SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Confidence infectious among Bills’ defense By Charles Roberts
brought him in. He also sees have to play with a chip on a bit of that in Dareus. your shoulder and play Bend, but don’t break. “I think you need to have rough and play tough.” Resilient. Opportunistic. a little bit of that mentality Barnett, who was a part of Call it what you will, the and I think we are a little bit last year’s Super Bowl-winBuffalo Bills’ defense is findbetter at that,” Gailey said. ning Green Bay Packers, ing ways to get it done in the “Marcell has some of that in thinks the Bills have the season’s first half. his own quieter way, but he pieces in place, but shows Nick Barnett, Shawne has some of Merriman, Kirk that.” Morrison and Dareus, a 340especially the pound defensive mammoth rookie, lineman, is hardMarcell Dareus, ly missing a beat were brought in in his first year. to prevent anothHe spent the er season of botmajority of the tom-of-the-barrel training camp run-defense. The working side-byBills allowed a side with Pro league-worst Bowl nose tackle 2,627 rushing Kyle Williams, yards last year. an apprentice“We know ship that continwhat we’ve got in ues. this locker room “I’m trying to and sometimes teach him how people on the he’s looking at outside won’t things pre-snap, believe what formations, difwe’re capable of ferent things, doing,” Merriman trying to get him said. “But we to see things that believe and we’ll I see before the go out and keep play,” Williams working.” said. “To study The injection the things the of fresh blood way that I study seems to be workthem so he can ing, and it’s not Photo by Jeff Barnes take that explostrictly the runDavid Nelson flew under the radar in college, siveness and use defense that’s which is fine by the Bills. it to his advanbenefitting. tage.” he’s level-headed. The entire defensive unit First-year assistant head “This can be one of the has a newly found sense of coach and linebackers coach best teams,” he explained. confidence— an attitude— Dave Wannstedt brings the “It depends on how we conand Barnett is a big part of Bills more than 35 years of tinue to grow. It’s too early to the equation. He’s not only a defensive-minded experibe talking about going to the solid contributor on the ence, which gives defensive Super Bowl and this and field; he’s a vocal leader in coordinator George Edwards that. We still have some the locker room, too. additional time to devote his growing up to do, but I think “We never talked about it, attention to other areas of we’re playing. If the offense but I think it’s understood concern. keeps putting up 30-somethat in order to be a defense Whether it’s additional thing points there is no way you have to have an atticoaching, new players or a we should be losing ever. tude,” Barnett said. “You combination of all of the We’ve just got to continue have to have swag, especially above, the results are palpadoing what we’re doing.” coming from where we were ble. Bills head coach Chan last year. You have to have a “We’re not going to talk Gailey said he was aware of chip on your shoulder. You about what we can or what Barnett’s combination of attiknow I’ve always been like we’re going to do,” tude and ability before they that in my career where you
Merriman said. “But if teams underestimate us, we’ve got to go out and do what we have to do.” Despite allowing Tom Brady to throw for 387 yards and four touchdowns in Week 3, the defense is creating turnovers at critical stages of the game. Brady can attest to that; he also threw four interceptions—tying a career-worst—in the Patriots’ first loss to the Bills since Sept. 7, 2003. “They’re a good coverage team,” Brady said of the Bills.
“They made some good plays in the pass game. They took advantage of some opportunities that they got.” All four of the Bradythrown interceptions led to Bills’ points, including cornerback Drayton Florence returning one for a touchdown. Leodis McKelvin, now in his fourth pro season, has experienced the highs and lows throughout his career—and this year is no different. He shook off an iffy start to the season and made an interception that set up a touchdown in the Bills’ win over the Patriots.
“My dad told me, ‘You just have to live for the next play,’” McKelvin said. “I’m just going to go out there and play hard no matter what happened that play, no matter what happened— good or bad—because I’m a corner. I’m out there on an island by myself and that’s what I have to do.” Time will tell what the future has in store for this group, but it’s hard to ignore the change of mood and especially the results during the season’s early stages. As Williams put it, referring to year’s past, “It can’t get any worse.”
Nelson coming on at the right time for Bills By Charles Roberts
primary slot receiver, and perhaps the long-term soluDavid Nelson caught just 46 passes for 630 yards and seven touchdowns during his four-year collegiate career. That’s in the rearview. Undrafted out of Florida, he’s emerging as one of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s favorite targets during the early stages of his second year as a pro. He runs crisp routes, has steady hands and at 6-foot-5, he’s pretty easy to find. “He’s a tough matchup for a lot of teams,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s a real good, smooth wide receiver.” Nelson flew under the radar in college— chiefly based on an offense that was built Photo by Jeff Barnes around run-first quarterback Tim Tebow. David Nelson flew under the radar in college, which is fine by the Bills. The Bills, namely Fitzpatrick, are just tion. fine with that. “I knew that my team “I expect guys to not needed me and I had to step respect our receivers up,” Nelson said. “With that because they don’t know kind of motivation, you who they are,” Fitzpatrick can’t lose.” said. “They’ve never really His teammates aren’t the seen them play and that’s only source of motivation, what we’re hoping for.” however. Moments after Despite a four-year scoring the game-winning absence from the spotlight, touchdown Sept. 18 against Nelson is no stranger to the Oakland Raiders, being a big-time, big-name Nelson sought out his famiplayer. During his senior ly in the stands, perhaps 50 year at S.H. Rider High feet from the stage where he School in Wichita Falls, performed his last-minute Texas, Nelson caught 91 heroics. passes for 1,641 and 18 “They’ve been my biggest touchdowns. He also letsupporters since I was a tered in baseball, basketball kid,” Nelson said. “They and—despite what critics believed in me when most say about his lack of people didn’t. They’ve speed—was a regional qualalways been there for me ifier in track and field, and been supportive. When appearing on three consecuI went undrafted, they were tive all-state teams. there. They knew that I “It doesn’t matter how we could make it and they gave got here,” Bills wide receivme the confidence to make er Stevie Johnson said. “We it.” are NFL players. Guys like Like many kids, Nelson David, Donald (Jones), had childhood dreams of Naaman (Roosevelt) and I, making the catch that sends we’re out to prove everyone the crowd into a celebratory wrong. We know we are roar. As an adult, his dreams capable of it, it’s just a matare becoming reality. ter of playing our best every “It’s something you week.” dream of as a little kid; comWith veteran Roscoe ing in and catching the Parrish on injured reserve, game-winning touchdown,” Nelson becomes the Bills’
Nelson said. “I just can’t put it into words how special it was for me. I got emotional after the game. My mom and little brother are here and I gave them a hug. It was kind of an emotional feeling because of all the hard work that’s gone in.” Nelson has dealt with ups and downs. He was a superstar in high school; in Texas no less—where teenagers not yet old enough to vote become the toast of the town on Friday nights. In college he was a no-name—an everyday player on a team that won two national championships. Pressure is hardly an obstacle. Still, sometimes the easiest things quickly become the hardest. When Nelson caught the game-winner, he was wide open, not a defender within 10 feet. “Those are the hardest catches sometimes,” Nelson said. “You’re wide open, especially when the game is on the line. You’re thinking, ‘Don’t drop this ball, don’t drop this ball,’ so there’s a lot of things going through my head at that moment, but it all happened so fast.” Nelson’s family makes it to as many games as possible. His girlfriend, who is a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, is also among the crowd when she has an obligation-less Sunday. “No matter what goes on, they are always there for me,” Nelson said. “When the bad times are there, they are there for me. When the good times are there, they are there for me. I want to make sure to let them know that I appreciate them always being there for me.” Luckily for Nelson, he has a bit of an inside track to provide his family with a good view of his blossoming career. “Thanks to the Bills for giving us good tickets,” he said with a smile.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE
From the Publisher The Bills are the talk of the town after winning their first three games of the season. They head into October 3-1, and sit atop the AFC East, thanks in part to a convincing win over much maligned foe New England in Week 3. While the national media has been somewhat surprised by the upstart Bills, Western New Yorkers knew that it was only a matter of time before Chan Gailey got the team firing on all cylinders. It also helps when you can bring in players like Nick Barnett, Shawne Merriman, Kirk Morrison and first round pick Marcell Dareus. After ranking dead last in the league last year in run defense, the Bills have plugged the holes while continuing to allow their secondary to do what they do best; create interceptions. In the win over New England, the Bills intercepted Tom
Brady four times, a careerworst for the Super Bowl winning QB, all at critical points in the game. ProBowler Kyle Williams has remained in top form while taking Dareus under his wing and the veteran presence of Chris Kelsay remains as important as ever. Dave Wannstedt, former head coach of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, brings over 35 years of hard-hitting defensive experience to the team as the new coordinator. In Week 2, no catch was bigger than David Nelson’s end zone grab during the final seconds of the game. The 6-foot-5 receiver has been developing chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick and has proven to his QB that his steady hands and tall frame can be relied upon in all situations. Undrafted out of Florida, Nelson is starting to make a name for himself and, with Roscoe Parrish on
IR, has emerged as the Bill’s primary slot receiver. Joining other undrafted and under-drafted players like running back Fred Jackson and fellow wide receiver Stevie Johnson, Nelson is part of a Bill’s offense that is winning more and more respect week by week. With a month of football under our belts, the start of the hockey season makes fall the best sports time of the year. The Sabres had their busiest offseason since, well, the franchise began. A few months after ushering in the Terry Pegula era, the offseason was marked by a flurry of free agent acquisitions. In preparation for the opening face-off, we go through the entire roster, player by player, to assess their strengths, weaknesses and what factors will contribute to a successful season.
