Tuesday, February 26
2007 EFL All-Star Eagles



Saturday, September 29
Eagles get kick out of Perry
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Scott Perry is bringing two things to the Scranton Eagles as they prepare for the Empire Football League playoffs, plenty of big game experience and a steady foot for an inconsistent kicking game.

Perry will look to pay some dividends as the local team travels to Canada tonight to battle the Ottawa Demon Deacons in an EFL quarterfinal game. The 40-year old kicker, a former Abington Heights and Moravian College standout, came back to the team after a chance conversation with Eagles coach Mike Arcure.

"Believe it or not, I ran into him in the supermarket," Arcure said. "I just asked him if he would like to play." It took a little coaxing, but Perry agreed to return.

After getting a tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles, Perry originally joined the local squad in 1989. In his first two seasons, he helped the team garner a pair of national championships. Perry still holds the team record with a 54-yard field goal against the Newburgh Raiders in 1996. Leaving the Eagles in 2000, Perry returned to help the Northern Tier Bruins to a national title in 2004.

"Scott can still make kicks and is able to kick it deep on kickoffs," Arcure said. "He also brings a lot of character and leadership to this team."

During the first six games this season, Eagles' kickers accounted for just four points. At one point, the team was living and dying by the two-point conversion.

In the last four games, Perry scored 12 points on three extra points and three-for-five in field goals.

In his first game back, Perry converted an extra point and a field goal in a 10-7 victory over the Deacon Demons. "When I came back, only Mike and my girlfriend, Ellen, felt I could do it," Perry said. "Everybody said that I was too old and couldn't play anymore."

The Eagles (3-7) finished the regular season in third place in the EFL Western Division, one-half game behind Ottawa. Scranton and the Deacon Demons split their two regular season matches, each team winning at home. The winner of tonight's game will travel to division champion Watertown next Saturday with the league championship scheduled for the October 6.

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Sunday, September 23
Late score dooms Eagles
09/23/2007 STAFF REPORT Kellen Nolan scored his second touchdown of the game, a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 4:13 to go, to lift the Lake City Stars over the Scranton Eagles, 14-10, Saturday night at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
Scranton scored first at 4:58 of the first quarter when Scott Perry booted a 25-yard field goal.

The Stars (4-5-1) took the lead with 6:08 to go in the first half when Nolan scored on a 16-yard bootleg to give Lake City a 7-3 advantage.

The Eagles regained the lead late in the third quarter when, after Andy Minnick recovered a Lake City fumble near midfield, quarterback Ted Wallingford found Christian Grandzol for a 27-yard scoring strike and a 10-7 lead.

The Eagles had a chance to capitalize on another Stars' miscue with 1:37 left in the game when Victor Rivero intercepted a pass, which he returned to his 35-yard line. After Wallingford took off on a 14-yard run, he found Cory Champi with a pass to put the Eagles in Lake City territory. However, Wallingord was sacked and the Eagles were unable to move the ball before time expired.

Wallingford went 14-for-27 for 157 yards through the air while Phil Ross led the ground attack with 62 yards on 19 carries. George Romiti, playing in his 150th consecutive game, led the defense with 13 tackles.

Despite the loss, the Eagles (3-7) qualified for the Empire Football League playoffs and will travel to Ottawa, Ontario to battle the Deacon Demons next Saturday.

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Sunday, September 16
Eagles shut out
Watertown rolled past the Scranton Eagles on Saturday night, 40-0, in an Empire League Football game.

Brian Harris returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the second quarter to lead Watertown.

The Eagles managed little offense as quarterback Ted Wallingford threw for 35 yards and three interceptions while under pressure much of the night.

Todd Keichle put Watertown in the lead with a touchdown run on a quarterback sneak in the first quarter.

Watertown broke it open in the second. In addition to the two touchdown returns by Harris, Lester Coles hauled in a 14-yard scoring pass from Keichle.

For the Eagles defensively, George Romiti had 16 tackles, while Nick Parlanti added 10.

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Saturday, September 15
Eagles' Zoltek thrives
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When Pete Zoltek was a child, he never dreamed that he would be playing American football. But after a life-altering move, Zoltek found himself embracing the sport in his new home.

Zoltek, a 24-year old two-way lineman for the Scranton Eagles, was born in Poland. His father was a member of the Red Berets, the Polish equivalent of the U.S. Special Forces, or Green Berets. The Zoltek family also had a farm in their native land.

Originally, Pete and his parents, Jozef and Maria, came to the United States when he was 3. But, after three years, the family returned to their homeland to bring Pete's older sisters, Eva and Ursala, back with them. The Zolteks had to endure four years of political red tape before the family could return to the United States.

"We came here to find a better life," Pete said. "It's hard over there; there is just farming. Then there was a lot of paperwork to be filled out."

Upon returning to the U.S., the family settled in northern New Jersey. Not long after, Pete took an interest in American football, but found that he wasn't able to play on any organized teams until he got to high school.

"I was in fifth or sixth grade and wanted to play," Pete said. "But I was too big to play in the youth leagues."

So, Zoltek had to wait until he reached high school before he could play organized football. But once he got there, he was able to maximize his talents.

At Sussex County Tech, he set a team record with 13 sacks in just eight games in his senior year, while playing most of the year with a broken thumb.

"It was under the meaty part of the hand and I had to wear a cast," Pete said. "I couldn't even make a fist with my hand."

Originally, Zoltek planned to attend Syracuse University before a paper snafu pushed Zoltek and his family into another life-changing event.

"My transcripts between schools became messed up and I was unable to go to Syracuse," Pete said.

About a year later, in 2002, the Zolteks moved to Lake Ariel, where Pete and his father operate a construction business. Being his own boss allows him to make just about all of the Eagles' practices and games. His wife, Michelle, and son, Anthony, who is one of the team's waterboys, are regulars at most home and away games.

"I'm just lucky I'm in my own business and can adjust my work schedule," Zoltek said. "A lot of guys aren't that fortunate."

Tonight's game

The Eagles travel to Watertown to take on the Western Division-leading Red and Black tonight. This is the second straight week the Eagles will take on a division leader, dropping a 37-10 decision to the Eastern Division kingpin Vermont Ice Storm. Scranton looks to avenge a 44-9 season-opening home loss to Watertown. The Eagles complete the regular season with a home game against the Lake City Stars on Sept. 22 at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

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Friday, September 7
Eagles to honor fallen soldier at game

When is a game more than just a game?

For the Scranton Eagles' Scott Garrity and T.J. Conserette, Saturday night's game against the Vermont Ice Storm will be a time to honor a fallen friend and to give something back for his friendship and devotion to his family and his country.

The Eagles will honor Sgt. Jan Argonish. Sgt. Argonish, a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard was killed in an ambush in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on Aug. 27. Sgt. Argonish was on his third tour of duty, including his second in Afghanistan. This particular tour was one that Sgt. Argonish volunteered for.

"I didn't know that he volunteered (for this tour) until last week," Conserette said. "But it doesn't surprise me. That's just the type of person that he was."

The friendship between Garrity, Conserette and Sgt. Argonish developed back when they were students at Valley View High School.

"He would give you the shirt off of his back," Conserette said. "Everybody loved him. He was just a very likeable person."

For Garrity and Conserette, not only will the mental anguish show through, but also the physical side as well. Both players will play in the game with injuries that would have sidelined most players.

"I've been playing since the last St. Lawrence game with a torn MCL," Garrity said. "T.J. has a cracked tibia. But we wouldn't miss this game for the world. We have to play in this game."

The passion shown by these players is only rivaled by the devotion Sgt. Argonish had for his son.

"He was big into his family," "Garrity said. "Jakub was everything to him. He loved his son so much."

Kickoff for the game is at 7:30 p.m. A portion of the night's ticket receipts will go to a fund for Sgt. Argonish's 8-year-old son, Jakub. There will be special donation buckets set up at the gate at Scranton Memorial Stadium, as well as prizes to be raffled off during the game. All proceeds from these will go to the Argonish Family Fund.

Sunday, August 26
Scranton Eagles defense key in win over Ottawa
EAGLES K Scott Perry
A stout defense got just enough help from the offense to lift the Scranton Eagles to victory Saturday night at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

Rob Wehner scored on a three-yard run with three minutes left as the Eagles rallied for a 10-7 win over the Ottawa Deacon Demons in an Empire Football League game.

The defense, which held Ottawa to a third-quarter touchdown and little else, put the exclamation point on the victory. Defensive back Deshwan Meyers picked off a pass after Ottawa had driven to the Eagles 40-yard line with 35 seconds left in the game.

Scranton (3-4) moved into second place in the EFL Western Division with the victory, dropping Ottawa (2-4-1) to third place.

The Eagles offense moved the ball early in the game, driving deep into Deacon Demons territory before stalling. Scott Perry, whose first run with the Eagles began in 1989, salvaged three points from the drive by booting a 32-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Defensively, George Romiti and Nick Parlanti started racking up tackles, as Romiti finished with 12, two more than Parlanti. Parlanti, a Mid Valley product, delivered one of the Eagles’ three interceptions, as did Wehner.

But the Deacon Demons finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter as Sean Harkes scored from the 1 six minutes into the second half. Dave Walters tacked on the extra point to give Ottawa a 7-3 lead.

The Eagles turned to the pass on their game-winning drive, as quarterback Ted Wallingford connected on a 23-yard pass to Cory Champi to the Deacon Demons 1 to set up Wehner’s game-winning touchdown.

Wallingford finished 14-for-22 for 162 yards and one interception. Matt Williams hauled down five passes for 55 yards while Champi accumulated 62 yards on his three receptions.

Former Valley View standout Phil Ross led the running game with 65 yards on 17 carries for the Eagles, who return to action on Sept. 8 to play division-leading Vermont at Memorial Stadium.

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Saturday, August 25
Eagles battling financial woes


Sunday, August 19
Wallingford-to-Verdetto spells victory for Eagles
"Mr. Versatile" Phil Ross
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Ted Wallingford hooked up with Louis Verdetto on a pair of touchdown passes and the Scranton Eagles defense made a goal-line stand in the final minute to preserve a 25-19 victory over the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers in a Empire Football League game at Sandstoner Park in Potsdam, N.Y.

Five minutes into the game, Wallingford found Verdetto on a 27-yard scoring strike to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead.

With three minutes to go in the second quarter, Wallingford found Verdetto with a 17-yard touchdown pass to give the Eagles a two-touchdown advantage.

St. Lawrence Valley struck back with 23 seconds to go in the first half when Cheyenne Dashnaw scored on a 81-yard interception return. With the extra point, the Trailblazers pulled to within 12-7 at the half.

The Eagles scored on their first two possessions of the third quarter when Phil Ross scored on a 17-yard scoring run and Gary Visnofsky bolted in from the one-yard line. The extra point gave the Eagles a 25-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

With 9:29 left in the game, Chris Tom found Joe Hutchinson with a 15-yard touchdown reception. With a missed extra point, the Eagles held a 25-12 advantage.

Danny Staton pull the Trailblazers to within six points with a 10-yard touchdown catch from Tom with 1:47 to go.

With less than a minute left, the Trailblazers got the ball back and moved to the Eagles 1. However, the Eagles defense was able to stop St. Lawrence Valley on downs to preserve the win.

Wallingford was 11-for-18 for 178 yards and a pair of scores. Cory Champi had four receptions for 62 yards, while Verdetto had four catches for 52 yards and a pair of scores. Ross led the Eagles running attack with 54 yards on eight carries and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Eagles were led by veteran George Romiti. Playing in his 146th consecutive game, Romiti had 10 tackles while Nick Parlanti and Jim Shaffer had eight tackles each. Chris Clancey had a key sack and fumble recovery late in the third quarter to stop a Trailblazers drive.

The Eagles (2-4) return home Aug. 25 when they battle the Ottawa Deacon Demons at Scranton Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

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Saturday, August 18
Road takes Eagles to Potsdam, N.Y.
For the third straight week and fourth in the last five, the Scranton Eagles hit the road as they travel to Potsdam, N.Y., to take on the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers in an EFL Western Division matchup at Sandstoner Park.

Once the Eagles return tonight, they will have logged more than 2,300 miles traveling to and from road games.

This past offseason, the geography of the EFL shifted north after the Broome County Dragons requested a one-year leave of absence and the Tri-County Bulldogs of Newburgh, N.Y., left the EFL to join a different league. Both teams were less than 100 miles away from Scranton. Currently, the Amsterdam Zephyrs are the Eagles’ closest EFL rival, 183 miles away. The Eagles have one more road game after this weekend, a 400-mile round trip visit to Watertown on Sept. 15.

“Believe it or not, I feel that it has actually helped us,” coach Mike Arcure said. “On the bus rides, we’ve been getting to places early and the rides have been bringing this team together.”

The Eagles defeated the Trailblazers at home, 28-7, on July 28 for Scranton’s only win of the season. Since the victory, the Eagles have lost a pair of heartbreakers on the road, by one point to Chateauguay and by three points at Amsterdam. The Trailblazers have yet to win in five EFL games this season. Their last two losses have come by a combined 87-7 score.

