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January 28, 2009 - 4:43pm

Richard Dunlap, former treasurer for the Oakfield-Alabama Little League, was sentenced to five years in prison today, the Buffalo News reports. Dunlap was accused of stealing as much as $30,000 from the organization during his time as treasurer. He was then alleged to have used the money to purchase, among other things, child pornography.

From the Buffalo News:

A tearful Richard L. Dunlap, 40, of Batavia, apologized for his crimes but was immediately remanded to the custody of prison officials by the judge.

Federal agents said Dunlap stole thousands of dollars from the Oakfield-Alabama Little League Association and used the money to buy child porn, adult pornography, a family vacation to Florida and other items.

Dunlap, 40, of 9 Irving Parkway, Batavia, plead guilty last September to the possession of child pornography, according to a Daily News article from October. Dunlap had also been granted a plea bargain for the theft charges and was ordered to pay $5,559 in restitution, funds that Little League officials found arbitrary.

January 16, 2009 - 11:19pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, Oakfield, Notre Dame, Alabama.

 The game might have been tight all the way through, but it looked like the Oakfield-Alabama girls were going to beat Notre Dame for the second time this season, on ND's home court.

The Hornets owned the paint and seemed to be in the right place at the right time for every loose ball. But the Fighting Irish battled in the closing minutes and came through with a huge 48-46 win.

Oakfield-Alabama took a 3-point lead with about five minutes left in the game when Hillary Bates scored a basket, making the score 40-37 in O-A's favor.

Notre Dame's Brittany Morelli answered with a bucket, but the lead was back to 3-points when Dani Sage scored at the other end. The Hornets had a chance to extend the lead when sophomore McKenzie Harris had a steal and was fouled going to the basket.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, she missed both free throw attempts.

Nichole Hart then made it a 1-point game with a basket seconds later.

After a turnover, Morelli scored with an and-1, giving the Fighting Irish a 44-42 lead with just under three minutes left in the game.

Christina Palillo tied the game with a basket on O-A's next possession, then was fouled on the team's next trip down the court. She hit both foul shots to give the Hornets a 46-44 advantage with just over two minutes left.

Again, it looked like O-A was going to win, just like they did in the consolation game of the Rotary Tournament.

But Notre Dame went inside the paint on the following possession, giving the ball to 6-foot sophomore Liz Geandreau, who was fouled while trying to get a shot off. She tied the score with two free throws.

Nobody scored for almost a minute and a half, but Morelli got to the foul line with 39 seconds left. She hit both attempts to give the Fighting Irish the two-point advantage.

The Hornets had one last shot with just seconds left on the clock, but missed a 3-pointer and couldn't get the rebound.

Morelli scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half and Jill Marshall pitched in 14 points for the Fighting Irish, who improve to 7-3. Nichole Hart had 12 points.

Brynn Perfitt continues to be a strong scoring option for Oakfield-Alabama (6-6), scoring 11 points. Hillary Bates scored a team-high 12 points and Palillo pitched in eight points.

 

 

December 26, 2008 - 7:59pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

It's always a good time when Oakfield-Alabama and Caledonia-Mumford get to play each other in the finals of the Cal-Mum Christmas Tournament.

Cal-Mum coach Dan Dickens is an O-A grad.

But that isn't going to happen this year as the Hornets blew a 22-7 first quarter lead against Marion and then went on to lose 68-66 in the opening round.

Sal Iannello had 30 points and eight boards to lead Marion, which improves to 4-0. Brad Le Fevre pitched in 17 points with 11 rebounds.

Noah Seward had 14 points to lead O-A, with A.J. Kehlenbeck getting 13 and Tim Smith adding 12. The Hornets are now 5-1 and will be playing in the consolation game tomorrow.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like Marion will be facing the host squad in the finals. Cal-Mum had a 22-15 advantage in the fourth quarter and beat York 57-51.

Jeremy Wilson had 11 points and Chris Voos added eight in the crucial period. Wilson finished with 11 points and Voos 12. Sean Ancker pulled down 10 rebounds for the Red Raiders (3-2).

