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Monday, April 7, 2014 at 9:44 am

Photo: Blue Devils participate in football scrimmage in Rochester

post by Howard Owens in Batavia HS, football, sports

Batavia Blue Devils Head Coach Brennan Briggs sent along this photo of members of the football team following a 7-on-7 scrimmage last night in Rochester. The team played non-scoring scrimmages against Rush-Henrietta and Churchville-Chili. "The team did a great job competing," Briggs said.

Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Batavia Bulldawgs announce registration date

post by Howard Owens in batavia bulldawgs, football, sports

Press release:

The board of directors and coaching staff of the Batavia Bulldawgs Youth Football & Cheer program are excited to announce the open registration dates for their upcoming 4th season. We look forward to welcoming new and returning athletes to the Bulldawg family.   

Registration will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, at the Batavia City Centre (east entrance, near Sunny’s Restaurant). Boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 14, attending Batavia area schools (that are not affiliated with another NOFA team) are eligible to participate, with no weight restrictions. All athletes will be placed in developmentally age appropriate divisions based on the following league age rules: 

Football divisions (NO WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS):
Beginner (ages 6-7; must be 6 by 12/1, can’t turn 8 prior to 12/1)
Mini (ages 8-9; must be 8 by 12/1, can’t turn 10 prior to 12/1)
JV (ages 10-11; must be 10 by 12/1, can’t turn 12 prior to 12/1)
Varsity (ages 12-13; must be 12 by 12/1, can’t turn 14 prior to 12/1)

Cheer divisions:
Beginner (ages 6-7; must be 6 by 12/1)
Mini (ages 8-9; must be 8 by 12/1)
JV (ages 10-11; must be 10 by 12/1)
Varsity (ages 12-14; must be 12 by 12/1, can’t turn 15 prior to 12/1)

Football & Cheer Registration fees can be accepted via credit/debit card, check or cash and includes:

- high-quality, annually certified safety equipment
- full game day uniforms
- practice uniforms
- T-shirt & short apparel set
- accident & liability insurance
- Cheerzone competition
- end of season banquet
- participation trophy

**A multi-athlete family discount is available as well as payment plan options. Scholarships are also available for those who apply. 

The Bulldawgs eagerly anticipate the summertime announcement of our 2014 game schedule with locally affiliated NOFA teams in the surrounding areas of Attica, Alexander, Pembroke, Oakfield/Elba, Akron, Alden, Albion, Medina, Roy-Hart and Newfane. 

All contests will take place on Saturdays from late August through October. Every player will get the opportunity to participate in every game, where we never keep track of individual player statistics, only player participation and team records. USA Football certified coaches, using the Heads-Up Football philosophy to reduce the risk of injury, will coach our athletes. In addition, certified coaches will help to train our current grand-champion cheer squads towards continued great success in the 2014 Cheerzone competition.    

Batavia Bulldawgs Football and Cheer is a family-oriented volunteer, nonprofit organization affiliated with the Niagara Orleans Football Association, established in 1999. Since our inception in 2011, we have been committed to providing a high quality youth football program where we are dedicated to the instruction of football, the philosophy of teamwork, the development of sportsmanship and competition in a safe and respectful environment, while promoting personal responsibility and offering participants an opportunity to enjoy all that is best about youth sports.

An informational meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. this Wednesday March 19th in the Batavia Middle School auditorium. Board members and coaches will be available to answer any questions and discuss the upcoming season.

A small number of volunteer football and cheer coaching positions are currently available to interested adults. To learn more about this opportunity, or to answer and questions, please contact John Reigle, league commissioner (716) 228-5787, or bataviabulldawgsfootball@gmail.com.

Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Brian Moran announces his 26th year coaching the Oatkan Knights will be his last

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

Brian Moran, with 194 career wins and 14 sectional titles, announced at Le Roy's annual football banquet Sunday evening that next year, his 26th leading the Oatkan Knights, will be his last as head coach.

