NEW YORK PREDATORS: Predator History

Predators. SI Jags and other SI Football history from 1990 - 2005
SI Bulldogs
1990 - 1994 - Independent Schedule

SI Jaguars
WCL 1995 - Lost in Championship Game
EFL 1996 - Eliminated in 1st round of playoffs 
EFL 1997 - Did not make Playoffs
GSFL 1998 - Did Not make Playoffs

NY Predators
GSFL 1999 - Eliminated 1st Round of the Playoffs
GSFL 2000 - Did not make Playoffs
GSFL 2001 - Did not make Playoffs
GSFL 2002 - Did not make Playoffs
UFL   2003 - Second Place in Division, Eliminated in the Semi Final round of the Playoffs
NAFL 2004 - Declined invite to Playoffs due to several injuries
NAFL 2005 - Won Division, Eliminated in the 1st round of the Playoffs, Declined invite to Harvest Bowl
NAFL 2006 - Second place in Division, Eliminated in the 2nd round of the playoffs
MetroBowl 2006 - Champions 

GM and Team President Billy Simo and former co-owner Rob Miller established the NY Predators in 1998 using the core of the SI Jaguars. Greg Rocco and his staff led the team to a 6 - 6 record and playoff birth in its inaugural season. The Predators were eliminated by the Mariners in the first round of the playoffs ending a successful first season. 

The SI Jaguars (Coached and Owned by Tony Alfano) operated 1994-1998. They started in the United Football League went to the Championship game and lost 13-12 to the Bayside Raiders. They posted a 12 - 4 record for the season and some highlights from the season included defeating the nationally ranked Plattsburgh North stars of the Empire Football League in Plattsburgh, NY. The Jaguars went on to the Empire Football League in 1995 and made the playoffs in the first year but were eliminated in the first round 7-6 by the Glen Falls Green jackets in a rain soaked field. They defeated those same GreenJackets two weeks prior to their playoff meeting to enter the playoffs 14 to 6. In that contest the Jaguars took the lead on a 60-yard pass from Tommy Zirino to Billy Simo then sealed the game with a 25-yard pass from Zirino to Rob Miller. The defense played sensational that game with stars Weigle, 3 sacks and LB’s Green and Lanza had 13 tackles apiece. The Jaguars stayed in the EFL until the 1998 season then switched over to the Garden State Football League. They posted records of 5 - 6 and 4 - 6 during both seasons in the EFL. Some of the stars of those Jaguar teams went on to play for the Predators. MLB Marcus Green, MLB Chris Lanza, CB Willie Dale, CB Barry Hodge, DE Ed Weigle, DE Harvey Miller led the defense and OLB Lou Panuthos starred for the Jaguars. QB Tommy Zirino, RB Lamont Watson, FB Nicky Vitigliano, RB John Martello, C Paul Lizzotti, FB/LB Neil Falcone, WR Billy Simo and WR Rob Miller led the Offense. Overall the Jaguars four year record ended up being 25 - 22.

Prior to the SI Jaguars a couple of the old time players from the SI Bulldogs helped form the core of the Jaguars. Coached by Paul Barchitta and Bob Campbell the Bulldogs were an independent team and boasted a record of 25 wins 6 losses and 1 tie in four years. Given a national stage in 1992 they were the 2nd team in the USA ever to host the Russian National Football Team. The Bulldogs won the game 36 - 6. RB John Martello a former Predator coach and player was the Co-MVP of that game. The Bulldogs out hit and hustled the Russian national team all night long and piling up over 300 rushing yards between RB’s Martello and Chris LaGrego. Another Bulldog highlight came the following year when they defeated the national #1 ranked Brooklyn Knights 7 - 0 at Midwood field in Brooklyn. Stars of that game were DT Chris Manos, WR Billy Simo, WR Alfredo Martinez, (Former NFL Pro & NY Jets) QB Walter Briggs, OLB Mike Steavens and MLB Matt Hellman. With a zero zero tie going into the fourth quarter QB Briggs hit WR Simo with a 58 yard diving acrobatic catch then hit him again on a 15 yarder and capped it off with a 10 yard toss to WR Alfredo Martinez. LB’s Steavens and Hellman shut down the highly touted Knight offense. The Bulldogs (Coached by John Tabacco Sr.) last game was a loss to the NYPD football team 13 - 8 in a game dedicated to the memory of SI native Fireman John Drennon. The Predators coach’s Oscar Zeron, John Martello, Vinny Pucciarelli, MLB Dave Suarez and owner/player Billy Simo all played for the SI Bulldogs.

To this day some of the older Bulldogs play and coach a charity game held once a year against the NYPD or other minor league teams. They are called the Staten Island Patriots.The proceeds of the game go towards the John Tabacco Sr. fund/scholarship.
The 2000 Predators consisted of more players from the rest of NYC, LI, Westchester and parts of New Jersey. The coach’s were Head Coach Al Quattlebaum, Defensive Coach Oscar Zeron and Offensive Line Coach Paul Lizzotti. They played their home games in Hoboken, NJ at JFK Stadium. The Predators record in 2000 was a miserable 1 and 9 and was more a rebuilding year all around.

 The 2001 Predators were eager to avenge the 2000 season and started out pretty early in 2001 to get themselves better. The Predators finished a disappointing 4 and 9 but improved every facet of the team. The defense improved the most by allowing over 100 points less then the season before while also causing many more turnovers. Captain MLB Craig Litrell led the way along with DT Luke Davis, DT Anthony Polizzi, CB Barry Hodge, CB Willie Dale and hard-hitting FS Mike Zerbo all starred on defense. The offensive attack also improved from 2000 and was led by Captain RB Raheem Ridley, QB Danny Cowhig and T Tom Groves.

