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semipro football

Genesee County Spartans set high standards as they prepare for 2024 football season

By Mike Pettinella
Harry Rascoe
Harry Rascoe

Supported by a newly formed board of directors that is committed to establishing a sense of pride in the organization, the Genesee County Spartans are back for a second season of competition in the Northeastern Football Alliance.

Harry Rascoe, (photo at right), vice president/head of football operations and head coach, said all members of the semipro team – players, coaches, directors and game-day volunteers – will be held to a higher standard for the 2024 campaign, which gets underway on June 1 against the visiting Lockport Wildcats.

The Spartans will be playing their home games at the Town of Pembroke football field, just down the road from Pembroke High School on Route 77. All home games will be on Saturdays, starting at 3:30 p.m.

In an interview with The Batavian on Tuesday, Rascoe acknowledged the disciplinary and behavior issues that surfaced toward the end of last season. He said all those associated with the club will be required to abide by two codes of conduct – one instituted by the Spartans and the other developed by the NFA.

“It’s not just a question of talent – and we definitely have some talented players, it’s much more than that,” Rascoe said. “We need a good core of coaches and men; people of character as we look to emulate the (Batavia) Muckdogs (baseball team) as a respected, staple of the community.”

Rascoe said 39 players are under contract for the season, many of them from Batavia High, Notre Dame and other local schools. The team’s kicker is Julie Petry, who made her mark as the Blue Devils’ placekicker during the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

“We’re glad to have Julie on the team, considering the job she did while at Batavia,” Rascoe said.

Jed Reese
Jed Reese

Key skill players on offense include running backs Jzhon Henderson, whose father, Jermaine, will be serving on the board and also assisting with the defense, and Jed Reese (photo at left), a Notre Dame grad who played at Mansfield University last season.

Currently, Alex Rood (Batavia) and Corey Turpin from Buffalo are battling for the starting quarterback position.

“We also have signed 6-3 and 6-4 receivers in Deyonci Farley of Albion and Julio Gambino of Buffalo,” Rascoe noted. “Last year, we lacked possession receivers who could run.”

Rob Thurston Jr., another Batavia graduate, is the tight end.

Rascoe said the club has put in a new offense, similar to Batavia High’s system that features a short-to-intermediate passing game.

Gunner Rapone
Gunner Rapone

On defense, Gunner Rapone (Batavia) returns after capturing NFA Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2023.

Kaden Marucci
Kaden Marucci

Kaden Marucci, another former Blue Devil, is a stalwart on the defensive side of the ball.

Rapone (photo at right), Rood, offensive tackle Jordan Chambers (Gouverneur) and lineman Baylee Vercruysee (Medina) have been named co-captains.

Jermaine Henderson, who was a Division I running back at the University of Maine after a fine career at Batavia High, said he’s witnessed the team coming together as a unit during practice.

The Spartans host a scrimmage game against the Auburn Pride at 3:30 p.m. on May 11.

“The team’s morale is great and the environment, overall, has really improved,” he said.

Board President Tammy Hathaway said she’s confident that county businesses will rally around the Spartans. She said the team’s sponsors include House of Bounce, Iron Reps Gym, Get Sealed, Ridans Sports Bar and Ken Mistler, and more will be announced over the next few weeks.

Tammy and Jermaine
Board President Tammy Hathaway and Director/Defensive Assistant Jermaine Henderson. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

“We are building on the best of what we learned last year and will be adding on to make this a team that the community can be proud of,” she said.

Sponsorship information can be found on the Genesee County Spartans Facebook page.

Rounding out the coaching staff are Craig Tiberio, defensive coordinator; Jon Grand, defensive assistant, and Burton Howell, offensive coordinator. Lauren Donovan is the board secretary and marketing/media coordinator.

Also on the board of directors are Marc Anthony Bucci, treasurer; Terry Smith, player accountability; Otis Thomas and Victor Thomas.

The Spartans’ final fundraiser is scheduled for May 25 – a golf tournament at Davis Country Meadows in Pavilion.

Genesee County Spartans’ schedule:

May 11, scrimmage, Auburn Pride

June 1 Lockport Wildcats

June 8 at Rochester Chargers

June 15 at East Coast Blue Devils

June 22 at Watertown Red & Black

June 29 Rochester Chargers

July 13 at Lockport Wildcats

July 20 Ithaca Warriors

July 27 East Coast Blue Devils

Genesee County Spartans’ roster:

No. Name Position (If determined)
0 Jedidiah Reese RB
1 Tai Reffell-Pugh
2 Alex Rood QB
3 Deyonci Farley WR
5 Rayshawn Huitt
6 Patrick Krantz DB
7 Gunner Rapone DT
8 Ryley Elliott DL
9 Marley English LB
10 Eric Snell OLB
11 Max Rapone LB
12 Corey Turpin QB
13 Kaden Marucci LB
14 Jzhon Henderson RB
15 Devan Flanagan
17 Nick Santos
19 Jalen White
20 Jzon Richardson WR
21 Delonta Curry LB
22 Cody Wenner WR
23 Kristopher Geising C
24 Michael Jamar Floyd DT
25 Dontre Woods LB
28 Keith Neureuter DE
29 Marcos Velazquez
33 Robert Thurston Jr. TE
40 Matthew Dillon LB
41 Nick Figlow
44 Brian Calderon
45 Amir Cleveland S
52 Jordan Chambers OL
54 Nick Mitchell
56 Steve Kowalczyk OL
60 Thomas Richmond
70 Timothy King OL
71 Anthony Natrigo OL
75 Austyn Fernandez OL
78 Baylee Vercruysse LB
93 Randy Reiner DL

Genesee County Spartans' home opener moved up to this Saturday at Genesee Community College field

By Press Release

Press release:


Genesee Region football fans will have their chance to root for the home team -- the Genesee County Spartans -- sooner than expected.

Spartans Head Coach Harry Rascoe announced that the first-year semipro squad will open its season this Saturday, with kickoff set for 2 p.m. at Genesee Community College’s new football stadium (located behind the Richard C. Call Arena).

“We had a team drop out of our league and we were able to pick up a game on Saturday against the Buffalo-based New York Falcons of the Gridiron Developmental Football League,” Rascoe said. “We’re excited to finally get out in front of the community.”

The non-league game is sponsored by Iron Reps Gym of Le Roy. Admission is $5. Children under 12 will be admitted at no charge.

Rascoe said the offense will be guided by quarterback Joe Canzoneri, who will be looking to get the ball into the hands of runners and receivers Rob Williams, Alex Rood, Brandon Bethel and Jed Reese.

The defense is led by defensive ends T.J. Henderson and Gunner Rapone, who combined for four sacks, three forced fumbles and 10 tackles in an exhibition game two weeks ago in Watertown.

“We lost the game, but it was a good learning experience,” Rascoe noted. “We definitely will be able to build from it.”

The remainder of the Spartans’ schedule is as follows:

June 10 – at Lockport, 7 p.m.
June 17 – home vs. Ithaca, 7 p.m.
June 24 – home vs. Broome County, 7 p.m.
July 15 – at Broome County, 7 p.m.
July 22 – home vs. Lockport, 7 p.m.
Aug. 5 – at Ithaca, 7 p.m.

For more information about the team, including how to become a sponsor, go to the team’s Genesee County Spartans Facebook page or contact Rascoe at

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