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New York State’s top Minor League Football team, the South Buffalo Celtics head into the 2013 season with arguably the most talented roster they’ve ever together. Finding talent from both near and far away is something that the Celtics have gotten quite familiar with; featuring a roster containing standouts like Zak Kedron (St. Francis), Lowell Robinson (Pitt), and Jermaine Clemons (Arkansas Pine bluff).
The Celtics are traveling down a familiar path with one of their targets. Last year at this time there were rumors about Lowell Robinson coming to South Buffalo, which eventually became reality as the Celtics landed the 2008 Big East Kick Returner of the Year while at the University of Pittsburgh.
Robinson also helped ignite the South Buffalo passing game, propelling the Celtics air attack in the playoffs and scoring two touchdowns in a 17-13 win over heavily favored Indianapolis for the conference championship.
This year the Celtics are looking to bring in another Mt. Vernon, New York product.
The South Buffalo Celtics finished an impressive 12-2 in 2012 with a season ending loss in the GDFL National Championship to the Central Pen Pirahna. The Celtics were able to overcome the loss of key players and travel on the road to upset heavy favorites before eventually running out of gas and losing 49-14. For a second year team to finish second out of the field of 100 teams in the GDFL, is still an impressive feat.
The Celtics are not satisfied with that and are looking at building on a roster that features amazing local talent and 3 NFL signees.
“Every year we look to improve in every area and this will be no different,” co-owner Ron Anderson says. “We fell short but it wasnt because of lack of talent and we are looking to resign that core group and build off of it with the new influx of players.”
The Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament has been a welcome event in the middle of the last few Buffalo winters. Taking notes from it’s older cousin in Eagle River, Wisconsin, the Buffalo tournament has truly become a must-play for any beer leaguer in Western New York.
As is the case with sport in Buffalo, things have rarely gone according to plan. The tournament has been plagued by bad ice, warm weather and many hiccups. 2012 was the climax of various hurdles over the first five iterations as the Inner Harbor didn’t freeze and the tournament needed to change over to a street hockey format.
The tournament organizers are obviously trying to combat that by building in additional fail-safe methods for the upcoming tournament. However the changes being made have a very disappointing tone to them. The tournament will change from a weekend long event to a one-day marathon of hockey and the registration process has also changed from first-come first-serve to a lottery process.
While Labatt details that Sunday is to be used as a makeup day, it is clear that they’re trying to avoid any chance of disaster leading up to Buffalo’s premier hockey event. Based on previous tournaments, it is probably a safe bet that Sunday factors into the planning.
Little league football is supposed to be an enjoyable, character building, learning experience for the kids that play them. Hopefully, none of the children from the Lakeshore Youth Football League learn a thing from the man who used to run it.
43-year old David Mascio of Derby has pled guilty to a grand larceny charge in the City of Buffalo. Mascio admitted to stealing around $13,000 from the youth program, including checks he wrote to himself totaling $5,000 over a four month period in 2011.
For his despicable actions, Mascio could serve two to four years when he is sentenced in January.
It’s with sadness we report this afternoon that a legend of Harvard Cup high school football passed away this past Monday following a shooting over the weekend. James Henley was shot and killed in a parking lot on Elmwood Avenue and Johnson Park early Sunday morning.
Henley was just 27-years old.
One of the best running backs ever in Buffalo’s Harvard Cup league, Henley’s biggest claim to fame is being the only player in Western New York high school football history to rush for over 1,000 four consecutive seasons (2000-03.)
At South Park high school, he was the MVP of the Harvard Cup as a junior and senior in 2002-03 as the Sparks won the coveted city championship both years.
He recently played for the South Buffalo Celtics of the semi-pro Elite Mid Continental Football League.
Last year, Celtics team co-owner Ron Anderson had some glowing remarks regarding his start running back and close friend.
“He is the greatest player I have ever seen outside of NFL players,” Celtics team co-owner Ron Anderson said. “He is one of those physical freaks that is so big, strong and fast that you just don’t think it’s fair.”
Henley leaves behind three children ages four, three and one. His funeral will take place Saturday—such a tragic story.
**Here are some post-high school highlights of Henley running wild on defenses at the semi-pro level. It’s easy to see how talented he truly was.**
Monday was a day of athletic pride for Western New York and certainly one Jenn Suhr will never forget, as the Fredonia native captured the gold medal at the women’s pole vault this afternoon in London at the 2012 Olympics.