Travis Nash had 22 points for York (4-4). 

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The Batavia hockey team lost in the opening round of the Scottsville Tournament in a close game with Brighton/East Rochester/Honeoye Falls-Lima.

Brighton/ER/HF-L outshot the Blue Devils 29-28 and won the game 3-2.

Batavia goalie Rich Paganello had 26 saves.

December 23, 2008 - 7:06pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, Oakfield, Pavilion, Notre Dame, Alabama.

(shown in the photo is Batavia's Jaycee Shirk (left), Pavilion's Maddy Griep, O-A's Dani Sage and Notre Dame's Brittany Morelli)

 

The Batavia girls basketball Rotary Club Tournament is set for Jan. 5 and 7 at Genesee Community College.

The annual action-packed tournament features Batavia, Notre Dame, Oakfield-Alabama and Pavilion. 

Batavia opens up with Oakfield-Alabama at 6 p.m. in the opening round with Pavilion and Notre Dame following at about 7:45 p.m. The consolation and finals are at the same time on the 7th.

Batavia captured the title last year after dropping two games the previous season. The Blue Devils toppled O-A in the finals last year, 44-31, as Annie Palermo and Alyssa Tretter were the dominant players on the floor.

But we did see an emergence of current Batavia stars Jaycee Shirk and Brittany Mazurkiewiecz in the tournament, with Mazurkiewiecz scoring nine and Shirk adding eight.

This is the 20th year the Rotary Club Girls Basketball Tournament has been held.

December 19, 2008 - 10:17am
posted by Brian Hillabush in weather, Alabama.

 Driving through Alabama, I just noticed a man working on his snow plow in front of the Alabama post office.

I stopped to talk to him and found out that on day like today, the worst possible thing could happen .... he ran into electrical problems with the plow.

Drew Klotzbach, owns Alleghany Farm Service and takes care of clearing some of the area businesses in Alabama. That is, once he gets the plow fixed.

December 19, 2008 - 9:57am
posted by Brian Hillabush in weather, Alabama, snow.

First post from the road. Haven't seen any accidents and nothing has come over the scanner yet, so that is a good thing. Based on this photo taken on Rt 63 in Alabama, it is strongly advised to stay at home.

There will be more updates from around Genesee County to follow.

December 17, 2008 - 10:06pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports, Oakfield, pembroke, Alabama.

 With Pembroke and Oakfield-Alabama as the talks of Division I in the Genesee Region League at the start of the season, Wednesday's early season contest was obviously a key one.

The Hornets have established themselves as the team to beat after thumping the Dragons 76-43 to improve to 5-0.

They keys to the win were as simple as playing an up-tempo style of defense designed to keep Pembroke's Andrew Wright from getting good looks and limiting Andy Gabbey's 3-point attempts.

Mission accomplished.

Wright was held to just 12 points and Gabbey did not connect on a basket in the contest.

After Ken Babcock and Wright had consecutive baskets early in the game, O-A's Brad Riner hit his second 3-pointer to tie the score at 8.

Babcock and Noah Seward exchanged buckets, then Seward added a couple more before Tim Smith scored seven points to give the Hornets a 23-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Riner hit another 3-pointer and then A.J. Kehlenbeck dropped in a basket to make it 30-20 midway through the second quarter.

Pembroke got within six, but Seward had consecutive baskets and Smith hit another 3-pointer to give O-A the 37-24 lead at intermission.

The Hornets quickly made the game a 50-26 blowout in the third quarter with Chris Bucceri, Smith and Riner having big periods.

Smith had 14 points and Seward added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Hornets, who are 3-0 in the league and 5-0 overall. Riner had 13 points and Chris Bucceri pitched in eight points and seven dimes.

Babcock had 11 points and Steve Moser added 10 points for the Dragons (4-3).

December 13, 2008 - 1:11am
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, Oakfield, Notre Dame, Alabama.