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Sabres 2011-12 season, Buffalo’s year of the Cup? By George Kuhn The 2010-11 Sabres finished the regular season only seven points behind the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. Having finished last season fourth in goals among Eastern Conference teams but only eighth in goals against and 17th overall, the Sabres properly focused new owner Terry Pegula’s checkbook on improving their defense corps by adding veterans Robyn Regehr and Christian Ehrhoff. Signing slick skilled free agent playmaking forward Ville Leino will be an upgrade over the departed Tim Connolly. These roster additions have Buffalo’s diehard hockey fans hoping that playoff success is imminent. With the last three NHL champions opening the season in Europe and the Sabres opening their schedule across the pond, does this portend Stanley Cup glory this spring for the blue and gold? Let’s examine the players, analyze the changes and meet up again at the end for the answer. Goal Look for better numbers as the team has rebuilt a weak defense corps into potentially one of the league’s very best. Ryan Miller The NHL’s best goalie in 2009-10 slipped last year to 22nd in individual GAA rankings for a variety of reasons. First he suffered a series of injuries to his hip, knee and groin. Second, the Sabres lost two stalwart defenders in Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder whose steady solid play in the defensive zone had helped Miller win the Vezina Trophy. The Sabres team goals against fell to 17th overall in the 30team NHL due to a less effective team defense. Strengths: Miller gets better with age constantly developing new techniques. Strong fundamentally, squares to the puck, poise, anticipation, and post-to-post agility. Weaknesses: Stays too deep in crease especially on plays coming from behind the net. Heavy workload on his slim frame theoretically tires him out at playoff time. Went to conference finals in 2005-06 after a 48-game regular season but his conference finals appearance in 2006-07 came after a 63-game regular season so that may be a red herring. But his 76 game load in 200607 was clearly too much with a career low .906 save percentage. Enroth’s continued ability to put up the W’s will keep Miller plenty rested this year. Question: Miller is Buffalo’s best player. Can this new version of the Sabres provide him with the same level of defensive support that the 2009-10 team did in helping him win the Vezina trophy as the NHL’s best goalie? Jonas Enroth Strengths: Small but with outstanding reflexes. Good anticipation. Outwaits, does not overplay shooters. Plays well under pressure. Strong play with Miller out and 9-2-2 record helped Sabres clinch playoff berth. Weaknesses: Rebounds, angles and plays from behind the net. The big question: Enroth has
always been a starter and his ster now slowing down with on dump-ins, but who isn’t? into open ice where he uses best play came when he startage, not much offense but Should get better with expericlever stickhandling moves ed back-to-back games for a Sabres have enough of that ence. Could be odd man out and his big slapshot. Works stretch. Can he play as well as already. Regehr will be a valuof top six only because Sabres cycle well, works hard to get a clear backup playing only able addition who can help D is a bit top heavy with offenopen, pursues puck with occasionally? balance the slick skating sive talent. vigor. Commitment to offseaSabres D corps and school the son fitness program keyed his Defense Forwards young defenders with his vetsuccess. Last season’s weakness Good scoring depth but eran savvy. Weaknesses: Streaky with 18 should be a strength as the unit overall lacks size of his goals in only seven Sabres have rebuilt their Andrej Sekera Thomas Vanek games. Only had one playoff defense corps into potentially Strengths: Outstanding skill goal despite taking one of the league’s best, whopping 33 shots. a mobile group with Question: Can he high end offense skills. keep it up? Players With NHL teams profisometimes excel in cient at smothering their contract year then attacking forwards slip backwards after the down low with five big paychecks start defenders, it’s imperacoming in. tive that defensemen support the attack and Jason Pominville help create scoring Numbers have been chances. Rather than declining for this steady adding the big free player but he has agent center Brad become better, well Richards, the Sabres are rounded reliable player. counting on the defense Average size does not to add goals this season. inhibit him from playing tough. Tyler Myers Strengths: Smooth Myers had a horrible skater not especially early season, -15 by fast but gets open with January and a 26-game pivots and good lateral goal drought. Finished movement to use his even in plus-minus excellent shot, strong reflecting his stronger puckhandler who second half. makes smart plays. Strengths: Huge 6Good defensive player. foot-8 frame presents Weakness: Lacks large barrier for attackhigh end speed but ing forwards, strong compensates as agile skater, amazing described. combination of size and Q u e s t i o n : skating ability. Best Unbelievably was never when making simple drafted by an NHL passes and following team. Is there any team the rush with his good that wouldn’t take him hands and good shot. today? Strong defensively Photo by Nick LoVerde where his size and skatVille Leino Thomas Vanek elite goal scorer and play-maker. ing ability make him difStrong playoffs last ficult to beat one-ontwo years for one. Led team with five game Philadelphia made him very Elite goal scorer is now also package, tremendous accelerwinning goals. attractive to Sabres. Strengths: a quality playmaker, stepped ation and skating ability. Weaknesses: Needs faster Clever creative puck handler up with 49 points including Excellent rushing defensefirst step, poor decision-makwho skates well and can score 29 assists with +13 in 45 man. ing leads to turnovers. goals, good defensive player. games while his regular center Weakness: Lacks consistenWeakness/Question: Has Derek Roy was injured. Jordan Leopold cy. Benched for three games been a winger, Sabres will play Strengths: Dangerous in Skilled offensive player. after 19-game scoreless streak, him at center. Can he handle traffic around net with his Strengths: Calm, poised, came back with five consecuthe defensive responsibilities great shot. Clever passing on smooth skater defends crease tive two-point games and an of a center, which are more the attack, deadly on deflecarea well. Good shot with his 18-game stretch with 13 demanding than a winger? tions, almost an automatic 13 goals the most by a Sabres points and +12, responded goal on shootouts—scored on D in over 10 years. Strong first Tyler Ennis well to benching but credit first five to finish five of six. half but slipped afterward Ennis is small but feisty, Lindy Ruff for motivating his Perhaps league’s No.1player with injuries. Good puck carhighly skilled and an exciting young player to give his best. you want alone in front with rier and breakout passer, player to watch. Weaknesses: Doesn’t defend the puck on his stick. Still strong on the PP. Strengths: Outstanding crease well, loses coverage in improving. Weaknesses: Lacks physicalskater with high end speed his own zone. Not expected to Weaknesses: He is improvity and needs to up his tempo can change gears and direcbe a Regehr-type defender his ing defensively but sometimes when needed, -11 was team tions sharply to elude defendstrengths are his offensive doesn’t come back hard and worst. ers. Plays fearless style and skills. loses his check. drives to the net at every Question: Which player will Christian Ehrhoff opportunity. Dazzles with his Derek Roy we see this year? Can Sekera Gifted offensive blueliner skills. Point a game player was top find his own internal motivacomes over from Stanley Cup Weakness: At 5-foot-8, 165 15 scorer when injured last tors to become the dominant finalist Vancouver where he pounds, he looks like the kid year. One of the top 15 centers offensive force he has shown scored 14 goals and 50 points. who bags your groceries. in the NHL. he can be? Strengths: Fast skater with Small size makes him vulneraStrengths: Smooth skater quick acceleration, slips down Mike Weber ble to larger players when they with quick acceleration and low from point to create scorStrengths: Classic stay at can contain him. When he good lateral movement. ing chances. Will probably home defender plays physical builds some muscle and Strong playmaker, great stamisteal power play time from and makes good breakout improves his defensive game na with limitless energy. Speed Jordan Leopold. passes. Helps balance out he will raise his game to forces defenders to back in. Weaknesses: Can make slopdefense corps, which has an another level. Still improving. py breakout passes, not a overabundance of offensive Weaknesses: At 5-foot-9, strong positional defender and Nathan Gerbe talent. Weakness: Not much 190 pounds, he doesn’t match takes lazy penalties as a result. Another small feisty forin the offensive zone but the up well against bigger oppoMinus 13 in playoffs, worst on ward at 5-foot-5, but a solid Sabres don’t need him to be. nents. Doesn’t take the puck Canucks. Ouch! 175 pounds. Gerbe had a Marc-Andre Gragnani to the net, likes to curl and rough initiation to the NHL Robyn Regehr Offensive defenseman led make plays which can lead to but his persistence and hard NHL warrior, strong defenSabres in playoff scoring. turnovers, sometimes avoids work and the coaching staff’s sive player comes over from Strengths: Quick skater with hits by turning puck over. confidence in him paid off Calgary. outstanding breakout passes when he caught fire with nine Drew Stafford Strengths: Ultimate warrior, also skates well with the puck. goals and +8 over the final 20 Breakout season with 31 defensive stalwart, physical Runs power play with quick games to finish with 16 goals goals in 62 games, a 40-goal punishing defenseman will reads and precision passes. including a spectacular spinpace over full season. make opponents fear him, Defends crease well. o-rama goal against the Flyers Strengths: Ability to score, should be ideal partner for Weaknesses: Finesse in the playoff clinching game. with 20 goals in 23-game Tyler Meyers defenseman lacks physical eleStrengths: Fearless player stretch. Uses speed to break Weakness: Never a speedment, susceptible to forecheck
throws his body around like a weapon and somehow without destroying himself or getting destroyed. Explosive elusive skater takes the puck to the net consistently. Has huge upside potential. Weakness: Small size makes it tough to match up against bigger opponents defensively. Question: Can he score 20 goals consistently, how about 30 or more? Paul Gaustad Strengths: NHL’s third best faceoff man, ultimate team player backs up teammates when needed, his huge frame brings physical presence to undersized forward corps. Strong forechecker and defensive player. Fans love the Goose. Weaknesses: Not much offense, career high 12 goals each of last three seasons. Question: Has never scored an NHL playoff goal in 38 games. Has averaged one goal every seven games the past three years. One playoff goal at the right time in last season’s seven game series against Philly could have changed the outcome. Is this the year? Can the Sabres win in the spring without the Goose contributing some offense? Summary Two consecutive first round ousters shows that these Sabres haven’t learned how to win in the playoffs, the time of year when players dig down deep and do whatever it takes to succeed. It generally means tough defense. The 17th ranked defense in the regular season is probably the worst defense in the playoffs and that’s just not good enough, regardless of how many goals you score. The 2010-11 Sabres defense corps was likely the worst in the NHL and four of last season’s top seven defenders were not retained. Coach Lindy Ruff’s frequent benchings of defensemen Craig Rivet, Shoane Morrisson, Steve Montador (all departed) and Andrej Sekara showed his displeasure with their play. While the defense corps has been upgraded substantially with the free agent signings, it remains to be seen if the new defense corps will provide the defensive presence that the 2009-10 team did during Miller’s Vezina Trophy season. Goals against average is a team statistic reflecting team defense, not just the play of the goaltenders. Miller’s GAA slide to 22nd among NHL regulars was a reflection of his team’s declining defensive proficiency as well as his own struggles. Boston’s Stanley Cup team surrendered only nine goals in seven games in the finals against Vancouver’s high powered offense, proving again that defense wins championships. The Sabres new defense corps may have a bit too much of an offensive focus for that type of playoff success. A playoff spot would seem assured, maybe a division title and top three conference ranking and a few rounds deep into the postseason. But the Stanley Cup may be beyond the reach of the 201112 Sabres. Maybe later.
