comment, to present a countersuit; a move Ashcraft said he'll stay out of and leave to his lawyers.

Both teams are expected to start their seasons this July; the Red & Black in the Empire Football League and Shultz's team in the Northeastern Football Alliance.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Red and Black name stays with old team

Red and Black name stays with old team
OFFSEASON VICTORY: Judge Gilbert cites state law, orders Shultz's Sports Partners Inc. to avoid interference with EFL franchise

The "original" Watertown Red and Black has won the exclusive right to the use of the semipro football team's name.

State Supreme Court Judge Hugh A. Gilbert has ruled that Sports Partners Inc. cannot use the team name or logo for any purpose in Jefferson County, according to documents filed Friday at the Jefferson County Clerk's office.

Greater Watertown Red and Black Inc., which has been using the name the team has been known by since its inception in 1896, sued Sports Partners and its general manager, Thomas J. Shultz, in January claiming the company is misrepresenting its affiliation with the team and creating confusion among players, fans and sponsors as to who owns the right to field a team named Red & Black.

Shultz fired back an answer, claiming that the Red and Black's coach, George Ashcraft, had agreed to Sports Partners' taking over the team and its marketing in exchange for a coaching contract for Ashcraft. The alleged agreement was never formalized, laying the basis for the suit.

Judge Gilbert's decision was not based on the merits of either side's arguments; rather it was based on a state law requiring a corporation to have an attorney appear on its behalf in Supreme Court.

According to court documents, Shultz submitted an answer and affidavit in response to the Red and Black's complaint, but the corporation was never represented by an attorney, something Judge Gilbert indicated was "critical" to his decision.

"The court is intrigued by the dispute between (Red and Black Inc.) and Sports Partners Inc. and would like to address the merits," Judge Gilbert wrote. "We are constrained, however, by the provisions of (state law) which requires a corporation to appear by an attorney in an action in this Court."

Ashcraft said he was "very pleased with the judge's ruling," although he added "some of the turn of events that happened, some of the things that were said, were too bad."

"We're moving forward," he said. "This year is going to be a good year and we're looking forward to it. That's the point."

Shultz, reached on vacation in Jamaica, said he had not been able to fully digest the judge's decision because of being out of the country. He said the legal battle may not be over, as he plans to file a countersuit against Red and Black alleging fraud and breach of contract.

The Red and Black's suit against him, personally, was allowed to continue by Judge Gilbert. The judge ruled because Shultz did appear in court "in his individual capacity," the issues between Shultz and the Red and Black could not be resolved on motion.

Sports Partners has received approval from the Northeastern Football Alliance to compete in its 15-team league. The Red & Black plays in the Empire Football League.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Ashcraft's Red & Black Wins Court Battle Over Team Name Video Clip

Click to see video interview with George Ashcraft
Click too see actual ruling from Judge Gilbert: Provided by 7 News - WWNYTV

WWNYTV-NEWS Ashcraft's Red & Black Wins Court Battle Over Team Name
Friday, March 07, 2008, 6:36pm
The Watertown Red & Black name has been synonymous with semi-pro football since 1896. But, last month, two franchises laid claim to the name - forcing a battle not on the field, but in the courtroom.

A State Supreme Court judge ruled in favor of the football team coached by George Ashcraft.

The trouble all started when Thomas Shultz and Sports Partners claimed they had legal rights to the Red & Black name.

Shultz contended that the Red & Black legally transferred the ownership of the team to Sports Partners.

He subsequently applied to the Northeast Football Alliance for membership in the league. He planned to create a team called the Red & Black.

Ashcraft, who coaches the Red & Black in the Empire Football League, took Shultz to court over the right to use the name.

In a decision handed down Thursday, Judge Hugh Gilbert ruled in Ashcraft's favor and barred Shultz from using the words "Red & Black" or "Red & Black Football".

Shultz was unavailable for comment.

Ashcraft said he was pleased with the court's ruling.

See our report:

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Raiders on move to EFL

Raiders on move to EFL
QUICK CHANGE: Club from Massena wants to pull out of NFA

MASSENA — The Massena Silver and Black Raiders' tenure in the Northeastern Football Alliance didn't last long.

After joining the NFA over a month ago, Raiders head coach Jim Compeau said Thursday the team has changed its course and plans on competing in the Empire Football League for the 2008 season.

Compeau said the deciding factor behind Massena's move was the NFA's regulation of player contracts. The league rule prevents any 2007 roster player from leaving its previous team to join Massena's over the next two seasons. Compeau said several athletes playing for the neighboring squad — the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers — don't want to be members of the team any longer.

"Some players just don't want to play in Potsdam," Compeau said. "We're not going to leave anyone behind. This is for the players who play for the love of the game."

Massena and St. Lawrence Valley were each accepted for membership in the NFA in January. Compeau said the EFL has received the Raiders' application, and despite already establishing a 2008 schedule, the league is willing to include them. The EFL currently has six teams slated to participate this season.

Compeau is also waiting for the NFA to draw up a form releasing the Raiders from that league.

"We want to go to the EFL where there is structure and stability," Compeau said. "We just didn't feel comfortable with this situation."

Trailblazers head coach Mike Britton isn't surprised to see Massena switching leagues. He said Raiders owner Christopher Morin has been trying to lure a number of St. Lawrence Valley players to Massena, while hoping for a little leniency from the NFA in regards to the freezing of player contracts.

"He's pushed the issue and kept telling the commissioner to change his mind," Britton said. "Because he didn't get his way, he's making the move."

Britton said he was prepared to release several Trailblazers once they returned equipment and completed past payments. But he's not concerned about his roster for the upcoming season. He projects that 42 players will be signed up with St. Lawrence Valley in the next two weeks. Massena had over 30 players on its roster in early February.

"Their move may take away our experienced players that played semiprofessional ball," Britton said. "But we have a professional group of kids with a fresh start in a new league."

Britton said the most disappointing aspect of the Raiders' departure is that the two teams won't be able to establish a legitimate local rivalry.

"The past is the past, and we'll move on from here," Britton said. "Whatever they decide to do, we wish them the best of luck."

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