I was just checking out the first edition of the Democrat & Chronicle polls for winter sports, and I'm very confused by the small school boys basketball one.

This is the poll in question.

Small schools
Rank/team
1. Bishop Kearney
2. Finney
3. Letichworht
4. Wellsviell
5. Oakfield-Alabama
6. Penn Yan
7. Dansville
8. Gananda
9. Dundee
10. Livonia
(tie) Marion

(not typos, this is directly from the D&C Web site)

 

I think the D&C does a great job with high school sports coverage, but I'm one of the first people to always question the lack of small school athletes that make the All-Greater Rochester teams. There is proof that they focus on the larger schools with these rankings.

First off, Letchworth is 4-1 and has a very good basketball team. I have the utmost respect for coach Tim McMullen. But how do they get a No. 3 ranking?

The Indians have a loss and are one of four Livingston Conference teams to make the top 10. Livingston is a decent basketball league, but the Genesee Region League is probably much stronger this season.

The only GR squad to make the list is Oakfield-Alabama at No. 5. The Hornets are stacked this season and are off to a 4-0 start. Surely the Hornets deserve to be ranked higher than Letchworth.

And I don't see how Notre Dame can be totally left off this top 10 list.

The Fighting Irish have only played two games, but have won both in blowout fashion and are a very talented and deep team. Notre Dame is also one of the best teams in the history of Section 5, so I don't see how they can be left off.

The other glaring exception is Batavia, which is ranked sixth in the small school wrestling poll. If Batavia is considered a small school, then they should be right near the top of this list. As good as the top teams on that list are, if they have to play the Blue Devils, they are probably going to lose. Batavia plays schools like Pittsford Sutherland, Pittsford Mendon and Victor, and just won a tournament with two defending state champions.

D&C does a lot of things well, but these rankings basically forget that Genesee County is on the map.

December 12, 2008 - 11:40pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, elba, Oakfield, Notre Dame, Alabama, hockey.

Stacy Hein hit four critical foul shots in the last two minutes and scored eight points to lead the Batavia girls basketball team to a 42-38 win over host Victor Friday, recovering from its first loss of the season earlier this week.

Brittany Wormley led the squad with 13 points and Brittany Mazurkiewicz followed with 11 points and seven assists.

Jaycee Shirk had six points and eight boards for the Blue Devils (5-1).

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 Anni Lehtola, the foreign exchange student from Finland, had another big game for Alexander, scoring 19 points to lead the Trojans to a 57-47 win over Pembroke.

Katie Kochmanski pitched in 11 points while Anna Dominick and Nicki Laird added eight points apiece.

Kelsey Lewis led the Dragons (2-2) with 14 points, seven rebounds and seven steals. Nicole Sharick scored a team-high 15 points.

Alexander is 3-1.

 

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Brynn Perfett was the leading scorer for Oakfield-Alabama with 11 points as the Hornets improved to 3-1 with a 46-28 win over Holley.

Dani Sage had seven points and 11 rebounds and Lindsay Chatt pitched in seven points.

Julie Brooks had 11 points for the Hawks (1-3).

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Sophomore sensation Liz Geandreau scored a career-high 18 points to lead Notre Dame to a 64-33 win over Kendall. She also pulled down eight rebounds.

Nichole Hart had 16 points and Trisha Pike pitched in 12 for the Fighting Irish (2-0).

Meghan Fahy had 20 points to lead the Eagles.

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Paige Golden scored 14 points to lead Albion to a 41-25 win over Lyndonville.

Casey Button scored seven points and had 15 boards for the Purple Eagles (2-1).

Molly Burgess dropped in 10 points with six boards to lead the Tigers (1-3). Samantha Skryp and Miranda Feller had five points with six boards each.

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The Elba girls basketball team jumped out to a 20-7 lead and never looked back in thumping Wheatland-Chili 71-37.

Rachael Cook had 14  points and Chelsie Pangrazio pitched in 11 for the Lancers, who improve to 1-1. Katie Newton was also in double figures with 10 points, and Meg Stucko had 11 boards.

