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Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Photos: GLOW Ducks first home game

post by Howard B. Owens in football, GLOW Ducks, sports

The GLOW Ducks youth football program played its first home game today at Notre Dame.

Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Football Round Up: Week #1

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, sports

Pembroke vs. Elba/Byron-Bergen. The Elba/Byron-Bergen Lancers started the season in fine feather with a 21-7 win over Pembroke. Head Coach Mike Cintorino summed up the game: "Improved Pembroke squad came out fired up and played hard for their home opener scoring on the first drive. Lancers responded with a score of their own to tie it up and never looked back. Took the lead on a Mike Shanley 89 yard TD run. Interesting 2-day game scenario with some work to do. Looking forward to getting back to work next week and coming home to face the Holley Hawks next Saturday." Stats: Mike Shanley: 15 carries 199 yards, 3 TDs (8,89,21); Richard Flores: 8 carries 95 yards; Andrew Gottler: 7 Tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble; Steele Truax: 10 total tackles; Lancer Total Yards: 374; Dragons Total Yards: 132.

Alexander at CG Finney. The Trojans came up short against CG Finney, 28-20. Cody Trzecieski led the Trojan defense with 8 tackles and 1 fumble recovery from his linebacker spot. Tyler Laird had 7 tackles defensively.  Dustin Schmeider had 4 tackles and 1 sack for the Trojans. Offensively QB Jared Browne hit Laird for a 41 yd TD pass to start the Trojans scoring in the 2nd quarter.  Late in the 3rd quarter, Browne scored on a one-yard run. Late in the 4th quarter tailback Tim Calkins scored on a 3-yard run to cut the lead to 22-20 but the 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.  The Trojans then recovered an onside kick with 20 seconds remaining. Two plays later CG Finney intercepted a pass and scored it as time expired. Laird carried the ball six times for 54 yards. Tailback Alex Hadsall had 4 carries for 24 yards before getting hurt. Calkins had 78 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Alexander placekicker Zack Shilvock was 2 for 2 on PAT and had 2 touchbacks when kicking off.

Batavia at Livonia. Game still pending because of weather delay. The game will be completed Monday at 7 p.m. at Livonia. Batavia trails, 7-0.

Full game coverage from earlier:

Also, we covered Warsaw at Perry for the Wyoming County Free Press

Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 11:13 am

Betting Exchange and Berkley win in NYSS at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Betting Exchange and Berkley were on the outside looking in at the $1.8 million Night of Champions at Yonkers coming into last night’s final leg of the New York Sire Stakes 2-year-old pacing colt and gelding division. But winning heals all and that’s exactly what they both did to advance to the final next Saturday.

In the first $54,500 contest, Betting Exchange (Bettor’s Delight-Cheeky Hanover) scored his second win in a row to move from ninth to sixth overall in the standings and lock up a spot in the $225,000 final.

Betting Exchange came off the wings for driver Jim Morrill Jr. and went right to the front to cut the mile. After briefly settling in fourth, Americanprimetime and Mark MacDonald pulled and came up to challenge the leader. That move found the colt getting parked through fractions of :27.3, :56 and 1:25.2 before packing it in around the last turn. From that point on Betting Exchange ran away and hid, winning the race by three lengths in 1:55.1. The winner paid $5.70.

Betting Exchange with driver Jim Morrill Jr.

Play The Field (Kevin Cummings) was second and K Ryan Bluechip (Joe Pavia Jr.) was third.

It was the second win in five starts for Betting Exchange and boosted his earnings to $66,125 for owners Howard Taylor, Susan Kajfasz and Tom Fanning, who also trains the horse.

After the race Morrill said “I didn’t really want to get into a speed duel but he felt real good tonight so I let him roll. After he fought off Americanprimetime he paced very strong to the wire.”

In the second $54,500 split, Berkley (Art Major-Monterey) caught his competitors and the betting public asleep as he upset both with a strong stretch-drive victory at 17-1. The win boosted him from tenth to seventh in the standings and also qualified him for the lucrative NYSS final.

