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October 13, 2018 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, football.

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Wayland-Cohocton turned out to be a tough opponent for Le Roy to finish the season against, knocking the Knights to a 3-4 record with a 48-7 defeat.

For Le Roy, Cineque Robinson gained 86 yards on 14 carries. Jake Hill was 4-13 passing for 103 yeards and a TD. Nate Andrews made a 70-yard reception for a TD.

Bob Locke had 13 tackles and Anthony Leitten had eight.

In other Friday night football:

  • Alexander finishes the regular season with a 7-0 record after beating Perry (4-3) 26-0. Terrez Smith gained 122 yards on 24 carries. Dylan Busch was 7-15 for 144 yards and three TDs. Takari Lang-Smith had three receptions for 44 yards. Jake Jasen had eight tackles and a sack. The Trojans enter sections as the #1 see in Class D.
  • York/Pavilion beat Pembroke 38-13.
  • Batavia Notre Dame beat Bolivar-Richburg 49-28.
  • Batavia plays at Haverling today.

Photos by Ed Henry.

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Nate Andrews races to the end zone with a 70-yard TD reception.

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QB Jake Hill implores the Le Roy fans to be louder after tossing 70-yard TD pass to Nate Andrews.

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Andrew Kettle sweeps left for a nice gain for the Knights.

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Cole Rauscher smothers Way-Co RB Brandon DeGuarde.

October 6, 2018 - 5:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, Notre Dame, football, sports.

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Terrez Smith (top photo) carried the ball 20 times for 208 yards adn four touchdowns to help lead Alexander (6-0) to a 26-6 win over Notre Dame.

Dylan Busch was 3-6 passing and Jake Jasen had 23 tackles.

For Notre Dame (3-2), Jed Reece scored on a 40-yard run in the second quarter.

Alexander's Chris McClinic was injured on the Trojans' first possession and did not return to the game.

In other Friday night games:

Batavia beat Wellsville 61-7. Ray Leach carried the ball five times for 147 yards and four touchdowns. Alex Rood had five carries for 103 yards and two TDs. Ethan Biscaro, two rushes for 77 yards and a TD. Biscaro was 6-7 passing for 117 yards and three TDs. Andrew Frances had three receptions for 33 yards and TD. Taiyo Iburi Bethel had a 22-yard TD reception and Leach had a 58-yard TD reception. Rood had six tackles.

Le Roy beat Haverling 27-8. Jake Hill and Reece Tresco connected on four touchdown receptions.

Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen fell to Livonia, 33-20.

York/Pavilion beat Geneseo 48-8.

Pembroke lost to Canisteo-Greenwood, 48-14.

In eight-man football, Oakfield-Alabama/Elba beat GC Finney/Northstar 68-22. Ty Mott rushed for 150 yards on eight carries. OA-E is now 4-0 on the season.

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To purchase keepsake prints of game photos, click here.

September 29, 2018 - 12:52pm
posted by Steve Ognibene in batavia, Batavia HS, sports, football, news.

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Van Detta Stadium -- home for football, track and field, soccer and other sporting events -- has shared many memories in the last 90 years in Batavia.

The Batavia Blue Devils won their first game against Medina 31-0 on this day in 1928. Batavia faced Attica last night for its Homecoming game and won 49-6. The stadium, field, and track will get a complete makeover starting in the next couple weeks as construction will begin and be completed by August 2019. 

Batavia game highlights: Ray Leach scored four touchdowns on 13 carries for 280 yards. Ethan Biscaro was seven for eight, passing 137 yards.  Taiyo Iburi-Bethel had three catches for 79 yards. Josh Barber had 11 tackles.

Homecoming classes were announced at halftime. The 2019 Senior Class won Spirit Week with back-to-back consecutive Homecoming year wins. Senior Kristin Gloskowski was named Queen and Griffin Dellapenna was named King. Moments after being announced, Griffin then passed his crown hat to classmate Thomas Ognibene during the royalty announcements. 

The Batavia Varsity cheerleaders performed their routine followed by the pep band; then fans and alumni took to Woodward Field to honor its legacy. Carlyle M Johnson, 91, played football for Batavia High School and is pictured below with alumni.

Some history was read by announcer Paul Spiotta: “In 1927, the site of this field was given to Batavia City School District by Ernest L. Woodward and his wife, founder of Jell-O in Le Roy, through a friendship of Andrew J. McWaine, of Batavia. who was the publisher and owner of the Batavia Daily News.