Lauren Drago scored 16 points to lead the Wildcats.

 

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Kayleigh Puma and Kat Palmer combined for 9 of 10 first quarter points as Byron-Bergen jumped out to a 10-6 lead and cruised to a 38-24 win over Attica.

Kaylee Amesbury had eight points with Mary Cocking adding seven.

Jackie Algier scored 10 points for the Blue Devils.

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The Batavia hockey team was outshot 35-17 in losing to Fayetteville-Manilius 6-2.
Goalie Brandon Corcoran made 29 saves with Pat Finnell and Corey Kocent each scoring for the Blue Devils (2-3).
Finnell also had an assist.

 

December 11, 2008 - 1:52pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, genesee county, GCEDC, Alabama, poll.

There's no doubt that Genesee County can revitalize its workforce and reclaim its former reputation as a center of industry and innovation. There's also no doubt that it will take a willingness to change on the part of our communities. Alabama, in particular, could see drastic changes over the next couple decades...

Chad Zambito, vice president of marketing with the Genesee County Economic Development Center, brought us up to speed earlier today on a few of the more promising projects currently in the works for the county.

Most folks are probably familiar with the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, which has received a lot of press coverage in the Daily News. A Canadian food processor is planning to break ground at that site in the spring. That could mean the creation of about 100 jobs. There are also hopes for the site to include a sort of agricultural showcase center similar to the New York Wine & Culinary Center recently launched in Canandaigua that would highlight the region's dairy production.

Another major project in the pipeline is the Upstate Med & Tech Park and Commercialization Center. Situated on 34 acres across the street from Genesee Community College, the park will host a Life Sciences Center that would allow college students to get on-hand training in those fields. About half of the land is already shovel ready, so expect to see some buildings going up there soon.

That brings us to the most ambitious project currently in the works at the GCEDC: Alabama's STAMP site. STAMP stands for Science, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Park. It's situated on no less than 1,300 acres between Route 77 and the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. Zambito estimates up to 10,000 jobs could be created at the site at full build out. He cautiously follows that up with the note that it would likely take some 25 years to acheive that.

All the purple buildings in the center of this map would house the manufacturing centers. Zambito said the site would likely be used for the production of photovoltaic cells that would harvest electricty from sunlight. In fact, this project, situated in a region that is already coveted for its potential wind energy, could become the foundation of a green energy industrial complex. This project is still some years from any actual construction. The GCEDC is right now getting the designs finalized and hopes to start bringing potential investors and manufacturers out to the site for visits later next year.

Click here to download a copy of the STAMP project map.

November 29, 2008 - 6:44pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

 The Oakfield-Alabama girls basketball team only lost two games last season. Unfortunately, the second came in the Section 5 Class CCC semifinals, where Honeoye had a 10-2 advantage in the fourth quarter to knock off the Hornets 39-29.

Three Genesee Region League all-stars graduated from that team, but three players that had significant playing time return and step into leadership roles as O-A looks to repeat as the Division I champions. The team had a 20-2 record last year.

Senior guard Hillary Bates is the top returning scorer at 4.5 points per game and will probably be the top scoring option. She will be a score-first point guard after earning GR honorable mention status last in 2007-2008.

The other senior on the team is Dani Sage, who scored four points per game last year and will play small forward.

Junior Lindsay Chatt also scored about four points per game and will start at guard as well. 

Sam Kidder was the leading scorer for the Hornets last season at 13.3 points per game and the three aforementioned players will be looking to take much of the scoring responsibility.

Junior guard Brynn Perfitt was called up at the end of the season and had success putting the ball in the basket, and could also be somebody that handles the scoring duties.

Jeff Schlagenhauf - last year's Coach of the Year - has a team that looks very different than a year ago. The Hornets didn't have a single player over 5-foot-9 last season, but have a bunch of size this year and could look to pound the ball into the paint.

Sarah Scarborough is over 6-foot tall and Christina Palillo also has size, so O-A will be able to play a more physical style of play this season.