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Fantasy hockey By Mike Fox It’s ‘Game On!’ in the hockey world, and fantasy owners are engrossed in their annual ritual of attempting to project which players might show a spike in production this season, and which might be better avoided. One man’s opinion on a few players: Tomas Vokoun has spent the better part of the past decade hovering on the fringe of fantasy stardom, never quite reaching elite status because of subpar supporting casts in Florida and Nashville that tended to suppress his win totals. Vokoun has managed to post six consecutive seasons with a save percentage of .919 or better
despite being bombarded by pucks, so his off-season move to Washington could be the beginning of a career year. If the squadron of scoring superstars in D.C. can put last season’s offensive cow flop behind them and revert to prior form, ‘Koun could take a run at 40 wins this year. J.S. Giguere was supposed to be holding the fort in Toronto until Jonas Gustavsson was ready to claim the No.1 goaltender job, but James Reimer appears to have thrown a pleasant monkey wrench into the Leafs’ plan. Reimer quietly posted a 20-10-5 record in his debut 20102011 season, with three
Photo courtesy NHL Media
Tomas Vokoun could be poised for a career year in our nation’s capital. shutouts and an eye-catching .921 save percentage. Giggy is gone, and Gustavsson struggled in his sophomore season, leaving the door wide open for Reimer this year. If he can
Fantasy football: Wide open wide receivers By Len Mytko As we move past the quarter mark of the season, it’s time once again to scour your league’s waiver wire for any wide receivers worth adding. Whether you need a slight boost or a complete overhaul at the wideout position, one thing for sure is many good quality wideouts are still readily available in most leagues. In fact, it’s always the case that every year we see a new surprise or two come from among the bunch. Remember Miles Austin and Sidney Rice from a couple years back or more recently Brandon Lloyd. These three were blips on the radar screen entering the year in which they broke out and all went on to have sensational seasons. In fact, Lloyd led the whole league in receiving yards last year with 1,448 yards by basically coming out of nowhere. So to help you dig through your league’s waiver wire for some good wide receiver values, here’s a list of potential candidates to monitor or add in the coming weeks. Good luck! Nate Washington, Titans He doesn’t have the swagger like some of the more flamboyant wide receivers out there, but one thing for sure about Washington is that he’s steady and productive when called upon. And with fellow wideout Kenny Britt sidelined for the entire season, Washington’s fantasy outlook should be even more appealing going forward now. Currently, he’s on pace for a breakthrough year already with a teamhigh 23 catches and 320 yards. Brandon Lafell, Panthers Last season Lafell showed some promise as a rookie with 38 catches for 468 yards, considering the difficulties Carolina had at the quarterback position. This year, with Cam Newton at quarterback, he’s looking
even better with 12 catches for 161 yards and a score through three contests so far. The only thing he still needs to prove is if he can possibly compliment a good wideout, such as Steve Smith, by playing with a little more consistency. Eric Decker, Broncos With Eddie Royal struggling mightily to lock down the No.2 role, this former University of Minnesota standout could end up emerging alongside Brandon Lloyd at some point this year. As a rookie last season he only registered six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown playing mostly special teams, but he’s already displaying excellent big-play ability just three weeks into this campaign with 20 receptions for 270 yards and four scores. Expect Decker to be a popular addition off the waiver wire and with good reason. Brandon Gibson, Rams On paper, Gibson has many positives. He has legitimate size and good quickness and the Rams like his toughness. Only drawback is he doesn’t possess all that much in terms of scoring skills as one of Sam Bradford’s main go-to guys, hauling in just four touchdowns in 20 career games. But one thing that should stay certain is he’ll keep catching balls (especially with Danny Amendola out) which makes him far more attractive in PPR (point-perreception) leagues with any touchdowns that he scores being an added bonus. Antonio Brown, Steelers After an explosive preseason in which he put up 230 receiving yards to go with three touchdowns, the Steelers hope they’re sitting on a secret weapon with this second-year pro. Brown’s been quiet out of the gate so far with 15 grabs for 223 yards and zero scores, but as long as Pittsburgh stays
allergic to airing the ball out, he’s still worth a spot on your fantasy roster. Denarius Moore, Raiders Few rookie wideouts (especially late-round ones) can become fantasy starters in their first season, but Moore, a fifth-round pick out of Tennessee, could be making a claim to it. In a Week 2 thriller against Buffalo, he won the trust of quarterback Jason Campbell when he went for 146 yards and one score. His stock is on the rise. Michael Jenkins, Vikings He’s never reached 60 receptions or cracked the 800-yard barrier before, but after just three games into his eighth season, he’s already accounted for 16 receptions, 144 yards and two touchdowns. Maybe moving to Minnesota from Atlanta provided him a fresh start to produce on a more regular basis as one of Donovan McNabb’s primary options. Robert Meacham, Saints As one of Drew Brees’ many trusted targets, Meacham couldn’t really be in a better situation. He’s been building up quite the resume of getting it done year after year in and around the red zone, and with the Saints’ offense coming mostly through the air, he is one of the safer fantasy options around who still seems to get lost in the shuffle. And he’ll look to make it four out of five games with a touchdown pass against the Panthers this week. Also keep an eye on: Derrick Mason, Jets; Dane Sanzenbacher, Bears; Titus Young, Lions; Early Doucet, Cardinals; Torrey Smith, Ravens; Jerome Simpson, Bengals; Doug Baldwin, Seahawks; Randall Cobb, Pakers; Darrius HeywardBey, Raiders; Victor Cruz, Giants.
show that he has the durability to start 60 games, 30 wins should be within reach for a player who may still be flying under the radar in your league. Paul Stastny was thought to be Joe Sakic’s heir apparent in Colorado after his 79point season in 2009-2010, but his star has lost a bit of its luster after a disappointing 22-35-57 line last year. The bloodlines (Sabre fans still cringe at the mention of the name) and talent are there, so 70 points is a reasonable expectation. He may have to take a backseat to fast-rising Matt Duchene, though. Duchene scored 24 goals and 55 points as a rookie in 2009-2010, followed by an impressive 2740-67 sophomore season at age 19. It’s only a small step from 67 points to fantasy stardom, and Duchene might take a giant leap. James van Riemsdyk showed some flashes of goalscoring ability in his first two seasons since the Flyers drafted him second overall in 2007, including last sea-
October 2011 son’s solid but modest 21goal output, but we may have all witnessed his coming-out party in last year’s playoffs, when he torched the Sabres for four goals, and finished with seven goals in only 11 games. JVR is again slated to line up with slick Claude Giroux, and should approach 30 goals this year. It’s been a while since fantasy owners gazed lustily at a player from Long Island, but John Tavares may change that as early as this season. The No.1-overall pick in the 2009 draft showed no signs of a sophomore slump last year, leading the Islanders in scoring with 67 points. The nephew of the former Buffalo Bandits star with the same name, Tavares appears to be on the same fast track as Duchene, although his -16 plus/minus rating is cause for concern in some fantasy formats. Don’t be afraid to dig fellow Islander Kyle Okposo out of the bargain bin late in your fantasy draft. Okposo was a popular sleeper pick last year after a 52-point
campaign in 2009-2010, but injuries limited him to 38 games played, and a mere five goals. He’ll reclaim a spot alongside Tavares on the Isles’ No.1 power play unit, and could add 20 goals to last year’s woeful total if he can stay healthy for 70plus games. The good news for the city of Winnipeg is that NHL hockey returns after a 15year absence, thanks to the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers franchise. The bad news is they’re not exactly inheriting the 1977 Montreal Canadiens. One of the few bright spots should be thirdyear winger Evander Kane. Drafted fourth overall in what is looking like a bumper 2007 draft crop (see Tavares and Duchene, above), Kane has the look of a prototypical power forward. He scored 48 goals in 61 games in his final season of junior hockey, and that scoring touch should start revealing itself at the major league level this season. Last year’s 19 goals will easily be eclipsed.
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Bills mental toughness hard to measure Living up to the hype: By Ch2 Sports Director Ed Kilgore Although much is said and written about the mental aspects of sport—for me personally golf is the greatest example ever of the importance of what’s between the ears—I’m still not sure we fully understand just how big a deal it really is in separating success from failure. Based on talent alone, this Bills team probably shouldn’t be all that successful. But there is simply no way to measure an athlete’s inner drive, and this Bills team is chock full of overachievers. For the Bills, watching Chan Gailey handle their early success has been more than interesting. Just think back to early last season, when the befuddled Bills, learning another new system under another new head coach and staff, stumbled to an 0-8 start which led most Bills fans to hope they’d run the table for a shot at Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. As Luck would have it, the Bills won four of their last eight, avoided going 0-16 and Luck stayed around for his senior season. The Bills have already blown any chance at grabbing him in this year’s draft, but I don’t hear anybody around here complaining. Vince Lombardi once said he treated his teams exactly the opposite of the way they were playing. If they were playing poorly, then he tried to give them encouragement and positive feedback, because the only thing they were hearing at home or, if they dared to look at a newspaper or TV, was negative. Negativity is a killer in sports, and it amazes me how many coaches at various levels do their loudest screaming and criticizing when their team is pressing. I’d love to have a buck for every time I’ve read an email or taken a phone call from a fan who felt the “answer” to turning the Bills around was to get a Bill Cowher-type coach who would get in their face and take their head off after a bad play. Scream at them at half time if they’re behind; that’ll fire ‘em up! Don’t get me wrong, there are times when that is necessary. If a special teams guy foolishly hits somebody from behind and a big gain or even touchdown comes back, or a player retaliates with a late hit and draws a personal foul, then that player needs to have the transgression pointed out with vigor. But when Stevie Johnson dropped a sure touchdown that would have beaten the Steelers a year ago, do you think he needed somebody
in his face? Would Ryan Fitzpatrick do that? Gailey? Jim Kelly? Well, maybe in his earlier years, but even Kelly eventually came to learn that leadership isn’t always about confrontation. I traveled with the Sabres when Scotty Bowman coached the team, and while Bowman didn’t win any Stanley Cups in Buffalo, he won nine of them during a career that Sports Illustrated once claimed made him the Greatest Coach Ever. Bowman’s approach was fascinating to see up close. When the team was on a roll, and they did win a lot of games under him in Buffalo, you didn’t even want to be around him. He was constantly on them and kept them on edge, and their all-consuming rage at him was, unknown to the team then, exactly what he wanted. He didn’t want to be liked or popular, he wanted to win, and he knew every psychological trick in the book. Gailey finds himself in that mode now, and while he doesn’t have Bowman’s sometimes abrasive personality, you won’t find Gailey patting anybody on the back for their early success. In fact, just the opposite. When the fans and media begin telling you how wonderful you are, you begin to believe it, and it begins to creep into the subconscious mind. Oh, you can say all the right things about how you’re still “playing them one game at a time” and such, that doesn’t mean that’s what you’re really thinking. Gailey, in his own quiet way along with leaders on the team like Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson, Chris Kelsay and others, must have his players believe it when he tells them they have to forget about a recent win and focus on right here and now. Then, that expectation must come from within the player as well, and even the most astute coach in the world won’t reach a player who isn’t internally motivated. There’s a very fine line separating the teams in the NFL, despite the hype we hear about the better teams. Just take a look at the Indianapolis Colts, for example. They’ve gone from being a sure fire playoff contender to dreadful due to the loss of one player. Yes, Peyton Manning is a great player at THE most important position in football, but you can’t convince me Colts fans expected anything remotely like this to happen to their team. Every single player on an NFL 53-man roster was a standout player in high school and college who defied tremendous odds to make it to the elite level.
