Brandon Klinkbeil hands off to Jake Whiting (27)
fullback Steve Angora blocks for Mike Farabella (10)
2003 edition of the LeRoy football Knights undoubtedly have
a tough act to follow after last year's stellar season. 2002
saw the Knights come within minutes of knocking off the vaunted
Onondaga Central Tigers at the Carrier Dome in one of the most
exciting state semis ever played. The stars of 2002 are gone
- 4 all-state first-teamers (Shaughnessy, Fulmer, Syracuse,
and Miller) and another player that easily could have been named
all-state as well, Jason Hodge. The 2003 Knights have heard
all summer that the talent pool at LeRoy has moved from the
deep end to the shallow end. Word is that the big name players
and the big time wins are a thing of the past. The seniors on
this year's team, 22 in total, have heard that the team is as
shaky as the stock market. These same seniors, who have lost
but one game in their last 2 seasons of football (20-1), have
taken the gloomy forecast for the team to heart. The marquee
names may have graduated but the marquee program is intact.
The experience, heart, tenacity, coaching, and year long preparation
are all in place. The desire to prove that LeRoy football is
alive and well is apparent in the tough practices and hard-hitting
scrimmages. Look for the 2003 Knights to develop their own identity
with the same results of years past - wins on the gridiron.
the team again will be Head Coach Brian Moran who is 111-34-2
since his arrival in 1989. In his 14 previous seasons Brian
has earned more sectional football crowns than any coach in
Section 5 history - 9. The school ranks 4th in total sectional
football titles (10) trailing only the elite programs of Clyde-Savannah
(13), Cal-Mum (12), and Fairport (11). The 2003 Class C crown
looks to arrive once more for a Route 5 school as Cal-Mum, Avon,
Pembroke, as well as the Knights, will be the top contenders
in the C classification. Returning to aid Moran are the duo
of Offensive Coordinator Chris Cappotelli and Defensive Coach
Extraordinaire Andrew Paladino. The offenses have been explosive
and the defenses stingy as heck over the years due to the hard
work and dissection of scouting info by these two fine coaches.
Also on board as assistants for 2003 are veteran Jim Bonacquisti,
Dell Storey in his sophomore season, and newcomer from Section
6, Brad Dietsch. Coach Dietsch has already taken notice how
well the football program is coordinated at LHS under Moran.
team traveled to Victor Central on Saturday, August 30th for
some hard-hitting scrimmages with 3 large school Section 5 opponents
- Victor (A), Spencerport (AA), and Brighton (A). The team moved
the ball well against their larger opponents as the line displayed
quickness off the ball and good push. The running game will
be called on heavily this season and there is size to run inside
as well as speed to the corner. The defense will be solid as
usual for Coach Paladino.
Andrew Fox (30) eyes up a hole in the line
get off the ball against Brighton offense
- The signal caller for the upcoming season will be senior Brandon
Klinkbeil. Brandon helped engineer the 9-0 record of the JVs
during his sophomore year. Last year he saw plenty of second
half action as a backup to all-star QB Joe Shaughnessy. Klink
has displayed excellent control of the offense in practice and
improved foot speed. He is tough and a very good athlete. Brandon
will have plenty behind him in the backfield. Junior Andrew
Fox returns for his second varsity season after being quite
an impact player last season as a sophomore. Drew was named
Offensive MVP for LeRoy in the state semifinal last November.
Fox has worked hard in the off-season to add add strength and
speed. He has done both and will be a major contributor to the
offense, as well as the defense. Senior Jake Whiting is the
team's most versatile player and will play many roles like all-state
graduate Brendan Fulmer. He can run, receive, block, kick and
more importantly lead by example. Jake too has worked hard at
strength and conditioning and will continue to bring his big
play ability to the field. Newcomers join Fox and Whiting in
the backfield in the form of power and speed. Power will be
amply supplied by senior Steve Angora who returns to the school
district after a year away. The powerful 225 lb. Angora provides
excellent blocking and inside running power reminiscent of LeRoy
graduate Tommy Shaughnessy who now plays college ball in Buffalo.
Steve has also displayed "soft hands" needed to snag
short passes out of the backfield. Speed comes in the form of
sophomore speedster Mike Farabella who has been pulled up to
the varsity. Mike played in but 5 JV contests last season as
he was hampered by nagging injures. He posted outstanding numbers
in those 5 games, rushing for 700+ yards including two 200+
games (216 yds vs. Cal-Mum and 204 yds in the Eastridge game).
His quickness will be quite an asset on defense as well. Another
welcomed addition to the running corps is senior Tim Judge who
returns to the gridiron after running cross-country as a junior.