"At the end of next year, I'll be 55 and I'll have either coached or played since I was 12," Moran said. "When we hired Brian Herdlein (left in photo), we had a conversation with him as a district about taking over for me. He's been in the program long enough and it just feels like it's time for him to take over the program."

Le Roy will return to the gridiron with a pretty talented team for the 2014 season, which should give Moran a great opportunity to notch his 200th career win, a milestone he said is in fact something he'd like to achieve.

"You think about it when you're young, getting to 200, but when you get here what you think about most are the memories," Moran said. "People don't realize as you get older, those are the things that are important. I've had a lot of great memories with a lot of great coaches and players and the support of our community, which just makes it a privilege to coach here."

Each senior player, such as Brandon Van Grol, above, received a small football helmet on a plaque. In each case, Moran shared a word of praise for each player.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Oakfield-Alabama middle-schoolers compete in 'Turkey Bowl'

post by Howard Owens in football, Oakfield, oakfield-alabama, sports

A cold, cold night, the ground frozen, what better conditions could there be for a flag football game among middle-schoolers?

Last night Oakfield-Alabama held its Turkey Bowl. There was no trophy, just a chance for students to a unique football game -- a chance to play under the lights of the varsity football field.

The event was the brainchild of teacher Dan Gilbert and was put together with the help of James Patrick and Katie Hilchey.

"We thought something like this around Thanksgiving might promote the family feeling of a small school," Patrick said.

Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm

After 26 years, 587 wins, 10 sectional titles and one state championship, Tom Nowak honored at retirement party

post by Howard Owens in basketball, elba, football, high school sports, sports

In a room filled with friends, fans and supporters last night, former Elba Lady Lancers Head Coach Tom Nowak was all smiles.

"It's really special," Nowak said. "It's a little bit, I don't know, I want to say the word, 'imposing,' because you want to be in the background as a coach. It's difficult when you come out here and you're the person, but it's really nice to see."

Nowak was honored with a retirement party at the Elba Fire Hall that featured a collection of memorabilia and lots of memories from 26 years of serving the community by teaching young people how to compete and win.

In 1977, after two years at Dundee, Nowak joined Elba Central as a history teacher. He also became the varsity football coach and the varsity girls basketball coach.

His football record over 22 years was 130-60-6 with two sectional titles.

Leading the Lady Lancers, Nowak compiled a 457-132 record, eight sectional titles and, most significantly, a state title in 2012.

"Just that one precious one," Nowak said of the state championship. "It was special. We went in 2000 and lost in the finals. I always thought I'd never get a chance to go back and I got a chance to go back and the girls came through."

Teaching and coaching in Elba was a perfect fit, he said.

"I've always considered myself a shallow person," Nowak said. "I like history and I like sports. I first got to be a history teacher at Elba and then I got a chance to coach, so it really worked out well for me."

It takes time and dedication to be a successful varsity coach in any sport, and that means, Nowak acknowledged, that he maybe wasn't home as much as his wife might have liked over the years.

"We're going to do some things for my wife," said Nowak, who retired from teaching in 2009. "She spent so many years staying home on a Friday night watching Dallas and Falcon's Crest while I was out gallivanting around scouting football games. It will be nice to give her the opportunity to do some of the things that maybe we didn't get to do when I was a coach."

With all those wins and all those titles, surely young coaches could learn something from Nowak, and here's his advice:

"Find a mentor," Nowak said. "Find the people who are successes and spend some time and find out why they're successful.You will see something you can incorporate into your own plan. That's something I did. I looked at some role models because as a young coach you really don't know what to do and that was really beneficial to me."

Friday, November 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

ND's QB named Section V Class D Player of the Year

post by Howard Owens in football, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

Notre Dame's Tim McCulley was honored Saturday in Rochester with the Section V Player of the Year award. McCulley, a senior QB, led his team to the Section V semi-finals this year and threw for 25 TDs, setting a school record and placing him at #5 in Section V single-season record list. He's 55 career TDs are #4 all-time in Section V. Tim is pictured with his father Michael and mother Carolyn.

Also honored in their respective classes were Curtis Haught from Cal Mum and Ritchie Welch from Avon, pictured below with McCulley and Section V officials.