Which brings us back to the mental aspect of the game. As the Bills and many teams have learned, you can’t project how good a player will be based on talent alone. Even personal interviews and mental tests can’t really determine just how driven any one player is to be successful. Even the term success has different meaning for different athletes. Some, like Bills first round busts Mike Williams and Aaron Maybin, appeared to think they were a success once they signed their multi-million dollar contract, and in many ways they weren’t wrong. But they just didn’t have the inner drive to be a great player, and there is no exact science at projecting that inner resolve. Bruce Smith, for example, was a great talent and a nobrainer No.1 overall pick for the Bills, and yet there were early warning signs that Bruce, a little pudgy, might not have the inner will to become a great player. But Bruce had an inner drive that was quite remarkable, as he worked hard to become the best conditioned athlete he could be. Bruce wanted to be the best defensive end to ever play the game, and while some might argue that, there’s no doubt the Pro Football Hall of Famer is in that discussion. This current Bills squad is made up of players who appear to have that “inner drive” I’m talking about, and that’s what makes this team so interesting at so many levels. Fitz, in most minds, was and always would be a “backup” NFL quarterback. He was a seventh round draft pick who has already surpassed a bus full of former first round picks who couldn’t hack it. There’s a long way to go, but that label may have been a bit premature based on the will that propels the Harvard grad to succeed. Who thought Stevie Johnson, a seventh round draft pick, would become an emerging NFL star? David Nelson? Not even drafted. Jackson? Ditto. In fact, Jackson played Division III football at Coe College and was invited to Bills training camp by fellow Coe alum Marv Levy six years ago. How could everybody be that wrong about Fred Jackson? Well, they couldn’t measure what’s inside, for one thing. Gailey said before this season he felt it was extremely important for his team to become mentally tougher, and we are seeing that happen. We don’t know where this Bills team will wind up at the end of the season, but we do know this; to predict where they’ll wind up based purely on talent would be a very big mistake.
The quarterback class of 2011 By Shawn Krest
McNabb’s commitment has than Newton had on a lastbeen questioned by CBS minute scoring drive. On the The passing of the guard announcer Rich Gannon and final Chicago game winning came shortly after 4:00 former teammate Terrell drive, Cutler didn’t throw Eastern time on Sunday of Owens. Cutler was ripped by the ball once. Week 4. fellow players last year for As the much-heralded Cincinnati Bengals quarleaving the NFC quarterback class of 1999 terback Andy Dalton was Championship game early. heads for the hills, it leaves only a rookie, but he manGranted, it’s only been behind unrealized potential. aged to carry the Cincinnati four games, but the Bengals to a win 2011 quarterback against the previously crop appears to be unbeaten Buffalo Bills. made of sturdier Dalton connected on stock. Dalton and passes for 25 and 17 Newton have both led yards, setting up his fourth-quarter comefirst career rushing backs, and Newton touchdown to tie the has fallen just short game late in the fourth two other times. quarter. “There’s been nothGiven the ball once ing like this around more, Dalton led a lithere in the last 17 eral last-second scoryears,” Panthers wide ing drive, connecting receiver Steve Smith for 17 and 15 yards said of his new quarand running for a first terback. down on a crucial “We have a great third and three. The quarterback in Andy, performance capped a and he didn’t flinch 298 yard passing day one time out there,” with 87 yards in the Bengals receiver A.J. fourth quarter and set Green said of Dalton. up Mike Nugent’s Ironically, the only game winning field Photo by Joe Valenti reason Dalton is startgoal as the final gun Cam Newton’s 374 yards against the Bears ing is that Carson sounded. was just the third-best game in his fourPalmer, top pick of At about the same game NFL career. another quarterbacktime, Donovan heavy draft in 2003, retired The equally praised class of McNabb, the surviving early due to a contract dis2006 is in the process of member of the 1999 quarterpute. Out of the four quarmissing the mark as well. back class, was finishing terbacks taken in the first Meanwhile, a month into another rough day with the round that year, only Rex their careers, the class of Vikings. McNabb fumbled, Grossman still has a job. 2011 looks to be as good as threw an interception, and Blaine Gabbert of advertised. took two sacks, leading to Jacksonville is the third The top three picks in cries that he has nothing left. rookie quarterback currently 1999 were all quarterbacks, McNabb threw four straight starting. His Week 3 showand another two QBs joined incompletions after the twodown with Newton was the them by the twelfth pick. minute warning, allowing first time that first-round Three of them—top pick the Chiefs to win their first quarterbacks have squared Tim Couch, number three game of the season. off in their rookie year Akili Smith, and 12th pick Meanwhile, in Chicago, since… 2006. Cade McNown, were out of top 2011 draft pick Cam Dalton was taken in the the league within four years. Newton was doing everyfirst round in April. Two of McNabb and Daunte thing he could to lead his the four quarterbacks chosen Culpepper were the only two team to victory. Across the before him are still waiting to make Pro Bowls, and field, Jay Cutler, class of for the chance to start. McNabb was the only one to 2006, was doing everything Locker waits his turn in make it to a Super Bowl start. he could to lead his team to Tennessee, which cut ties Three quarterbacks went defeat. Both fell short, with Vince Young following in the top 11 picks in 2006. through no fault of their last season. Vince Young and Matt own. And Christian Ponder? Leinart are currently backNewton threw for 374 He’s getting ready to accept ups on their second teams. yards, an eye-popping numthe baton when it’s finally Cutler is still starting, but ber that was just good passed from the current he’s also on team number enough for third-highest in starter in Minnesota— two. his four-game NFL career. Donovan McNabb. The two classes have had Cutler threw for only 102 questions about their heart. yards, or just 26 yards more
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Reunion revs up Rochester hockey By Chris Colleluori
oped a scoring touch of late. The 20-yearAre you ready old tallied 77 points for some hockey, in 56 OHL games last Rochester? year before spending Based on ticket three playoff games sales, the answer with Portland. looks like a Foligno registered 59 resounding yes. points in 47 games at There’s no denying the OHL level last the buzz surroundy e a r . ing the team that There are no signs of had the sixth-lowslowing down in est attendance 2011-2012. The average just a seaSabres started off 4-1son ago—com0 in the preseason, pared to the sixthand took home the highest attendance championship at the in 2007-2008, the 2011 NHL Prospect last year of the Tournament in Buffalo SabresTraverse City, Mich., R o c h e s t e r going 3-1 overall. Americans partner“It’s always nice to ship. start the year off with “The community a trophy,” Kassian response and the said. “We bonded business response very well through the has been overweek and we played whelming,” Rob some good hockey. Crean, director of Photo by Micheline Veluvolu It’s not the biggest public relations for After reuniting during the offseason, the championship to win, the Amerks, said. Sabres will have a much shorter distance but in order to win “We are so pleased, if they need to recall Zach Kassian from any game or anything and I want to thank the Amerks. it’s hard work and the community for attention to detail.” all three years. affirming something that we The win numbers are Portland also found the really hoped would happen. already heading up, but perback of the net much more The Rochester fan base is haps the biggest number of often. The Pirates scored very deep and very passionall is the one that went 773 goals during the threeate.” down: 75.8. It’s the number year separation, while the That passion took a of miles between the Blue Amerks netted just 655. In three-year hiatus, though. Cross Arena and First 2010-2011, Rochester had It’s no secret that hockey Niagara Arena, making it a just one 20-goal scorer; took a hit in the Flower City hair closer than the nearly Portland had four. when the Sabres and 1,200 miles that separated What does it all add up Amerks broke the thenRochester and Sunrise, Fla. to? A better brand of hocklongest-tenured NHL-AHL “It’s really exciting to be ey has returned to affiliation. The organization here and I know the players Rochester. headed south in a hurry— are as equally excited comIt starts with the prospect and not just geographically. ing from Portland to start pipeline, and the Sabres The only thing that plumfresh with a new opportunihave a strong one. The meted as quickly as the ty,” first-year head coach Hockey News’ Future attendance was the number Ron Rolston said after the Watch ranks the Sabres of wins. first day of training camp. prospects 11th overall (out This year, Rochester fans “It seems that’s the overall of 32 teams), and two should be able to watch attitude going around town Sabres prospects cracked its those numbers turn back right now. We certainly top 20—Zack Kassian (14) north. Consider this: want to have an exciting and Luke Adam (19). Two During the three years the team and I think we will.” more young guns, Marcus Amerks were part of the The new-look Amerks Foligno (53) and Mark Florida Panthers organizabegin the season on the Pysyk (73), found their way tion—Buffalo had joined road with a contest against into the top 100. Only the forces with the Portland the Hamilton Bulldogs, Oct. Los Angeles Kings had more Pirates—the Amerks strung 8. The Amerks’ home opentop-100 players with five. together a 104-115-7-14 er is their second game of Kassian and Foligno were record. Portland, meanthe season, Oct. 13, when assigned to Rochester, Sept. while, went 131-79-17-13. Rochester hosts the Wilkes 26, and arrived for the secThe Amerks managed to Barre-Scranton Penguins at ond day of training camp. qualify for the playoffs 7:05 p.m. Kassian, known more for once, while the Pirates parhis physicality, has develticipated in postseason play
NFL trivia d. Steve Grogan By Mike Fox 7. Who holds The Bills’ hot the record for start has local most pass sports fans talkattempts by a ing football, and rookie quarterwe at Sports & back in a season, Leisure are no with 590? exception. We a. Peyton kick off the NFL Manning season with b. Eli Manning well-earned c. Sam Bradford recognition for d. Kerry some of the Collins more notable 8. Who is the accomplishonly quarterback ments in the hisever to post three tory of the game. career 400-com1. Only three Photo by Nick LoVerde pletion seasons? players have Can Megatron claim a 99-yard reception on his a. Drew Brees rushed for 280 fast-growing resume? b. Peyton or more yards in Manning 4. Twelve players have a regular season game. Who c. Warren Moon recorded a 99-yard recepwas the most recent? d. Dan Fouts tion in a regular season a. Adrian Peterson 9. There have been 12 game. Who was the most b. Jamal Lewis occasions in which a player recent? c. Jerome Harrison has returned an interception a. Bernard Berrian d. Mike Anderson 98 yards or more. Of those b. Terrell Owens 2. LaDainian Tomlinson twelve, how many have c. Eddie Royal won back-to-back rushing been since the start of the d. Calvin Johnson titles in 2006-2007. Who 2008 season? 5. Who is the only player was the last player before a. 0 ever to catch at least five him to claim consecutive b. 3 passes in all 16 games of a rushing crowns? c. 5 season? a. Shaun Alexander d. 9 a. Roddy White b. Edgerrin James 10. Two Bills’ players b. Dallas Clark c. Terrell Davis have caught four TD passes c. Tim Brown d. Marshall Faulk in a game, Jerry Butler and d. Jimmy Smith 3. Who is the only player who? 6. Who holds the record ever to catch at least eight a. Don Beebe for most rushing TDs by a passes in eight consecutive b. Andre Reed quarterback in a season, games? c. Eric Moulds with 12? a. Art Monk d. Peerless Price a. Steve Young b. Anquan Boldin b. Michael Vick c. Isaac Bruce c. Randall Cunningham d. Robert Brooks Answers 1. c 2. b 3. b 4. a 5. d 6. d 7. c 8. a 9. d 10. a
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2011 Topps set: Fitzpatrick, Johnson among Bills The Buffalo Bills are one of the featured teams in the 440card 2011 Topps Football set. Including Brad Smith featured as a member of the New York Jets, there are cards for 10 members of the Bills, along with the Bills’ team card No. 125. You’ll find the rookie card for B u f f a l o ’s Marcell Dareus at No. 266. Other Buffalo standouts include quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (133); running backs Fred Jackson (116) and C. J. Spiller (316); wide receiver Stevie Johnson (303); and safety Donte Whitner (363). Fitzpatrick, Jackson and Johnson were key players as the Bills stunned the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders in the first two games of the season. Buffalo-born Mike Williams (383) and Niagara Falls native James Starks (113) are other cards in the set. Starks was the Packers’ top ball-carrier on their way to the Super Bowl title last February. I really enjoy looking at the 2011 set. The action photos make this a set worth collecting. The cards are colorful and easy to read. The New York Giants’ signal-caller Eli Manning sprints
with the ball on Card No. 20. Carolina’s Steve Smith makes a leaping one-handed grab for the football on No. 25. Topps has made football cards since 1956. I’ve always considered the 1957, 1962 and 1972 as my favorite Topps football sets. It doesn’t hurt that rookie cards for Paul Hornung and Johnny Unitas exist in the ‘57 set. Overall, I have always considered the 1952 Bowman set as my
favorite football set. Bowman made its last set in 1955. 2011 Topps Football: Key Cards: Aaron Rodgers (1); Eli Manning (20); Jon Stewart (33); Chris Johnson (60); Matt Stafford (86); Ben Roethlisberger (90); Drew Brees (100); Sam Bradford (110); James Starks (113); Mark Sanchez (150); Ray Rice (164); Ray Lewis (183); Cam Newton RC (200); Michael Turner (220); Joe Flacco (241); Randy Moss (258); Phillip Rivers (270); Terrell
with Mike Dyer Owens (272); Peyton Manning (300); Ndamuhkong Suh (310); Santonio Holmes (320); Arian Foster (330); Tony Romo (360); LeSean McCoy (370); Jamaal Charles (380); Mike Williams (383); Tom Brady (400); Adrian Peterson (410); Mark Ingram RC (426); Michael Vick (440). Buffalo Bills Cards: Lee Evans (106); Fred Jackson (116); Bills Team Card (125); Ryan Fitzpatrick (133); Brad Smith (pictured as Jet) (142); Paul Posluszny (202); Marcell Dareus RC (266); Stevie Johnson (303); C.J. Spiller (316); Donte Whitner (363); Johnny White RC (399), My Grade for the Set is A-. Upcoming Shows: You’ll want to be at the Hearthstone Manor in Cheektowaga on Oct. 30 when show promoter Rob Schilling has an all-day show slated. There will be autographs to collect. More than 100 dealers from across the northeast and Canada will set up with autographs, media guides, yearbooks and other sports items as well as sports cards. After a five-month hiatus, the Leonard Veterans of Foreign Wars Post will host Wednesday night sports card shows on Oct. 12 and Nov. 9. Admission is free and the shows take place 5 to 9 p.m. Cheektowaga’s Mike Dyer, a retired sportswriter, can be found selling sports cards at most area sportscard shows. He is the author of books “Pro Football’s Greatest Teams” and “Getting into Pro Baseball.” Contact Mike by email, email@example.com.
