By Rob Potter
ELDRED November 8, 2002 Scores of parents and siblings joined Eldred Central School administrators and coaches in honoring the members of the Yellowjacket varsity, junior varsity and modified football teams Wednesday evening during the Eldred Football Banquet at the Eldred Preserve.
The annual banquet was organized by the members of the Eldred Football Booster Club.
Club President Sandi Walter noted that the club members are a very dedicated group of parents who love their children and want to help them. Thanks to fund-raisers such as a car wash, coin drop, a doughnut sale and a concession stand at home games, several of the Eldred players were able to attend a football camp this past summer at Princeton University.
We were together as a family during the season and we come together tonight as a family at the end of the season, Walter said.
Walter and fellow booster club member Cathy Daboul praised all of those in attendance for their support of the 2002 Yellowjacket football teams. In addition to recognizing the efforts of Eldred Central School Superintendent Candace Mazur, Eldred High School Principal Ivan Katz, Head Coach Frank Kean, Assistant Coach Kevin Derr and Assistant Coach Lance Schneider, Daboul noted the contributions of the parents, relatives, cheerleaders and other booster club members.
Thank you for all of your help, Daboul said. You have been really great working with the boys. The team had a nice, memorable year.
Walter presented a group of parents with gifts for their extra special contributions. Those parents included her husband John Purdin, Nikki Comacho, Dr. Richard and Cathy Daboul, Dan and Ebby Martin and Vincent and Debbie Reilly.
The varsity teams four captains seniors John Martin and Devin Weyant and juniors David Albanese and A.J. Martucci each spoke to the crowd and thanked their families, coaches and teammates.
Weyant, who also played for the Yellowjacket varsity soccer team this fall and in 2001, was especially thankful for the chance to be part of the team.
My teammates were really good, he said. I say to our coaches, thanks for teaching me football. It is an experience I will never forget.
Albanese noted that all season the coaches kept reminding the team to play with their hearts.
You cant have anything without heart, he commented. There is a lot of heart on this team. And that was something you could see every game
Before introducing every player and presenting them with football player bobblehead figurines, Kean noted how much he will miss Martin and Weyant, the teams only seniors. He also pointed out that after a 1-7 record last season, the team improved to 3-6 this season.
Kean also excitedly spoke of next season, as the majority of this years team will return.
Over the next three or four years, we will have to hold this dinner a week or two later because we will be at Dietz Stadium to play a sectional game, Kean predicted.
He also praised the players for their conduct in practices and games, noting that none of the players directed negative comments at the coaches. And he noted that they behaved as respectful young men when the team stopped at area restaurants after road games.
Kean, who has been coaching football for nearly three decades, then shared a bit of his coaching philosophy.
We had some ups and downs this season, the veteran coach explained. But that shows you about life and football. Football is a perfect example of lifes situations you win some and you lose some. . . . And its not really about wins and losses as much as the fact that the kids are out there enjoying the game and having fun.
Each of the players were lauded for their efforts this season. Junior running back Vinny Reilly and sophomore running back Kyle Schneider each broke the 1,000 yard plateau in 2002. Schneider led the Yellowjackets with 140 carries for 1,084 yards, while Reilly was close behind with 127 rushes for 1,057 yards.
Reilly was presented with the MVP award, which was voted upon by members of the team.
I just want to thank my coaches, parents and teammates, Reilly said. And I thank the line for getting me all of those yards.
The Eldred junior varsity team finished its season with a perfect 8-0 record and the modified team also had a strong season.
Varsity and junior varsity players recognized included: David Albanese, John Adams, Alex Comacho, Jonathan Counts, Brian Daboul, Rick Daboul, Jeremy DeForge, George Fountain, Nick Gottlieb, Tim Hallock, Kyle Jasper, Patrick Kean, Walter Kriedel, Nick McCormick, John Martin, A.J. Martucci, Nic Olcott, Corey Proscia, Mike Prunka, Kyle Ranne,Vinny Reilly, Todd Walter and Devin Weyant.
The modified players honored included: Marcus Chandler, Sean Colley, Tom Compasso, Cody Conklin, Frank Decastanzo, Tim Decker, Dan Driscoll, Ruben Fonstock, Steven Geiger, Jesse Hammel, Evan Laput, Chris Leader, Mike Mattarazo, Dylan OConnell, Nick Proscia, Sean Ranne, Josh Rolon, Nick Simonelli, Anthony Skow-Kwest, Stan Smith and Mark Thornton.
The Yellowjacket cheerleaders, all of whom were seventh-graders, and their coach, Elaine Kuhn, were also honored at the dinner.