UPDATE: Here's some of McCulley's stats and accomplishments. He made GR League all team in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He was the team's MVP 2011 and 2013. Team offensive MVP in 2012. His starting career varsity team record was 20-7 with the team making sectionals all three years, winning the title in 2012. In 2013, he completed 83 passes in 164 attempts for 1,390 yards and 25 TDs with only two interceptions. His QB rating was 170. He rushed for 471 yards and six TDs. career, he had 197 completions in 385 attempts for 3,441 yards and 55 TDs and only 11 interceptions over three seasons.  He had 216 carries for 970 yards and 14 TDs.

McCulley has served his church in a number of capacities; referring games and coaching at the now closed Holy Family School, St Joseph’s Elementary youth basketball program,  working at St. Peter’s Church and the St. Francis Cemetery. He has actively volunteered to complete his school service hours at a number of events and venues.  Tim is a 3.0 student and hopes to continue his playing career and is undecided in his major.

Photos submitted by Michael McCulley.

Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 11:42 am

Photo: Hometown Spirit

post by Howard Owens in football, Le Roy, sports

Trisha Riggi sent in this picture of Le Roy elementary school students who lined Wolcott Street in Le Roy to give the Oatkan-Knights a hometown send off for their big game in Rochester.

The Knights lost to Wayland Cohocton, but the whole community is proud of what they accomplished in 2013.

Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 1:03 am

Le Roy suffers OT loss in Class C championship game

post by Nick Sabato in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

Le Roy’s football team came up just short as they fell in overtime to Wayland-Cohocton in the Class C championship, 14 to 8.

Head Coach Brian Moran was in search of his 14th sectional championship in 25 years, and a Section V record, 15th in school history, but it was not to be for the Oatkan Knights.

“They really worked hard and both teams were well prepared,” Moran said. “That led to a defensive struggle all day.”

The game was the definition of a defensive struggle for the majority of the game, as the game headed into the fourth quarter with a scoreless tie.

Class C Offensive Player of the Year Devon Harris entered the game averaging over 170 rushing yards per game and yet to be held under 100 all season long for Wayland-Cohocton. However, the Oatkan Knights managed to bottle him up for most of the game, holding him to 98 yards on 18 carries.

“I thought we played very well defensively against a young man who is an extremely talented athlete,” Moran said. “I thought we shut him down pretty well, but we just didn’t make plays when we needed to.”

The Eagles struck first, as quarterback C.J. Ellis found tight end Darren Becker for a 40-yard gain down to the Le Roy 15-yard line. Two plays later, Ellis found Reece Chapman for a 13-yard score. Harris would punch in the two-point conversion to give Way-Co the lead two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Le Roy wouldn’t need long to respond, as quarterback Mike McMullen found Ryan McQuillen two plays later, and he sprinted 70 yards down the sideline to put the Knights on the scoreboard. McMullen then found Nick Egeling for the two-point conversion to knot the game at eight apiece with nine minutes to play.

The Eagles appeared to be driving again, but Egeling managed to step in front of an Ellis pass to halt the drive at Le Roy’s 30-yard line.

After failing to move the ball, Way-Co drove the ball again deep into Le Roy territory, but it was the Knights’ defense who came up big again, stopping the Eagles inches short of a first down late in the ball game.

Le Roy took possession and marched onto Wayland-Cohocton’s side of the 50-yard line, but a rare Knight turnover halted a chance at a go-ahead score as McMullen and running back Peter Privitera were unable to complete at handoff late in the game.

“It happens, it's high school football,” Moran said. “It's 16-, 17-, 18-year-old kids, and you can’t worry about it. You just have to pick yourself up and keep playing.”

The Eagles would take the first offensive possession on overtime and marched inside the Le Roy 10-yard line, but the defense would initially hold strong.

Zach Fitzsimmons came up with a big sack on third down to knock Way-Co back to the 12-yard line, but Ellis would find Chapman on the exact same play as the first touchdown to put the Eagles in front 14-8.