One bright spot for St. Lawrence Valley has been the play of James “Buddy” Compeau, the Trailblazers’ jack-of-all-trades. Compeau leads the team with 117 yards rushing, 17 catches, 217 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Compeau has all four of the team’s interceptions and has the fourth most tackles on the squad with 20. Compeau also averages 21.5 yards on his 18 kickoff returns.

“(Compeau) is very good,” Arcure said. “He’s small, 160 or 170 pounds, which makes him slippery and hard to see. On defense, he’s a good cover corner. But we like to go at him, because he goes both ways, to try to wear him down.”

Since opening the season with a pair of blowout losses, the Eagles (1-4) defense has been solid. After surrendering 93 points in the first two games, the Scranton defense has held its opponents to just 37 points over the last three games. Veteran linebacker George Romiti leads the EFL in tackles with 72 through five games.

“They’re firing off the ball with intensity,” Arcure said. “The corners are covering better and the linebackers are dropping back into coverage much better.”

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Saturday, August 18
Eagles’ Klimek delivers game-saving play
Nate Klimek
In today’s sports world, things happen in the heat of battle that may come off to the casual fan as unsportsmanlike or disrespectful.

The taunting after a defensive back makes a highlight-reel hit on a wide receiver. A batter “styling” down the first-base line after hitting a home run.

For most purists and traditionalists, these things leave a bitter taste, knowing how sports used to be. Athletes would go about their job in a business-like fashion, without a lot of flash or style, but still getting the job done.

Then, there is a moment like this.

It happened Aug. 11 in an Empire Football League game between the visiting Scranton Eagles and the Amsterdam Zephyrs.

With 13:42 left in the fourth quarter, Amsterdam running back Jorge Rodriquez took a handoff and was tackled on a hard hit by Eagles defensive back Paul Shanaman on the Zephyr 35-yard line. While Shanaman was able to get to his feet, Rodriquez remained on the turf at Lynch Middle School, having sustained a potentially severe neck injury.

Then, out of nowhere, Nathan Klimek, a 23-year old rookie linebacker with the Eagles, jumped into action to help out.

“It was a bad hit, the two players just collided,” Klimek said. I told coach (Mike Arcure) that I think I should go out there.”

Klimek, a graduate of Pittston Area and Bloomsburg University, is a paramedic with Lackawanna Ambulance as well as White Haven Medic 22.

“I told them I was a paramedic,” Klimek said. “Together, we were able to get him immobilized and on a backboard for transport. (Rodriguez) was conscious and was able to move.”

Twenty minutes after the play had ended, Rodriguez was taken to a local hospital.

According to Amsterdam coach Dom Ruggeri, Rodriquez sustained a severely sprained neck as well as several pulled muscles in his back. Ruggeri also said Rodriquez will be held out of this week’s game with the Chateauguay Titans, but should return next week.

“Thank God that Nathan was there,” Arcure said. “He just went in there and took charge. He just did a great job.”

For Klimek, a gut reaction turned into something that some people will remember for years to come.

“I just ran on instincts. That’s why I became a paramedic,” Klimek said. “It just felt really good to have helped out.”

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Sunday, August 12
Early deficit stops Eagles
EAGLES QB Ted Wallingford
An early deficit was too much for the Scranton Eagles Saturday in a 15-12 loss to the Amsterdam Zephyrs in an Empire Football League matchup.

The Zephyrs struck first at the 8:25 mark of the first quarter when Alberto Montez kicked a 15-yard field goal for an early lead. One minute later, the Zephyrs’ Eric Johnson picked up an Eagles fumble and rumbled 36 yards to give Amsterdam a 10-0 advantage.

The Eagles got on the board at 8:54 of the second period when DeShawn Myers recovered a fumble at the Amsterdam 44-yard line. On the next play, Ted Wallingford found Louis Verdetto with a 44-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 10-6.

The Zephyrs made it 12-6 with 1:30 to go in the first half when Eagles punter Phil Ross stepped out of the end zone for a safety.

After a scoreless third quarter, Amsterdam padded its lead when Montez hit a 33-yard field goal with 1:44 left in the game to give the Zephyrs a 15-6 lead.

On the final drive of the game, the Eagles were aided by a pass interference penalty that moved the ball down to the Amsterdam 1 with three seconds to go. Wallingford found Cory Champi with a one-yard pass as time expired to complete the scoring.

Wallingford finished 8-for-23 for 103 yards and a pair of scores while Verdetto had five receptions for 85 yards and a score for the Eagles. Gary Visnofsky led the ground game with 56 yards on six carries.

Defensively, George Romiti led the way with 17 tackles whle Nick Parlanti added 10 for Scranton.

The Eagles (1-4) return to action Saturday night as they travel to Potsdam, N.Y., to face the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers.

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Friday, August 3
Scranton Eagles look to make it two in a row
Coming off their first win of the Empire Football League campaign, the Scranton Eagles take to the road Saturday as they make their second trip to Canada in three weeks when travel to Montreal to battle the Chateauguay Titans at 7:30 p.m..

The Eagles (1-2), a 28-7 victor over St. Lawrence Valley, are led offensively by quarterback Ted Wallingford and receiver Louis Verdetto. Wallingford, a Honesdale product, hit Verdetto, of Old Forge, with a pair of 30-yard touchdown passes. Lackawanna Trail graduate Tim Pazienza paced the Scranton running attack with 82 yards on 12 carries and a score.

“Offensively, we needed to get our running game going,” Eagles coach Mike Arcure said. “Before the game, I challenged our (offensive and defensive lines) to be more aggressive.”

Defensively, player-coach George Romiti has 44 tackles in three games this season, including 14 in last week’s win. Linebacker Nick Parlanti of Mid Valley added nine tackles and safety Cory Champi intercepted the Eagles’ first pass of the season last week.

In the Eagles’ return game, rookie Rob Solimini from Bishop O’Hara continues to impress, averaging 30.7 yards per kickoff return.

As far as injuries are concerned, fullback Bill Sandly from Riverside, recovering from a knee sprain, and Solimini, nursing a sprained ankle, hope to be in Saturday’s lineup, according to Arcure.

Like the Eagles, coach John Mouland’s Titans picked up their first victory of the regular season with a 34-18 home win over the Amsterdam Zephyrs. Chateauguay lost to the Vermont Ice Storm and Lake City Stars to open the season.

“That is a tough place to play,” Arcure said. “And according to our reports, they have a big, fast and tough team.”


This is the first of three straight road games for the Eagles, who will also visit Amsterdam and St. Lawrence Valley before returning home Aug. 25 to take on the Ottawa Demon Deacons at Scranton Memorial Stadium ... Chateauguay holds a 1-0 lead in the all-time series, defeating the Eagles in 2005.

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Tuesday, August 7
Behlke aims to help County post victory
For much of last football season, Jon Behlke was the other Abington Heights wide receiver.

With teammate Shaun Pasternak an all-state selection, it was easy for Behlke to be overlooked.

But after an outstanding football season, and a District 2 gold-medal winning track season, Behlke is a name everyone will recognize at Wednesday’s 73rd Scranton Lions Club Dream Game.

“I’ve been running all year,” said Behlke, a member of the County all-star team that takes on the City. “I’m hoping that will give me more endurance for the game.”

A Wesley College recruit, Behlke will be a breakaway threat for the County. He caught 20 passes for 431 yards and four touchdowns in his senior season as the Comets won the District 2 Class AAAA title.

After leading the Comets to the District 2 Class AAA track title as a sprinter and hurdler, he’s back on the football field.

He’ll be running patterns that he knows very well as the Comets’ staff — led by head coach Joe Repshis and offensive coach Greg Justave — is coaching the County, which has lost four straight in the series.

“I’m very comfortable,” Behlke said. “It’s nice to not have to learn a whole new system. That gives me an upper hand.”

And on the other side will be a familiar face — Pasternak.

“It’s just like the old days,” Behlke said with a smile.

Double duty

Bishop O’Hara graduate Rob Solimini certainly was ready for practice with the City all-stars.

Having made the Scranton Eagles as a kick returner, the wiry 5-foot-7, 145-pound wide receiver and defensive back has been working out with both teams each day.

“Right after City practices I raced right up and got to Eagles practice,” the 18-year-old Solimini said. “It’s a lot of fun. I’m in shape.”

Brothers in football

Scranton Prep graduate Matt Rader is a running back for the City all-stars, who are coached by Scranton’s John Marichak. Rader’s brother, Charley, is an assistant coach with the Knights and for the City squad.

Both are the sons of former Scranton Eagles coach Charles “Chick” Rader.

“That’s pretty neat,” Matt Rader said. “My father always wanted me to go to Scranton and play for my brother. It’s interesting. It’s a good experience.”

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Sunday, July 29
Eagles grab first win
WR Louis Verdetto
Ted Wallingford hit Louis Verdetto with a pair of second quarter touchdowns and Tim Pazienza ran for 80 yards and a score as the Scranton Eagles picked up their first win of the season, a 28-7 victory over the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers in a Empire Football League battle at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Wallingford-Verdetto combination struck 54 seconds into the second as they connected on a 30-yard scoring pass. The extra point was missed and the Eagles took a 6-0 lead.

With 3:24 left in the first half, Wallingford found Verdetto on another 30-yard touchdown strike. Wallingford hit fellow Honesdale product Matt Williams with a two-point conversion and the Eagles led at halftime 14-0.

The Trailblazers scored on the first drive of the second half when Joseph Hutchinson found James Compeau on a 60-yard scoring strike to cut the Eagles lead in half.

The Eagles scored on the first play of the fourth quarter when Pazienza on a one yard run. Williams hauled in a Wallingford pass to give the Eagles a 22-7 lead.

Phil Ross completed the scoring for the Eagles as he bolted over from the one-yard line as time expired.

Offensively, Wallingford went 9-for-17 for 168 yards and a pair of scores. Verdetto, of Old Forge, had four receptions for 78 yards.

On the defensive side, veteran George Romiti led the Eagles with 14 tackles and Nick Parlanti added nine.

The Eagles (1-2) hit the road for three consecutive weeks as they travel to Montreal next Saturday as they battle the Chateauguay Titans. Scranton’s next home game will be August 25 when they take on the Ottawa Deacon Demons at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

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Saturday, July 28
Eagles optimistic for matchup against St. Lawrence Valley
Dave Drake
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The Scranton Eagles, a team looking to right the ship after a pair of lopsided losses, host the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers in an Empire Football League matchup Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

The Eagles (0-2), who lost 49-0 to Ottawa last weekend, received some good news this week when quarterback Ted Wallingford was cleared to play after suffering a severely bruised shoulder in the first half of last week’s game.

“He had X-rays and an MRI on the shoulder and the doctor said he was OK to play,” coach Mike Arcure said. “He’s going to practice, but we’re going to take it slow with him just to make sure he’s all right.”

The Eagles also added some defensive help this week as they signed lineman Dave Drake, a former standout at Lackawanna Trail.

“Dave is a big boy, about 6-1, 280 to 300 pounds,” Arcure said. “I’m hoping to see some aggression out of him, which is something that we have been lacking this year.”

Among the bright spots for the Eagles last week was the play of receiver Louis Verdetto and rookie kick returner Rob Solimini.

Verdetto, from Old Forge, caught five passes for 75 yards against Ottawa. On the season, Verdetto leads the team with 11 receptions for 137 yards.

“Lou is just a great all-around athlete.” Arcure said. “He runs a 4.4 in the 40 yard dash. Ted and Lou seem to be on the same page on the field.”

Solimini, a Bishop O’Hara product, helped get the Eagles solid field position with returns of 35 and 25 yards, while a third, a 90-yarder that put the Eagles near the goal line, was nullified by a penalty. Solimini is averaging 29.9 yards on his nine kickoff returns this season.

“Rob is like a little spark plug. He’s small and fast, the other team has a hard time finding him,” Arcure said. “We’re trying to find ways to get him the ball offensively. He’s been a nice little surprise for us.”

St. Lawrence Valley (0-2, 1-3 overall) looks to do much of their damage offensively through the air. Quarterback Dave Currier has passed for 345 yards with a pair of touchdowns this season while receiver Joe Hutchinson has hauled in a team-high 13 receptions for 149 yards and a score.

“They picked up some players from Lake City and from Watertown, plus they lost to Ottawa by only a touchdown in the opening week,” Arcure said. “We just aren’t playing physical football. We need to start blocking and we need to get more physical.”

Eagles’ notes

Saturday is Big Brothers/Big Sisters Night, sponsored by the Eagles. A percentage of the night’s gate receipts will be donated to that organization. ...The Eagles and Trailblazers have met only once, with the Eagles taking a 37-14 home decision in the ninth week of 2005.

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Ted W. & Matt W.
Friday, July 27
Scranton Eagles Have Strong Ties to Wayne County


OTTAWA, Ontario - Ted Wallingford received a less than polite welcome to the Empire Football League this past weekend in Canada.

The former Honesdale High and Ursinus College standout traveled with his Scranton Eagle teammates to Ottawa for Saturday's regular season battle with the Demon Deacons. This long road trip came on the heels of a 44-9 Week One loss at the hands of the Watertown Red & Black.