Phil Hansen: Wall of Fame Induction By Holly Malinowski
obviously the Super Bowls entire career with the were big, but the Houston Buffalo Bills. “I think At halftime of the comeback game, with that everyone wants to do that Buffalo Bills home opener “never-quit” attitude. You stuff and the thing that on Sept. 18, Phil Hansen can really send that mesreally helped was the guys was inducted into the Wall sage to kids now-a-days. that drafted me here, they of Fame, becoming the Even though things didn’t knew what my capabilities 27th member to join this look so bright, I prestigious mean we were group. down 32 “In the last points, we decade, I cercame back and tainly recognize won. That game my teammates means a lot and up there and I use it a lot they’re definitebecause it ly worthy sends a mesnames to go up sage. But you there,” Hansen know there are said. “But yeah, other personal for me to go up highlights, there, I think i n t e rc e p t i o n s that’s pretty and touchspecial. Yeah, downs. But the for them to thing I miss the think of me most about the that way is NFL is game pretty cool.” day, like this, Phil Hansen and I like to played his colexperience that lege ball as a again, and just defensive end the guys at North around the Dakota State. “I locker room. I was part of don’t miss three National meetings or Championships practices or any there,” Hansen Photo by Jeff Barnes of that other explained. “In Phil Hansen joins the Bills’ best on the Wall of stuff. After 11 1991 I graduatFame in Ralph Wilson Stadium. years and you ed from NDSU turn 30, they start calling were. I think there are 20 and was drafted by the you grandpa in the NFL. other teams in the NFL Buffalo Bills second round, But it was a good career where I probably never 54th overall pick or someand to be honored in this would have made 11 years thing like that.” way, it’s right up there. I with. This team just fit me After being drafted by thought my best accolades perfectly. And being in the the Bills, Hansen’s first would have been while I 3-4 defense, that’s kind of exposure to the team was was playing. To have what I was. But then to playing at a mini-camp, something like this hapcome here to the town, something he refers to as pen is a big deal, to me, blue-collar town and I’m a his “first indoctrination.” and I can bring my family blue-collar guy, you know Hansen explained, “They back and show them what I’m not overly gifted in any were coming from the I did. That means a lot to kind of way, I just work Super Bowl so were kind of me too.” hard, just like the commuupset at the time. We lost Currently, Hansen and nity. I really felt like I fit in that Super Bowl and went his family reside in North great here. I certainly to three more. I had an 11 Dakota. He maintains an wanted to spend all my year career that went up to aspect of football where he career here, after I found 2002.” hosts an annual Phil out what Buffalo, New During his career with Hansen Sportsmanship York was all about. And it the Bills, Hansen achieved Kamp for Kids. Here, Phil just happened to work out honors such as making the can certainly teach the that way.” 1991 All-Rookie Team, and “never quit” attitude to “There were a lot of perwas credited for 61.5 children lucky enough to sonal highlights,” Hansen sacks. be part of his program. reminisced. “The biggest Hansen expressed gratithing I can remember, tude over spending his
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Doctari’s Fishing Forum October’s feed makes hot fall fishing Once again the seasons in WNY transition from summer to fall, triggering some of the hottest fishing action of the year. With some solid late September rains, creeks sport good flow for the trout and salmon runs, while lakes show fish moving into the shallows to feed heavily in advance of winter. Trout and Salmon Lake Ontario Chinook salmon begin moving into the streams in large numbers for the annual spawn, although some fish have already been showing up in the lower Niagara River and 18-Mile Creek. Shore and pier casters connect during low light periods with spoons and large stick baits worked on a moderate retrieve, while boaters access staging fish over depths as shallow as 10 feet out front of the major stream mouths. Drifters working lower Niagara River runs, such as Devil’s Hole and the Lewiston drift start seeing increased activity bouncing salmon skein off a three-way rig, off the 30-foot break along these popular and productive drifts. As October marches on, fly fishermen and float anglers alike find action picking up right to the first impassable barriers of every salmon-drawing stream, with action being non-stop at times. Big wooly buggers and streamer patterns deliver hard-charging battles, sure to delight anglers of every age. Brown and rainbow trout increase in numbers in the streams, following spawning salmon in hopes of picking up an easy meal, making an egg presentation more effective with each passing day.
bite lake-wide for e v e r- i n c r e a s i n g sizes of fish. Minnows, small worms and plastic bait imitation baits work well when presented off bottom, or under a float along decaying weed lines. Bass and Musky Inland lake anglers should Yellow Perch go on the fall feed start turning their heavy in October, and no WNY attention to the water is finer for jumbo jack perch deep weed edges than Lake Erie. and weed beds, as feeding picks up when bait Lake Erie feeder streams pile into these areas to feed benefit from rains, which on decaying vegetation. should bring heavy runs of Spinnerbaits worked just fall steelhead to below the surface, or slowCattaraugus, 18-Mile and rolled along the bottom of Canadaway Creeks, with the deep edges can trigger anglers hoping the runs this vicious strikes from both year will be an improvement bass and muskellunge seekover last. Recent observaing to ambush prey. As tion reports indicate a October wears on, schooldecrease in lamprey wounds ing smallmouth bass head to noted on fish caught, good the shallow areas around news for all as this reverses creek mouths foraging on a concerning trend seen baitfish, and oftentimes a over recent seasons. Rat-L-Trap on a fast retrieve Yellow Perch will connect with hungry Lake Erie’s jumbo perch lunkers. begin moving shallow as Muskellunge activity hits water temperatures drop, high gear, especially during and with the new baitfish low light periods, as the transport corridor now in volatility of fall weather pateffect, anglers can access terns spark these apex predemerald shiners moving ators into action. Working a close to shore, collect the Suick Thriller well off the bait and head to popular major weed beds, with at launch areas such as the surface or just beneath Sturgeon Point and Dunkirk draws the attention of even Harbor. Action can be nonthe wariest water wolf this stop at times, with the bite time of year. persisting throughout much Remember, the open seaof the day. Work a crappie son on both species runs rig off bottom vertically for through Nov. 30 on most best results. Fish are now New York waters. Be sure to settled in the 60-65 foot check the regulations for depth range, but anglers special rules for the waters should expect these schools you intend to fish. of ringbacks to move as Legacy 11 shallow as the 40-foot break This upcoming Columbus as October approaches Day weekend marks the Boy November. Scouts event called Legacy Chautauqua Lake yellow 11. Nearly two years in the perch continue to show no works, this weekend of signs of relenting, with a
with Rich Davenport service will have approximately 1,000 boy scouts and cub scouts from WNY performing many works to improve several County, City and even State Park amenities in the area. The biggest project being done during Legacy 11 is work on the Commissioner’s Lake at Chestnut Ridge Park, which will re-open this public gem to fishing for the first time in nearly 40 years. This joint effort between the Greater Niagara Frontier Council and the sportsmen
and women of Erie County will include the installation of a handicapped-accessible fishing platform. Special catch and release only rules will be in place to assure the fishing remains topnotched. A special thank you goes out to everyone involved in this amazing volunteer effort. Remember, take a kid fishing, and give the gift that lasts a lifetime. Rich Davenport is cofounder of WeLoveOutdoors.com, an
avid Outdoorsman and member of the NYSOWA. His works are also published in NY Outdoor News, Walleye.com and the Buffalo News. Rich is also the Recording Secretary for the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Secretary of the Western NY Environmental Federation, member of the Erie County Fisheries Advisory Board and is the Co-Chairman and Region 9 Rep NYSCC Big Game Committee. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kayaking in Western New York By Bob Timkey Prepare to cross kayaking off your bucket list. If you’ve ever imagined shooting a river in perfect sync with the current, paddling fluidly with your double-ended paddle, but have yet to try this activity, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised at how simple, easy and affordable it is to add “kayaker” to your outdoor adventure resume. The pleasure of kayaking can range from the tranquility of a peaceful float along a gentle creek to the thrill of shooting a dangerous river section. For your first time, be smart and conservative. Choose a well-known creek and stick to a route suggested by an experienced guide. A list of good choices in Western New York is included below. Your comfort and enjoyment of your first outing will depend a lot on the weather and your clothing choices. Here are some guidelines: • Always wear an approved life vest while you’re in or around the water. • Bring water and a snack (candy bar, granola bar or energy bar) • Avoid cotton clothing. Cotton absorbs water, which becomes heavy and will not keep you warm once it’s wet. • Dress in layers with a garment of synthetic fiber garment as your base. Layer a breathable pair of pants (like nylon hiking or jogging pants) and a long or short sleeve technical T-shirt over your base layer. • Wear water shoes, Crocs or sandals. Tennis shoes may get wet and will remain soggy for the entire day. Flip flops will not provide your feet much protection and will likely trip you up along the way. • Bring a hat. A baseball cap will work fine or a brimmed hat with a cord to keep it from falling in the water. • Gloves are not absolutely necessary but may prevent blistering if you expect to paddle vigorously. Also, in cooler temperatures they’ll keep your hands warmer. Again, leave the cotton gloves at home. Opt for a synthetic material glove like the ones used by cyclists or weightlifters. Outdoor work
Photo by Bob Timpke
Western New York offers plenty of options for entry level kayakers, from gentle creeks and rivers to vast and scenic Great Lakes settings. finesse,” Barris explained. gloves are inexpensive and “Anyone can easily learn to will also work just fine. do it. A short lesson will help • Bring a packable rain jackyou excel quickly by learnet. ing finesse techniques rather • All of the above items can than trying to ‘muscle it.’ be zipped into a small day Women and weaker paddlers pack and placed between can do it just as easily as a your knees while you’re seatbigger, stronger guy.” ed in the kayak. Transporting the kayaks a Leave behind: short distance on land is • Sunglasses quite manageable using a • Digital Camera (bring a two-wheeled cart. If you disposable water camera have a partner, two people instead) can easily manage one boat • Cell phone (unless you’re by each lifting an end. travelling from point to Transporting your kayak by point down a river and are car is no problem if you have concerned about getting lost. a buddy to help you lift your In this case double bag your boat onto a specially fitted phone in zip lock bags and set of roof racks. For your zip it in a secure pocket.) first outing, however, you’ll I had the absolute pleasure find it much easier to rent of joining two fellow outfrom a shop that is just a few door enthusiasts for my first steps from the water. kayaking experience at Paths Here are some good places Peaks & Paddles along sceto begin: nic Ellicott Creek on a specEllicott Creek – Tonawanda tacular September morning. (PathsPeaksPaddles.com) The shop is easy to find on Lake Ontario – Wilson Ellicott Creek Road in (ucanyak.com) Tonawanda and offers outErie Barge Canal – Lockport door equipment rental for (Call Wide Waters at (716) kayaking, canoeing, and hik433-3153) ing. Barb, the store manager, Niagara River – Buckhorn made us feel very comfortIsland State Park, Grand able asking beginner’s quesIsland (nysparks.state.ny.us) tions and seemed genuinely Important: use extreme cauenthusiastic to help us carry tion to avoid the unrelenting our boats a very short discurrent of the Niagara River tance from the store’s front by staying only in areas with door to the small dock on the gentlest current. Speak to the creek. She even helped a knowledgeable guide first us learn how to enter and and know before you go! exit the kayak without getLake Ontario – Waterport ting so much as our feet wet. (OakOrchardCanoe.com) All three of us managed this Irondequoit Bay – Rochester successfully on our first try (OakOrchardCanoe.com) and had a wonderful experiBob Timkey is an outdoor ence on the water. enthusiast and Ironman disOren Barris, the owner of tance triathlete residing in Paths Peaks & Paddles affecLockport. tionately calls kayaking the “He-man / She-man” sport. “Everything in kayaking is