Mark MacDonald sent Bet You out like a rocket and paced strongly on the lead to an uncontested :58.1 half when Southwind Masimo and Mike LaChance came first-over to challenge. That encounter was short lived when the pack straightened out up the backside and Bet You shifted gears to hold the group at bay. To this point, Joe Pavia Jr. had Berkley sitting comfortably in the pocket behind the leader, just waiting to take his best shot at the head of the lane. Bet You opened up a two length lead coming for home but the fresh-legged Berkley rolled off the pylons and right by the leader with a furious brush to pull the upset in 1:55.3. The winner returned $36.

Berkley with driver Joe Pavia Jr.

Bet You hung on to be second and Southwind Masimo was third.

This was the first win in nine starts this year for Berkley and raised his bank to $58,620 for owners Randy Bendis, Reed Broadway and Thomas Pollack. Berkley is trained by Ed Hart.

Pavia had a glowing review saying “I was really impressed how good Ed (trainer Hart) had him tonight. He was much improved and raced super. He got a real good trip and we took advantage of it.”

There were also three divisions of the Excelsior A series on the card, each going for $12,600.

The first division was won by Heaven Rocks (Rock N Roll Heaven-Cheerful Outlook) who was driven by Brent Holland in 1:56.1 and returned $4.70. He is owned by Paymag Racing, Greg Gillis, Mystical Marker Farms LLC and Louis Willinger and trained by Erv Miller.

The second leg was won by Soto (Rock n Roll Heaven-Incredible Beauty) who was driven by Mark MacDonald in 1:55.2 to pay $4.90. He is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, R A W Equine, Inc., and Jim Fielding and is trained by Jimmy Takter.

The final split was won by Mystical Pacer (Bettor’s Delight-Take My Pulse) who was driven by Brent Holland in 1:56.4 and paid $6.10. He is owned by Mystical Marker Farms, Paymag Racing and Ron Michelon and is trained by Erv Miller.

Driver Jim Morrill Jr. scored a driving grand slam while Mark MacDonald and Brent Holland both registered doubles on the night.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Tuesday evening with a 6:35 post time.

Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 12:44 am

Hornets savor win over Notre Dame after years of frustration

NOTE: The information we were given about how long it's been since O-A beat ND was wrong.

It's been nearly 20 years since Oakfield-Alabama beat Notre Dame, and after holding on for a 16-13 win against the Fighting Irish on their home turf, Hornet players celebrated like they had just won a sectional title.

"It feels great," said wide receiver Reice Woodward, a sophomore starting his first game on varsity. "We haven't beaten Notre Dame in a long time and we're starting the streak now."

With seconds left on the clock and Notre Dame in possession of the ball well into O-A territory, a Hornet's victory was far from assured. Then Woodward scooped up a Josh Johnson fumble and Hornet's captain Allen Chatt jumped high in the air, knowing at long last, a win was a cinch.

"With everything my team has been through this pre-season, and my being on the squad since eighth grade and losing to Notre Dame every year, I can't explain it," Chatt said. "It's the best feeling ever."

The first half of the game was all Oakfield-Alabama. The Hornet's defensive line was pushing around the smaller Irish offense seemingly at will. QB Connor Logsdon tasted turf several times. Fans and coaches kept yelling for him to throw the ball away, throw the ball away. After a play where a wall of white jerseys descended on him, the 5' 9" Logsdon yelled that he couldn't see anything over the line.

The Hornets would have ended the half up by four touchdowns instead of just two, except for wide open receivers twice dropping catchable balls.

It was looking like it was going to be a long afternoon -- if not a long season -- for Coach Rick Mancuso and his squad.

Then Logsdon, from deep in Irish territory completed a pass. RB Peter Daversa gained some ground and the Irish got another reception down field.

It was starting to look like a drive, then a short little run that ended in an apparent fumble (ND's coaches insisted the whistle had already blown, but to no avail) was recovered by the Hornets.

Whatever adjustments Mancuso made, they seemed to stick in the second half. Logsdon played with more confidence, feeling less pressure from O-A's defensive line, and Notre Dame showed it could move the ball down field

"We got a little flat right before the half," said O-A's Head Coach Brian Palone. "And Notre Dame did a great job of making adjustments."

Palone said his team has developed a new defense this season, and he expected the defense to struggle and the offense to do well, but the opposite happened he said. It was really the defense that won the game, so he was proud of his team in that regard, and at how hard they worked to protect their lead even as the team struggled in the second half.