Suhr won gold after successfully clearing 4.75 meters on her second attempt, although she was unsucessful on her attempts of 4.80.
Russian Yelena Isinbabyeva was trying to win her third straight Olympic gold medal, but only won the bronze after her best of 4.70.
The silver went to Yarisley Silva of Cuba. Silva also cleared 4.75 on her second attempt but would lose on a countback.
Suhr, 30, was born and raised in Fredonia where she was a four-sport star, still single of course with the last name of Stuczynski, also excelling at basketball, soccer and softball. She went on to play basketball and track at Roberts Wesleyan College. She currently resides in Rochester with her husband/coach Rick Suhr.
Western New York’s best semi-pro football team showed exactly why it’s among the best in the entire nation by proving it on the football field. The South Buffalo Celtics captured 2012 USA Bowl National Championship in Daytona Beach, FL last month by romping Western Michigan, 34-14.
In that game it didn’t the Celtics long to get things rolling offensively. A 78-yard touchdown run by James Henley on just the third play of the game was the sign more things to come. South Buffalo continued making big plays throughout as Justin Athans threw two touchdowns; a 38 yarderto Derrick Dilbert and a 64-yard strike to Micheal Bronough. Zak Kedron added another touchdown run of 42 yards on a fourth down and short run.
The Celtics defense played well in causing four turnovers and forcing six quarterback sacks. Aaron Dominnessy was able to recover two Kenny Deas forced fumbles and stop any type of offensive momentum the Force tried to build.
The New York State Golf Association will be heading west July 17-19 for the Men’s Amateur Golf Championship.
The 72-hole event is slated for picturesque Elmira Country Club here in the Finger Lakes Region.
Defending champion Dominic Bozzelli is expected to find strong competition from West New York shot-makers Ken Riter of Amherst, Blake Gianning, Carter Lucas and Matt Weins, all of Rochester and East Aurora’s Bill Hanes and Pete Creighton.
The Buffalo qualifier will be held at Wanaka Country Club in Hamburg on May 31. Wanakah, built in 1899, offers a difficult par-72, 6,952-yard layout. Entries will close on May 28.
For more details contact the New York State Golf Association’s website.
Earlier this month, the South Buffalo Celtics defeated the Michigan Gators, 55 –38 to claim the inaugural Elite MCFL League Championship at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Michigan. The Celtics, a first-year team, finished the season undefeated with an overall record of 14-0.
The Celtics were led by running back James Henley who finished the night with 5 touchdowns and 165-yards rushing on 18 carries. Henley was recognized as the game’s Overall Most Valuable Player. Celtics quarterback Justin Athans earned Offensive MVP honors for his 249 yards passing with 11 completions on 21 attempts, no interceptions and 2 touchdowns. Athans was also awarded the game’s Sportsmanship Award which honors the player who displays quality sportsmanship during the championship game. Michigan Gators defensive back J.R. Estell recorded 5 solo tackles and 2 assists, and he was named Defensive MVP.
The hometown Gators opened up the scoring 2:33 into the game on a 13-yard pass from regular season Western Conference MVP Torrence Webster to Mike Youngblood. A successful 2-point conversion gave Michigan the early 8-0 lead. Henley scored his first rushing touchdown on the night with 6:41 left in the first quarter. The Gators answered 3:29 later on an 11-yard pass from Webster to Donald Dotson followed by a Jimmy Allen extra point, putting them up 15-6. Mike Brunough brought the Celtics back within 2 in the last 0:39 of the 1st after a 25-yard reception from Justin Athans. Athans also kicked the extra point.
Not long ago, the Buffalo State college football team earned a reputation for having a winning culture. The program has since fallen upon hard times within the last decade and finding wins has become a daunting challenge. Despite a porous record in recent year, the Bengals have always been a talented group. Some of those talent have now signed on to play semi-pro football with the South Buffalo Celtics.
The Celtics; who begin their inaugural season on June 18, are looking at these former Bengals to come in and make an impact immediately. On the offensive side of the ball, Khente Koram (6’4, 400 lbs) Tyrell Ford (6’8, 350) and Jake Button (6’2, 310) look to be the foundation of the offensive line.