Schlagenhauf believes this year's squad has as much potential as last year's, but might take a little time to play together before reaching its full potential.

November 22, 2008 - 5:32am
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

 Last year's Oakfield-Alabama basketball team was very good.

The Hornets went 20-3 last season, with the final loss coming to East Rochester in the sectional semifinals.

That team had a ton of talent, with James Davis and John Gerber graduating after the season. But, Davis missed a lot of time due to injury, and essentially four starters return to the squad to try to capture a GR title for a second straight year and finally win a sectional championship for the school.

The biggest name on the roster, not just because of his size, is Noah Seward. The big man averaged a double-double last season, scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds per game. He's had three years on varsity and is expected to be a premier player in the post this season.

Brad Riner may not have Seward's size, but he's just as tough. Both were stars on the very successful football team and Riner will run the point for the Hornets.

He is a defensive-minded player that will look to turn defense into offense, while distributing the ball like a true point guard is expected to. He has plenty of varsity experience and will also score when needed.

Guard Tim Smith won't admit it, but he's going to be expected to pitch in on the scoring end of things. While Davis and Gerber were the focus of the offense when they were on the floor, Smith managed to have some pretty solid games putting the ball in the hoop.

Expect him to be a big part of the offensive gameplan. A.J. Kehlenbeck is a big body with the ability to play solid defense and put the ball in the basket.

Oakfield-Alabama also has plenty of depth, with several players returning from last years team and newcomers that were on the 20-0 jayvee squad last season.

The only really big change you will see from the Hornets is at the top as Gary Kurkowski returns to coach the varsity squad because Merritt Holly stepped down. Kurkowski has been a part of the program for a very long time, coaching at every level.

His coaching style is very similar to Holly, so there won't be a big change. But many of the players respect his old school approach to the game.

The only way to top the Division I title and semifinal appearance of a year ago will be a championship, which is a long term goal for O-A. First the squad must get through a tough regular season and mesh as a unit - with a few players still banged up from football season.

 

November 19, 2008 - 9:53pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in basketball, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

 Oakfield-Alabama grad James Davis missed much of his senior season with an injury, but has gotten off to a nice start at D'Youville College.

The freshman started the first two games this season, scoring six points per game. He has averaged 31 minutes per contest while 2 1/2 rebounds and four assists per game.

D'Youville is 0-2 to start the season, but Davis is one of five freshman hoping to turn the program around.

November 11, 2008 - 3:59pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in Attica, football, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

A pair of local athletes suffered some pretty serious injuries during the Section 5 playoffs and I've got updates on both.

Attica's Andy Ruddock was knocked out of the Class B semifinals contest with Bath. He had some tests last week and tore his ACL. He will be in a cast for six weeks and hopefully can get back to playing football in the future.

(UPDATE: Ruddock actually went to the doctor today and received some great news. What was thought to be a torn ACL, is actually a stress fracture in his tibia. He will be in a brace for two weeks while doing rehab. The injury is significantly less severe and he will be just fine for baseball season)

Oakfield-Alabama's Tim Smith was knocked out of the Class C title game when trying to tackle Le Roy's Travis Fenstermaker. The hit looked very serious and Smith was in rough shape. He was diagnosed with a concussion and did not return to the game. Coach John Dowd confirmed that he is doing well and should be good to go for basketball season.

November 10, 2008 - 12:52pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in football, Le Roy, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

It has been a few days now since the Le Roy football team knocked off Oakfield-Alabama, 27-17, in the Section 5 Class C championship game at PAETEC Park.

It was a hard-fought battle between two great, udefeated teams, that featured many great performances. Mike Humphrey won the MVP after catching 12 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown, but there are plenty of other solid days, including Jason Stanley of Oakfield-Alabama stepping in for an injured Tim Smith.

If you are interested, this is the link to the complete stat breakdown of the game.

