By Rob Potter
ELDRED November 14, 2003 Players, coaches, cheerleaders, parents and siblings gathered Wednesday night at the Eldred Preserve Resort to celebrate the recent Eldred Yellowjackets football season.
Dozens of awards and gifts were presented to players, cheerleaders, coaches and parents at the Eldred Football Banquet, which was sponsored by the Eldred Football Booster Club.
Sandi Walter, who is the president of the Eldred Football Booster Club, noted that prior to the start of the event, she purposely walked outside so she could feel the electricity in the dining room when she returned.
I can look around and see the Eldred pride that is in this room, Walter said.
The night was indeed filled with electricity and pride. It also featured laughter and a few tears as the booster club members, players, coaches and cheerleaders looked back on the 2003 season.
Varsity football team captains Brian Daboul, Rick Daboul, Corey Proscia, Vinny Reilly and Kyle Schneider addressed the crowd. They thanked their fellow players and coaches for a memorable season.
We played our hearts out every second of every game, Proscia said.
The last three years have been the best part of my life, Rick Daboul said. All of you guys have been like brothers to me.
Daboul also thanked Coach Frank Kean, Assistant Coach Lance Schneider and Assistant Coach Hilton Johnson Sr. for their dedication and guidance this season.
Later in the evening, Cheerleading Coach Elaine Kuhn and Assistant Coach Jeannette Davis recognized the cheerleaders. They also presented some of the cheerleaders with special awards.
The 2003 Eldred cheerleading squad consisted of: Ashley Anderson, Caitlin Davis, Heather Davis, Krystina Drasher, Rhiannon Garofalo, Serena Gregory, Adriana LiGreci, Maggie Romaglio, Marissa Schneider, Carly Stickle, Lauren Terry, Jazmyn Turell, Valerie Vorees, Gabrielle Westfall, Hope Wolff, Jillian Wolff and Carly Worzel.
The members of the varsity and junior varsity football teams were: Vinny Reilly, Todd Walter, Rick Daboul, Nic Olcott, Matt Counts, Kyle Jasper, A. J. Martucci, Dave Albanese, Tim Hallock, Kyle Schneider, Corey Proscia, Brian Daboul, Charles Chandler, Patrick Kean, Mike Prunka, John Adams, George Fountain, Jonathan Counts, Nick Gottlieb, Walter Kriedel, Jeremy DeForge, Mike Simonelli, Taylor Diuguid, J.T. Vogt, Mark Thornton, Dan Driscoll, Nick McCormick, Frank DiCostanzo, Marcus Chandler, Sean Coley, Steve Geiger and Hilton Johnson.
The members of the modified team were: Sean Ranne, Tim Decker, Andrew Cole, Jason Jennings, Kevin Prunka, Stan Smith, Evan Laput, John Scully, Joseph Counts, Jon Geiger, James Brush, Tom Compasso, Russell Fairweather, Christian Martinez, Corey France, Nick Simonelli, Patrick Speaker, Chris Leader, Dylan OConnell and Matt Puzio.
Coach Frank Kean noted how the 2003 season unfolded for the modified, junior varsity and varsity football teams. He praised the modified team for recording an undefeated season and the junior varsity team for its outstanding record over the past four years. From 2000 through 2003, the JV Yellowjackets have lost only one game.
The veteran coach also spoke about how special this varsity team was to him.
You guys are probably the best team Ive had in 32 years of coaching, Kean said. I didnt want the season to end.
Kean noted that at the 2002 Eldred Football Booster Club banquet, he talked about the Yellowjackets reaching this seasons sectional championship game at Dietz Stadium in Kingston. He said he was sorry that factors such as injuries prevented the team from posting a better record and earning that trip to Dietz.
It just didnt work out for us this year, Kean said. Im sorry that you guys werent able to get there. Its a really nice and rewarding experience.
Despite finishing the 2003 season with a 2-7 record, Kean explained that the Yellowjackets had many good moments this autumn. One was defeating Chester in a Section IX Class D game back in September. Chester went on to win the Section IX Class D championship, defeating Millbrook on November 9 at Dietz Stadium.
Another positive was displaying good sportsmanship.
Win or lose, after the game you guys put your helmets under your arms, lined up at midfield and shook hands with the opposing players and coaches, Kean said. And thats the way it should be.
Kean also thanked the booster club and everyone responsible for bringing night football to Eldred. On Saturday, November 1, temporary lights were placed on the sidelines of the Eldred football field and the Yellowjackets defeated the Roscoe Blue Devils in a Section IX Class D game.
Near the end of the banquet, Walter noted that she will be stepping down as the booster club president and that Cathy Daboul will be taking over the position. Walter thanked the fellow parents of Eldred football players, especially Cathy and Richard Daboul and Vinny and Debbie Reilly, for their dedication and support over the past few years.
Walter also announced that the varsity players had voted on a team MVP award. Two players tied for the most votes, so Walter presented MVP trophies to senior running back Vinny Reilly and sophomore running back Jonathan Counts.
I would like to thank the line for blocking, Counts said. I also want to thank Mr. Kean and the other coaches for giving me the opportunity to play. Thanks to my parents and the booster club and all of my teammates and everyone else who made this season enjoyable.
I want to thank our coaches and the line for getting us all of those yards, Reilly said. I thank my parents and all of the parents, especially Mr. and Mrs. Daboul. I thank all of the parents and fans who came to our games this season and gave us their support.
At the end of the evening, everyone watched a slide show presentation that was organized by Josh Glantz, a teacher at Eldred Central School. Set to music, the slide show featured images of the varsity football players in their youth league uniforms as well as their highlights from this past season. Photos of coaches, parents, cheerleaders, junior varsity players and modified players were also included in the presentation.