Koram (Baltimore, Maryland) was a two year starter at Erie Community College before playing his final two years at Buffalo State. Koram then played one year of semi-pro football with the Lackawanna Dynasty and was named an All American, but took last year off due to a lingering back injury. Back a full strength now, Koram has a reputation of being one of the best guards in semi-pro football.
Folks of Western New York who enjoy ice skating, particularly those who play ice hockey, will consider this good news. In a report by Adam Benigni of WGRZ-TV, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced new management agreements for rinks owned by the city; which consist of Lafayette, Cazenovia and Riverside ice rinks.
Brown said in a press conference that the North Buffalo Bison Hockey Association and Hasek’s Heroes, with the support of the Buffalo Sabres, have been awarded the managerial rights. Bisons Hockey will manage Lafayette while Hasek’s Heroes will manage Riverside and Cazenovia. It was also announced that the Sabres Foundation will donate $100,000 for infrastructure upgrades at the Cazenovia and Riverside sites.
Benigni also reports that Mayor Brown said there will be an increase in public skating hours at each rink.
Here is the video of the announcement, courtesy of WGRZ-TV.
The University at Buffalo is offering summer camps in 13 different sports this year at a variety of levels. Campers will get the chance to practice on the same fields as the Bulls teams while receiving expert coaching from some of the Bulls head coaches and athletes.
Head Baseball Coach Ron Torglaski will bring 22 years of coaching experience to his three camps, which will be run according to age groups. Head Men’s Basketball Coach Reggie Witherspoon will be running a college prospect camp for grades 10 and up, two separate week-long camps and a team camp while Women’s Basketball head coach Linda Hill-Macdonald will run a developmental camp for girls in grades 4-12.
Head Football Coach Jeff Quinn will run an Offensive/Defensive Line specific camp along with two one-day camps and two youth camps. Men’s Soccer will run a camp for Junior Booters, Bulls, Young Bulls, High School Elite, Strikers and Goalkeepers. Women’s Soccer will run a total of seven camps including Kickin’ and Krackin’, Goalkeepers, Juniors, Open Girls and College Prospects.
Full disclosure: Truthfully, I never imagined myself in this position. A year ago, I wouldn’t have given “the beautiful game” a second thought. In essence, I was a fan of football, hockey, and not much else. Last year around this time (on a whim), a friend suggested that we purchase season tickets to a local semi-professional soccer team for $50. I had just finished my final payment on season tickets to a perennially-failing “professional” team and was looking for something to fill the void. I took the jump and purchased the tickets (which also included a shirt and scarf) not knowing what to expect.
What do I cheer? Do I cheer? What the heck is with the guys with the flags? Why did that referee just write something on the back of that card? I was completely flummoxed at many of the rules and regulations at first… but I learned them with the help of friends and random strangers (who are now very close friends). Meeting the ownership group (randomly) and some of the players really let me know that this was something I could get into. The excitement of the World Cup electrified the air as small children blew heartily into vuvuzelas and everyone joined in with our off-the-cuff chants and random musings. Over time, our displays grew and we were assigned different monikers (our earliest was the “GaGa Boys”, due to a misfired attempt at a “Bad Romance”-based chant). We now have banners, flags, drums, and a myriad of other accoutrements to support our team and our supporters’ group has been dubbed The Situation Room to honor the team’s name and heritage.
More than 6,000 runners are expected to hit the pavement in Buffalo on Sunday, May 29 for the Buffalo Marathon’s full and half marathons, and four-person relay race. All marathon events begin at 7 a.m. just north of the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Pearl Street in downtown Buffalo.
The course will take runners on a scenic tour of some of Buffalo’s most beautiful neighborhoods. Many runners will use the event as the opportunity to raise funds for charities and non-profits, including Hospice Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and research of neurofibromatosis 2. A field of elite runners from around the world will compete for over $10,000 in prize money in the full and half marathons.
It was a celebratory night at Rainbow Rink in North Tonawanda as the Queen City Roller Girl’s marked their 5th year of existence over the weekend. What better place than a roller rink to celebrate a birthday?! The bout between the Alley Kats and undefeated Nickle City Knockouts was better than a chicken-dance on wheels ever could be. QCRG Announcer, Kiki Konkussion, even dressed up as a giant cupcake to commemorate the event. But as soon as the whistle blew, the crowd knew they were in for more than a party; this was roller war.