On Le Roy’s first offensive play of overtime, McMullen found Egeling for a gain of nine yards, but the Knights were never able to pick up that final yard as McMullen was unable to connect with Pierce in the end zone on second down, and Privitera was stopped short on the final two plays of the game to give Wayland-Cohocton their first sectional championship in school history.

“We just tried to get the first down,” Moran said. “We just tried to score and hopefully get a chance to kick an extra point to win, but today it just didn’t happen.”

The Le Roy trademark rushing attack was held in check all game, as the Eagles held them to a season-low 76 yards. Privitera finished with just 30 yards on 11 carries in the final game of his superb high school career.

McMullen finished the game 10-of-22 for 165 yards and a touchdown. McQuillen caught five of those passes for 108 yards.

Le Roy’s defense played well, holding the Eagles to under 200 yards of total offense, registering four sacks and forcing three turnovers.

Ellis entered the game having thrown only one interception all game, but the Knights managed to intercept him twice on the game, and he finished 5-of-12 for 73 yards to go along with his two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Wayland-Cohocton (9-1) will go on to face the winner of the Section VI championship game next week in the Far West Regionals.

Le Roy will finish their season at 8-2 as they fell in the Class C final for the second consecutive season.

“They had a great game plan defensively,” Moran said. “We played well, but obviously they made one more play than us and congratulations to them.”

Top Photo: Reece Chapman, Wayland-Cohocton's running back, crosses the goal line for the game's first points in the fourth quarter after catching a 13-yard pass from C.J. Ellis.

Ryan McQuillen outruns the Wayland-Cohocton defense after grabbing a swing pass from QB Mike McCullen for an 80-yard TD reception to tie the score in the fourth quarter.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Le Roy Gridders in search of record 15th Sectional Title

post by Nick Sabato in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

#4 Le Roy Oatkan Knights (8-1) vs. #3 Wayland-Cohocton Eagles (8-1)

Class C Championship, 5 p.m. Friday at Sahlen's Stadium

Le Roy will play for a Section V record 15th football championship when they take on Wayland-Cohocton on Friday night.

Currently the Oatkan Knights are tied with rival Caledonia-Mumford (who lost in the finals last week) and Clyde-Savannah, who won their 14th title last week, for the most championships in Section V.

It would be fitting for Le Roy to break the record, with this being Head Coach Brian Moran’s 25th season at the helm. Moran has led the Knights to 13 of their championships, but has not brought home a trophy since 2008.

The fourth-seeded Knights made it to the Class C finals a season ago, before losing to Hornell 21-7.

This season, they will face third-seeded Wayland-Cohocton in a battle of Livingston County schools.

Le Roy has garnered a lot of recognition for their passing game this season, but it has been the running game that has carried them during their sectional run, reminding fans of classic Knights football.

After carrying Le Roy a season ago, running back Peter Privitera got off to a slow start this season, in part due to an ankle injury. However, in the last two weeks Privitera has carried the ball 48 times for 245 yards and three touchdowns.

The senior has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last two games after failing to eclipse that mark in three of the last four games of the regular season, including a 28-yard performance in a Week 7 loss to Cal-Mum.

“Peter is just getting to 100 percent,” Moran said. “He had ankle surgery and that’s not easy to come back from, but what impresses me most about Peter is that the four or five yards he gets are tough four or five yards. That’s what Le Roy football is all about, getting tough yards when you need it.”

Last week, Coach Moran relied heavily on his senior in the second half, and when Le Roy fell behind 14-13 late in the fourth quarter, it was Privitera who reeled off a 45-yard touchdown run to put the Knights ahead for good.

The Knights will be dealt with a tough task in stopping another tough running back on the other side of the field.

Wayland-Cohocton is led by Section V Class Player of the Year Devon Harris.

The junior running back has put up some impressive numbers this season, rushing for 1,531 yards and 29 touchdowns. Harris has also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns on the year and is a threat to score from anywhere on the field.

The Eagles also have a balanced attack, as quarterback C.J. Ellis has had an outstanding senior season.

Ellis has completed 75-percent of his passes this season for 1,023 yards, 13 touchdowns and only one interception.

