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QB Brandon Klinkbeil hands off to Jake Whiting (27)
LR fullback Steve Angora blocks for Mike Farabella (10)
   

The 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.

Leading 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.

The 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.

   
Junior Andrew Fox (30) eyes up a hole in the line
Knights get off the ball against Brighton offense

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 solo tackles.

As 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.

   
Sophomore sensation Mike Farabella makes the turn
LeRoy defense stuffs a Barons running play
   

DEFENSE - 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.

The 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 2002.

 

LEROY OATKAN KNIGHTS VARSITY FOOTBALL 2003
No.
Name
Positions
Grade
Height
Weight
1
Zac Condidorio
QB/DB
11
5'7
140
5
Brandon Klinkbeil
QB/DB
12
5'8
150
10
Tim Judge
RB/DB
12
6'
160
17
John Zinni
QB/DB
11
6'1
170
18
Mike Farabella
RB/LB
10
5'10
170
20
Slade Fitch
E/DB
12
5'10
170
23
Steve Angora
RB/DL
12
5'10
225
26
Scott Schlonski
OL/LB
12
5'7
185
27
Jake Whiting
RB/DL
12
6'1
195
28
Tim Andrews
RB/DB
10
5'11
160
30
Andrew Fox
RB/LB
11
5'8
170
32
Mike Pacer
RB/DB
11
6'1
195
33
Jimmy Macaluso
RB/DB
12
5'9
175
36
Dan Panek
E/DL
12
6'2
180
38
AJ Allenbrandt
E/DB
12
5'10
190
40
CJ Anderson
OL/DL
12
5'10
190
45
Rob Wortman
RB/LB
12
5'10
165
47
Josh Makovitch
RB/LB
12
6'
185
51
Ryan Duthe
OL/LB
12
6'
180
53
Casey Moran
OL/DL
12
6'1
210
54
Matt Forti
OL/DL
11
6'
175
55
Aaron Scott
OL/DL
10
5'11
175
56
Tim Dieffenbacher
OL/LB
11
6'1
205
57
Phil Niccloy
OL/DL
11
6'
210
59
Matt Bennetti
OL/DL
12
6'
200
63
Ian Christiansen
OL/DL
12
6'2
240
65
Mario Potter
OL/DL
12
5'6
220
70
Pete Paliani
OL/DL
12
6'2
250
74
Ian Whitcroft
OL/DL
12
6'2
210
75
Jason Spencer
OL/DL
11
6'1
245
79
Zach Thompson
OL/DL
12
5'10
185
88
Mike O'Toole
E/DL
12
6'1
190
a

 

Pics from Victor Scrimmage
Saturday, August 30th, 2003


- Click on any pic below to view enlarged version -

Steve Angora eyes up the Spencerport QB
We are talking BIG!
Coach Ron Plummer coaches his player
Junior all-star Tim Dieffenbacher
Andrew Fox listens to the play call
LeRoy backs Slade Fitch and Mike Farabella
Impact player Jake Whiting
Josh Makovitch gets focused for battle
Junior Mike Pacer calls the defense
The Rush is on toward the Rangers QB
QB Brandon Klinkbeil hands off to Farabella
Spencerport Coach Anthony Lipani - one of the best