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The McNeights: A driving force in Buffalo Harness Racing By Matthew Young On Sept. 24, the majority of the race card at Batavia Downs consisted of claiming races, meaning that for a specified price, the horses could be purchased—or, claimed—by other trainers and owners entered in the race. A closer look at the race entries revealed something much more interesting, though. One name kept appearing in the track program race after race: McNeight. The McNeights have three family members competing at this year’s meet at Batavia Downs. Drivers James McNeight and David McNeight, III, were entered in several races. David’s father, David McNeight, Jr., was listed as the trainer in the third, sixth, and 11th races. His son drove all three of these mounts. The McNeight family has been a steady fixture in the harness racing world for four generations. Henry Feigel, David, Jr.’s grandfather on his mother’s side, began the family business. In turn, he taught his son David to race, who taught David, Jr., who then taught David the Third. To say horse racing is a big part of their life is an understatement. The McNeights spend countless hours racing and training. It has paid
Photo courtesy Batavia Downs
David McNeight Jr.
Photo courtesy Batavia Downs
David McNeight lll off. About one of every six horses that David, Jr. trains has won this season at Batavia. His son has quickly picked up on his winning ways. David the Third has won just over nine percent of his 195 races so far this
season. This has equated into 18 victories and over $100,000 in purse money awarded to his connections. He’s shown in 47 additional races as well. Currently, he is listed in eighth place in total earnings so far this season at the track. It’s not unusual for cousin James to be entered in the same race as David, who sometimes goes by the nickname “Triple Sticks.” In fact, the first race of the day pitted the two relatives against each other in a $10,000 claimer. James won this first race driving Definitely Maybe, while David finished first in the sixth race of the night driving Tomslastchance. David pays little attention to whether or not he has family in the race; his number one priority is to win regardless of the conditions. “We need young stars... he is certainly one of them,” Todd Haight, Batavia Downs’ General Manager of Live Racing, commented upon the youngest McNeight family member to compete at Batavia Downs. David, who is only 21, has been competing in the family business for the last two years and has clearly begun to show that he is a
very talented driver. In addition to Batavia Downs, the McNeights also compete at Buffalo Raceway. Thanks to their differing schedules, the McNeight family races year round; in Buffalo for the beginning half of the year, and in Batavia for the latter half of the year. As for Triple Sticks, he intends on driving as long as he can. This has proven to be a lucrative business for him so far, thanks in part to the growing size of the purses. The recent addition of a slot machine casino at
Batavia Downs has made the average purse size for normal races go up quite a bit. When a driver wins a race, 50 percent of the total purse money goes to the owner of the horse. The owner takes 10 percent of his winnings and splits it evenly between the horse’s trainer and driver. A $10,000 purse means $250 for the driver. Even if the horse that is being raced doesn’t finish in the top five, the track will pay $10 per race to the driver of the horse that doesn’t finish in the money.
“You learn something new every day, no matter how long you’ve been in this business,” David, Jr. concluded. If this is true, the McNeights must have a vast wealth of knowledge. Their family has dominated at Batavia Downs for many years and thanks to the recent success of David “Triple Sticks” McNeight, III, it looks like the McNeight family is going to continue to be a driving force on the Western New York harness racing circuit for quite a while.
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Front and center with the Hobart Statesmen
Photo courtesy Hobart Athletics
It may not be glamorous, but Kelvin Cruz has been an anchor for the Statesmen’s offensive line.
By Jeffrey Levine To say that the Hobart Statesmen have put up impressive numbers so far this season would be an understatement. They’re averaging over 493 yards per game, outscoring their opponents almost fourto-one, converting 55 percent of their third down attempts, and scoring 86 percent of the time in the red zone. For perspective, the Statesmen’s 23-0 victory over the defending Liberty League Conference champion St. Lawrence didn’t pad their Maddenesque numbers but actually reduced them slightly in several offensive categories. What those stats don’t convey, however, is how five of the team’s best contributors have a total combined box score of zero. Anthony Coletta (Freeport/Freeport, N.Y.), Kelvin Cruz (Geneva/Geneva, N.Y.), Art Garvey (East Aurora, East
Pittsford’s star running back excels on and off the field By Paul ‘Mr. NFL’ Adamo
playing together a number of has worked as hard in the years, starting in Pop Warner, classroom as well as on the Pittsford high school’s senand look up to Dominick as a field. Dominick displays a ior All-Greater Rochester runvery intelligent football player well-rounded approach as a ning back Dominick DeLucia who understands his assignstudent-athlete. An excellent has had a number of accomments as well as his teamstudent carrying a 97 average, plishments in his three year mates. Head coach Keith he has excelled enough to be varsity career for the Panthers. Molinich has said that he is considering a list of Ivy As a sophomore he made the one of the most intelligent League schools to continue varsity squad and saw some players he has coached in his his education. His father, real playing time. Last year, his coaching career. Players who Dominick Sr., is a graduate of junior season, he was selected have played together for to the 2010 All–Greater years have created a famRochester team while ily atmosphere at gaining 1,430 yards with Pittsford, which has 15 touchdowns and leadfueled the winning teams ing his team to the Class the school has enjoyed in AAA final. the last five years. The This year, he can also key component and playadd the season opener on er in the team’s success Sept 3rd against Gatesthe last two years has Chili to his list when he been the running game had a career best game supplied by Delucia, but with six touchdowns and the attention he has 229 yards on 29 carries. received has not changed He followed the opener his approach. He remains the next week against humble and grounded in Hilton with another his personality. Another incredible performance, All-Greater Rochester scoring five touchdowns, selection for him is a lock winning the game with a and he will be up for the one-yard TD run as time Player of the Year award expired. In the first two in Section V, not to mengames of the 2011 seation a run at a section son, Delucia scored a title. Section V leading 11 Athletic ability, acatouchdowns. Undefeated demic success, hard at 4-0 entering the fifth Photo courtesy DeLucia Family work, the right attitude game of the season, and Running back Dominick DeLucia has and a closeness and love ranked No. 2 in the helped lead the Pittsford Panthers to for his family are the Section V coaches poll, an impressive 5-0 start. bedrock foundation for the Pittsford Panthers led DeLucia’s accomplishby their star running ments on and off the field. “I Princeton University. “I’ll back look to be headed for a have a good family base to rely probably end up attending rematch in this year’s sectional on; I’ve always been close to somewhere in the Ivy League final against Rush-Henrietta. my parents, grandparents and next year,” Dominick stated. When asked about his team’s all my family.” Dominick Jr., is a hard outlook for the season he While his father, mother worker in the weight room answers diplomatically with a Christine, sister Anna, and and team leader who puts the team leader’s maturity, “We brother Michael are his imme‘team’ first and personal stats have a lot of experience and diate family, his team his second. His dedication in the definitely know what it takes extended family. As he closes weight room extends to being to get to a sectional final. Our out his final high school foota member of the Pittsford division is a very competitive ball season and sets his sights Power Lifting Team and one but I feel we will do well.” on college next season, he will placed third in his weight class Beyond the playing field, be leaving both with an exemat the 2011 National Power DeLucia has also garnered a plary legacy both on and off Clean Championship held in list of other accomplishments. the Pittsford gridiron. Las Vegas. Student-athlete is a phrase Pittsford players have been used to define an athlete who
Aurora, N.Y.), Brendan Hatlee (Horseheads, Horseheads, N.Y.) and Kyle Sandy (Home/Truxton, N.Y.) have started all three games this season for Hobart and earned D3football.com honors as its Team of the Week after a 5620 mashing of St. John Fisher. Prior to that game, the Cardinals had been undefeated, ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense (five points/game), 13th in total defense (205.5 yards/game), 15th in rushing defense (64.5 yards/game) and had only allowed 10 points combined in two previous games. Unfortunately for Fisher, a lot of bad things happen when you don’t control the line of scrimmage. “This is a well-deserved honor,” Kevin DeWall, offensive coordinator and Hobart almun, said. “These young men are a hard-working, proud, and selfless group, so this is a very good recognition of their combined efforts and performance on the field.” DeWall also went on to praise Jarrid Blades (Ellenville/Ellenville, N.Y.), Alex Bush (Gouverneur/Gouverneur, N.Y.), tight ends Greg Clifford (Rivers School/Holliston, Mass.) and Brent Matazinsky (Tamarac/Valley Falls, N.Y.) and fullbacks Juan O’Farril (Palm Beach Lakes/West Palm Beach, Fla.) and Dominique Ellis (Northeast/St. Petersburg, Fla.) for “providing time and
space to effectively execute our run and pass offense, and enable our skill players to showcase their abilities.” One of those skill players, junior quarterback Nick Strang (John Jay/Hopwell Junction, N.Y.), also had a monster day against St. John Fisher, throwing for 266 yards and five touchdowns. He was also able to break a 41-yard run. Needless to say, his offensive line gave him plenty of support. Although Strang and the receiving corps have certainly benefited from the outstanding o-line play, Hobart’s running game has set the tone for the rest of the team. With almost double the amount of rushes to passes attempted, good blocking up front has allowed the Statesmen to establish the run and help open up the passing game. After a sensational freshman season, Steven Webb (Dundee/Dundee, N.Y.)— previously featured in Sports & Leisure Magazine’s Oct. 2010 issue—is once again leading the way for Hobart. Although his current four yards per rush is down from his stellar 5.5 last season, he has been able to share the load with freshman Alex Furtado (Archbishop Williams/Weymouth, Mass.) and junior Bobby Dougherty (St. Francis Prep/Bellerose, N.Y.). So far, the trio has contributed towards Hobart’s 238 rushing yards a game, a notable improvement over last season’s 159 average.