November 7, 2008 - 10:40pm
posted by JIM NIGRO in football, Le Roy, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

 

On an unusually warm Friday`night in early November what better place to be than Paetec Park watching two of Western New York’s finest football teams slug it out for the Section V class C championship.

Squaring off were two perennial powers: the LeRoy Oatkan Knights and the Oakfield-Alabama Hornets.

The highly anticipated contest resulted in a large turnout of supporters for both teams, both on the field and in the stands.

Bill “Bilko” Pangrazio, a LeRoy native and twenty-four year member of the chain gang for the Oatkan Knights was working the sticks for this contest.

“This is the best seat in the house”, he said in reference to being on the sidelines for the game. When asked about the quality of this years Oatkan grid squad he added, “This team lost 17 starters from last years state finals team. They remind me of the 1998 team.” The admiration he felt for this year’s edition was obvious.

Lynn Gehlert works days as an instructor at the Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School. On this Friday evening she came out to support the Hornets and take sideline photographs as she does at all their games. “I still have siblings in school. My sister Michelle dates Brad (O-A running back Riner) so the whole family turns out for games.”

In what was a see-saw battle for most of the game, bursts of crowd noise alternated, with roars erupting first from one side of the field then the other. Both teams - or towns in this case - were equally loud.

Kelly Kowalcyzk, whose son Tyler plays offensive and defensive end for the Hornets, saw O-A quarterback A.J. Kehlenbeck drop back to pass. She then turned and said to a fan seated beside her, “My son can’t catch the ball.” She turned in time to see Tyler catch a thirty yard touchdown pass in the end zone.

“This is more of a battle than last weeks game” she said in regard to some hard hitting and several lead changes. “Right now I think they’re playing for Tim”, she concluded, referring to O-A running back Tim Smith who was injured in a collision with LeRoy’s Travis Fenstermaker.

LeRoy’s next score gave them a lead they would not relinquish and the LeRoy faithful sensed the end was near. Among them were Steven Dumbleton and his son Steven Jr. Young Dumbleton plays for the LeRoy Jayvees and came to cheer on the varsity. “We’re here with everyone else in the stands to support the varsity team.” said his father. “The kids have a good coach and they respect each other.” he said in regards to LeRoy’s winning tradition.

While both teams gave their supporters much to cheer about, in the end it was the Oatka Knights who walked away with the sectional title. Still, its hard to imagine there could have been a loser in a game such as this. Both teams left it all out on the field.

 

November 7, 2008 - 9:50pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in football, Le Roy, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

 The Le Roy football team had allowed Don "Hooks" Robertson to hold the Section 5 championship trophy the last two seasons.

He didn't physically get to hold it this year, but he was without a doubt celebrating with the Oatkan Knights after Le Roy beat Oakfield-Alabama 27-17 in the Class C finals Friday night at PAETEC Park.

Robertson passed away last summer from cancer and Le Roy had the goal of winning the championship for him.

The game was an epic battle between two undefeated teams, with a lot of defense early in the game and a lot of offense after the half.

The Hornets forced Le Roy into a three-and-out on the opening possession of the game and then went executed the offensive game plan to perfection. O-A marched 66 yards on 16 plays, with Tim Smith breaking off a 32-yard run early in the drive. The eight minute long drive resulted in three points when Jon Fisher nailed a 27-yard field goal.

But the Oatkan Knights answered right back.

Travis Fenstermaker hooked up with Mike Humphrey on a 25-yard pass, and the 50-yard drive resulted in a score when Andrew Alexander dove in from a yard out. The extra point made the score 7-3.

Smith had a big return, but O-A had to punt the ball away.

Early in Le Roy's next drive, Smith was knocked out of the game when Fenstermaker took off on a scramble and hit him full-force. Smith's helmet was turned around, he attempted to get but flopped back down.

Smith - O-A's leading rusher - was diagnosed with a concussion and was obviously not coming back in the game.

Fenstermaker and Humphrey hooked up on another long pass, but this time the receiver, who was given the MVP award after the game, fumbled the ball away.

Oakfield-Alabama couldn't score and it was 7-3 at the break.