Wallingford was off to a solid start in this ballgame north of the border when disaster struck. Ted took a big hit in the pocket and went down hard. After a few tense moments on the turf, he was escorted off the field.

“It hurt a lot,” Wallingford told TWI Sports of the shoulder injury that sidelined him the rest of the night. “Luckily, though, it was my left shoulder I can still throw ok.”

Wallingford went through a battery of tests Wednesday here in NEPA and the results have been inconclusive. Ted's personal opinion is that he suffered a shoulder strain.

“I've been icing it and resting a lot,” he said. “It already feels 100 percent better. I think I should be able to practice in the next couple of days and play this weekend.”

That would be welcome news for Scranton's coaching staff, which was forced to bring in emergency back-up Phil Ross to finish out the Ottawa game.

Ross, a graduate of Valley View High School, is a starter in the Eagles' defensive backfield. However, he acquitted himself well after being pressed into service under center.

Ross completed 9-of-17 passes for 91 yards, almost all of which came in the second half of a 49-0 loss.

“We're really lucky to have a guy like Phil,” Wallingford said. “He was going to be the starter before I got here, so he knows the offense and the guys respect him. I think he did a good job under the circumstances.”

The loss to Ottawa was Scranton's second in a row to start the ‘07 EFL campaign. Over the course of the first two weeks, the Eagles have allowed a league-worst 93 points and scored just nine.

Next up for the former five-time National Champions is a home game this weekend at Memorial Stadium. The Eagles will put out the proverbial welcome mat for St. Lawrence Valley Saturday night.

Opening kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

The Trailblazers are 0-2 so far in ‘07. St. Lawrence Valley lost its opener to Ottawa by a score of 20-13. In Week Two, Coach Mike Britton's squad then suffered a 44-0 beatdown at the hands of Watertown.

The Red & Black are currently atop the EFL standings with a 2-0 record. Watertown has outscored its opponents by a staggering margin of 88-9.


With two weeks of action now officially in the books, Ted Wallingford and the Scranton Eagles are experiencing some genuine growing pains.

Wallingford is a rookie quarterback on a team trying to recapture even a semblance of its former glory. So far this season, it's been an uphill battle.

“I'm still settling in, but I feel pretty comfortable,” said Ted. “I think the offense is starting to come together. It's similar to the ones I ran in high school and in college. I'd like to make my reads quicker, maybe get rid of the ball a little bit faster. But, I have a big, strong offensive line in front of me, so I'm not really that worried.”

Thus far on the season, Wallingford has completed 14-of-33 passes for 189 yards. He's rushed for one touchdown and tossed a pair of picks.


While Wallingford has established himself as the Eagles' signal caller, three other players with local ties are also making their presences felt.

Matt Williams, another former Hornet grid star, is seeing time on special teams and has broken into the receiving corps as a tight end.

Listed at 6'1” and 275 pounds, Williams caught his first pass of the season last Saturday in Ottawa. To date, Matt has one grab for eight yards. He's also registered a pair of tackles as a member of the Eagles' kick-off coverage unit.

Rob Solimini is also making a niche for himself on special teams. A onetime standout for both Western Wayne and Bishop O'Hara, Solimini is piling up the yards as Scranton's kick-off return specialist.

After two weeks of regular season competition, Rob is the EFL's third rated returner. He has handled nine kick-offs, re-turning them for a total of 269 yards. That's an average of 29.9 yards per attempt.

Solimini's long went for 58 yards against Ottawa.

Finally, Honesdale's Victor Rivero is also inroads in his rookie EFL season.

Rivero sees action on defense (as a cornerback) and on special teams. He's been credited with one solo tackle and two assists thus far.


The Scranton Eagles are under the direction of rookie head coach Mike Arcure, a former backup quarterback. Assisting Arcure are Pat Gaffney of Berwick, former defensive back Rob Wehner and George Romiti.

Wednesday, July 25
Area residents lead Scranton Eagles
BY NATHAN MILNER, Wyoming County Press Examiner        07/25/2007

The Scranton Eagles football team kicked off its season recently loaded with Wyoming County connections both behind the scenes and on the field.

Taking over as general manager of the Eagles this season is Elk Lake graduate Ben Simmons. Ben was the assistant general manager under Sue Foley for the past few seasons and said it's been difficult taking on all the added responsibilities. "It's an awful lot of work for one person," Ben said. "It's been a hectic spring for me."

The Eagles also picked up a new head coach this season as Lackawanna Trail graduate Mike Arcure took over the reigns. Arcure was the team's backup quarterback for the past eight years.

Arcure expects a solid season from the Eagles on the field this year but noted, "We've got a lot of rookies. It's about 50-50 with veterans and rookies."

Among those rookies on this year's squad are a pair of Trail grads - Tim Pazienza and Chris Clancey. The two are good friends and neither has played football since they played for the Lions.

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Pazienza, a running back and 1999 Trail grad, said he returned to the game out of a desire to play again and Clancey, a linebacker, said he returned through his friend's encouragement.

"It was tough getting back into it at first," said Pazienza. "I was glad we had a couple of months of conditioning before the start of the season."

"I haven't done any contact since high school," said Clancey. "But it's coming back now. It's like riding a bike."

Clancey and Pazienza played together in high school in the late 1990s, with Arcure just a few years ahead of them. Clancey said he hopes they will have the same success in Scranton that they had at Trail. "We want to start getting winning tradition going here too," Clancey said.

Arcure said he's glad to have the Trail grads on his team. "They know how to win," he said.

"It's nice being comfortable with the people you play with from day one," said Clancey. Pazienza agreed that Arcure taking over as head coach has helped his return to football. "With Mike there, it made it easier," Pazienza said. "He's closer to our age and he understands it's a different game now."

The Eagles are currently off to an 0-2 start but Arcure still believes in his team's chances to make the playoffs. "They're all fundamental mistakes - fixable mistakes," he said. "I expect team to contend later in the season, then go into playoffs and beyond."

The Eagles also feature, as the "Voice of the Eagles," Ed Simmons of Springville in the announcer's chair. Ed, Ben's father, has been the Eagles' announcer for the past four years and said he was volunteered for the job by his son.

Ed said the job can be a challenge at times when some within the organization expect him to act only as an announcer while others would like him to do play-by-play commentary.

Ed commended his son's efforts to get more community groups, like the March of Dimes and Big Brothers/Big Sisters, involved with the Eagles. "Things are happening which weren't happening before," Ed said.

Ed welcomes the team's new look. "It's a young team, a young general manager and the old man upstairs."

According to Ed, the Eagles would like to revive the tradition of playing a preseason game in Tunkhannock next year.

Sunday, July 22
Scranton Eagles crushed by Ottawa
Eagles KR Rob Solimini
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OTTAWA — If it’s possible, Saturday night’s 49-0 Empire Football League loss at Ottawa was worse than the score indicated for the Scranton Eagles.

That’s because not only did the Eagles get blown out at Minot Stadium, but promising quarterback Ted Wallingford left the game with a shoulder injury with 7:49 to play in the first half.

Ottawa scored in every quarter and the Eagles never got closer than the Ottawa 25.

Bright spots for the Eagles were kickoff return specialist Robert Solomini. The Bishop O’Hara product had two returns of 55 yards, another for 35 and a fourth for 25 yards. Lou Berdetto made five catches for 72 yards.

Defensively, George Romiti had nine solo tackles and eight assists. Nick Parlanti had six solo tackles and six assists for the Eagles (0-2).

Saturday, July 21
Eagles fly north
For the Scranton Eagles, a five-hour bus trip awaits the players as they head to Ottawa to square off with the Deacon Demons in an Empire Football League game Saturday evening.

Head coach Mike Arcure is hoping to minimize the amount of mistakes that hurt the Eagles in last week’s 44-9 loss to Watertown in the season opener.

“We had about nine dropped balls and made a lot of mental errors last week,” Arcure said. “We were able to move the ball, but then we would get a penalty or drop a ball and that would kill the drive. Defensively, our corners got beat a couple of times for big plays.”

The Eagles are led offensively by rookie quarterback Ted Wallingford. The Honesdale product passed for 150 yards against the Red and Black and scored the Eagles’ lone touchdown on a quarterback sneak on the last play of the game.

Ottawa, a 20-13 winner over Northern Division rival St. Lawrence Valley last week, is coached by Jeff Pinck. Shaun Harkes ran for 101 yards on just 13 carries and Kevin Coombs returned the second half kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown in the win.

“Ottawa, especially up there, is going to have a good team,” Arcure said. “But this team is going to win some games this year. The players know what went wrong and have a good attitude and are working hard this week.”

Last season, Scranton and Ottawa played to a 19-19 tie in the second week of the season. The deadlock was the first in the Eagles’ 25-year history. Overall, this is the third time the teams have met, with the local team holding a 1-0-1 series advantage.

Sunday, July 15
Eagles fall short in opener
EAGLES QB Ted Wallingford

After falling behind by a field goal in the first quarter, the Watertown Red and Black scored 44 straight points as they went on to a 44-9 victory over the Scranton Eagles on Saturday night in the Empire Football League opener for both teams in front of an estimated crowd of 300 at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

The Eagles took the early lead on a Matt Roman 36-yard field goal at the eight-minute mark of the first quarter. Watertown took a 7-3 lead when Lamont Lane hauled in the first of two 32-yard touchdown passes from Todd Keichle with 5:10 to go in the opening period.

Two minutes later, Keichle found Lester Cole with a 91-yard scoring strike to give the Red and Black a 14-3 advantage.

Lane caught his second 32-yard scoring pass from Keichle at the beginning of the second quarter for a 20-3 Watertown lead. Leo Grant, who hit on five of six extra point attempts, added a field goal late in the second quarter as the Red and Black took a 23-9 lead into the locker room.

In the third quarter, Keichle scored on a one-yard sneak and George Eason scored on a pair of short runs to give Watertown a commanding lead.

Eagles’ rookie quarterback Ted Wallingford of Honesdale scored on a one-yard sneak as time expired in the game.

Wallingford finished the game 11-for-24 with 126 passing yards and one interception. George Romiti had 12 tackles while free safety Corey Champi added eight for Scranton.

The Eagles (0-1) travel to Ottawa to take on the Demon Deacons next.

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Sunday, July 15
Scranton Eagles look to repeat glory days

Enduring five consecutive losing seasons, the Scranton Eagles, a proud, championship franchise is looking to return to past glory.

Tonight, the new-look Eagles open their 2007 Empire Football League season against the Watertown Red and Black at 7:30 p.m. at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

Among the changes for the Eagles, former tight end Ben Simmons, is the new general manager, taking over for Sue Foley, who resigned earlier this year.

Mike Arcure, a former backup quarterback for the Eagles, begins his first season as the head coach, hoping to improve on last season’s 1-8-1 record — the worst in franchise history.

Assisting Arcure will be Pat Gaffney, Berwick product and former Eagle defensive back Rob Wehner and George Romiti, who retired following last season, but decided to return as player-coach.

“The team is very excited with the changes that have been made,” Arcure said. “We’re confident that this will be a great season for us.”

Offensively, the Eagles will be quarterbacked by rookie Ted Wallingford, a former Honesdale and Ursinus College standout. He’ll have big shoes to fill, replacing veteran John Kennedy, who retired after 24 years with the franchise.

“We started him off slowly with the offense, but he has picked it up fairly well,” Arcure said of Wallingford. “We’re giving Ted quite a bit of control and feel that he will do a fine job for us.”

Helping Wallingford with his maturation process are reigning EFL Southern Division Offensive Rookie of the Year Louis Verdetto from Old Forge and Cory Champi from Pittston Area, who are two experienced receivers, while Honesdale and Lackawanna College product Matt Williams moves in at tight end.

In the backfield, West Scranton’s Gary Visnofsky, Riverside’s Bill Sandly and Mid Valley’s Nick Parlanti will get the majority of the carries.

Returning along the offensive line will be 6-foot-5, 245-pound center Jeremy Shaffer and 270-pound left guard T.J. Conserette from Valley View. The left tackle spot will be filled by 6-3, 330-pound Brian McClure, who played at West Virginia University. Kyle Popish, a 6-0, 245-pounder from Lackawanna College, will be the right guard, while 6-5, 315-pound T. J. Edwards, a Shippensburg graduate, will play right tackle.

Defensively, Romiti, the EFL Southern Division Defensive Player of the Year last season, and Parlanti, along with veteran Jim Schaffer and Deshawn Meyers anchor the linebacking corps. EFL Southern Division all-star free safety Champi, Patrick Gavin, Wade Hoover and Lamar Radcliffe hold down spots in the defensive backfield.

The defensive front will include veteran Pete Zoltek, second-year player Jason Sandly, along with Justin Kraft, Neal McMahon and Andy Minnick.

Watertown, 2-1 in the preseason, is coached by George Ashcraft. The Red and Black, whose roster includes several soldiers who are stationed at nearby Fort Drum, posted an 9-3 record last season.

Among their wins was a 21-14 victory over the Eagles in the final week of the regular season. The Red and Black have posted at least nine wins in six of the last seven seasons.

Overall, the Eagles hold a 21-3 lead in the series dating back to 1982, with Watertown winning the last three.