Tim was the leading ground gainer of the 9-0 2001 JVs posting
4 games of 100+ yards. The gritty Judge will also be a great
addition to the defensive backfield. There is also plenty of
depth at running back with the likes of rugged senior Jimmy
Macaluso, tough junior Mike Pacer, and talented sophomore Tim
Andrews up from the JVs. Jimmy, Mike, and Tim all played quite
well in the Victor scrimmage. Contesting for the wide receiver
play will be seniors Slade Fitch, Josh Carlson, AJ Allenbrandt,
and Mike O'Toole. Two juniors will be vying for backup QB -
John Zinni and Zac Condidorio. Look for John and Zac to play
tough defense as well. Zac, an outstanding wrestler, used his
takedown abilities off the mat to lead the JVs last season in
stated, the O-line played very well in the Victor scrimmage
though being outweighed by all 3 opposing teams. At center will
be senior Ryan Duthe. Ryan was called upon to play left tackle
last season and did so very well. Ryan is an intelligent player
with great leadership skills and packs a pretty good pop for
his frame. The deceptively strong Duthe is always in the correct
position on defense and will line up as an outside linebacker.
Right guard will be handled by junior strongman Tim Dieffenbacher.
Tim is pretty much a clone of last year's RG, Jason Hodge -
strong, nasty, and tough. Like Hodge, he will play middle linebacker
and once again be a team leader in tackles. Next to Dief at
right tackle will be the "Donkey" Ian Whitcroft. Ian
is a very tough kid that returns to the fold as a starter after
suffering an untimely knee injury in practice just before the
first game of the 2002 season. Ian truly hits like a donkey
and will play tough to the whistle. The left side of the line
will feature two seniors who have worked hard and are hungry
to "get after it." At guard, Matt Bennetti gets the
nod after a solid offseason of lifting and working hard. Matt
is quick off the ball and has displayed good technique. To his
left will be Coach Moran's son Casey. Casey is a fierce competitor
(imagine that) who has played quite well in practice and scrimmages.
Look for his stock to rise as the season progresses. Senior
Dan Panek returns to his position at tight end where he will
called upon to block and slip out for the occasional pass reception.
If it is thrown his way, Dan will catch it. Senior Ian Christiansen,
the Florida transfer that played excellent on last year's juggernaut,
suffered a knee injury in the summer and underwent surgery to
repair it. "Gator" is rehabbing ahead of schedule
and is "chomping at the bit" to go out and pop someone.
Ian could be back as soon as game 3 against the HF-L Cougars.
He will add much.
sensation Mike Farabella makes the turn
defense stuffs a Barons running play
- The defensive schemes will once again be called by the Master
of Defense, Andrew Paladino. The Front 4 of the D-line looks
to include Jake Whiting and Dan Panek at ends and junior stalwart
Jason Spencer at one of the tackle positions. Coach Paladino
looks to receive quality minutes from a host of candidates for
the other tackle position including senior Pete Paliani and
junior Phil Niccloy. Whitcroft, Moran, Angora, and Chritiansen
are all viable options at tackle. Juniors Tim Dieffenbacher
(73 tackles in 2002) and Andrew Fox (54) return as solid middle
linebackers. The outside linebackers will be handled quite nicely
by the heads-up quick play of Ryan Duthe and Mike Farabella.
Another likely linebacker candidate will be junior Mike Pacer
who put on quite a tackling display at the Victor scrimmage.
Defensive backs are plenty and will be handled by the likes
of seniors Brandon Klinkbeil, Slade Fitch, Tim Judge, and juniors
John Zinni and Zac Condidorio. Look for sophomore Tim Andrews
to make a break through on defense as well. As mentioned, versatile
Jake Whiting will showcase his leg strength handling the kickoffs,
PATs, and punting.
Knights' quest for a 11th sectional title, and third in a row
begins on Friday, September 5th, away against the Cal-Mum Raiders.
History points to the Raiders as New York State's grandest small
school football program. The 2003 season will only add to the
Raiders' glorious lore as quite simply they are loaded with
talent. Names like Darron, Keeley, Harmon, Mynter, Fitch, Sherman,
Boop and the like will be household by season's end. Future
Hall of Fame Coach Mike Monacelli has earned 3 state titles
guiding the maroon and white. Many feel a 4th could be around
the corner with this year's squad. The Knights schedule does
not get any easier after visiting their arch-rivals. Avon is
up in game 2 and they are a program on the rise. Class B HF-L
rounds out the rugged 3-start as coach Billy Donegan will have
the Cougars ready for a physical matchup. Letchworth, Perry,
and Wellsville can all lay a lick on you and they fill the middle
of the schedule. The regular season finale pits the Knights
down in Bath-Haverling to take on the Rams, 2-time defending
Section 5 Class B champs and State Semifinalists in 2001 and