"On Sept. 29 1928, the first Batavia football game was played and Batavia defeated Medina 31-1. In 1938, the current stadium was built. In 1974, the current stadium was named in honor of a special man, teacher, patriot, coach and friend, for the complete development of young people, a humanitarian who has left his mark on many men, Daniel A. Van Detta."

To view or purchase photos go here: https://steveognibenephotography.zenfolio.com/p403809773

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September 29, 2018 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, alexander.

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The Alexander Trojans, now 5-0, kept their perfect season going Friday night with a 36-14 win over Bishop Timon on Homecoming night.

Dylan Busch was 3-5, 68 yards passing with two TDs. Chris McClinic ran for 202 yards on 17 carries and two TDs. He also had three receptions for 68 yards and two TDs. Terrez Smith had eight carries for 84 yards and a TD. Tyrone Woods had five tackles and an interception.

Also Friday night:

  • York/Pavilion beat Cuba-Rushford 44-14
  • Letchworth/Warsaw beat Le Roy 35-7
  • Caledonia Mumford/Byron-Bergen beat Avon 20-14

Photos by Rick Franclemont. Click here for more photos from the game.

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September 28, 2018 - 11:32am

Press release:

Tonight at Van Detta Stadium, Batavia will play Attica in the last football game before construction starts next week on the new stadium. 

List of scheduled events:

  • 7 p.m. -- Football senior players will be recognized.
  • At halftime, Homecoming winners will be announced.
  • The Batavia High School Varsity cheerleaders will perform.
  • The pep band will play to lead alumni on the field.
  • Announcer Paul Spiotta will read a speech from the school district.
September 22, 2018 - 1:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, news, batavia, Batavia HS.


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The Batavia Blue Devils continued their dominance of opponents this season, this time with a 41-26 win over Windsor.

Ray Leach ran for 230 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries and added 97 more yards and a TD on four receptions, for 327 all-purpose yards.

Ethan Biscaro was 10-11 passing for 140 yards and two TDs.

Taiyo Iburi-Bethel had a 71-yard touchdown run.

Josh Barber had nine tackles, including a sack. Alex Rood and Ethan Biscaro each had eight tackles and a sack and Biscaro added an interception.

Also on Friday night, Alexander beat Bolivar-Richburg 52-0 and Pembroke lost to Perry/Mt. Morris 30-8.

UPDATE Saturday, Sept.22: Officials corrected the stats for Ethan Biscaro; the story originally stated he had a perfect 10-10 passing. The figure was revised today to 10-11.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

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September 22, 2018 - 1:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Le Roy, byron-bergen.

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Le Roy overcame its own mistakes and capitalized on the mistakes of the Red Raiders in a 15-7 win over their archrivals Friday night.

The Oatkan Nights limited Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen to 146 total yards on offense and snagged four interceptions, which helped negate Le Roy's own turnovers and opportunities squashed by penalties.

Kyler LaCarte rushed for 59 yards and a TD on 23 carries. Jake Hill gained 29 yards on nine carries, and Cineque Robinson scored a TD on three yards. Jake Hill was 12-16 passing for 97 yards. Reece Tresco caught four passes for 34 yards and Cody Lytle caught three for 43.

Anthony Leitten had six tackles and Bobby Locke had five tackles. Lytle had two interceptions. Tresco and Robinson (top photo) pulled down the other two interceptions.

For the Red Raiders, Bryce Yockel gained 106 yards.

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To purchase prints of photos, click here.

September 20, 2018 - 9:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, sports, football, flag football.

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The players participating in the first season of youth flag football in Batavia got a special visit after their practice yesterday at Williams Park, Batavia, from Preston Teague, director of community relations for the Buffalo Bills.

Otis Thomas, one of the parents who organized the new league in Batavia, sponsored by the NFL, said Teague has been instrumental in promoting flag football youth leagues in Western New York, and has been helpful and supportive in getting the program in Batavia started. Teague said there are now 6,000 children participating in NFL-sponsored leagues in WNY.

Teague came with swag, handing out a few prizes to players who provided correct answers to trivia questions about the Bills, including a game football, an autographed hat, and an autographed cleat. All of the players also got other items including rubber footballs, yearbooks, towels, stickers and magnets.