©The Times-Tribune 2007

Monday, May 28
Scranton EAGLES Cheerleader Tryouts Scheduled!!
The Scranton EAGLES will hold CHEERLEADER tryouts June 16th 2-4 at the Riverfront Complex in Scranton. We are looking for all women over 18 interested in joining our 2007 squad. The tryout will be lead by Kacie Capwell our Cheerleading coordinator and judged by Kacie, Eagles General Manager Ben Simmons, and Eagles All-Star Nick Paranti. All are welcome to come and watch our candidates tryout.
please see our handout section for the cheerleader requirements and forms to fill out.

Handout: Tryout requirements and forms

Friday, May 25
Three Scranton Eagles played in "Stars of Tomorrow" All-Star Game
Every year, like in years past Scranton EAGLES have been selected to play in All-Stars games all over the country. This year is no exception, John Kennedy, and Nick Parlanti Flew to Las Vegas to participate in the Casino Bowl, and now we have Three more to add too that list. Last year the EAGLES had two rookie Phenoms wr Louis Verdetto, DB Cory Champi, tare up the EFL. They were joined by our best young linemen TJ Conserette to play in the "Stars of Tomorrow" All-Star Game in Ohio.
The Scranton Eagles are very proud to have three of our best show their metal against some of the best semi-pro football talent in the country.
Below is a copy of the press release from the Minor League Football News, Please visit there web site for more information.

Cleveland, Ohio-The 8th Annual Minor League Football News sponsored "Stars of Tomorrow" All-Star game belonged to the Mason-Dixon League, as they rolled to a convincing 39-16 win over the MLFN All-Stars.
MDFL scores the first two times they had the ball on runs by Jawarren Cowles (Virginia Ravens), and 7-yards by QB Darryl Overton( Prince William Monarchs). MDFL extended their lead with a 3-yard TD run by Rodney Sledge (Virginia Ravens). The MLFN scores on a 42-yard field goal by JT Kafoury (Akron Jagz). Half time score was 20-3.
The MDFL scored on their first series of the third quarter on a 19-yard run by Mo Bell (Carolina Heat). The MLFN finally got a score on a 9-yard TD pass from QB Phil Butler (West Michigan Force), to TE and teammate,TJ Smith. On the kickoff, Quincy Payne (Fayetteville Roughriders), returned the kick 70-yards for a TD. On their next offensive series, QB Darryl Overton ran around the right side of the MLFN defense for a 85-yard touchdown to make it 39-10. The MLFN got their second and last touchdown on a pass from Butler to teammated Justin Sherrod.
GAME MVP-Darryl Overton (Prince William Monarchs)
OFFENSIVE MVP-Jawarren Cowles, Virginia Ravens
DEFENSIVE MVP-Shea Mills, Linebacker (Prince William Monarchs)
SPECIAL TEAMS-JT Kafury, Kicker (Akron Jagz)
ALL-PURPOSE-Justin Sherrod, DB/WR/KOR (West Michigan Force)
The two teams will meet in 2008, with the Mason Dixon League hosting the game. Members of both teams visted the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday morning.

Friday, May 11
Kacie Capwell
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The Scranton EAGLES are proud to announce the addition of Kacie Capwell as the Cheerleading coordinator. Kacie returns to the EAGLES CHEERLEADING after a 4 year absence. Her creativity, and energy will make our 2007 EAGLES CHEERLEADING squad the best in the EFL. The staff and players would like to formally welcome her to the team, and we are very excited to have her on board. Tryouts and practices will be scheduled very soon, please check back with for future announcements and the launch of the Scranton Eagles Cheerleaders web site.

Thursday, April 12
Scranton Eagles to Paricipate in Texas Holdem Benefit
holdem event
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Monday, April 9
EAGLE All-Stars Play in Casino Bowl 12
John & Nick @ Casino Bowl 07
Two Scranton Eagles All-Stars flew to Las Vegas to participate in Casino Bowl 12. Players are selected from the best of the best in the nation, having to be selected to their leagues All-Star Teams or be recommended by their coaches. Future Hall of Fame quarterback John Kennedy played in his 6 Casino Bowl. The ageless wonder has participated in 6 of the 12 Casino Bowls including the inaugural game held in 1996. The Scranton EAGLES most versatile player Nick Parlanti played in his second strait Casino Bowl, last year in Casino Bowl 11 Nick was named Defensive MVP. John and Nick played for the East team, and help lead the their team to a 27-7 win. Please visit for more incite into the game.

Sunday, April 8
Former Eagles Quarterback named Head Coach
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The Scranton EAGLES are proud to introduce Mike Arcure the NEW Head Coach of the Scranton Eagles. Mike has a long association with the EAGLES organization, reaching back all the way to when his Hall of Fame Uncle Mark Arcure Played DB for the team. When Mike became old enough he tried out for the team and became future Hall of Fame quarterback John Kennedy's back up. Mike then learned the basic schemes of offence and how to attack defenses from John Kennedy, and his Uncle. In the past couple of years medical issues have prevented Mike from playing the game he loved, and started down the road of coaching. Mike started his coaching career with the West Scranton High School JV team, honing his skill, and developing his coaching style. Mike elevated to the EAGLES coaching staff late last year and was acting Head Coach in the last game of the season. The Scranton EAGLES are very excited to have Mike as the head coach and we are looking forward to this season with him at the helm.

Saturday, April 7
Former Eagle Player Named Scranton Eagles General Manager
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The Scranton Eagles are Proud to announce Ben Simmons as the new General Manager. Ben’s history with the EAGLES started in 2000 as a back up linebacker with the Southern Division Champions. After one year as a linebacker Ben moved to the offensive side of the football to play Tightend. Ben's passion for the EAGLES led him to help then President, and General Manager John Kennedy wherever he was needed. He took a step away from the team in 2002 only to return one year later when he was asked by the new President George Romiti to help once again. Ben then assumed Assistant General Manager duties under then GM. Sue Foley, where he learned the real ins and outs of Semi-pro Football in the Empire Football League. Early in 2007, when the team was in flux with Sue Foley's resignation, Ben moved into a role as a lead on the team, and was voted into the General Managers position. "It's a great honor to fill a position on a team that has such a storied history, and I hope that someday I will be mentioned in the same sentence as past Hall of Fame General Manager Dave Lunger." "I would like to thank John Kennedy, and Sue for all there guidance and tutelage over the years."

Sunday, April 1
Soldier with ties to Eagles Promoted in Iraq.
George Romiti Jr.
George Romiti Jr. Receives his Sergeant Rank
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Scranton Eagles President, middle linebacker, Defensive Coordinator, and EFL 2006 Defensive MVP has another reason to be Proud. George Romiti Jr was recently promoted to Sergeant while serving our country in Iraq. The Romiti family and The Scranton Eagles organization are extremely proud of George Jr. and his service in the United States Army. The Eagles organization wish George Jr. congratulations, and prayers for his safe return home.

Wednesday, February 6

Revised 2007 Empire Football League Schedule

Empire Football League Press Release March 14, 2007

Sunday, March 11
Scranton Eagles Annouce 2007 Amended Schedule

Sunday, September 24
Retiring Eagles end with loss to Watertown
The Scranton Eagles wanted to give George Romiti and John Kennedy a victory in the veterans’ final game with the team on Saturday night.

Even though Kennedy scored a rushing touchdown and passed for another, the Watertown Red & Black sent the quarterback and Romiti to defeat with a 21-14 decision at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

Kennedy’s No. 17 and Romiti’s 57 were retired by the team, and each had memorable moments in their final game.

Romiti, who made 22 tackles, picked up a fumble and got into the end zone, but was ruled to have been downed.

But Kennedy got the Eagles (1-8-1 in Empire Football League play) points after the turnover, hitting Andre Chollette with a 13-yard scoring pass with two minutes left in the first half, bringing Scranton within 7-6.

Watertown came right back and Ernie Miller scored from the 1 for a 14-6 halftime lead.

Noel Anthony tacked on a 3-yard run at 10:10 of the third quarter to finish the Red & Black’s scoring.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Kennedy scored from the 6, then hit Ben Worlinsky for the two-point conversion to close the scoring.

Watertown, which opened the scoring with a Cole Lester 6-yard scoring reception from Doug Black in the second quarter, drove to the Eagles 1, but the Romiti-led defense stiffened with a minute left.

Kennedy went 9-for-24 for 122 yards passing in his final game. Gary Visnofsky ran 13 times for 88 yards in a losing effort for the Eagles.

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©The Times-Tribune 2006

Saturday, September 23
Kennedy, Romiti to retire
It pains both to admit it, but the clock is striking midnight.

Longtime Scranton Eagles standouts John Kennedy and George Romiti will play their final game tonight — both are retiring from semi-professional football — when the Eagles host Watertown at Scranton Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

“I know that I’m going to miss it,” Kennedy said. “It will have to happen before I realize how much. We have had some tough years and I wanted to be around when we turned it around. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen.”

For Kennedy, the decision to step away from the game closes a career that began 24 years ago out of Scranton Prep High School.

During his career, the 42-year-old was the leader during the glory years of the 1980s, helping guide the Eagles to seven Empire Football League championships with the last coming in 1999, and four national championships. He was the EFL Offensive Most Valuable Player in 1993 after throwing for 2,466 yards and 34 touchdowns.

Kennedy, who had tryouts with the New England Patriots and the Miami Tribe of the Professional Spring Football League, has thrown for 39,556 yards and 387 touchdowns, completing 2,632 passes on 5,158 attempts with just 280 interceptions.

What Kennedy was to the offense, Romiti was to the defense for the past 11 years. He has 704 tackles, 10½ sacks, seven fumble recoveries and five interceptions in his career.

In the last two years, the 45-year-old has led the EFL in tackles with 109 and 122. He has also played 140 straight games.

“We both came to the conclusion that we should retire now,” Romiti said. “I think it’s about time that we step down. I had fun for 11 years. Me and John are two of the last ones to have championship rings, so it’s going to be tough. I had a blast.”

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©The Times-Tribune 2006

Sunday, September 17
Eagles falter on road
The Scranton Eagles last road game went much like their earlier trips.

The Eagles lost at Albany, 40-6, as the Metro Mallers improved to 8-1 in Empire Football League action.

On the ground, Albany relied on Sylvester Cooperwood, who scored on runs of 13, 6 and 20 yards. Albany’s other touchdowns were by air, with Scott Lawson picking out John Molino for scoring tosses of 41, 30 and 58 yards in the game.

The Eagles (1-7-1), last place in their division, scored on Andre Chollette’s’ 28-yard run with 6:37 to play in the game.

Friday, September 15
Road for Eagles remains tough
A long, disappointing season for the beleaguered Scranton Eagles isn’t expected to get any better when they face the Southern Division-leader Metro Mallers on Saturday night in Albany, N.Y.

The two last met on Aug. 5, when the Metro Mallers capitalized on turnovers to maul the Eagles, 45-9, after a closely contested first-half.

Both clubs suffered defeats in games on Saturday. Albany lost to the second-place Tri-State Bulldogs — the first loss for the Mallers — and Scranton lost to the Amsterdam Zephyrs, 13-9, a team it beat earlier.

Costly turnovers again vexed the Eagles, along with a questionable call late in the fourth quarter, when an Amsterdam punt appeared to have trickled into the end zone but was ruled dead at the Scranton one.

The Eagles did record several positives, including running back/linebacker Nick Parlanti scoring his first touchdown of the year on an 8-yard pass from quarterback John Kennedy. That drive was keyed by cornerback/wide receiver Jim DeJoseph, who halted an Amsterdam drive at the Eagle 17 with an interception, then caught a 16-yard pass to help Scranton move up the field. After that, Kennedy hit receiver Thad Witek for 11, tight end Ben Worlinsky for 26 yards and running back Gary Visnofsky for 11 yards.

Visnofsky, a former West Scranton Invader who usually labors away from the limelight in his role as blocking back, then carried for 16 yards before Kennedy found Parlanti open for the touchdown. Running back Andre Chollete caught a two-point conversion.

©The Times-Tribune 2006

Saturday, September 9
Eagles looking to end four-game losing skid
The struggling Scranton Eagles hit the road on Saturday hoping to climb out of the Empire Football League cellar by snapping a four-game losing streak when they meet the Amsterdam Zephyrs, the only team they’ve beaten this season.

In an earlier meeting at Memorial Stadium, Scranton quarterback John Kennedy threw four touchdowns and the defense picked off four Amsterdam passes in a 38-6 victory.

With three games remaining in the regular season, Scranton stands last in the Southern Division with a 1-5-1 record, while Amsterdam is fourth with a 2-5 mark. The Albany Metro Mallers lead the pack with a 6-0 mark and trounced the Eagles 45-9 last month in Scranton.

On the threshold of the worst season in team history, the Eagles have struggled since the second game of the season when they lost most of their offensive line to injuries. The only veterans surviving up front are All-EFL center Jeremy Schaffer and Carlo Ciotoli.

A mid-season addition to the offensive line was Chuck Chulada, who helped the Eagles win championships in the 80s. Chulada, who played at Coughlin High School and Syracuse University, traveled from Florida to offer his services and has seen action against Albany and the Tri-State Bulldogs. At 55, he is the oldest active football player in the country.