After Jason Stanley popped off a 20-yard run, the Hornets started off a series of scoring with a play-action touchdown pass. A.J. Kehlenbeck faked the hand-off and lofted a ball up fro Tyler Kowalczyk, who hauled in the 30-yarder for a score. That gave O-A a 10-7 advantage.

Fenstermaker then found Humphrey and he took it 54-yards for a touchdown, and the Hornets answered right back with a score when Stanley broke a 57-yard run, meaning Oakfield-Alabama had a 17-13 lead after three quarters of play.

The Oatkan Knights took the lead back when Fenstermaker hooked up with Quentin Humphrey on two passes, including a fourth-and-7, and John Casper scored a 1-yard touchdown.

Then, the biggest play of the game happened.

Le Roy was kicking off and bounced the ball off of one of the up-men, then recovered the onside kick.

Alexander caught a 26-yard touchdown pass with just five minutes left, giving the Oatkan Knights the 10-point lead.

O-A moved the ball a bit, but eventually turned it over on downs, meaning Le Roy wrapped up its 14th sectional title. 

And, they did it for Hooks.

John Koenig of O-A and Andrew Miller of Le Roy were given the sportsmanship award and Le Roy's Eric Stella was the game's top offensive lineman.

Fenstermaker, who had 28 rushing yards and went 15-of-19 passing for 201 yards and two touchdowns, was the game's most outstanding offensive back.

O-A's Chris Williams was the top defensive lineman and Derek Hicks was the top defensive back.

Humphrey was the MVP, catching 12 passes for 153 yards and the touchdown.

 

November 6, 2008 - 10:10pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in football, Le Roy, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

 I didn't know who the older man that was always at Le Roy practices for a few years. All I knew was that he seemed very nice and the kids liked him.

A few years back, he came up to me and shook my hand. He told me how much he appreciated what I did for the kids and how much he enjoyed reading my previews and coverage of Le Roy football.

That was the beginning of my relationship with Don "Hooks" Robertson.

I spend a lot of time at Le Roy games and practices during football season because it is the top program in this area, so I have gotten to know a lot of great people over the years.

Hooks is one of the most special.

I wrote a story about him in 2006 when he was battling cancer, and we became sort-of practice buddies after that. When the Oatkan Knights won the Class C title that year, the team gave the trophy to Hooks outside of the locker rooms at PAETEC Park, and the man was in his glory.

He had been through a lot, fighting off lung, throat, neck and back cancer. But when the kids that won that title showed him how much they appreciated what he had done, it was enough to render him speechless and make the tears stream down his face.

"It was a total shock to me," Robertson told me days after the contest. "I was thinking more about the kids and winning, not myself. I couldn't believe they gave me the trophy. Football is in my blood and I just broke down."

Hooks was back on the sidelines in 2007, and seemed to be in fairly good health. But the cancer had come back, not that he would ever talk about it. He always talked to me about football and the kids.

He passed away this summer.

I remember hearing that his days were numbered and wanted to get out and see him one last time. I had just had the first of two Carpal Tunnel surgeries when I heard his time was getting close. My second surgery came on the day that he died.

There were complications with the surgery and I was in a lot of pain. But I found myself thinking about Hooks more than the  minor health problems I was dealing with.

I never made it out to the funeral. It killed me, but I couldn't drive and getting a ride wound up being impossible. But in my mind, I was there.

Hooks is still with the Le Roy football team. Not physically, but so many players and coaches on that team have had special relationships with him that it is impossible for them not to think about him as Le Roy plays Oakfield-Alabama in the Class C finals Friday night.

I was never able to write about Hooks because of the surgery. But as the Oatkan Knights go into the finals, I find myself missing a good friend. Heck, I barely knew the man and I know how special he was. Just a good guy that loved Le Roy football and the kids that put in the effort. I couldn't even imagine what those close to him are feeling.

I put together a video that includes conversations with quarterback Travis Fenstermaker and coach Brian Moran, along with some amazing video of his grandson - Brock Pasquale - giving him the game ball after scoring a touchdown in the playoffs.