Previously: Pair of football dads bring new NFL flag football league to Batavia

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Carson Caton, 10, from Le Roy, won the game football, from the first game of the season, for knowing that Josh Allen is the highest drafted QB in Bills history.

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September 15, 2018 - 11:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia, Batavia HS.

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The Blue Devils dominated another good team on the gridiron Friday night, beating Letchworth-Warsaw 40-0.

Ray Leach, who said after the game he's feeling much better physically, rushed for 187 yards on 17 carries. He scored four touchdowns. Leach also had two receptions for 38 yards giving him 225 all-purpose yards for the game.

Alex Rood added another 75 yards to the ground game on 10 carries. Taiyo Iburi‐Bethel had five receptions for 45 yards. Andrew Francis lone reception was for a nine-yard touchdown. Ethan Biscaro was 10-13 passing for 112 yards and a TD. He also rushed for 34 yards. Josh Barber and Cody Burns led the defense with six tackles each.

"They are a good football team," Coach Brennen Briggs said of Letchworth-Warsaw, now 2-1. "I think they're going to have a good run. I think they're going have a very good season. But again, we know we've got some big boys.

"We've got some powerful kids. We've got some kids that like to hit. We have some athletes out here and you know I think that they showed that tonight."

In other Friday night football action:

In the game a lot of people are talking about today, Alexander beat Geneseo 90-14. With his team up 60-14 at the half, Coach Tim Sawyer offered to let the clock run in the second half and Geneseo's coach, Tim Dolgos, refused the rule modification.  In the second half, Alexander, now 3-0, played its second and third-string players and outscored Geneseo 40-0. Chris McClinic scored three TDs and rushed for 157 yards on only four carries. He also had two receptions for 82 yards and a TD. Terrez Smith had six carries for 72 yards and two TDs. He also had a 73-yard kickoff return for a TD. Robert Fazzio had eight carries for 66  yards and a TD. JJ Goodenbury had five carries for 42 yards and a TD.  Ty Woods had two carries for 27 yards and TD receptions. Josh Devries had three receptions for 80 yards and a TD. QB  Dylan Busch was 7-8 passing for 211 yards and four touchdowns.  Jake Jasen had eight tackles, Woods seven plus a sack and a forced fumble. Hayden Walton had seven tackles.

Oakfield-Alabama/Elba opened its inaugural eight-man football season with a 46-30 win over CG Finney/Northstar. It was the first eight-man game in Section V in nearly 50 years. Colton Dillon had two TD runs. He had 188 yards rushing on 16 carries. Ty Mott scored twice and Gage Dieterle, Ty Kropelin, and Jayden Hughes also scored. Peyton Yasses had 13 tackles and Dieterle had 11.

Notre Dame beat Cuba-Rushford 20-9. Gabe McDonald had 27 carries, 201 yards, and two TDs. Tim Klotzbach had 36 yards rushing with a touchdown and 43 yards passing. Cody Henry had eight tackles and an interception and Gabe McDonald had 7 tackles with an interception.

Attica beat Le Roy 21-20. Jake Hill was 9-16 for 89 yards passing and Kyler LaCarte was 3-4 passing for 77 yards and two TDs. Hill rushed for 65 yards on 14 carries and LaCarte had 53 yards and a TD on 10 carries. Alex Bordonaro had seven tackles, Cole Rauscher, six, and Anthony Leitten, six.

Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen beat St. Mary's 35-12.

No score available for Perry/Mt. Morris vs. York/Pavilion.

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The Blue Devils honored first responders, veterans and active military on Friday night, which included free admission, a hot dog and drink, and end-zone seats.

To purchase prints, click here.

September 12, 2018 - 7:10am

Press release:

This Friday, Sept. 14th, the Batavia Blue Devils Football Team and its supporters would like to recognize all those who have worn or currently wear a military or first responder uniform by inviting them to come to the home game.

Any military personnel, police officer, firefighter or first responder will get free admission (with proof of ID) as well as a complementary hot dog and drink. They will also be seated in the end zone; and to thank them for their service, they will be honored at approximately 7:15 p.m. prior to the start of the game.

Vandetta Stadium is located at 120 Richmond Avenue in the City of Batavia.

September 8, 2018 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Le Roy.

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The Oatkan Knights had a chance to win their home opener against the Wellsville Lions at Hartwood Park on Friday night but didn't make the plays they needed to make.

That will be an area of focus in the coming week of practice, said Head Coach Brian Herdlein after the game.