If large numbers of points are being put up, part of the credit should go to the o-line, part of the credit should go to the skill players and part of the credit should go to the defense that has ensured the offense gets the ball back in short order. Coming off a nearly flawless defensive performance against St. Lawrence, Hobart held the Saints to 84 yards of total offense while forcing four turnovers. Garnering his second straight Liberty League Football Rookie of the Week Award, defensive end Tyre Coleman (Poughkeepsie / Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) contributed a team-high five tackles, while notching 2.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and a broken up pass. Through three games the freshman leads the team with 4.5 sacks (for 30 yards lost). Sophomore linebacker Devin Worthington (Worcester Academy/Rochester, N.Y.) has also made his presence felt with a forced fumble, an interception, and 11 tackles. Falling just shy of a Division III ranking, Hobart has been garnering some well-deserved attention and votes in the polls. If they continue to win, and win in such impressive fashion, it will only be a matter of time before they break into the top-25. When they do, it’ll be just like game day, with the offensive line leading the charge. View more photos on www.hugesportz.com
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RIT Men’s Soccer Takes Down No.18 Union College By Matthew G. Young of the Week as well as the demonstrated his talent on the ECAC Upstate Division III soccer field. He has had two Before they travelled to Defensive Player of the Week goals and two assists so far Rochester, Union College’s award for stringing together this season, only senior formen’s soccer team had a streak two shutouts in the same ward Dan Holawaty has of seven victories to start out week. The Tigers also blanked scored more goals for the their season. Ranked at No.18 Nazareth on Sept. 20 where Tigers with his five scores and in the nation for NCAA Conway put together three three assists. Bloshkin is, “one Division III schools, Union saves for RIT. Coach Garno of our better players on the had not expected the commented that Conway has team so far this year,” coach unranked Rochester Institute Garno said. This is only of Technology team his first year on the team, to put up much of a but he hasn’t disappointfight. With the oneed. In fact, Bloshkin has two punch of Sean had a big impact on the Conway as goalteam, showing that he keeper and Danny can defend as well as creBloshkin at midate scoring opportunifield, however, the ties. RIT Tigers were able Conway picked up a to hold off the talthird consecutive ented Union team shutout on Sept. 30 in a largely defenagainst Rensselaer. sive match that Competing in Troy, N.Y., ended 1-0 in overthe Tigers played to a 0-0 time. Photo courtesy RIT Athletics tie. RIT dominated this RIT men’s soccer Sean Conway has been solid in goal for game; Conway only coach Bill Garno has the RIT Tigers, already recording three needed to pick up a sinbig expectations for shutouts. gle save to keep the game his players. “We committed himself to his tied. There were 18 shots on want to compete for the physical training in the offseagoal by RIT, while there were Conference Championship son. He’s also “refined his only five shots by Rensselaer and win that,” Garno technique and is stronger in in the direction of RIT’s goal. explained. “We want to comthe box.” Coach Garno was so “There were a lot of scoring pete in the NCAA tournament impressed with Conway’s opportunities,” coach Garno and win that, too.” commitment to bettering himsaid, “we just couldn’t capitalCoach Garno has a long self in the offseason that he ize on them.” history of soccer at RIT. He was named co-captain of his The Liberty League has been coach of the team for team, despite the fact that he is Championship does not begin 16 years, and even played soconly a second year player. until Nov. 2, but the Tigers cer for RIT in the mid 80s. The lone goal against Union have their eye on winning the A large part of the RIT vicwas scored by freshman title, helping them to focus tory over Union can be given Danny Bloshkin with only and bring intensity to each to Conway, a civil engineering 3:20 left in the allotted overgame. Their big win over major from Orchard Park, time. For his efforts, Bloshkin Liberty League member N.Y. The sophomore had four was awarded the Liberty Union was the first step in saves en route to his third solo League Rookie of the Week successfully getting to the shutout of the season. honor. Although only a freshpostseason. Conway earned the Liberty man, Bloshkin has already League Defensive Performer
WNY pro ball players results in 2011 By Bob Plezia A number of WNY pro ball players had a good season this year. Again, John Axford (formerly from Canisius), closer with the Milwaukee Brewers, had a great season with 46 saves in 74 games with an ERA of 1.95 this year, one of the tops in MLB. He had 86 SO and 25 BB. He will look to the playoffs to extend a great season. Rich Brooks (N.T.H.S., E. Carolina) had a solid season with the Binghamton Mets (AA) with a 3.95 ERA in 82 innings, in 53 games. Steve Geltz (Newfane, UB) had another very good year starting in the AAA Pacific Coast League then going to Arkansas (AA) where he pitched 46.2 innings, with 67 SO and 14 BB in 32 games and had a 3.09 ERA. Cito Culver (Irondequoit High School), the first round pick last year by the Yankees, hit .250 in 69 games in the NY-Penn League. Kevin Mahoney (Canisius) hit .266 in 46 games in Tampa (A), then went up to Charleston (A) and hit .261 in 67 games. Chas Mye (St. Joes, UB) was all over the West playing for four teams for the A’s, Sacramento (AAA), Stockton (Advanced A), and 15 games in the Ariz. League A’s. For the season he ended up with a 1.95 ERA in 31 innings. Jim Negrych in 121 games hit .304 and OBP of .370 with (AA) Jacksonville. Jeremy Nowak hit .286 for Aberdeen (NY-P) and was soon promoted to Delmarva
Photo courtesy MLB Pressbox
Closer John Axford takes an impressive save streak into the playoffs for the Milwaukee Brewers. (SALLY) where he was hitting .260 before a season ending slump. Here are the rest of the players’ results: Brad Agustin (UB) played at Normal Cornbelters in the Frontier league where he played in 31 games and batted .231. Jesse Bosnick (St. Bona) played for the Great Lakes Loons in the (A) Midwest League, where he hit .232 in 100 games, with a very good second half. Cory Brownsten (Lockport High School., University of Pittsburgh) played for the Rome Braves but was injured most of the year playing in only 13 games. Shane Davis (Canisius) was drafted this year by Toronto and played for Vancouver in the (A)
Northwest League. He pitched in 18 games and 19 innings, with a 7.01 ERA. Eric Flynn (N.F., UB) played for Rockland (CanAm League) where he played in 21 games and batted .167. Gordon Gronkowski (Williamsville North, Jacksonville) played for the Southern Ill. Miners in the Frontier League (Ind. Pro). He played in 28 games where he hit .302, then hit .308 in four playoff games. Kyle Hoppy (Orchard Park High School) played for Aberdeen in the NY-Penn League in 46 games where he hit .216 and had a .317 OBP. Sean Jamieson (Canisius), drafted in the 17th round this year by the Oakland A’s, played for Vermont in the NYPenn League where in 69 games he hit .235 and had a OBP of .350. Steve McQuail (Canisius) played for Vancouver in the Northwest League where he played in 61 games and batted .200 with 12 homeruns. Jacob Rosenbeck (UB) played in only nine games for Brocton in the Can-Am League, hitting .100 before being released. Nick Weglarz (Stevensville, Ont.) a top Indians prospect was injured for much of the year with Akron Aeros in the (AA) Eastern League playing in only 41 games, hitting .179. If you know of any other WNY pro baseball players, let us know at BobPlezia@yahoo.com.