©The Times-Tribune 2006

Sunday, August 27
Eagles handed 33-0 defeat by Tri-State
The Scranton Eagles had a better defensive effort against the Tri-State Bulldogs on Saturday night at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

But the offense did not improve in its second try against the Bulldogs, dropping a 33-0 decision in their Empire Football League game at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

The first time the teams met, Tri-State rolled up a 70-0 victory at home, but a defense led by George Romiti (14 tackles) and Lati Woodruff (six) kept the Bulldogs from scoring as often this time around.

Jovan Garcia still found creases in the Eagles’ defense, scoring three touchdowns to help Tri-State (5-3) take a 27-0 halftime lead.

Garcia scored three different ways — a 70-yard punt return and a 12-yard run in the first quarter, and a 19-yard touchdown catch from Jared Tillitteri in the second quarter.

Paul Reed caught a 34-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter while Dwayne Allen closed the scoring with a three-yard run in the third quarter.

Rasheed Nelson paced the Eagles ground game with 13 carries for 57 yards. Quarterback John Kennedy hit just seven of 20 passes for 41 yards. The leading receiver was Louis Verdetto with two catches for 22 yards.

The Eagles (1-5-1) have a bye next week, then play road games at Albany and Amsterdam before closing at home with Watertown on Sept. 23.

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©The Times-Tribune 2006

Sunday, August 20
Broome County shuts out Eagles
A week off did not help the Scranton Eagles.

Turnovers and special teams mishaps combined the ruin the Eagles’ trip to Binghamton, as the Broome County Dragon blanked the Eagles, 36-0, before 110 die-hard fans who sat through a steady rain Saturday night.

Ty Fish threw three touchdown passes for the Dragons (4-2), who are second in the Empire Football League standings.

The Eagles (1-4-1) had a chance to open the scoring, as Andre Chollette had three runs covering 33 yards on an opening drive that rolled to the Dragons 12. But quarterback John Kennedy was intercepted, and their best chance at scoring went by the way side.

Four minutes into the second quarter, Fish connected with Sam Ragsdale for a 45-yard touchdown pass to start the scoring.

A turnover gave the Eagles a chance to score in the second quarter after Scranton’s Rob Wehner recovered a fumbled punt at the Dragons 19.

But on a field goal attempt, the snap was bobbled, and with it the Eagles last good scoring opportunity.

The Eagles nearly got to halftime trailing by just seven, but a blocked punt gave the Dragons the ball at the Eagles 2. A stout defense led by George Romiti, Jason Sandly and Jim Schaffer denied the Dragons on three running plays, but Fish dumped a short pass to Jonathon Bechy for a one-yard scoring play as the half ended.

In the second half, the Eagles started going for broke, faking a punt in their own territory, but when it fell short, Fish hit Bechy for a 27-yard touchdown on the next play for a 21-0 lead.

It got worse on the next play from scrimmage as the Eagles fumbled and the Dragons’ Jason Hoover picked up the ball and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. Duane Short hit Bechy with a pass on the conversion try for a 29-0 lead.

A fumbled punt snap left the Dragons with the ball at the Eagles 11, and three plays later, Jemal Johnson scooted in on a 10-yard run to close the scoring.

The Eagles return to action next Saturday at Scranton Memorial Stadium to play the Tri-State Bulldogs, who beat the Eagles 70-0 earlier this season.

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©The Times-Tribune 2006

Saturday, August 19
Rested Eagles seek road victory
The Scranton Eagles hope a week off and an energized aerial attack powered by two of the Empire Football League’s top receivers will help post a victory tonight against the Broome County Dragons at Binghamton Alumni Field.

Eagles quarterback John Kennedy will rely heavily on an aerial attack with Louis Verdetto and Thad Witek, the league’s No. 7 and No. 9 receivers, as his primary targets. Verdetto has 18 catches for 279 yards and two TDs, while Witek has 17 for 213 yards and two TDs.

Among passers, Kennedy ranks fifth in the league, completing 46 of 87 for 733 yards and nine TDs. He’s been intercepted five times.

Defensively, veteran linebacker George Romiti is the league’s leading tackler with 66 stops, including 28 solo.

For B.C, quarterback Ty Fish is enjoying a strong season, going 72-for-139 for 1,037 yards and four TDs and just three interceptions.

The leading rushers for B.C. are Jemal Johnson, ranked eighth in the league with 224 yards on 43 carries,and Sam Ragsdale, who is ninth with 215 yards in 32 carries.

Andre Chollette leads the Eagles with 141 yards in 45 carries.

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©The Times-Tribune 2006

Sunday, August 13
Kennedy not ready to hang up helmet, cleats

John Kennedy is playing a game many would believe has passed him by.

He is 42 years old. He’s been the quarterback of the Scranton Eagles for 24 years, and the strange thing is, he still can keep up on the field.

Not as well as he used to, of course, in the years when the Eagles dominated semipro football and won five national championships with him under center. Sometimes his arm’s too sore to practice. Sometimes it’s the rest of his body. But when he feels good, he’s got all the tools.

The talent is still there. He tossed four touchdown passes against Amsterdam a couple weeks ago. But the attitude of the game has changed, and it’s making Kennedy wonder if it’s time to hang ‘em up.

“We had different personalities on the team 20 years ago, but we all knew what our job was and put those differences aside,” Kennedy says. “Society’s different today, and it’s harder to get a large group of guys committed to a team goal.”

These days the football gods aren’t making as many John Kennedys as they used to. Sometimes it seems you can count on one hand the number of quarterbacks in all levels of football that don’t seem to be interested in themselves. Spend half an hour asking Kennedy about his career, though, and all you get is team.

“I’m not a great player, not a great runner, not a great passer or anything else,” Kennedy says. “I’ve been very fortunate to play for great teams.”

The man owns just about every semipro record for passing: attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns. Yet it’s the team he cares most about.

Anyone can tell you he’s a team guy. When the Eagles were winning championships under coach Allen “Butch” Keller in the 80s, they ran the ball 70 percent of the time, but the quarterback didn’t care. The team was winning titles, and he was a part of it. Does anything else matter?

Then the championships stopped coming, as did the fans. When team president Dave Lunger died in 2001 and no one stepped forward to replace him, it was Kennedy who saved the team.

At one point he was the president. And the general manager. And the marketing director. And the offensive coordinator. He’s got a wife, Michelene, and works for Adelphia Cable. Balancing everyday life isn’t easy. Balance the fate of a team as well, and you’ve got an 800-pound gorilla on your hands. Kennedy pulled it off.

“I was the Empire Football League commissioner at the time, so I know what kind of trouble the team was in,” Keller said. “Anybody else would have folded, but John kept it going.”

That’s why today’s me-first player bothers him so much. So when a talented player comes in expecting to start but not to put in any work, then leaves in disgust after two or three games, it’s hard to take.

That retirement thing he’s pushed off so long is getting closer. He almost gave it up this year, but the need to play was too strong. Kennedy and best friend George Romiti, the Eagles middle linebacker, have been talking about retiring, together, and taking over the coaching of the team.

Maybe he can make sure the his type of player doesn’t disappear altogether.

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©The Times-Tribune 2006

Sunday, August 13
Team fights to return to past glory

A legend is dying and very few seem to care. Once a very proud, successful franchise, the Scranton Eagles are hanging on by a thread.

Make no mistake, the fight’s not over yet. With all the problems, the spirit is still there. If someone just offered a helping hand, the glory days could come back in a flash.

But those days are getting harder and harder to recall.

“Most people have no idea,” says John Kennedy, a veteran quarterback of 24 years. “The Scranton Eagles are like the New York Yankees of semipro football. Everybody around the country knows who we are.”

At least in the world of semipro football.

The Eagles have won nine championships as a member of the Empire Football League, one of the longest-running semipro leagues in the country, and five national championships since their birth in 1982.

If only the good times had stayed. EFL titles have come few and far lately, the last coming in 1999, and for the last few years it’s been a struggle to make the playoffs. They may have been the Yankees a couple decades ago, but lately they’ve been more like the San Francisco 49ers, desperately trying to rebuild some semblance of their former selves. And their play is the least of the Eagles’ worries.

Take a look at their Web site — — specifically the first link listed on the left. It’s not the schedule or the roster or the last game’s recap. Instead, a plea for help. “Support Our Team.”

The link takes you to a magazine fundraiser, one of those dime-a-dozen things a 12-year-old brings home to raise money for Boy Scout Troop 307. But this is a football team. Made up of adults. Seems a little odd that an outfit like this has to raise money in that mannter, even if it is a nonprofit corporation.

Somewhere along the way the fans stopped showing up. On an average night, the crowd might number 250, and once the team writes an $1,875 check to pay for the use of the stadium and another $580 check for the referees and still more checks for other services, it’s tough to come out ahead with the price of admission at $7.

“We’re almost always in the red after a game day report,” Sue Foley, the team’s general manager, says. “We don’t count on getting a profit from the gate.”

That wasn’t always the case. In 1982, the Eagles packed Memorial Stadium with 8,500 people for a national semifinal against the Chicago Lions.

But such a game hasn’t happened since the first Bush administration, and the sponsors that used to keep the team alive have slowly drifted off, leaving the team cash-strapped and scrambling to find enough money to complete the season.

“If we had one home game, and 5,000 people came in, that would pay for a whole season,” team president George Romiti says.

Right now there’s not enough money for the last three games of this season, according to Romiti. Most teams would panic, maybe shut down, but not the Eagles.

“We’ll fundraise through this season,” Foley says. “Between a couple of the players and a couple of volunteers we’ll raise the money.”

Even if they do make it through this season, next year might be a different story. Most teams would fold. It happens all the time in semipro ball, but this not your average semipro team. A 24-year run is something a few dozen teams have pulled off among the hundreds that play around this country, and it’s not to be given up lightly.

When the Eagles’ board of directors evaluates their financial situation, there will be two choices, but under no circumstances will their run come to an end.

“If we have to, we’ll take a leave of absence from the EFL next year,” Foley says. “If you fold, the team’s gone, it’s done, but with a leave of absence you can come back. Then we would take that year to find more board members, fundraise, get more interest and get us back to the point where we can be successful.”

Right now there are only six members on a board meant to have 15. After originally getting involved to help out her father, Dave Lunger, the team’s president and general manager until 2001, Foley runs the gate, passes out equipment, raises funds, makes sure the uniforms get clean, along with a host of other jobs. Romiti is not only the president but also the middle linebacker.

Trouble is, a lot of people in Scranton have forgotten the team is still around, and with so few to help, it’s hard to get the word out.

Nobody gets paid on the Eagles. They do this for love of game and of team, but that doesn’t mean real life can be forgotten. Most players still have to work 40 hours a week, spend time with their families, take care of necessities, leaving precious little time for the team.

Kennedy thinks this team can still get back to the glory days.

The blueprint is there. Expand the board. Find local sponsors that care about the sport. From that comes more exposure, more involvement from the community, and from there who knows?

See, there’s this thing about legends. They don’t die real easy. Once you’ve been to the top, you’ve got an advantage over everybody else.

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©The Times-Tribune 2006

Sunday, August 6
Metro Mallers crush Eagles
For a time, turnovers were helping the Scranton Eagles against visiting Albany in their Empire Football League game Saturday at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

But once the turnover bug bit the Eagles, the defending EFL champion Metro Mallers took advantage and rolled to a 45-9 victory.

Even though the fourth-ranked Metro Mallers scored first, on a six-yard pass from Scott Lawson to Culture Branch, the Eagles (1-3-1) used some hard hitting to get the lead.

On a John Vitovsky punt, the Eagles recovered a fumble at the Albany 4 and tied the game at 6-6 on the next play when Ben Worlinsky caught a 4-yard pass from John Kennedy.

Although the extra-point kick was blocked, the defense picked up the tempo and got the ball back when Jason Sandly recovered a Sylvester Cooperwood fumble at the Albany 23.

Vitovsky kicked the Eagles into a 9-6 lead by converting a 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Albany went back on top when Cooperwood caught a 40-yard scoring pass from Lawson.

Scranton tried answering, driving behind the running of Andre Cholette, but the Eagles fumbled and Albany converted the turnover into a 6-yard scoring pass to John Molino, giving the Metro Mallers a 19-9 lead.

The Eagles tried beating the clock, but fumbled at the Albany 4 as the half ended.

Macio Clinton shredded the Eagles kickoff team with a 76-yard scoring return to start the second half when Albany opened by scoring three touchdowns in the first 7:33 of the third quarter.

Lawson hooked up with Branch for a 46-yard scoring pass and Julius Irving ran for the first of his two scoring runs, a 7-yarder with 7:27 left in the quarter.

Reserve quarterback Mike Arcure had a pass picked off and Irving scored on a 15-yard run three plays later to close the scoring.

The Eagles, who fumbled inside the Albany 20 late in the game, will have next weekend off before returning to EFL action with a game at Binghamton, N.Y., against Broome County. The next Eagles home game is Aug. 26 against Tri-State, which handed the Eagles a 70-0 drubbing earlier this year.