 

 

 

(special thank you to Ed Henry from www.leroyfootball.com for some video footage and photos) 

November 6, 2008 - 7:21pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in football, Le Roy, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

 Oakfield-Alabama (9-0) vs. Le Roy (9-0)

6 p.m. Friday, PAETEC Park

Oakfield-Alabama coach John Dowd has been saying for years that he wants to see his program have the wins, the respect and titles that Le Roy has.

There have been a couple Section 5 titles in there, and a couple of trips beyond sectionals, into the state tournament. But there is still a bunch of work to be done to catch up to Le Roy's 13 sectional championships.

Dowd's team, with its powerful double-wing offensive system that drives defenses crazy, will have to beat the Oatkan Knights Friday night to claim a Class C championship and get closer to the level he's looking to reach.

O-A does not have the numbers Le Roy does and that will be evident when you take a look on the sidelines. The Hornets have a small coaching staff, and about 25 players on the squad. The Oatkan Knights will have over 40 players dressed and a larger coaching staff than some Division III college teams.

It is tough to call a team that is 9-0 and ranked sixth in the state an underdog, but you kind of have to when they are playing another 9-0 squad that is ranked second in the state and has one of the most storied histories of any program in the state.

The Hornets have been great in recent years, making the Class D finals in 2003 while winning the title in 2004 and 2006.

But the Oatkan Knights have 13 sectional championships, including 12 under the direction of coach Brian Moran.

The game features two big, physical offensive lines and that might be the biggest advantage Oakfield-Alabama has as Chris Williams and Craig Campbell were all-state linemen two years ago.

The Hornets will attempt to pound the ball with the double-wing, take time off the clock and capitalize with touchdowns. Eight minute drives resulting in points in the best way to keep Le Roy's offense off the field.

The Oatkan Knights will try to stop O-A on first and second down and force them to pass on third-and-long situations.

Tim Smith and Brad Riner have been a great one-two punch carrying the football, with Smith currently at 1,040 yards with 16 touchdowns and Riner at 890 yards with 12 TDs.

Le Roy will be doing the opposite on the offensive side of the ball.

Class C Offensive Player of the Year Travis Fenstermaker and wide receiver Mike Humphrey will look to attack an Oakfield-Alabama defense that is great at stopping the run, but has been passed on in a couple of recent games. Pembroke moved the ball through the air in Week 6 and Dansville had a lot of success in the opening round of sectionals.

Fenstermaker has 1,030 yards passing with 18 touchdowns and just three interceptions and Humphrey has caught 37 passes for 592 yards and 11 TDs.

Running back Andrew Alexander is coming off a 300-plus yard rushing performance against Letchworth in the semifinals, and will still get plenty of touches. He has 1,347 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns.

There isn't much of a history between these two teams. The last time they matched up was in 1999 in the Class C finals, with Le Roy winning 34-3.

 

 

November 5, 2008 - 2:24pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in football, Le Roy, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

 Back in 2002, the Le Roy football team went to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association semifinals.

We are still a few weeks away from this level of play, but both Le Roy and Oakfield-Alabama will get a shot to make the state final four.

That game was an epic one and one of the greatest high school football games every played, with powerhouse Onondaga beating the Oatkan Knights 13-10. 

Mike Hart - who went on to star at Michigan and is a rookie with the Indianapolis Colts this year - was the biggest name in New York football. He set all kinds of records and was an almost larger than life figure.

He didn't disappoint. Le Roy did a good job of holding him to just 123 yards and a touchdown, but the touchdown run came at the right time of the game. Late in the fourth quarter, Hart broke six tackles and ran it in from 63 yards to give Onondaga the trip to the finals, which they also won.

He also caused four turnovers on the defensive side of the ball.

Le Roy fans are as loyal as any and those that attended this game remember it as a tough loss for the kids, but also remember that they witnessed something special.

Here is a copy of Hart's amazing touchdown run.

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