SPORTS & LEISURE MAGAZINE of this and competed for Ms. Vicki’s attention. At various points, she interfered to help both men. Swagger was about to pin Riley after a powerbomb, but Ziggler threw him off and covered Riley for the victory. The subplot continues. World Heavyweight (Smackdown) Title- Mark Henry won the title from Randy Orton... Henry is a huge weightlifter who was
for Kelly to perform a flying head scissors. The match- “Bad Guy” Beth seemed genuinely moved by the hometown hero’s welcome she received entering the ring. Would she triumph over the diminutive Kelly? Of course not. WWE has a strong tendency of wrestlers losing matches in their hometown, especially if you’re booked heel (“Bad Guy”). Beth was By Ivan the Impaler ahead on points, highlighted You can have your Super by a high impact superBowl. You can have your plex of the top turnbuckPGA Championship. le, but Kelly later caught You can have your her in a roll-up and won. Final Four. And your The fans crapped on the Olympics. finish, but gave Beth a And your World Standing O on her way University Games out. (oops)...We’ll take a (Just before going to wrestling pay-per-view, if press, Beth won the it’s OK with you. Diva’s title from Kelly at Buffalo was the the Oct. 2nd PPV in New Epicenter of the WWE Orleans! So there!) Universe (brand name) WWE Undisputed on Sept. 18th for the (Raw) Title - John Cena “Night of Champions” beats Alberto Del Rio by Pay Per View, seen tapout to win the throughout the civilized belt....Alberto’s yellow world, as well as sportscar is missing! It Pakistan. turns out Cena stole it It’s the one PPV per and drove it to the ring! year where all title belts (A fine role model that from both the Cena is.). Crowd is super Smackdown and Raw excited for this match; brands are defended. half the fans like Cena The crowd gathered (women & young boys), early outside the First the rest hate him (most Photo by Joe Bradt Niagara Center (formerly males over 21). Cena HSBC Arena); They were Beth Phoenix takes in the cheers of wins with his STF subupbeat following the her hometown. mission hold. Bills’ comeback win over No DQ Main Event (if HHH Oakland. (This Reporter slept known as “The World’s loses, he must resign as WWE through the second half). Hot Strongest Man,” but was Chief Operating Officer)dog vendors lined given the rep that he ”couldn’t Triple H beats CM Punk by Washington Street, while a win the big one” during his pinfall to win... strange old man on a bicycle almost 15 year tenure in First, we have trouble sifted through trash cans lookWWE. (Everyone neglected to believing how the Security & ing for pop bottles. The media mention that Henry held the Exchange Commission would was everywhere, from Pro World title in the WWE’s verallow a publically-traded comWrestling Illustrated to several sion of ECW). Big Mark came pany to select executive Japanese photographers. out to his “Hall of Pain” theme authority thru violence...Then Oh Yes, The Matches..... song, in which the words again, it happens at Wal-Mart The crowd was bathed in a “break his neck” sound like and HP all the time.... sea of red lighting in keeping “breadsticks.”. As for the About 60% of the crowd is with the set design, giving the match, Henry “injured’ cheering for CM Punk, the arena a futuristic look capOrton’s knee, and won after “bad guy,” because he’s a tured in any color photocrushing Orton with the “cool” bad guy. The two brawl graphs which may accompany “World’s Strongest Slam”. outside the ring. Punk chanthis article. Good match in an old-school nels his inner-Randy Savage The opening contest, not way. and drops a drop rope elbow shown on PPV (insider term Backstage vignettes onto Triple H as he laid on the “dark match”), saw Bryan throughout the show. Miz and Spanish Announcers Table, Danielson, er, Daniel Bryan, R-Truth tell announcer Matt sending all concerned crashbeat Heath Slater with the Striker they smell a co-coning to the floor. Then, in a LeBell Lock. spirator. series of events too complicatTag Team Title- Kofi VP of Talent Relations John ed to explain in a article this Kingston & Evan Bourne Laurinitis wishes good luck to size, there is OUTSIDE retained the belts with a DQ C.M. Punk and texts a secret INTERFERENCE! win over the Miz and R-Truth. message. This IS important Miz and R-Truth are angry R-Truth is a delusional constuff. at Triple H. They trade punchspiracy theorist who convertDivas (Women’s) Title es with Ref Scott Armstrong. ed the Miz to his cause. Miz The aforementioned John Kelly Kelly retained the belt apparently had a pinfall over Lauranitis comes to the ring. with a win over Beth Phoenix. Bourne, but the referee was Kevin Nash, who has the hair Background: Beth Phoenix distracted by the other dye working, interferes. was the first girl on the boy’s wresters. Miz punched the ref, There’s a new ref running to wrestling team at Notre Dame which led to the disqualificathe ring. Triple H pins Punk High School in Elmira, NY. tion. Perhaps R-Truth isn’t following a pedigree. At this She still wrestled on an amadelusional; the two swore point, we are off the air. teur basis while attending revenge at those responsible. The Aftermath..... Canisius College. Beth previIntercontinental TitleHordes of fans surround the Cody Rhodes beat Ted Dibiase ously held the Women’s Title parking area trying to get Jr. to keep the belt. Sorta borthree times. While the autographs of their ing match. The sellout crowd “Glamazon” is beautiful, she heroes. One or two follow the napped thru it. can also knock the snot out of lead of the old man on the In the ring, Christian and anyone in the crowd. For stobike and start searching Sheamus debated who should ryline purposes, her and garbage cans for empty conbe the No. 1 contender for the friend Nattie Neidhardt (“The tainers. title. This was entertaining, it Divas of Doom”) are “bad Walking past the site where could have been done behind guys.” Her opponent, Kelly the old Aud stood, you see the closed doors. Kelly, is a “good guy.” She is ghosts of Buffalo’s once-proud United States Title- In a past and the realities/chalbeautiful as well and very outfour-way match, Dolph lenges of the present. A city on going. Unfortunately, nobody Ziggler retained with a pinfall the ropes needs moments fears facing her in real life. She win over Alex Riley; the other such as these to counteract it’s does some nifty acrobatic participants were John angst and reassure itself that it moves, but they look conMorrison and Jack Swagger.... CAN be world player, even for trived even by wrestling stanThe subplot is that Vicki just one night, even in the dards, as her opponent, referee Guerrero manages Ziggler, but world of pro wrestling. and the announcers suspend was scouting out Swagger as View more photos on time for about three minutes well. Zig and Swag were aware www.hugesportz.com
For One Night, The Epicenter of the (WWE) Universe
Local boxing happenings By Bob Caico St. John’s Church in downtown Buffalo held their monthly amateur boxing show on Sept. 30. The results are as follows: Davonte Lynch (St. John’s) 5-0 L u k e Wojtaszek (Thunder Boxing) Jonathan Carder (Erie) rsc 3 Randy Abate Taz LaRose (St. John’s) 5-0 Jeremy Ferguson (Bomb Squad) Brandon Mallery (St. John’s) rsc 2 Abraham Manon (Erie) Danny Lagares (PAL) 3-2 Erick Palmeri (Deleon Boxing) Destyn Hopkins (St. John’s) 5-0 Deron Allen (PAL) John Nuchereno (Thunder Boxing) 3-2 Montael Jones (Erie) Antonio Smith (Victory
Joey Giambra of Buffalo who resides in Las Vegas recently turned 80 years old, was never given a shot at the Middleweight championship.
Gym) 3-2 Donte Parker (St. John’s) Daniel DeJesus (PAL) 3-2 Matthew Ventry (Thunder Boxing) •••••••• The Niagara LBC of USA Boxing is looking to build on their officiating group. They need judges and referees in the districts of Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Salamanca and points in between. Please attend and support the amateur shows in your area and join the dedicated volunteers of USA Boxing. All you have to do is complete a six-hour training class to become an official. •••••••• Welterweight Vincent Arroyo (12-1) won his second consecutive ShoBox televised match on Sept. 9. Vincent who trains at the continued on page 15
Local boxing Buffalo PAL won a unanimous 10-round decision over Hector Sanchez (19-2) in Minnesota. •••••••• Lionell “Lonnie B” Thompson (9-0) of Buffalo registered his sixth knockout on Sept. 9 in Montreal. Lionell stopped Davis Whittom in the fourth round of a scheduled six. Thompson’s next fight will be on Oct. 22 in Mississauga, Ontario. •••••••• Nick Casal’s fight for September against Michael Anderson (11-0-1) was moved to Oct. 15. The fight will be on the Pay Per View card featuring Bernard Hopkins against Chad Dawson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. •••••••• Evander Holyfield was at the premiere for the boxing documentary film “Road to the Ring: A Boxing Journey” in North Tonawanda, N.Y. on Saturday. The 46-minute documentary was produced by John Patus of Stone
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from page 14 Canyon Films and directed by Jerry Zolner. The film chronicles the journey of three Canadian amateur boxers as they prepare for the Ontario (Canada) Boxing Championships. John Patus sees this documentary as an inspirational tool not only for boxers and athletes but also in life itself. The story not only deals with the physical demands of the sport but the mental part, which may be of more importance. Holyfield chose to be part of Road to the Ring for its inspirational message and for its charitable cause. Proceeds will go to amateur sports, underprivileged youth and the Holyfield Foundation. Holyfield fielded questions and the end of the documentary and was given a Star on the Walk of Fame at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival location. For more information about the documentary go to www.thebnff.com •••••••• Anthony Lenk (12-1) was scheduled to box on Oct. 1
in Las Vegas in a super lightweight contest but was 2.5 pounds overweight. Anthony may now have to move to welterweight for the future. •••••••• At Singer’s Gym: It was 49 years ago this month (10/20/1962) Joey Giambra of Buffalo fought for the first ever World Light Middleweight Title. Giambra who was 65-7 at the time was a longtime top contender for the Middleweight crown but never was given the opportunity at the belt. At 31 years old he was given his first chance for a championship against 23-year old Denny Moyer (32-8) in Portland, Oregon, in a 15round title match for the new weight class title. Moyer, who happened to be from Portland, won a unanimous decision by scores of 146-144, 148-146 and 149144. Giambra would have two more fights in his career before retiring the “uncrowned champ” in 1963.
Kickin’ it with Amer Abdallah Community Sports Report Local Kickboxing champion and Lockport native Amer Abdallah will fulfill his dream on Nov. 12 when he fights for the United States National Light Heavyweight championship. His opponent is No.1 ranked Francois “Bang Bang” Ambang, who began attracting immediate attention from his arrival in the United States in 2009. A former African champion and K-1 veteran, the 26-year-old Ambang is touted to be amongst the most explosive and powerful athletes competing. “Without a doubt this will be my biggest challenge to date. But that’s what I train for,” Abdallah stated. For the first time in his career, Abdallah will be the underdog. Due to Ambang’s youth, recent victorious streak and international experience he will be the favorite. So far, Abdallah, the undefeated and current Eastern United States Champion, doesn’t seem intimidated. “No one can tell me who or what I am or can be; they can’t meas-
Amer Abdallah fights for the United States National LHW championship. ure my heart’ Abdallah commented on not being the favorite. “Belief in myself will change my world. Defeat and surrender are not in my vocabulary. I don’t understand those words.” “I’m proud to represent my Western New York community and have an opportunity to bring home such a big title,” Abdallah added. The Team Abdallah training camp will be based locally between the Lockport Athletic
& Fitness club and the WNY MMA training center. Between longtime strength and conditioning Coach Gina Nowak, head coach Juan Deleon, advisor “Baby” Joe Mesi and manager Lizz Bouchard the all WNY team is taking the challenge head on. Also on the card will be the professional kickboxing debut of Corey “The Story” Webster. Webster, a local crowd favorite and exciting middleweight, is coming off a streak of knockout victories in Syracuse, Lockport and at the Foxwoods Casino. In addition, MMA women’s superstar Alexis Davis will defend her title, the hard hitting Jay Bauman will be back in action and martial arts phenom Brian Irr will step back in the ring in well. The schedule title fight will be held at the Kenan Arena on Saturday, Nov. 12, with the opening bell scheduled at 7 pm. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and at the Lockport Athletic & Fitness Club.
Published on Oct 1, 2011