The first half proved that jammers from both teams were paying close attention to scoring, each side calling off jams before the opposing team could score. The strategy works in theory, but seemed to trip up Knockouts’ jammer B.J. Harmstrong. In Jam 2 she called off the jam before she herself could even score. A scoreless Jam certainly didn’t hurt the lead the Knockouts held starting in Jam 1 and carried throughout the first period.
Although the Knockouts prevailed, there was some great skating from Evil-Lyn Cognito for the Alley Kats, as she racked up eight points in Jam Four. Gaia also had a few significant turns around the track, hoping through the Knockouts defenders in the seventh Jam to score five points, bringing the Kats within four points, 20-16.
For Semi-Pro football players, the Casino Bowl in Las Vegas is as good as it gets. Considered the longest running and most prestigious game for Semi Pro players across the nation, Casino Bowl XVI takes place this year on April 2.
Among the talented players participating is one tucked away right here in Buffalo.
James Henley, running back for the newly formed South Buffalo Celtics, will represent the organization in Vegas. In fact, he’s on a plane heading towards Sin City right now.
To say he’s excited is an understatement.
“I don’t know, I just can’t wait to get out there.” Henley said this week. “I’m so pumped, I’m just ready to get going and run somebody over.”
Alright sports fans. So last month, BSD reacquainted you with the wonderful world of roller derby in Buffalo. This time, we will attempt to report the play-by-play. Buckle your seat belts. There’s a lot of wacky, new jargon to be learned.
The Alley Kats, the newest team in the Queen City Roller Girls, came into their second home bout on Saturday night raring to go. Still high from their win against the Suicidal Saucies last month, the Kats started out strong, regardless of the missing Vajenna Warrior to the Lake Effect Furies travel team, who was skating in Pittsburg the same night (Steel City 282, Furies 76). The Devil Dollies appeared to be the underdogs, missing several notable players to the Furies, including the adaptable Lip Service and co-captain Busty Pipes. Scratches also included Her Heiny Granger, injured skating on a banked track with the San Diego roller derby and Cherry Aire.
The first period, (roller derby has two) boasted solid skating from both teams. Pepper Stix, Day TripHer and Red Fox had some solid jams, (2-minutes of play) for the Dollies. Casual Sexist, Lady Gaia, Celery Stalk-her and Crimes of Thrashin were jammers for Alley Kats. It was obvious that rookie Day TripHer had her work cut out for her, as Casual Sexist checked her immediately in Jam 2 to win lead jammer. The Kats continued to sneak by the Dollies, with both Crimes of Thrashin and Casual Sexist using their small stature to their advantage, snaking through the Dollies’ blockers with ease. The bout tied up at 37 apiece in Jam 10, and a rush of adrenaline washed over the entire rink.
The New York State DEC is accepting applications for the Day-old Pheasant Release Program. This program, which is just over one hundred years old, has recently been enthusiastically attempting to counter the 90% decline in the ringed-neck pheasant population in the state since 1970.
WNY holds the most pheasants within the state. The many farms of this region provide perfect habitat for the colorful birds but the numbers do not even compare to the quantities in the sixties and seventies. To boast the population the DEC developed a ten year management plan in 1999 and a new plan was adopted last year to continue increasing the numbers of pheasants available for hunters.
There are several factors that have contributed to the decline in the ringed-neck pheasants. The most significant is the loss of land suitable for bird survival. With the decline in farming state wide and abundant development the uncultivated grass lands that provide cover have disappeared leaving the birds easy targets for the highly adaptive and ever increasing coyote populace.
That’s right. It’s time to break out of the winter doldrums (enough Netflix already!) and venture outside to frolic in Buffalo’s downtown Winterfest. If your friends haven’t told you about the event, then maybe they’re not that awesome. So take a spin at being cool-idea-guy (or gal) and introduce it to them.
Besides, after you’ve polished off True Blood and made it past Season 4 of Dexter, it’s pretty much downhill in the world of streaming television.
A crash course in this weekend’s activities follows, for your convenience. Remember to bring your valid I.D. if you plan on warming up with a cold brew.
This past Saturday, January 29, 2011 brought me and many others to Lackawanna for the 4th Annual Frank Privitere Rabbit Hunting Derby. This affair is held every year by the New Empire Beagle Club in honor of Frank Privitere, an avid beagler and rabbit hunter for over 50 years.