"The biggest thing is they came out and they (Wellsville) wanted to play tonight," Herdlein said. "I thought that we came out a little bit slow. You know they stayed in the game which gave them a lot of confidence. We had some opportunities to make plays that we didn't make...."

The final score was 12-7.

For Le Roy, Kyle LaCarte carried the ball 18 times for 85 yards. At QB, Jake Hill was 10-22 for 139 yards and TD. He was picked off twice. Cody Lytle lead the receivers with six receptions for 67 yards and a TD.

The Knights are a young team and Wellsville seemed to have the size advantage but Herdlein didn't think that made a big difference in the game. Technique and execution can overcome size.

"I do think up front that they beat us up a little bit today and again we'll look at the film and we'll see what we have to do to make adjustments," Herdlein said.

Le Roy is now 1-1 on the season. After two weeks of ball, Herdlein sees room for improvement.

"We have we have some young guys hopefully they learn from this," Herdlein said. "I don't think that we had the best week of practice and I told the guys that. Hopefully, we can come back and have a better practice.

The team is going to work on being more focused and disciplined, Herdlein said.

"Like I said, there were definitely opportunities where we had a chance to make plays," Herdlein said. "It was maybe little alignment issues that we weren't doing right or some plays that we weren't running correctly and we just need to tighten those things up."

In other Friday night action:

  • Batavia beat Livonia 26-14. Alex Rood carried the ball 22 times for 121 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 11 tackles. Ethan Biscaro was 11-14 passing for 194 yards and a TD. Taiyo Iburi‐Bethel had five receptions for 87 yards and Andrew Frances had three receptions for 65 yards and a TD.
  • Alexander crushed Canisteo-Greenwood 28-0. Chris McClinic carried the ball 15 times for 147 yards and three TDs. Dylan Busch tossed a TD pass to Takari Lang-Smith. The defense held Canisteo to 50 yards rushing. Jake Jasen and Hayden Walton each had six tackles.
  • York/Pavilion beat Bolivar-Richburg 32-0.
  • Pembroke fell to Cuba-Rushford 26-14.
  • Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen fell to Letchworth/Warsaw 14-0.

There are no local football games today. Notre Dame has no game this week because Oakfield-Alabama/Elba switched to eight-man football.

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September 1, 2018 - 10:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, news, Notre Dame, football.

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The Fighting Irish battled the heat, their own mistakes, a good Canisteo-Greenwood, and to some partisan eyes, some questionable penalty calls but in the end the home team came out top.

Notre Dame beat the Redskins 31-25, scoring the winning touchdown on a five-yard reception by Zach Cocking (top photo) with 30 seconds left on the clock.

"We persevered and one thing I've been telling these kids all year is to believe in themselves," said Head Coach Joe Zambito, who notched his first win in his first official game at the helm. "It was something in previous years that they would get down and they would hang their hat and they just would quit. Today, they wouldn't quit and they kept coming back and they kept coming back and you know a lot of things didn't go our way today. But at the end of the day, we had the ball last and we were the last team to score and we made it happen."

Zambito said it was a team effort and many ways it was but Gabe McDonald had a special game, going for 210 yards on 23 carries leading to two touchdowns.

Tim Klotzbach was 12-21 and 147 yards at QB, tossing two TDs. He also had three interceptions.

His favorite target was Cocking, who had seven catches for 82 yards and that game-winning reception in the end zone.

The defense was lead by Lucas Calarco and Dakota Sica, who had nine tackles each. McDonald had seven and one interceptions.

There was little scoring in the first half and the Irish took an 8-0 lead into the locker room at the half. After the Redskins scored to make it 8-6, Zambito sensed his team was playing a little flat. He mentioned to a coach at that point that here they were with the lead but the team looked like they were losing.

"Bad habits are hard to break," Zambito said. "They've had two wins in two years and they're just not used to being the dominating team on the field. They're not used to being ahead. They're used to playing from way behind. I think that played a role in it but as the game went on I think they realized that we had a shot."

Zambito would like to keep the momentum going but Notre Dame gets an usual bye next week because Oakfield-Alabam/Elab dropped out of 11-man football just before the season started, leaving a hole in the schedule (O-A/Elba elected to play eight-man football). His team, he believes, that with day-by-day improvement, they do indeed have a shot at post-season play.