The 2002 team seemed to be shaping up to be the most powerful team but after suffering through many injuries the team could not compete at a high level and finished a disappointing 2 – 8. Although the team never panned out a few bright spots came from the play of QB Lou Simone WR Russ Granberg, C Chuck, DT’s Anthony Polizzi and Luke Davis as well as strong play from SS Rob Miller. Adam Turkel formerly the head coach of the Garden State Boxers coached the 2002 team.

In 2003 the Predators owners switched leagues. The switch proved to be a healthy for Predators as they made it to the second round of the playoffs. Plenty of new young talent came to the team in CB's Tom Sessa, Prince Stewart, LB Tom Levoyer on the defensive side and QB Lou Scala on the offensive side. Even though the Predators lost in second round contest to the UFL defending champs Newark Jets they will take plenty of positives with them to the 2004 season.

The Predators advanced to the Semi Final Round of the UFL playoffs by defeating the second seeded CT Giants. In a very exciting game the Predators scored first on a 6-yard toss to WR Russ Granberg from QB Lou Scala and scored again after a DT Anthony Polizzi sack forced the CT Giant QB to lose the ball and fumble it into the end zone. The Giants came back at the end of the half to make it a 9 - 8 game by running the ball in from the two then scoring the PAT. The Giants scored again on there opening drive in the third quarter and took the lead at 14 - 8. The Preds came right back on a spectacular 79 yard TD return by RB Joe Quarterman. Lou Scala then tossed a PAT pass to Tight End Landy Burgos to make the score 17 - 14. After a recovered fumble by SS Josuf Dema on the Giants next drive Lou Scala hit WR Billy Simo with a 44 yard TD pass to seal the game at 23 - 14. Stars of the game were RB Danny Cowhig, the entire offensive line, MLB Ricky Artis with 10 tackles and OLB Tom Levoyer with 9 tackles. CB Prince Stewart also played tough defense and delivered a few pancake blocks during the game.

In the second round the 2003 playoffs the Predators lost steam and the game when a few last minute turnovers and big runs by the Newark Jets sealed an exciting game. The defending champs came out swinging early to take a 20 to 0 lead. The Preds however held strong in the third quarter powered by tough defensive play by Anthony Polizzi, Ricky Artis, Mike Zerbo and Prince Stewart. The Preds offense then took over as Lou Scala hooked up with Billy Simo for a 25-yard catch and then Nicky Vitigliano and Joe Quaterman powered there way to the end zone. The Preds received a pass interference call on the one yards line and Vitigliano moved the pile into the end zone for the Preds first score. On the next couple of possessions both offenses stalled but then the Preds stopped and then recovered a fake punt by the Jets on the 15-yard line. After a few runs to the 12-yard line Lou Scala thread a needle to Simo who made the catch just in bounds in the back of the end zone with 4 minutes remaining. The Preds comeback then collapsed when the Jets put up to quick scores to end the game. What should have been a close game ended up not so close at all but in the end it was a hard fought game.

During the 2003 season many records were broken including the most points ever scored by the offense. Team Captain DT Anthony Polizzi set single season marks for Sacks, Forced Fumbles and Fumbles Recovered. Polizzi also took over the all time marks for Sacks, Forced Fumbles, Fumbles Recovered and Tackles. Single season Rushing mark and rushing TD’s were broken by Danny Cowhig and along the way he continued his sea saw battle with Captain FB Nicky Vitigliano which he is tied on all time rushing TD’s list with 10. Vitigliano also took over the all time rushing mark this season and Receiver and Captain Russ Granberg broke the single season reception yardage mark and tied the single season mark with receptions. Granberg also broke All time Reception and Reception yardage records. QB Lou Scala another bright spot for the team came close to the single season and all time pass marks all in one year. Other team marks included the most rushing yards amassed in one season and second most in passing yardage. The Predators expect big things in 2004, with many players expected to return.

In 2004 the Predators changed leagues leaving the UFL and chose to enter the largest league in the United States, the NAFL. The underachieving Predators ended up with a 7 and 6  record. Injuries mounted throughout the year and due to that the Preds lost several close games. Many bright stars came to play for the Preds like Former Wagner College Captain MLB Tim Heaney and is brother Bill. Some of the veteran players also made plenty of contributions Polizzi, Simo, Granberg, Scala, Stewart, Hunter, Cowhig. Three were named to the Minor League All Star team and six were named as NAFL honorable mentions. New stars were born as well OG John Raimondi, LB Derek Harris and LB Dave India played tough all season. Tom Leveyor stepped up again as well as FB Mike Marietta, Joe Guiliano and the injured Erkon Caygoz.

The Predators came out swinging during the early part of the 2005 season romping teams by scores of 51 - 0 and 48 - 0 but it all ended abruptly after a 1st round playoff loss. The additions of standout former college coaches Roy Miller and Mike Benedetto along with John Fanning and Mark Everett and the loss of the entire 2004 coaching staff including head coach Adam Turkel changed the character and core of the Preds but the team managed to do keep up the winning ways. While clinching the division was a big step in the right direction losing in the 1st round 12 - 2 was nothing less then a big disappointment. Several key stars helped keep the Predators winning. On offense Vernon Manuel, Eugene Vick and Joe Isa were standout performers while on the other side of the ball Chi Chi Momah, Phil Rossamondo, Ron Jenerette, Jeremy Campbell and Orion Sykes and long time Predator Anthony Polizzi helped stifle opponents to a measly 6 points per game. Which was the best defensive effort ever recorded by the Predators.

In 2006 the Predators again had to start fresh as a new coaching staff led by Head Coach Matt Aiello took the field with the goal of being a .500 team. Many changes