By Rob Potter
MATAMORAS, PA December 9, 2005 The 2005 high school football season is one that everyone at Eldred Central School and the surrounding community will never forget.
The Yellowjackets won the schools first football championship since the 1950s by capturing the Section IX Class D regular season title with a 19-14 victory over the visiting Chester Hambletonians on October 29. Then on November 4, Eldred defeated Chester 27-14 in the Section IX Class D championship game at Dietz Stadium in Kingston.
Although the team suffered a lopsided defeat to Tuckahoe on November 11 in a state playoff game, Eldred finished its stellar season with an 8-2 record and two championships.
Last Saturday night, school administrators, cheerleaders, coaches, family members and players gathered to celebrate the Yellowjackets championship season at the Eldred Football Booster Clubs annual banquet. The event was held at The Riverview Inn in Matamoras, Pa.
With the cheerleaders lined up near the dining room doors to welcome them, the Yellowjacket players and coaches proudly walked into the room together. As the classic Queen song We are the Champions blared from the sound system, everyone rose to give the team a well-deserved standing ovation.
After Eldred student Melanie Storms sang the national anthem, booster club member Denise Kreidell welcomed everyone to the event. She noted how the club members rallied together in less than a month to provide for a temporary lighting system for the teams first home game, which took place nearly a week before school opened.
Kreidell also spoke of how the club members provided giant sub sandwiches and drinks to the Yellowjackets and the opposing team following that September 2 season-opener. In addition, the club was able to hold three spaghetti dinners, a car wash and a tailgate party prior to the title contest at Dietz Stadium.
Our community has many resources, Kreidell said. We tried our best to enhance the year for the boys.
In his remarks, Coach Frank Kean spoke of the teams great season and how so many people worked together to make it happen. He thanked a number of people, including Assistant Coaches John LiGreci, Lance Schneider, Chris Smith and Dave Thompson; Team Videographer Mike Prunka Sr.; Cheerleading Coach Elaine Kuhn, Cheerleading Assistant Coach Jeannette Davis; Daryl Barnes and Rich Ranne, who worked in the public address booth at home games and Richie Ranne, whom Kean noted was our number one fan.
Kean also thanked his family wife Eileen, son Patrick, a member of the championship football team, and daughter Megan, an ECS sophomore for all of their love and support during the season.
The veteran coach noted that he began coaching football at ECS back in 1975 with four of his brothers and he thanked ECS Athletic Director Al Wojtaszek for hiring him three decades ago. He talked about taking a three-year hiatus from varsity coaching in the mid-1990s to help start a Pop Warner team for young boys in the Eldred community. Kean noted that many of those players from that first Pop Warner team formed the core of this autumns championship varsity team.
Kean then provided an overview of the season, noting the key games and plays that helped the Yellowjackets earn their two titles.
Of course, Kean praised his players for their outstanding performance.
There is no I in team and you guys proved that, he said. You guys played together and with a lot of heart this season.
Kean thanked everyone who contributed to the memorable gridiron season.
I am so proud to be a part of this community, he commented. I love being at Eldred Central School. We didnt have any football championships in the time Ive been here and now we have two titles. And for that, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
LiGreci also praised the Yellowjackets for their accomplishments.
You had a very successful year because you all played together and never gave up, he said.
Coaches Kean, Schneider, Smith and Thompson then presented awards to the members of the Yellowjacket modified football team. As those players came forward to accept their certificates and trophies, Kean noted that the squad had a 4-2 record. He also had some words of encouragement and praise for each of the players.
Those modified players included: Josh Babcock, Shaun Berger, Joseph Boehm, Andy Bosch, Steven Combs, Brian Flood, Matt Formoso, Scott Hallock, Jill Harris, Gino Jones, Lorenzo Kinred, Cory Lancaster, Mike Puzio, Patrick Reiser, Zack Shafer, Zack Tyler, Ryan Watts and Charles Wolff.