"Yeah, I think we've got a shot to get to sectionals," Zambito said. "I mean this Canisteo-Greenwood team is a good football team and obviously Alexander is just phenomenal. But I think we have a shot to get to sectionals and we know what do we have to do. We have to limit our turnovers we have to limit our penalties. Our mistakes. We have to play mistake-free football but then again we didn't do that today at all and we still managed to come out of here with a win. And it's all because they persevered."

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To purchase prints, click here.

September 1, 2018 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia, Batavia HS, news.

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The Batavia Blue Devils have a message for the rest of Section V Class B: We're coming for the block.

They delivered that message loud and clear last night to #2 ranked Hornell (Batavia is ranked #1), the team that took the block (the Section V sectional trophy) from them in 2017, with a convincing 48-14 win at home.

The Blue Devils relished the win against a perennial Class B rival and Southern Tier powerhouse.

"It means a lot," said senior QB Ethan Biscaro. "To lose last year (in the Section V title game) and have them open up here at home, it couldn’t have been any better."

The message the rest of the class might want to heed is the 2018 Blue Devils are more than their two-time All-Greater-Rochester star Ray Leach. This team has weapons in players like Biscaro, Alex Rood, and Cody Burns who can also chew up yards and put points on the board.

Batavia had 379 total yards on the ground. Rood carried the ball 13 times for 168 yards and a TD. Burns had five carries for 95 yards and a TD. And Leach ran 14 times for 88 yards and two TDs.

Biscaro was also 3-5 passing for 32 yards and a TD. Burns had the TD reception.

Head Coach Brennan Briggs can't deny he's excited by the talent on the team but he also pointed out, it's one game, it's early in the season, the team still has a lot to learn and improve on and if they don't improve every week they won't be able to handle the rigors of post-season play.

"I'm never going to get complacent with where we are I can guarantee that," Briggs said. "I'll be watching film tonight. I'll be watching it tomorrow morning. I'll be going down watching Lavonia a couple hours away tomorrow. So we'll we'll have his team ready to go next week and we'll fix our mistakes and hopefully get better every day."

Briggs is never going to come into a game expecting his team to lose, even against a team like Hornell, but he did not predict a blow-out win.

"I still don't know if the score tells the true story," Briggs said. "You know, as the season goes on we'll see. This is a great win. But you know it's going to be more important if we see them in the sectionals, sometime in the sectional tournament, to see if we play our best game against them."

Rood and Leach, along with Briggs, gave all the credit to the offensive line for the team's dominant performance offensively.

"They did a fantastic job and we're tough on them," Briggs said. "We're as tough on them as any of the positions on the team because we told them, 'hey you know you win or lose games up front.' They take pride in it. They're a brotherhood."

For Burns, a junior, this was a break-out game. At 5'6", he's one of the smallest players on the field but he plays big. And he's fast. He scored his TD on a busted play where the offensive line pushed left and he ran right. By the time the Hornell defense realized it was following the line and not the ball, it was too late. Burns was gone. Nobody could catch him. He streaked more than 60 yards untouched for a TD.

On defense, he started at linebacker. Yes, at 150 pounds, linebacker.

"On defense, he plays tough," Briggs said. "He's not big at all but he'll bring it. He's ready to go bust the wedge on kickoff or knock their teeth in."

This season was also a test for the home team. They had to show they could overcome off-season turmoil and focus on football.

A month ago, Leach and teammate Antwan Odom got into a fight on Ross Street. Odom is accused of pulling out a pocket knife and stabbing Leach at least 10 times, leaving him with eight wounds that required stitches.

Briggs said his players did a good job of keeping the off-field antics out of the locker room and off the practice field.

"Everybody really put it behind them," Briggs said. "It's an unfortunate thing, but you know we're here now and we're living in the moment and moving forward."

Leach said he's feeling much better and came into the game ready for the season.

"I just had to stay positive and lean on my teammates," Leach said. "My teammates picked me up and I just had to work hard and practice on whatever little things I can do."

Also in Genesee County football on Friday: 

  • Alexander beat York-Pavilion 50 to 12. Chris McClinic had 11 carries for 149 yards and 1 TD run and 1 kick return for TD. Terrez Smith rushed five times for 146 yards and three touchdowns. Ty Woods hauled in three passes for 64 yards and a TD. QB Dylan Busch was 6-7 for 81 yards and a TD. Jake Jasen had 19 tackles. He also rushed three times for 15 yards and TD late in the game.
  • Geneseo beat Pembroke 30-9.
  • Le Roy beat Avon 47-13. Le Roy's offense rolled up 413 total yards. Cineque Robinson had 11 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown, Jake Hill had eight rushes for 93 yards and two TDs, Kyler LaCarte picked up 62 yards on 13 touches and scored twice. Hill was 5-10 passing for  60 yards and TD. Anthony Leitte led the team with seven tackles.