©The Times-Tribune 2006

Saturday, August 5
Eagles looking to keep momentum
The Scranton Eagles face a major challenge coming off their first win of the season.

On Saturday, the unbeaten and Southern Division-leading Albany Metro Mallers visit Scranton Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m. in an Empire Football League game.

Albany, the defending EFL champions, defeated Tri-State last week to improve to 3-0. That’s the same Tri-State team that throttled the Eagles, 70-0, two weeks ago.

The Eagles are 1-2-1 after beating Amsterdam last week and Coach Mike Woodard hopes the newly found momentum carries into this clash.

“We’re not the same team that lost to the Bulldogs by 70 points three weeks ago,” Woodard said. “If we play against Albany the way we did against Amsterdam — and we’re capable of playing even better — we can win this game.”

Quarterback John Kennedy, who missed the Tri-State game with an injury, returned against Amsterdam, throwing four touchdown passes. The veteran is now ranked third among EFL quarterbacks, having completed 40 of 72 passes for 670 yards and five touchdowns.

Two of his favorite targets, Louis Verdetto and Thad Witek, are ranked among the EFL’s top 10 receivers this week. Verdetto is third with 17 catches for 277 yards and two TDs, while Witek is ninth with 13 snares for 165 yards and two TDs.

A former Old Forge standout, Verdetto has 277 yards receiving that ranks him third for most receiving yardage, just behind Collis Martin of Tri-State with 20 catches for 325 yards and Culture Branch of Albany with 301 yards on 18 receptions.

Another new weapon in the Eagle arsenal is kicker John Vitovsky who accounted for six of the points chalked up against Amsterdam. A former soccer player at Western Wayne who never played football, Vitovsky booted a field goal and three extra-points against Amsterdam.

©The Times-Tribune 2006

Sunday, July 30
Eagles crush Amsterdam
John Kennedy threw four touchdowns and the Scranton Eagles defense picked off four Amsterdam passes in a 38-6 Empire Football League victory at Scranton Memorial Stadium Saturday.

The Eagles bounced back from a 70-0 loss to the Tri-State Bulldogs as Kennedy hit Louis Verdetto with a 30-yard touchdown and Thad Witek for a 40-yard score. Rich Baker and Ben Worlinsky each caught TD passes 27 yards.

Jim DeJoseph and Cory Champi intercepted two passes each, including a 45-yard return for a touchdown by Champi.

Kennedy went 8-for-19 for 214 yards and an interception. Verdetto finished with four receptions for 101 yards. Bill Sandly was the leading ground gainer with 35 yards on nine carries.

The Eagles (1-2-1) will take on the Albany Metro Mallers next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

Saturday, July 29
Eagles in serious need of rebound victory
The Scranton Eagles will try to bounce back from the worst loss in franchise history when they host the Amsterdam Zephyrs tonight at 7:30 at Memorial Stadium.

The Eagles, who lost 70-0 last Saturday to the Tri-State Bulldogs, are expecting starting quarterback John Kennedy to return to the lineup. Kennedy sat out the record-setting loss to Tri-State with a shoulder injury, leaving third-stringer J.P. Antosh to call the signals.

“Considering he was going against the best team in the Empire Football League in his very first start, J.P., who is just a kid, did a great job,” said Kennedy, who doubles as offensive coordinator. “He had to scramble for his life quite a few times because his blocking at one point was virtually non-existent.”

One reason for the blocking troubles was the loss of All-League offensive center Jeremy Schaffer, who left the game with a rib injury. Schaffer practiced Thursday and is expected to play tonight.

Kennedy dismissed the absence of seven regulars who did not make the trip for one reason or another.

“It’s not unusual for guys to miss road trips, sometimes more than seven,” Kennedy said. “Some players have Saturday jobs and would be penalized for missing work. They can play home games, but not any on the road.

“Granted, a few probably just didn’t feel like that bus ride, but the fact of the matter is, we got plain whipped.”

By comparison, Amsterdam opened the season against Tri-State at home and lost 37-7. The following week, the Zephyrs beat the St. Lawrence Trailblazers, 19-6, then lost last Saturday at Watertown against the Red and Black, 29-8.

Offensively the Zephyrs, under Coach Dom Ruggeri, are led by quarterback Eric Johnson and running backs Jared Brown and Tim Stewart.

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©The Times-Tribune 2006

Sunday, July 23
Eagles suffer disheartening defeat
With seven starters not showing up, and quarterback John Kennedy unable to play with a shoulder injury, the Scranton Eagles were walloped, 70-0, in Saturday night’s Empire Football League game at Tri-State (N.Y.).

Two botched plays in punt formation gave Tri-State a pair of scores, and the Eagles ground game managed just 50 yards. Quarterback J.P. Autosh completed 15-of-32 passes for 130 yards, and Lewis Verdetta caught six balls for 54 yards.

For Scranton, George Romiti made nine tackles and Lati Woodruff had six tackles.

©The Times-Tribune 2006

Sunday, July 16
Eagles tie Ottawa
Another first in Scranton Eagles history occurred Saturday night in Ottawa, Canada.

A controversial finish left the Eagles with the first tie in their 25-year history, 19-19, with the Ottawa Demon Deacons. Both teams fell to 0-1-1 in the Empire Football League.

After the Eagles rallied from a 19-7 deficit to knot the score, Cory Champi caught a long pass and was hauled down at the Ottawa 5 as the final seconds of overtime wound down.

Inexplictably, the clock stopped with four seconds left, and Eagles quarterback John Kennedy spiked the ball with two seconds left, leaving time for another play.

But the officials huddled, and emerged from their conference saying the game was over.

“They said if the clock not stopped, time would have probably run out,’’ Kennedy said.

Having their last shot taken away, it prevented the Eagles from getting their first win.

Kennedy was sharp enough to hit 17 of 32 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns, including a 10-yarder to Louis Verdetto in the third quarter to pull the Eagles within six, 19-13.

Bill Sandly ran for 50 yards, including a five-yard scoring run with five minutes left in regulation to tie the game, but the ensuing extra-point kick was blocked.

Kennedy hit Champi for a 28-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring on the Eagles second drive.

The defense was sparked by George Romiti as the veteran linebacker made 19 tackles. Nick Parlanti added 11 tackles and blocked both an extra point and a field goal. Champi picked off two passes.

The Eagles return to action next Saturday with a road game against the Tri-State (N.Y.) Bulldogs

©The Times-Tribune 2006

Saturday, July 15
Eagles head to Ottawa in search of victory
The Scranton Eagles travel north of the border today for an Empire Football League battle with the Ottawa Demon Deacons.

Both teams lost their openers — Scranton to Broome County, 21-14, and Ottawa to the Chateauguay (Montreal) Titans, 10-7.

Heading into the second week, Scranton’s John Kennedy and Broome County’s Ty Fish are in a virtual deadlock for the top quarterback ranking. Each completed 15 of 21 passes in the opener, Kennedy for 193 yards and two TDs and Fish for 237 and one.

Defensively, Scranton linebackers George Romiti and Lati Woodruff rank among the league’s leading tacklers — Romiti is second with 16 and Woodruff is ninth with 10.

Kennedy, who doubles as offensive coordinator, said he remains optimistic about the rest of the season despite the loss to B.C.

“I was pretty pleased with our execution, especially in the first half,” he reflected. “For it being our first game with live tackling and with new players in the lineup, our timing was pretty sharp. They certainly didn’t stop us with their defense.”

The second half was a different story, however, as costly penalties killed two promising drives and blocking miscues hampered others, Kennedy said.

Another problem, he said, was trying to give a fair amount of playing time to a bevy of talented running backs.

“We have five or six running backs all good enough to be starters, so we’re going to have to make some adjustments to get them their share of rushes,” Kennedy said.

Scranton will be on the road again next Saturday, traveling to Orange County, N.Y., for a meeting with the Tri-County Bulldogs, considered the best team in the league by many EFL observers.

The next home game is July 29 against the Amsterdam, N.Y., Zephyrs at Memorial Stadium.

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©The Times-Tribune 2006

Witek pulls in TD
Witek opens the eagles scoring
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Sunday, July 9
Eagles drop opener!
James Lacey atoned for a fumble that led to a touchdown, snaring a 50-yard scoring strike from Ty Fish that lifted the Broome County Dragons to a 21-14 victory over the Scranton Eagles on Saturday at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

Lacey’s catch midway through the third quarter accounted for the only points in the second half and spoiled the Eagles’ semi-professional football season opener.

Hampered by a clock that wasn’t functioning because of severe storms in the last two weeks, the Eagles saw their final drive fizzle at the Broome County 30 as time expired.

Andre Gilmore gave the Dragons a 6-0 lead, capping a 92-yard march with a 21-yard scoring run late in the first quarter.

Four plays later, on the second play of the second quarter, 42-year-old Eagles quarterback John Kennedy showed he’s still got some magic left, hitting Thad Witek with an 8-yard scoring pass. That came one play after his 15-yard completion to Andre Cholette.

Faking the extra point, Lewis Verdetto ran for two and an 8-6 lead.

Lacey’s fumble on the next series was recovered by Scranton’s Patrick Gavin, putting the Eagles in business at the Broome County 40.

It took just one play for Kennedy to fire a 40-yard scoring strike to Rich Baker. The extra point was blocked, leaving the Eagles with a 14-6 lead.

Broome County answered midway through the second, culminated by Gilmore’s second touchdown, a 1-yard plunge. The conversion run tied the game at halftime.

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©The Times-Tribune 2006

Friday, July 7
Eagles’ Kennedy returns as opener draws near
Retirement is apparently only temporary for John Kennedy.

The long-time Scranton Eagles quarterback, who retired following last season, changed his mind this week and will likely start in Saturday night’s season opener against the Broome County Dragons at 7:30 at Scranton Memorial Stadium.

The game is the season opener for the Eagles, who hope to return to the ranks of the elite this year. They are coming off one of the worst campaigns — a 4-6 finish and no playoff spot — in the storied history of the 25-year-old franchise.

The Dragons lost their season opener last week, 33-31 to Montreal, on a last-minute touchdown by the Titans.

Kennedy, 42, suited up for drills last week and will likely start with backup help from Deshawn Meyers, Andre Chollette and rookie J.P. Antosch.

Longtime backup Mark Arcure will likely miss three to four games because of leg ailments, but will be on the sidelines coaching.

Head coach Mike Woodard has reason to be optimistic in his second year at the helm. One reason for that optimism is the presence of Malcolm Singleton on the defensive line. The veteran from Kingston played the last several seasons with Binghamton-area teams.

Woodward is relying on Singleton to spark a pass rush that was nearly non-existent last year.

“Our numbers were down last year and we had a lot of important holes to fill over the offseason,” Woodard said.

Broome County coach Tommy Manny blamed his team’s season-opening loss on his team’s inability to finish a game strong. The Dragons also had trouble late in a handful of preseason games.

“We’ve been striving for consistency,” Manny said. “We’ve been trying to stress to stay strong in the closing moments. But we have not done that two weeks in a row.”

The Dragons led most of the game as quarterback Ty Fish threw for 181 yards and three touchdowns. He hooked up twice with Brian Mister and once with Rob Stokstad for touchdowns. Mister had 104 yards receiving and returned a kickoff 61 yards to set up Stokstad’s score.

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The Scranton Eagles Release 2006 Schedule
The Eagles Are proud to introduce our 2006 schedule


July 8                vs. Broome County Dragons @ Scranton Memorial Stadium
July 15                @ Ottawa Deacon Demons @ Ottawa Canada
July 22                @ Tri-State Bulldogs @ Orange County New York
July 29                vs. Amsterdam Zephyrs @ Scranton Memorial Stadium
Aug 5                vs. Albany Metro Mallers @ Scranton Memorial Stadium
Aug 12                Bye
Aug 19         @ Broome County Dragons @ Binghamton New York
Aug 26         vs. Tri-State Bulldogs @ Scranton Memorial Stadium
Sept 2                League Bye (Labor Day)
Sept 9                @ Amsterdam Zephyrs @ Amsterdam New York
Sept 16                @ Albany Metro Mallers @ Albany New York
Sept 23                vs. Watertown Red & Black @ Scranton Memorial Stadium
Sept 30                Playoffs – First Round
Oct 7                Playoffs – Second Round
Oct 14                Championship Game
Nov                 National Championship Playoffs

USA Play Football Month

Play Football Month Semi-pro Celebrations (photos)

Empire Football League Engages Area Youth for Play Football Month Activities (featured article)


After a long week of soul-searching, the Scranton Eagles had much on their minds Saturday night at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
All it took was a jolt of energy from Riverside graduate Eric Paroby to make a great difference this weekend.

The Eagles went for the jugular early Saturday, converting a turnover into a 25-yard scoring reception by Paroby to spark a 32-7 victory over the Ottawa Deacon Demons in Empire Football League play.

One play after Jon Marion recovered a fumbled punt, the Eagles extended their lead to 13-0 late in the first quarter.

Paroby streaked down the middle and hauled in a John Kennedy spiral in stride for a 25-yard touchdown.