Way-Co comes into this Class C title tilt outscoring opponents 88-14 in two sectional games.

Final Note: While this game will showcase two of the top running backs in Class C, it could be the passing game that decides the game.

Wayland-Cohocton’s duo of Ellis and Darren Becker was the fourth-best combination in Livingston County play, but Le Roy has their own superb tandem.

Ryan McQuillen has racked up 12 touchdowns on 25 receptions this season, and has caught a touchdown in each of the last five games.

Quarterback Mike McMullen has also tossed 25 touchdown passes this season and has thrown three or more in four games this season.

Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Alexander battles, but comes up short in bid for first Sectin V title

post by Howard Owens in alexander, football, high school sports, sports

Clyde-Savannah Head Coach Nick Dercola said it: "Momentum is such a big thing in high school football."

In the second half of the Class D Section V championship game in Rochester, the Golden Eagles had it. The Alexander Trojans wanted it.

As a result, the final score favored Clyde, 30-24.

The Trojans had a chance to win Alexander's first Section V football title in school history, but a muffed snap on a punt deep in Golden Eagles territory on Alexander's first possession in the second half seemed to have a big impact on the game.

Clyde scored on a 10-yard pass from wide receiver Cal Felker to tight end Jarrod Faniel and with a two-point conversion, Alexander's half-time lead of nine points became a one-point lead, 24-23, and gave Clyde's players a little bit of hope.

Even a quick score on an eight-yard run by Dylan Scharlau following an 80-yard kickoff return by Same Browne didn't dampen Clyde's sense from that point that anything was possible.

"After the fumble on the punt, we had field position for the whole second half," Dercola said. "My kids loosened up a little and started getting after it a bit harder ... We got the momentum in the second half and kept it."

So much of Alexander's offense is dependent on senior running back Dylan Scharlau and after gaining 105 yards in the first half, scoring one TD, the Golden Eagles held Scharlau to just 39 yards in the second half.

It didn't help that Scharlau came into the game with a sprained right ankle and had been on a light practice schedule all week.

"It was a tough second half," Alexander Head Coach Tim Sawyer said. "We just didn't make the plays -- a couple of penalties, we dropped an interception and that was eight points the other way.  We've just got to make plays. We've got to finish."

Stopping Scharlau was an important part of the Golden Eagles keeping the second-half momentum flowing their way.

"We knew they were going to come at us and he's a heck of a runner," Dercola said. "We kept hitting him and he'd bounce off. We knew we had to stop him and we didn't do a very good job in the first half. I thought we did a much better job in the second half."

Alexander had a chance to grab that all-important momentum early in the 4th quarter when an 18-yard pass from Joe Faniel bounced off the chest of an Alexander defender and instead of falling to the ground it hung up long enough for Clyde's Kam Disanto to slip his hands under it giving the Golden Eagles a go-ahead TD.

That was a lead Clyde would not surrender as Alexander's offense was pretty much shut down on its following possessions and Faniel added to Clyde's lead on a two-yard TD run with six minutes left in the game.

It's the fourth straight win for Clyde over a team that came into the game with only one loss.

"I feel bad for our community," Sawyer said. "It was huge that our community was behind us. It's great to get this far. We won a league championship this year for the first time in 36 years. We beat Notre Dame in the semi-finals last week. All of those things are very good things."

Section V awards were given to Scharlau, QB Nelson Burke and Jonathan George.

Those seniors, and all the seniors on the team, made such a huge contribution to the Trojans' run at a Section V title, Sawyer said.

"I'm glad Section V recognized (George) as the best lineman out there today," Sawyer said. "He's been the best lineman in every game he's played in this year, and Nelson Burke, he loves the game. I know this hurts."

Burke finished 4-11 passing for 50 yards. He also ran the ball four times for 15 yards and Tyler Laird had four carries for 37 yards.

The Trojans out gained the Eagles 248 yards to 189 for the game and time of possession 30 minutes to 18.

Laird also had five tackles. Zach Laird had two tackles and a sack.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

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