Top Photo: Biscaro (#8) and Burns (#12) celebrate after Burns scored a TD on a busted play.

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Alex Rood

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Ethan Biscaro scores.

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Ray Leach just about to cross the goal line on the second of his two TDs.

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Rood with a tackle in the backfield. He had eight tackles to lead the team Friday.

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Rood breaks away for another TD.

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Cody Burns

To purchase prints for photos, click here.

August 23, 2018 - 2:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia, Batavia HS, batavia bulldawgs.

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The Batavia Blue Devils hosted the Batavia Bulldawgs for their annual "Blue Devils Experience" at Van Detta Stadium in Batavia on Wednesday night.

The Blue Devils open their season Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m., at home against Hornell.

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July 23, 2018 - 3:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia.

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Batavia High School's football Head Coach Brennan Briggs ran a football camp last week and 40 young players turned out to learn more about the game. Current Blue Devils staff, along with former and current players, assisted with the camp.

Submitted photo.

July 18, 2018 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Notre Dame, news, sports, football.

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It's been a busy football summer for Mason Randall, who will be a junior at Notre Dame High School this year.

He's established himself as a legitimate contender for a Division 1 roster spot.

Last month, he was number one, with the highest score of all lineman, participating at the sections 5 and 6 NYS High School Football Coaches Association Combine held at Fairport High School.

That earned him an invitation to the “Elite Showcase,” held at Ithaca College this past weekend, where he showed off his skills along with 250 of the state's best high school football players.

His father, Doug Randall, said the combine went really well:

The coaches from the colleges and high schools were very positive and offered a lot of tips and advice to the young men including the importance of their high school grades. 

The participants were broken up into smaller specialty groups to work with various college coaches. They were warmed up and given instruction and demonstration in proper technique and then they put those instructions to use in someone on one competition.

At the end of the showcase, the students were given the opportunity to meet one on one with all the coaches and ask questions about the different programs and schools in hopes of cultivating an invitation to play for them. 

Notre Dame's incoming Head Coach Joe Zambito said he's very fortunate to be taking over a team with a player like Mason on it, along with a group of linemen who are all impressive in size and ability.

"We have a really good line coming back Mason is a great student-athlete," Zambito said. "He’s unbelievable to coach and I’m lucky enough that in my first year I get to coach guys like him."

He said Mason's showing at the combines is really impressive.

"He beat some guys who already have Division I scholarships," Zambito said. "It goes to show you how hard he’s worked in the off-season to get himself in shape and in place to become an elite lineman, not only in GR but in New York State.

Mason said it feels great to get the recognition he's received and earning a D1 scholarship is one of his football dreams.

"Division I highest level," Mason said. "I’ve always loved football. My dad’s always loved football and everybody else in my family. Nobody in my family has ever gone D1. I had a couple of grandfathers go D2, but it would be so great to be able to go D1."

July 17, 2018 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, sports, football, flag football.

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When 8-year-old Gunnar came to his father and said he didn't want to play tackle football anymore, Otis Thomas listened. He also remembered a commercial for a youth flag football program sponsored by the NFL that he had seen during the Super Bowl a couple of years ago.

Thomas talked with Kevin Rogers and they agreed to apply to the NFL to set up a league in Batavia.

It was a very easy process, they said. The NFL provides a step-by-step guide and the staff is helpful and friendly, they said.

So, Batavia will have an NFL-sponsored flag football program for children ages 5 to 14 this fall; "no contact, 6 on 6."

Thomas said it's not his goal to take anything away from the Batavia Bulldawgs, the local tackle football program, but he believes there are a lot of parents in the community who want to give their children a fun activity and see them learn the sport but don't want to strap a heavy helmet on their heads.

"I don’t want to pull away from anything the Bulldawgs organization has done around Batavia," Thomas said. "I coached for two years. It was good for me. It was good for my son but it’s also good to see other opportunities for other kids that aren’t ready to play contact football."

Both Thomas and Rogers are aware, of course, about the growing concern parents have about football, concussions, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. 