Cheerleading coaches Kuhn and Davis presented awards to members of the squad
Members of the cheerleading squad included: Brandi Bellacicco, Kim Bruno, Caitlin Davis, Heather Davis, Krystina Drasher, Serena Gregory, Emily Hoffman, Marissa Schneider, Carly Stickle and Lauren Terry. The mascots were Carly Worzel and Kendal Worzel.
We had a lot of fun this season, Kuhn said. All of these girls worked really hard.
Kuhn and Davis also presented an award to Melanie Storms, who served as a cheerleading advisor this season.
While all of the cheerleaders received a spirit award from their coaches, a few of them earned special awards. The Fantastic Flyer award went to Walters, the Most Overall Improvement award was presented to Marissa Schneider and the Outstanding Enthusiasm award was given to Hoffman. In addition, Carly Worzel and Kendal Worzel each received an Enthusiastic Mascot award.
Coaches Kean and LiGreci presented certificates and trophies to the JV players for their accomplishments this season. Those junior varsity players included: James Brush, Brian Corcoran, Joe Counts, Al DiPalma, Jon Geiger, Patrick Kerr, Evan LaPut, Chadd Mann, Christian Martinez and Matt Puzio.
Coaches Kean, LiGreci and Schneider also presented awards to the varsity players. Those varsity players included: John Adams, Ethan Balsano, Sean Colley, Thomas Compasso, Jonathan Counts, Jeremy DeForge, Sean Donnelly, Danny Driscoll, Greg Fotiades, George Bubba Fountain, Steven Geiger, Nick Gottlieb, Hilton Johnson, Patrick Patch Kean, Walter Wally Kreidell, Tyler LaPut, Chris Leader, Nick McCormick, Chris Mehedin, Robert Moriggia, Nick Proscia, Kevin Prunka, Mike Prunka, Sean Ranne, Nick Simonelli, Stan Smith, Patrick Speaker, John Thomas J.T. Vogt and Kojo Williams.
A few of those varsity players earned special awards for record-breaking performances this season. They were Counts, who was the teams leading rusher, running for more than 1,400 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns; McCormick, who was the teams leading passer, completing 46-of-83 passes for over 700 yards; Vogt, who was the teams leading receiver with 14 receptions; DeForge, who lead the team in tackles with 72 (56 solo and 16 assists) and made two interceptions; and Patrick Kean, who set a school record with 12 career interceptions.
Frank Kean then returned to the podium to present the teams MVP award, which the booster club gives out each year. Before handing the MVP trophy to Counts, the coach noted that the senior running back was the heart and soul of our ball club.
Following a special slide presentation and a raffle ticket drawing, booster club member Ken Kreidell walked to the podium for a special presentation. Noting that the Section IX Class D football trophy usually stays at the winning school for only that school year, Kreidell announced that the booster club had an exact replica trophy made. That replica trophy will remain in the ECS trophy case forever.
Patrick Kean and Eileen Kean used a small cart to roll the trophy to the front of the dining room and then handed it to Frank Kean.
The booster club also had a surprise for all of the varsity players. The club gave each of them an Eldred football championship hooded sweatshirt.
In addition, the members of the booster club expressed their gratitude to several local businesses and individuals for making generous donations to the club. Those businesses and people included: Glen R. Ashley; Joyce S. Ashley; Advantage Oil Company, Inc.; A & J Maintenance; Barryville Exterminating Service; Bisland Agency, Inc.; Bobs Seamless Gutters; Robert J. Burrow (Town of Highland Councilman); Joseph F. Carr Jr. (Town of Highland Councilman); Cathy Daboul; Delaware Dips & Dogs, Elaines Country Clipper; First National Bank of Jeffersonville; Dennis Hazard; Homestead School; Bernard R. Johnson (Tusten Town Supervisor); Malzahn Gas Co., Inc.; Joseph T. McDonald (Town of Highland Councilman); Mohican Lake Inn, Inc.; Pecks Market; Petes Country Store; River Market; The River Reporter; River Valley Family Medical Services, PC; The Carriage House; Tri State Diesel; Andrew Valenti (Town of Highland Councilman) and Paul G. Zimmerman (Town of Highland Councilman).