“We jumped on them early. Sometimes, momentum can mean the game,’’ said Paroby, who finished with four catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. “You get a team down, and it’s not often they come back.’’

After not scoring last week in a 49-point loss to Albany, a 13-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game seemed like heaven to the Eagles (1-1).

“That’s the best time to take a shot and go for it all,’’ said Mike Woodard, who was given the game ball for his first coaching victory for the Eagles.

What it meant was a slightly more relaxed team that was ready to protect its lead and grind out a victory.

They were content to do that, until Paroby nearly put the game out of reach.

Mid Valley graduate Nick Parlanti had scored on a nine-yard run with 3:40 left in the half before Jim DeJoseph stepped up with his second interception of the game.

His 39-yard return set the Eagles up at the Ottawa 28, and three plays later, Paroby got into the end zone again, taking a short pass and breaking it up the middle for a 32-yard touchdown play and a 25-0 lead.

“It’s a little dig route, designed to go 15 yards,’’ Paroby said. “It’s not meant to be a big play. I got a lot of blocking.’’
©The Times-Tribune 2005

Two For The Money In Theaters October 7th
The Empire Football League name and/or logo appears in a scene where Brandon (McConaughey) still tries to get a football contract and receives rejection letters from various leagues. The EFL's name and/or logo will be used on the letterhead.
Movie Trailer & Photo Gallery (Click to view)

Woodard Named Eagles' Head Coach
Woodward Named Eagles' Head Coach

The Scranton Eagles have a new leader.

It's a familiar face as semipro football veteran Mike Woodward, who has played with the Eagles since 2000, was named head coach on Saturday.
"I'm very optimistic if we get the players I think we can, we will win some games," he said at a tryout session at Riverfront Sports Complex after his hiring was announced.

Although this is his first head coaching job, Woodward feels he has the experience and knowledge needed to return the Eagles to the paths of glory in the Empire Football League. Since joining the club in 2000 he has played linebacker, but in the past has spent time at just about position and also helped coach. Last year he coached the special teams.

"There's just about a month before the season and we have much work to do,'' Woodward said. ''We're going to go with what we have, put the best players in the positions that best suit them. They will be ready."

Woodward, a native Virginian who played at Germania Colllege and had tryouts with the Miami Dolphins in 1990 and 1991, will direct his first practice Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at McDade Park. He hopes to practice there on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at McDade during the season.

"There will be some growing pains and we will make a few mistakes, but I'm very happy with what I saw here today," Woodward said.

The Eagles will travel to Albany on July 8 for their EFL opener against the Mallers. The home opener will be against Ottawa July 15 at Scranton Memorial Stadium, where they will play all five of their home games.

EAGLES IN NATIONAL COMMERCIAL (by Gar Kearney, Eagle PR Director)
Wilkes-Barre's Sterling Wade traded his Scranton Eagles uniform to suit up as a Cleveland Brown for the filming of a TV commercial with the Philadelphia Eagles that will air coast-to-coast all during the National Football League season.
    The commercial for a famous soup company stars Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, his mother, and some of his teammates.
   In the film, Wade, wearing number 37, plays defensive back for the Cleveland Browns.
    "It's an experience I'll never forget," Wade said of his supporting role along with another Scranton Eagle, linebacker George Romiti, who took part as a Browns linebacker. He wears number 41.
    Three other Scranton players, John Kennedy,Mike Arcure and Rob Kashinsky, were cast as coaches and can be seen along with sidelines with McNabb's mother, Wilma.
    The local players enjoyed visiting and taking snapshots with the NFL stars and Mrs. McNabb during brief respites in the filming that took place May 9 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
    "It was great seeing those people up close and personal," said Wade, "McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Hank Farley and Hugh Douglas. McNabb does a fantastic workout routine and even showed how he reads defenses."
    The filming took place at Giants Stadium and not Philadelphia because of its proximity to New York City, where the producer is headquartered.
    Scranton Eagles General Manager Mike Rogan said the opportunity provided a "great boost" to the lately beleaguered club in its efforts to return to prominence.
    "We hope this national exposure for the Empire Football League and the Eagles will be just our first step on the road we hope will lead us back to the throne room. Our goal this year is not just to rebuild but to seriously compete and hopefully reclaim the title."
    Tryout camp for the Scranton Eagles will take place Saturday, June 4, from 1 until 3 p.m. at the new Riverfront Sports Complex in Scranton, just off Providence Road, across from Scranton High School. A nominal fee will be charged to offset expenses related to use of the complex. More information can be obtained at or 961-8765.
    "We're hoping for a good turnout," said Romiti, who is team president. "There are a lot of roster spots open. We'd love to see a lot of guys from the Wilkes-Barre area because there are already some from there who travel an extra hour up 81 to play for Broome County. They'd be better off playing for us."
    The Eagles open the season July 8 against the Albany Mallers at Blecher Field in the capital city and then have their home inaugural July 15 at Scranton Memorial Stadium against the Ottawa Demon Deacons. Both games will start at 7:30 p.m.

Fall From Dominance
The Scranton Eagles Once Ruled the Roost of Semi-Pro Football

On dusty fields baked under the scorching summer sun, players carried their own gear and punished their bodies for nothing but the sheer enjoyment of playing football and playing it well.

They were the Scranton Eagles, and theirs was a storied franchise that displayed the gritty toughness synonymous with the blue-collar city they represented.

Those were the days when Frank Yanik battered and bruised defenders on his way to becoming semi-professional football's all-time rushing leader with 15,301 rushing. He also scored 1,506 points on 251 touchdowns.

Those were the days when Mark Arcure changed the momentum of a game with a timely interception. He had 110 during his playing career - again, best in semi-pro history.

Those were the days when Mark Lloyd hauled in 529 passes for 10,375 yards and 113 touchdowns, and John Kennedy's right arm passed for 38,121 yards during 22 seasons under center.

These days, however, the proud organization that revels in its 10 Empire League Football Championships and five national crowns has been mired in the longest transition stage of its storied history.

Much like in 1992, when a shortage of players nearly prompted the end of the organization, the future of the Eagles is in doubt.

Last season's head coach, Dan Lamagna, and his staff resigned to take positions with the Southern Tier Green Machine of the North American Football League. Lamagna is the fourth coach to leave the organization in the last four years.

Before that, there were only two coaches - Charles "Chick" Rader and Allen "Butch" Keller.

During his stay, Keller guided the Eagles to 146 wins and earned a spot in the United States Football Association Hall of Fame. There are also seven former Eagles in the USFA Hall, along with former assistant coach John Whitelavich. Former general manager, Dave Lunger, who died in 2000, is also in the Hall.

Those glory days seem like nothing more than a distant memory. The Eagles of the new millennium have gone 11- 20 since 2002, including a 5-6 mark last season and includes three straight losing seasons.

The franchise's last EFL title came in 1999.

Former EFL all-stars have left the team, the coaches are coming and going, the front office is scrambling for finances and the Eagles are facing possible extinction.

"It kills me," Keller said. "I talk to all the old guys. Yanik, Al McElroy, Charlie Savas. They look at it, and it hurts. They can hardly go to the games. We are trying to figure out how to get more people involved.

"It was such a proud time."

Beginning in 1982, the Eagles made a lasting statement.

Under the leadership of president and owner Frank Santo, the Eagles won eight EFL championships and lost in the final once in their first 10 years of existence. Eight times, they won more than 10 league games and finished the decade with 141 wins.

Games drew better than 5,000 and as many as 8,000 wild fans, as passionate about their Eagles as the Eagles were about playing the game. Scranton Memorial Stadium served as the Mecca for semi- pro football.

Santo did things right, paying most of the franchise's expenses, including a coaching staff that included future Hall of Famers Keller and Whitelavich, as well as Stan Kucharski and Dave Baker. He took care of his players and coaches, and they took care of business on the field.

Today, tight budgets force players to pay to play. Equipment is purchased by the individual player, and there is a yearly players' fee of $150. Travel costs are breaking the budget, and coaches are volunteers.

"One of the problems is money," said Keller, who resigned after the 1995 season. "Without money you can't do it. They couldn't pay the coaches. It's been that way since I left."

Before Keller left, and before that, rivalries burned fierce against neighboring teams like the Binghamton Jets, the Syracuse Americans and the Glens Falls Greenjackets.

Many of those clashes were close. Take for example the three meetings between the Eagles and the Binghamton Jets in 1984. In the first game, the Eagles fell, 14-13. In the rematch almost two months later, again, the Eagles lost 14- 13.

In the EFL semifinals, however, the Eagles exacted their revenge, 13-12. It kick-started them on their way to the 1984 Minor League Football Alliance championship, a 21-6 win over the Racine Gladiators.

A 17-0 season highlighted the run of success in 1988. But not without controversy. There were claims by also-unbeaten Racine that it earned the national championship. The Eagles' 41-13 win over the Syracuse Express also lowered the curtain on the remarkable career of Yanik, the bullish runner who optimized the desire of the team.

"We had some great times," Keller said.

In 1994, after two years of losing in the EFL title game, another league title came their way in essentially what was the end of the era.

Then in 1999, the Eagles returned to the national spotlight, claiming another EFL crown - their 10th. Donnie Jackson-Bey breathed life back into the franchise, rushing for 2,433 yards - No. 2 all- time for a single season.

That season ended in a 29-7 loss in Marlboro, Mass., in the national championship game and ultimately marked the end of the Eagles' dominance. There was a 12-3 season in 2000 and a 15-2 mark in 2001, but the ties to the community were fading.

"How many people can say that they were a member of a national championship team at anything," Kennedy said. "I was fortunate to be on five national championship teams. We were a true team."

Beginning in 2002, the Eagles fell on hard times. Many of the local legends were long retired and taking their places in the Hall of Fame. They were being replaced by unfamiliar names and faces, many from out of the area. Players came from New York, Allentown, and as far away as the University of Miami.

Once, winning national championships seemed easy. Now, getting people to practice was proving difficult. The Eagles went from practicing every day of the week in the 1980s to two days a week, and even then it would be tough to get full attendance.

Families, jobs, and having to travel from outside northeastern Pennsylvania began hurting the chemistry the Eagles were renowned for throughout the EFL.

"When I was there with my assistants, Kucharski, Whitelavich, and Dave Baker, they could all coach at the college level," Keller said. "We used to practice and we had 80-90 percent attendance. They don't get the college players like they used to and, really, there were a lot of local people playing back then."

Not only were the Eagles losing, but after years of pummeling their opponents, the paybacks were swift and painful. In 2002, Southern Tier, the former Binghamton Jets franchise that was part of the classic duels of the 1980s, rung up wins of 38-6 and 35-7.

One year later, eventual EFL champion Glens Falls hammered the Eagles twice, 42-6 and 36-20. Orange County swept three meetings by an average of 19 points a game.

The mounting losses caused internal strife and heated tempers on the sidelines. The conflicts and internal clashes forced a wedge through the team and drove fans away.

"I was so proud when I put on that uniform," Kennedy said. "Every team has it's problems. We had little conflicts in the '80s. I just think a lot of players today don't realize how lucky they are to just play. They should count their blessings every day that they are a Scranton Eagle."

Last summer, a 41-0 loss to Orange County nearly raised the white flag. It was the second-worst loss in team history. Fortunately, the Eagles bounced back to make the EFL playoffs.

"Teams we used to beat were laughing," Keller said. "They wouldn't have been laughing in the '80s. They should have come and played us then."

Recent years show interest has diminished in the semi- pro game. For whatever reason, attendance is down and the roster number is decreasing.

The Eagles have fought to recapture a home field, but recently they have bounced around from Memorial Stadium to Lackawanna County Stadium to Old Forge Veterans' Memorial Stadium to Lake-Lehman High School.

Even finding a place to practice has proven as tough as facing the Marlboro Shamrocks on their home field.

"Right now, the one thing we are worried about is that fans are declining," team president and all-star linebacker George Romiti said. "Years ago, we would get 8,000 people. We depend on our fans. We really don't know why that's happening. Ticket prices are the same and we have the top athletes from northeast Pennsylvania playing for us."

Costs for running the franchise, a non-profit organization, have increased. General manager Sue Foley, Lunger's daughter, has done a good job of meeting the franchise's budget. The numbers run close to $30,000-a-year, and the Eagles depend on sponsors to tackle that figure. Insurance is always a concern.

Coaches and veterans are leaving with the same frequency that Yanik found the end zone.

"It's sad," Keller said. "There are 100 things that are wrong. When they stopped hiring coaches, that hurt. It's coaching, it's dollars, it's wins and losses. In the last five years, Kennedy and Foley kept it together.

"I always said, the Eagles won and were run with class. We have a lot of pride in what we accomplished."

There is now the growing NAFL, which is fleecing the EFL of players, including Jackson-Bey, and franchises like Southern Tier and Glens Falls, to compete against.

"There are a lot of separate issues at work," said Kennedy, who has served as director of marketing, president, and general manager. "Boy, no matter how bad things get, the Eagles always survive. As bad as it gets with turnover of players and coaches, we are always back. The people who are on the board, they are dedicated to doing the best job they can do. And the Eagles do it with class."