"The way we ended the game here shows a lot about their character and never giving up," Palone said. "We had the lead the whole time, but momentum shifted over to Notre Dame the whole second half and I felt like our defense really stepped it up."

Senior linebacker Casey Arnold said the win was a real team effort. 

"The defensive line couldn't have been better," Arnold said. "We played as a team. We flew to the ball. I'm really proud of this team."

Chatt said all along, he's thought this year's Hornet's squad is something special, but nothing is more special than coming out on top against Notre Dame to open the season.

"I have a good feeling about this squad," Chatt said. "They're 27, 28, whatever we have, strong. They come down with the pads, loading the balls on the bus, whatever it is that needs to be done. I'm as proud as I can be about these guys today. Nothing tastes sweeter than to beat Notre Dame."

Chatt was 12 for 31 passing for 166 yards with two TDs and two INTs. Woodward led the receivers with two catches for 66 yards, including a 56-yard TD reception. He had one fumble recovery. Sal Schwabble had one catch for 41 yards. Ryan Emery, two for 30 yards, and Trent Stack, two for 26.

On defense, Jon Harris had one sack and 10 tackles. Schwable had eight tackles and a sack. Jacob Natalizia had two interceptions.

We didn't receive stats for Notre Dame.

UPDATE: Notre Dame stats: Peter Daversa, 18 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD; Jack Sutherland, 15 carries, 37 yards; Joe Zickl, 3 receptions, 27 yards, 1 TD; C.J. Souzzi, three receptions, 26 yards; Zickl, 8.5 tackles; Souzzi, five tackles; Ethan Osborne, sack.

Touchdown, Joe Zickl.

Appearances can be deceiving. Despite a great effort by O-A's Ryan Emery, Casey Midwick did catch this pass for Notre Dame.

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Le Roy's offense and defense prove too much for Cal-Mum in game split over two days

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

The rain may never have fallen in a deluge, but Cal-Mum was certainly swamped by a relentless Oaktan Knight offense and an immovable defense in a game that took consecutive days to complete because of stormy weather.

Final: Le Roy 40, Cal-Mum 0.

The win assured Head Coach Brian Moran with a career record on the plus side against Le Roy's biggest rival, at 17-15.

Moran said, yes, the winning record against the Red Raiders is important to him.

"I'm proud of that because that (Caledonia) is a great community and great football program," Moran said. "You forget sometimes that Caledonia makes Le Roy better and Le Roy makes Caledonia better. That's been evident over the last 25 years."

The game started on time at 7:30 Friday night under the lights of Hartwood Park, but after the halftime show, officials spotted flashes of lightning to the northeast.

The game was delayed and about a half hour later, it was postponed (along with 11 other Section V games). Play resumed at 9 a.m. today, and by 10, Le Roy officially had a 1-0 record on the season.

The split game didn't bother the players much, said QB Mike McMullen.

"It wasn't a distraction, but it was definitely different," McMullen said. "I don't think anybody on the team has ever done anything like this. I don't think any of the coaches have ever done anything like this, so it is different, but you've got to play through it. So we did and came out and played hard."

To start the half, Cal-Mum tried an onside kick, but the Knights were ready and covered the ball.

Moran thought it was the right call by John Walther. If it had worked, it could have given the Red Raider's a spark.

"That's the way you should start the second half," Moran said. "You're down 21-0 and who knows what the weather is going to do. I give them credit for doing that."

Rather than Red Raider ball, the Knights had possession on about the 50-yard line. Soon, the Cal-Mum defense was looking at the back of #16, Jon Pierce, sprinting toward the goal line for a score that all but sealed the visiting team's fate.

"That was huge," McMullen said. "I told them when we came out there, 'hey guys, we've gotta score first drive. We've got to show them what we're about, make a point.' "

Pierce was the star of the game, always around the ball on defense and racking up more than 100 yards of total offense.

He's emerged, at least in the first game, as the running back Le Roy's coaches always thought he could be. He charges at the line with exceptional lower body strength, quickness and speed.

"We've been expecting this from Jon for quite a while," Moran said. "I'll be honest with you. Jon is a great kid and he has a great ability to move in the hole and then accelerate. Last night we saw it and today, again, we saw it and we're proud of him."