The WNY area welcomed teams from Rochester, Syracuse, Pennsylvania and even Canada. Although the powdery snow made for a laborious day on the hounds 29 hunters checked 123 wasqually wabbits for the weigh-in. Many of those who participated reported short runs by the dogs and an unexpectedly meager amount of bunnies despite the sunny and windless morning. I myself did not harvest a single snowshoe hare to be weighed but I was still able to spend a whole day in the woods followed by a great time with my fellow hunters and houndsmen.
Since their announcement that the South Buffalo Celtics have joined the semi-pro Elite Mid Continental Football League to begin play this summer, the team has signed a plethora of proven offensive talent. By no means, however, does that mean they’ve neglected the other side of the ball.
The Celtics were able to land one of the premier semi-pro football players in the country in Greg “Hollywood” Rogers (DE/LB). The former Buffalo Gladiators star was pursued by many teams but felt the Celtics gave him the best chance to win a semi-pro national championship. Rogers brings with him an impressive resume that started at Buffalo State College where he was an All-American before carrying that success to the semi-pro level. He was a four-time time league Defensive MVP, three- time All-American and six-time League All Star with the Gladiators and is looking to continue that level of play for the Celtics.
Terrance Ware is also now in the Celtics’ mix. At 6-foot-2 and 350 pounds, Ware is the prototypical nose tackle in the middle of a defense. The former Lackawanna Dynasty star is as good as they come against the run and he’s looking to shake off a knee injury season that limited him to six games for Lackawanna last season.
Buffalo’s newest Semi-Pro football team, the South Buffalo Celtics, have officially added another weapon to an already strong backfield with the signing of Carlton “PJ” Harris.
Harris is a former standout running back for Lockport High School and finished second in the voting for the Buffalo news Western New York Player of the Year in 2004. Harris also had a brief stint with the Rochester Raiders’ indoor football team when he caught the eye of many following an impressive 4.48/40-yard dash at their tryout.
This signing now gives the Celtics both the 2004 WNY Player of the Year and his runner up. 2004 P.O.Y. Zak Kedron of St. Francis High School has already been signed to the team. Interestingly enough, Kedron and Harris finished ahead of two current NFL players in James Starks (Green Bay Packers) and James Mallory (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) for this award.
Chris Kreider (Boxford, Mass./Boston College) scored twice and Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J./Syracuse Crunch) logged two assists, as the U.S. National Junior Team captured the bronze medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship with a 4-2 win over Sweden here this afternoon.
Team USA finished the tournament with a 4-1-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record and earned consecutive medals for the first time in tournament history, having won the gold medal last year in Regina and Saskatoon, Sask. This year’s bronze medal marked the seventh medal in U.S. National Junior Team history, and fourth in the last eight years.
“It was an honor to be behind the bench for the United States,” said Keith Allain, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. “Our guys played with a lot of pride tonight, and they really came together over the last few weeks to represent their country.”
Chris Brown (Flower Mound, Texas/Univ. of Michigan) scored the lone goal for Team USA, as the U.S. National Junior team dropped a 4-1 decision to Canada in the semifinal round of the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship before a sellout crowd of 18,690 at HSBC Arena.
The U.S. will play for a medal for the eighth time in nine years when it faces Sweden Wednesday (Jan. 5) at 3:30 p.m. EST in the bronze-medal game.
“Our players are working hard as individuals, but we didn’t come together as a team,” saidKeith Allain, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. “We’ll have a good practice tomorrow and will prepare to play for bronze on Wednesday.”
With their 4-1 quarterfinal win over Switzerland today, Canada has advanced to the semifinal round of the 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. They will now face the defending champion United States team tomorrow night at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available for $140 (lower bowl) and $95 (upper bowl). Tickets can be purchased online at www.buffaloworldjuniors.com, by calling 1-888-467-2273, or at the HSBC Arena Box Office.
The winner of tomorrow’s USA/Canada game will play for the gold medal on Wednesday night at HSBC Arena. Only single seats remain for the gold-medal game. Finland and Russia play in tonight’s second quarterfinal beginning at 7:30 p.m. The winner moves on to play Sweden at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon in the first semifinal game. Tickets are still available for this game.