The Eagles still have their stalwarts. Kennedy, the ageless quarterback, has poured almost a quarter-century into the organization. Romiti, even at 44-years-old, fuels the defense, as well as serving as the franchise's president.

There are also the up-and- comers from last season in electrifying quarterback Kelvin Robinson and running back Damon Saxon. If they choose to return.

Who will coach the Eagles is the next daunting challenge?

Where the Eagles go from here is a huge question mark?

Whether they can rekindle some of that fading magic is the main objective?

For now, those who play for the love of the game will do their best to recapture the memories?

And return the Eagles back to prominence.

2004 EAGLE EFL All-Stars

Congratulations to the EAGLES announced as
2004 EFL Southern Division All-Stars:
First Team - LB George Romiti
          - DB Travis Grobes         
          - TE Max Fink
          - G Sean Munley
          - P Charles Lucke
Second Team - C Jeremy Shaffer
            - RB Damon Saxon
            - QB Kelvin Robinson
            - DB Kamau Woolard
            - LB Lati Woodruff
Honorable Mention - LB Greg Miller
Offensive Rookie of the Year
            - RB Damon Saxon      

Scranton Eagles lost a 30-27 heartbreaker
Despite a brilliant effort from quarterback Kelvin Robinson, the Scranton Eagles lost a 30-27 heartbreaker in the first round of the Empire Football League playoffs to defending league champions Orange County.
©Scranton Times Tribune 2004
Robinson threw for three touchdowns and ran for 75 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

After going down 15-0 early in the first half, the Eagles came storming back and took the lead on Robinson's three touchdown passes.

They couldn't hold on, though, as Orange County ended their season at 5-5.

"It's heartbreaking. We were down 15-0 and came back against the defending league champions, and came up one play short," said Eagle coach Dan Lamagna. "Kelvin had an excellent game running and throwing the ball. We just came up three points short."

Although the Eagles are now out of the playoffs, their organization seems to be headed in the right direction.

"The biggest thing we were set on this season was our number of wins," said Lamagna. "After losing our first three, we came together and put ourselves in a position to have a shot at the title.

"We're headed in the right direction."

Eagles Defense Shines
Eagles Defense Shines
STAFF REPORT 09/19/2004
The Scranton Eagles used their solid defense to jump on the Reading Raptors in their Empire Football League game Saturday night.

After the defense scored the first nine points, Damon Saxon handled the rest, with second-half scoring runs of 28 and seven yards to cap a 23-7 victory.

"The defense did all the work," said Saxon, who had 111 yards on 12 carries. "They've carried us all year."

The Eagles scored a safety when a punt snap went out of the end zone, then defensive back Joe Roper got involved. Roper picked up a fumble -- one of three recovered by the Eagles -- and ran 35 yards for a touchdown with 26 seconds left in the first quarter.

Run Charlie Run (Charlie Wysocki)

Tackled by unseen foe (Charlie Wysocki)

Breaking through (Charlie Wysocki)

Scranton Eagles to host Southern Tier

Just when things appeared to be turning around for the Scranton Eagles, they took another big hit.

Starting quarterback Kelvin Robinson began last week's showdown with Orange County by connecting on his first five pass attempts. Then he suffered a bruising hit on a sack and struggled to recapture that rhythm.

The result was a 27-7 setback, the team's fourth loss in five games.

This week, the Eagles try to regroup again with a home game against Southern Tier, 7:30 tonight at Lake-Lehman High School.

"This team's morale is still up," first-year coach Dan Lamagna said. "That's what's good with this team. We are going to keep playing hard."

Southern Tier (4-2) defeated Scranton, 17-13, on July 24. Quarterback Dan Clark threw for 129 yards and a score, while Sam Ragsdale had 64 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Green Machine.

"We actually had a chance to win that first time," Lamagna said. "We are a much improved team right now, even though the record doesn't reflect that."

Scranton Eagles Lose To Orange County
STAFF REPORT 08/22/2004
When the Scranton Eagles offense sputtered in the second half, their fast start didn't mean much. The Orange County Bulldogs gave up an early touchdown, but nothing more in a 27-7 win against the Eagles on Saturday at Lake-Lehman High School.

In the first quarter, the Eagles offense was rolling. Quarterback Kelvin Robinson connected on his first five passes and Damon Saxon scored on a six-yard run to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
From there, the Bulldogs scored 27 unanswered points.

"Basically our passing game couldn't get moving in the second half," coach Dan Lamagna said.

Orange County scored a field goal early in the second quarter then took the lead on a touchdown run with 1:55 left in the first half.

Defense kept the Eagles in the game and with 55 seconds left in the third quarter, the Eagles were still within a touchdown, but that's when Jovan Garcia ran a punt return 80 yards for a touchdown.

"That punt return broke our backs," Lamagna said.

Another touchdown with 26 seconds left gave Orange County its final score.

George Romiti had 14 tackles for the Eagles, Greg Miller had an interception and seven tackles and Derrick Askew had an interception and five tackles.

Even with the loss, there was a bright side. Last time the Eagles played Orange County, the Bulldogs won 41-0.

"We did come a long way from the first time we played these guys," Lamagna said. "We built some momentum to take into our next game against Binghamton."

This time, though, they need that momentum to carry through the whole game.

Scranton Eagles have chance to gain revenge

It's a memory the Scranton Eagles are trying to erase.

A 41-0 thumping on opening night season to Orange County left a lasting impression on the proud Empire Football League franchise.

Tonight, a much different Eagles team hosts the Bulldogs at Lake-Lehman High School. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
"We looked great this week," Eagles' first-year coach Dan Lamagna said. "We had our best days of practice. We have a few new additions who can help. Guys are healthy.

"The offense is moving. The intensity is like night and day."

Part of that reason has been an injection of excitement supplied by new quarterback Kelvin Robinson.

Two weeks ago, the mobile 6-foot-2, 225-pound signal-caller led the Eagles to their first victory, 32-29, over Reading. Robinson, a former Candian Football League player, threw for 209 yards with four touchdowns and added 101 yards and a touchdown running.

In the first meeting against Orange County, Robinson, slowed by an injury, came off the bench to relieve veteran John Kennedy and completed only one pass for six yards with an interception.

"It's going to be a lot more interesting, because I am starting," Robinson said. "The last game, neither one of us had a chance to get into rhythm. We are an entirely different Scranton Eagles team now. I'm getting my timing down with receivers and I'm getting better protection.

"I'm more of a mobile quarterback. I don't give up on any play."

Orange County (3-1) is coming off its first loss last week. Unbeaten Albany knocked off the Bulldogs, 28-19. The Eagles (1-3) had their game against Amsterdam postponed because of rain.
©Scranton Times Tribune 2004

Eagles topple Raptors
Posted on Thu, Aug. 12, 2004
Sports briefs
Eagles topple Raptors
Former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneer Kelvin Robinson tossed a 12-yard scoring pass to Eric Paroby with 24 seconds left in the game to lead the Scranton Eagles to a 32-29 Empire Football League victory over the Reading Raptors on Saturday.

Robinson had 209 yards passing, 101 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns.

Robinson was a wide receiver/linebacker and back-up quarterback for the Pioneers of arenafootball2 last season and most recently spent time in Canadian Football League training camp.

The Eagles, who improved to 1-3, travel to New York to face the Amsterdam Zephyrs at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Scranton Eagles seek first win of season

Two franchises with contrasting histories are searching for their first win of the season in the Empire Football League.

One, the Reading Raptors, is the newest franchise of the 35-year-old league. The other, the Scranton Eagles, is the most storied with 10 league championships.

Tonight at Conrad Weiser High School, both teams hope their fortunes change when they meet at 7:30 in a Southern Division game.

"We are going to be ready," first-year Eagles coach Dan Lamagna said. "I'm confident. We can run the ball with anybody. We just have to sure-up that passing game so teams can't put eight and nine guys in the box."

Last week, a three-interception performance by veteran quarterback John Kennedy prompted Lamagna to go to Kelvin Robinson this week. Robinson, a former Canadian Football League player, injured his left knee in the opening game against Orange County, but is back to 100 percent.

"It's felt the best it has in weeks," Lamagna said. "He looked real good this week in practice. He got dinged up in the first game, but now he's ready go. We are trying to get more production out of the passing game."

Former King's standout Damon Saxon led the Eagles (0-3) with 50 yards rushing and 66 yards receiving last week.

Reading almost had its initial victory last week. However, heavy rain halted the game against Amsterdam with the Raptors leading 20-0.

Ian Cooper scored the franchise's first touchdown on a 48-yard run in the first quarter. Elly Salamo, a former all-state linebacker at Reading High School, led the defense with six tackles.

"They are a young franchise, and they are hungry," Lamagna said. "So are we."

Scranton Eagles ready for EFL season opener

Nobody said first-year Scranton Eagles coach Dan Lamagna's job would be easy.

The Empire Football League begins its 35th season tonight with the Eagles traveling to play one of the top franchises, Orange County, at 7:30.

"This should be a real tough game," Lamagna said. "This should be a statement game for us. They have beaten us the last couple of times. We want to let them know we are back."

The Eagles, winners of 10 EFL and five National Championships, are coming off a 3-6 season, which included three losses to the Bulldogs by a combined score of 91-33. Orange County, the 2002 league champions, ended the Eagles season with a 36-14 thumping in the EFL playoffs.

Guiding the team, again, this season will be 22-year veteran quarterback John Kennedy. The arrival of former Canadian Football League player, Kelvin Robinson, however, has made for a strong competition at the position.

"John gives us that leadership and knowledge," Lamagna said. "His work ethic, along with the other veterans has been great. Kelvin gives us a mobile quarterback. He's got a cannon for an arm."

The Eagles also return last season's team Rookie of the Year, Andre Myers at tailback. He will be joined by former King's star Damon Saxon and veteran fullback Marvin Wilson.

"Andre is a class guy," Lamagna said. "We have, I think, the best backfield in the league."

The Eagles defense, anchored by first-team EFL all-star linebacker George Romiti, also welcomes a newcomer who has caught the eyes of the staff, Derrick Askew.

During preseason workouts, Askew, a former standout at West Alabama, ran a 4.5-second, 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times.
©Scranton Times Tribune 2004

John Kennedy still chucking pigskin
John Kennedy still chucking pigskin

Belting out signals, the ball snaps. Three quick steps, like the thousands he's taken before, follow.

Then, with a flick of his wrist, the football whistles through the air into the hands of his receiver.

These days, the steps aren't quite as nimble. The flick isn't as sharp. That whistle isn't as piercing.

Still, teammates roar and applaud.

After 22 years, John Kennedy can still throw a football.

Surrounded by players half his age, the 40-year-old veteran leads the semi-pro Scranton Eagles into tonight's Empire Football League opener against Orange County as the starting quarterback.

It's a position the captain has held since 1985.

"He brings flat out knowledge of the game," said first-year Eagles coach Dan Lamagna, who is 12 years younger than Kennedy.

"He reads the defense, both pre-snap and post-snap. He has all the intangibles. At his age, he takes great care of himself. He also brings great leadership. What a career!"

What a career, is right.

It began back in 1983, when Scarface ruled the box office and punk rocked. A thin 18-year-old just out of Scranton Prep High School, Kennedy heard his name called by then head coach Charles "Chick" Rader and became a member of the Eagles.

Today, he seemingly doesn't want to leave, having played 301 games -- a national record.

"I just wanted to make the team," Kennedy said. "Back then, it was a different era. We had 40 or 50 guys out and only half made the team. I thought it was a privilege to wear a Scranton Eagles uniform.

"Once I made it, then it progressed to wanting to play, to wanting to start."

That role became his in 1985.

Early in his career, there were feelers and some token interest from the National Football League's New England Patriots. He had tryouts for the NFL and Arena League.

However, the years passed, closing the window of opportunity.

With a strong arm, and a quality supporting cast, Kennedy enjoyed great success with the Eagles. During his career, the franchise won seven of its 10 EFL championships and won back-to-back national championships in 1989 and 1990.

Star players with Hall of Fame careers came and went. Kennedy stayed.

"I'm not the greatest player," Kennedy said. "I don't throw better or run faster than anybody. I was fortunate to play on some great teams. I was a product of a great system. We played against some very good football teams, we just out-worked them."

Heading into this season, Kennedy has thrown for 37,814 yards -- or 21 miles -- and 366 touchdowns. Both are national records. Kennedy owns the national records for attempts (4,857) and completions (2,497).

Certainly enough accomplishments to walk away from the game. Yet, every summer, he's back.

"It gets boring at times," he said. "But once the games start and the competition gets going. I get going, again."

Despite his career being closer to its end, Kennedy is eager and rejuvenated, and still feels privileged to wear the Scranton Eagles jersey.

It has been the franchise's privilege for him to play in it.
©Scranton Times Tribune 2004

EFL Blog (click this link to view EFL member team press releases)
Press releases from local media about EFL teams

Congratulations to the following Eagles,
Named to the AFA All-American All-Star Team:

LB - George Romiti (Honorable Mention)
DB - Brian Mister (Honorable Mention)
OL - Sean Munley (Honorable Mention)
QB - John Kennedy (Honorable Mention)

... Eagles also congratulate the many other EFL players
named to the team. Check out the entire list at