To open the game, Cal-Mum keyed on the McMullen to Ryan McQuillen combination, which isn't a bad strategy. A more mature player in Pierce gives an already powerful offense another weapon.

"He does have great hips," Moran said. "If you just stand behind him at practice you see it. That's what makes a good running back, somebody who can get up into those little small holes and make that cut inside and out. Jon has the capability to do that."

Before the start of the season, Moran and other coaches expressed some concern about an inexperienced offensive line. Friday and Saturday, the line showed it had the ability to move the pile and open holes.

That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, even after a 40-0 win against a good team.

"There's a lot of things you can do better," Moran said. "You sit back and start to evaluate tape. This is only week one. As we're sitting there and looking at it a little differently on the film, you know there are people who need to read their keys a little better and their footwork needs to be better and the offensive line has to communicate better. We're always thinking about improvement. That's the name of the game."

To purchase prints, click here.

Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm

An easy ride for BZ Glide in Batavia feature trot

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

BZ Glide pulls ahead to victory with driver Mike Caprio.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Sometimes victory is hard fought and other times it comes without effort. This week, BZ Glide cruised from second last to the winners circle in the $9,000 Open trot at Batavia Downs with nary a nudge from driver Mike Caprio.

At the start of the race, Armed Dangerously (Shawn McDonough) made a break almost immediately as the rest of the field pulled away in post-position order. Dartmouth Hall (Kevin Cummings) then led the troops through a pedestrian :29.1 quarter and 1:00.1 half, where Caprio pulled BZ Glide just before that station.

The 5-year-old son of Yankee Glide slowly and methodically gained ground on the leader without much urgency displayed from his driver. As the bunch hit the three-quarter pole in 1:29, BZ Glide had pulled even with Dartmouth Hall and then forged ahead from that point forward. Caprio hand-drove the gelding from there winning by a widening two-length margin in 1:58.2. The 1-2 favorite paid $3 to win.

Sack Full of Gold (Jim McNeight) who had followed the winner second over was second and Serious George (Jack Flanigen) snuck up the rail to be third.

This was the fifth win in 16 starts for BZ Glide and raised his yearly earnings to $42,605 for his owner Mike Caprio and trainer Alana Caprio.

Reinsmen Ron Beback Jr., Jack Flanigen, Shawn McDonough, Jim McNeight and Drew Monti all scored driving doubles on the card.

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 5) and features the $109,000 New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Post time is 6:35.

Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 12:04 am

Big game in Le Roy interrupted by weather, will resume at 9 a.m., Saturday

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

The threat of lightning played havoc with the Section V football schedule Friday night, including perhaps the biggest game of the night (certainly, all the Rochester media thought so, turning out in force at Hartwood Park), Cal-Mum and Le Roy.

Officials suspended the game after the half-time show and play will resume at 9 a.m., with the Oatkan Knights leading 21-0.

In all, 12 Section V games were postponed due to weather.

Batavia is down 0-7 to Livonia and play will resume in Livonia at 1 p.m. Elba is beating Pembroke 17-7, and play will resume at 5 p.m.

Top photo: Le Roy's Jon Pierce breaks up a pass by Jake McEwen.

Photos from the first half in the slideshow. To purchase prints, click here.

Friday, September 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm

NYSS 2-year-old pacing colts at Batavia Downs Saturday

post by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

The last chance to see the best bred standardbreds in the Empire State race at Batavia Downs this year occurs on Saturday night (Sept. 6) when the New York Sire Stakes makes its last stop at the Genesee County oval for 2014. The 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings are featured as the stars of tomorrow and will compete for $109,000 in purses.

The first $54,500 NYSS division goes as the fifth race and features seven pacers going postward.

Americanprimetime (American Ideal-Prime Example A) is currently ranked second in points for the Night of Champions finals for his sex and gait and boasts a 1:52.4 lifetime mark at Tioga Downs this year. This Rick Dane Jr. trained colt likes to be on the front end and will get his chance here scoring from post three. He has made two breaks in his six starts but when he is on his game he’s hard to beat. Brent Holland will sit behind Americanprimetime for the first time in this race.