"I just wanted my son to play all the sports that I never had a chance to," said Rogers, who didn't come from a football family and didn't play the sport as a child. "Now, as a parent, you sort of see where my parents were coming from growing up, where it’s a little bit more violent of a sport than we’re used to, especially for young kids, ages 5 to 14. Their bodies are still developing. We wanted to start something to give the kids options who want to learn the sport."

The field dimensions are smaller, 30 yards by 70 yards, which will allow the new league to play as many as five games at one time on the varsity football field at Notre Dame High School off of Union Avenue.

The games consist of two 15-minute halves between teams of six players each. They will be played on Sunday mornings so parents can get home in time to watch the Bills. There will be one practice a week -- one hour on Wednesday nights. Each child who signs up, for $65, will get a replica NFL jersey and a pair of flags with their team's logo on it.

There are no helmets.

"I don’t really agree with putting a 5- or a six-year-old or a 7- or 8-year-old in a helmet," said Thomas, who played in Batavia Youth Football as a kid, played in high school, and played semi-pro ball.

"We teach them, 'don’t use your head' but you put that helmet on, it’s a weight. You can see it. Go to any little Pop Warner game and you see a kid running by himself for a touchdown he’s leaning to the left but his body is really wanting to go to the right."

Rogers said he and Thomas have talked to 30 or 40 parents and gotten a lot of positive feedback on the idea, so they're expecting plenty of children to sign up.

They think even though there is no contact, young players will learn key fundamentals of the game that will help them if they decide to play high school football, including the vocabulary of the game, the rules and how plays are run.

The safety aspect of flag football is why Thomas thinks the sport will catch on in the community, though he said it is an individual decision for each parent on whether to sign their kids up for contact football or flag football.

"I love the game but I love the safety and I value my kid's life a little bit more," Thomas said.

The co-ed league is open to boys and girls age 5 to 13 from throughout the area, with divisions for ages 5, 6 and 7, 8 and 9, 10 and 11, and 12 and 14.

Please contact Otis Thomas at (585) 993-0244 or Kevin Rogers at (716) 860-4551 with any questions.

(Thomas and Rogers said they are not aware of any other NFL flag football leagues in WNY. They think the next closest one is in Ohio. They hope other parents will start leagues in neighboring counties.)

There will be registration sessions at:

  • Dick's Sporting Goods on Veterans Memorial Drive -- this Saturday, July 21, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Tuesday, July 24, 4 to 7 p.m.;
  • Batavia City Centre --  tomorrow, Thursday, July 19, and Thursday, July 26, 4 to 7:30 p.m. both days;
  • T.F. Brown's restaurant -- this Saturday, July 21 and the folllowing Saturday, July 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days.
July 16, 2018 - 5:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, football, news.

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"A Knight's Journey" is a book meant to carry its readers on a trip through the history of Le Roy Oatkan Knights football but in writing it, the authors, Jim Bonacquisti and John Mangefrida, traveled their own path of discovery, going deeper and learning more about a subject they had known their whole lives.

It was meaningful to Bonacquisti to learn more about some of the great Knights' coaches of the past, such as Edward Refsteck, Ed Walsh and Jimmy Brown, but the learning more about two former Knights who gave their lives for others really touched him.

"John Aramino and Gary Scott, those two stories, I mean I knew of both of them, but when you start to do the research about what heroes they were, I really thought it was important, specifically those two, for our young, not even just football players, but our young kids of this community to know about them because it's so long ago," Bonacquisti said. "It's 50, 60 years and these were selfless acts that these two did. It's incredible. The common bond is they were both Knight football players."

Aramino was still in school when he and some friends went out to target shoot around Buttermilk Falls in May 1961. A couple of the boys were on the tracks when a train came along, surprising the boys. A younger boy tried to run from the train and Aramino jump on him, forcing him to the ground between the rails and covered him with his body. Aramino was killed instantly.

After graduating from Syracuse, Gary Scott, who was Knights' team captain in 1962 and the second graduate to win the John Aramino Award, joined the Army and volunteered for the infantry, thinking combat was the quickest route to promotion, and as an African-American he felt blacks were underrepresented in leadership roles in the military. He was killed in action in 1968, saving a fellow soldier's life when their platoon was ambushed and winning the Silver Star as a result.

For Mangefrida the discovery of Reginald D. Root and his story and accomplishments was a gem to research. 