Betting Exchange (Bettor’s Delight-Cheeky Hanover) beat Americanprimetime last week at Vernon Downs en route to taking his lifetime mark of 1:51.1. He has been lightly raced due to an injury in July and has only four starts this year. But he’s made the most of the opportunities he has had and appears to be improving with every start. Betting Exchange needs points to move up in the standing in order to make the final and this will be his last chance to do it. Top NYSS reinsman Jim Morrill Jr. is aboard for trainer Tom Fanning.

Azorean Art (Art Major-Dancin Barefoot) is trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter and looks to be coming into this race sharp as a tack. Also coming off a lifetime mark of 1:52.3 at Vernon last week, Azorean Art overcame road trouble the entire race and still found a way to win. Driver Mark MacDonald drove him for the first time in that victory and is back in the sulky here. Azorean Art is currently fifth in the standings but could move up substantially with a win.

The second $54,500 NYSS division goes as race nine and has the top horse in the series competing in it.

Southwind Masimo (Bettor’s Delight-Max’s Leading Lady) is a perfect four-for-four this year and all in NYSS action. He has won both on the front and from behind, and on both small and large tracks. The Pat LaChance trained colt took his lifetime mark of 1:54 at Tioga Downs, but he actually paced faster last quarters in his two starts at Yonkers. However Southwind Masimo is coming into this race off a scratch at Vernon last week when he reported sick, so the colt has not raced in 18 days. Whether or not this will affect his performance remains to be seen, but having Hall of Fame driver Mike LaChance on board will certainly help his cause.

Cartoon Daddy (Art Major-Ask Alice) has four wins in seven starts this year and oddly enough, all four wins were on half-mile tracks. He has a sparkling lifetime mark of 1:53.4 at Yonkers Raceway which is considerably faster than any other horse in this race has paced over a half-mile track. He is currently third in points and could vault to number one with a victory. Cartoon Daddy hails from the powerful Ron Burke stable and will be driven by Jim Morrill Jr.

Bet You (Bettor’s Delight-Armbro Amoretto) has two wins and three seconds in six starts this year and the only time he finished off the board was due to an interference break. Also a Takter trainee, Bet You has displayed racing versatility on the track and seems to be brave on the front end. His mark is 1:55.1 at Yonkers but he paced considerably faster in a just-beaten mile at Tioga Downs in 1:52.4. Bet You is right behind Cartoon Daddy in the points standing and could also take the top spot with a win. Mark MacDonald gets his second straight ride behind him in here.

There are also three divisions of the Excelsior series to be contested in races one, two and seven going for a total of $37,800. Post time for the first race is 6:35.

One other highlight for the night is the return of popular and second leading driver Shawn McDonough who was injured in a spill at Batavia Downs during a race on Labor Day. Only three days removed from the incident, McDonough will be back in the sulky on Friday night and is slated to drive the full card on Saturday.

McDonough said "I'm doing pretty good. My ankle is still sore but not too bad, and I have been taking it easy the last few days. But now I'm ready to come back."

Friday, September 5, 2014 at 11:38 am

Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, four Sopranos cast members among the guests at Expo at Batavia Downs

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, sports

Great athletes and "4 actors from The Sopranos" will be at the Western New York Sports Card Expo at Batavia Downs on Sept. 20-21.

In addition to the unspecified cast members of The Sopranos, the event will feature: Dave Bing, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Lou Piniella, Jose Canseco, Gayle Sayers, and Ric Flair.

The Expo runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Parking is free. Admission is $5 and includes $5 in free play for those 18 and older. Children under 8 get in free.

Friday, September 5, 2014 at 11:24 am

The 2014 Section V football season starts tonight

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, sports

Big game in Le Roy tonight as archrival Cal-Mum visits to kickoff the 2014 season.

Batavia is at Livonia and Elba is at Pembroke. The complete Section V schedule can be found here.

Below are links to all of our Genesee County football preview stories. The slideshow above is a roundup of all our pre-season photos. To purchase prints, click here.

Best of luck to all of our local teams for a great 2014.

Also, if you love football and have the journalism training to cover sports, we could use the help of a free-lance football writer this season. It's really time consuming for me to take all the pictures and write the game stories. We can't afford to pay a lot, but being out on the gridiron is a lot of fun and the community appreciates the coverage. If you're interested, e-mail me at [email protected]

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