Root was a 1920 graduate of Le Roy. He won a scholarship to Yale where he excelled academically and was a standout at football and lacrosse. After graduation, he was selected by the U.S. ambassador to Mexico to travel to the University of Mexico and start an American-style football team. He coached that team for two years before returning to Yale to become the freshman football head coach. In 1933, he became varsity head coach but his 4-4 record disappointed alumni and he was replaced before the start of the 1934 season. 

He stayed on at Yale for eight more years as a coach and instructor. After Yale, he became athletic director at Hillhouse High School, where mentored a young football player by the name of Levi Jackson. Jackson would become Yale's first African-American football player and eventually Ford Motor Company's first African-American executive.

"I had no idea about what an influence Reggie Root was," Mangefrida said. "Not only was he a good player here. He was an all-star student. ... He was just an outstanding individual and I never knew anything about him."

"A Knight's Journey" was inspired by a book about Cal-Mum's program but the authors wanted to go deeper, telling the stories of the young men and coaches who passed through the program, Bonacquisti. 

The stories come together to weave a tale of Oatkan Knights' football from its beginning in 1897 through today.

"The other thing which was really cool was to listen to what former players had to say about their coaches," Bonacquisti said. "There are some funny stories but maybe more important is how prominent they (the coaches) were in their lives, even if it was only two years, three years, four years; what a positive effect that the coaches here had on young man's life. That's pretty cool."

To make arrangements to purchase a copy of the book, email Bonacquisti at [email protected].

June 20, 2018 - 2:52pm

The Batavia Blue Devils Youth Football Camp will be held on Monday and Tuesday, July 16-17, behind Batavia High School, located at 260 State St. in the City of Batavia.

Time is 9 to 11:30 a.m. both days.

Cost is $40.

It is for students entering grades one through eight in the fall.

Hosted by Head Coach Brennan Briggs and the BHS Football staff.

Bring shorts, T-shirt, cleats and water bottle.

Register by July 5 to guarantee correct T-shirt size.

Make checks payable to:  Blue Devils Touchdown Club

Mail payment and the following information to Brennan Briggs, 103 Oak St., Batavia  NY 14020 OR  to: Batavia Middle School, 96 Ross St., Batavia NY 14020, ATTEN: Brennan Briggs.

  • Name of Camper
  • Camper is entering Grade ___
  • Emergency Contact Name and Phone Number
  • T-shirt Size: ADULT ___ Or  YOUTH ___

The camp will feature: speed challenge; flag football games at the end of each day; current BHS football players, as well as alumni will speak and work with campers; T-shirts distributed and pizza after Tuesday's camp.

Here's the breakdown of what will be taught for each position; all drills will be modified for age groups:

  • Quarterbacks -- Hand placement, 3-step, 5-step, footwork drills, throwing mechanics, and ball-handling drills;
  • Wide Receivers -- Stance, start, footwork drills, hand drills, route running;
  • Running Backs -- Stance, start, footwork drills, run blocking, pass blocking;
  • Offensive Line -- Stance, start, run-blocking drills, pass-blocking drills;
  • Linebackers -- Stance, start, footwork drills, tackling-form drills, run stopping, pass defending;
  • Defensive Backs -- Stance, start, footwork drills, man coverage, zone coverage, pass defending;
  • Defensive Line -- Stance, start, 1 v. 1 drills, speed and quickness off the ball.

The Batavia Blue Devils are 3-peat Section V Class B Champions.

June 1, 2018 - 1:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, golf, blue devils, football, batavia.

The sixth annual Batavia Football Golf Outing will be held on Saturday, July 21, at Batavia Country Club. It is located at 7909 Batavia Byron Road, Batavia.

Cost is $90 per golfer / $360 per foursome.

There's a shotgun start format starting at 8 a.m.; registration is 7:15-7:45 a.m.

Price includes:

  • Batavia Blue Devils football goodie bag
  • 18 holes of golf with cart
  • Beverages
  • Hot dog/beverage at the turn
  • Dinner
  • Raffles to follow

Questions? Contact Brennan Briggs at 409-5557.

If you would like to sponsor a hole or make a donation for the raffle, please contact Brennan Briggs.

Payment and registration is due by July 13. Please provide names of players and preferred T-shirt size.

Make checks payable to: Blue Devils Touchdown Club.

Mail to:

Brennan Briggs

8 Woodland Drive

Batavia, NY 14020

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