Mike Farabella and Andrew Fox return to the backfield in '04.
Tim Dieffenbacher - LCAA All-star on offense and defense.
   

The LeRoy Oatkan Knights varsity football program looks to rebound from a 6-3 campaign in 2003 with a youthful squad sporting 20 underclassmen from a team of 30. The season ended dismally for the Knights last year after being defeated 13-6 by a strong Pembroke Dragon football team that was anxious to show doubters that high school football is indeed strong to the west of LeRoy on Route 5, not just to the east with the likes of powerful Cal-Mum and Avon. After finishing 3rd in the Route 5 rankings, the team welcomes back a fine mix of seniors with some very talented young players with the goal of winning with the regularity that the local fans have grown accustomed over the years (27-5 over the past 3 seasons including 2 sectional crowns). The practices have been solid, turnout fantastic, and injuries few. A scrimmage this past weekend with Class A Section 5 champion Victor and AA Spencerport displayed the strengths of the squad and areas where work is needed. By year's end, the Knights could and should very well by vying for the program's 11th sectional crown in Section 5 Class C.

Leading the team again will be Head Coach Brian Moran who is 117-37-2 since his arrival in 1989. In his 15 previous seasons Brian has earned 9 sectional football titles, which ties him with Cal-Mum's Mike Monacelli for the most by a coach in Section 5 football history. The LeRoy program ranks 4th in total sectional football titles (10) trailing only the elite programs of Clyde-Savannah and Cal-Mum (13 each), and Fairport (11). The Raiders of Cal-Mum will compete in Class D this season due to a drop in enrollment. Class D is loaded with fantastic team talent and the addition of the Raiders will make this classification of small school football the very tops in the state of New York. Coach Monacelli, who has earned 4 state titles at Cal-Mum, fields yet another juggernaut this season with a realistic chance of winning yet another state crown with the familiar names of Darron, Pieri, Riggi, Paladino, and Walsh leading the way.

Returning to aid Moran are the duo of Offensive Coordinator Chris Cappotelli and Defensive Coach Extraordinaire Andrew Paladino. The offense will have the ability to pass as well as run, the trademark of LeRoy smashmouth, ball-control football. The defense will experiment throughout the season with many players able to carry out the strategies of defensive coach Paladino. Also on board as assistants for 2004 are veteran Jim Bonacquisti, Dell Storey in his 3rd season, and Brad Dietsch, in his sophomore season and now heading up the LeRoy JV program. Coach Dietsch has been instrumental in establishing a topnotch weight training program at the school's new training facility. The turnout has been tremendous, especially with the underclassmen. Coach Dietsch has also worked long and hard putting together a chronicle of LeRoy football that will be available in a fantastically prepared program just in time for the Cal-Mum game on September 17th. Be sure to purchase a copy of Brad's stellar composition.

   
The Knights are blessed with two viable QBs in John Zinni (left) and Mark Bennetti.

The offense returns the top 2 rushers from last season, rugged senior Andrew Fox and speedy junior Mike Farabella. Fox, an all-county first-teamer and third-team all NY state running back, has worked hard all year to once again assume his role of team leader. Drew was the squad's leading scorer with 9 TDs and the go-to man at crunch time. He was the team's second leading tackler when he was not rushing the ball on offense for an average of 5 yards per carry. Fox's strength is complemented nicely by the speed and versatility of Farabella. Mike was the leading ground gainer for the Knights as a sophomore as he garnered just under 750 yards. He too averaged 5 yards per carry and was as quick to the ball on defense as a LB as he is to the hole when running. Mike, who catches the screen pass well, has added strength to his toughness and he will again shine in the backfield.

The quarterback position for the upcoming season will be handled by promising sophomore Mark Bennetti and returning senior John Zinni. Bennetti, last year's QB on the JVs, will have a long and prosperous stay on the varsity over the next 3 years. Mark shows poise under fire and will greatly aid the LeRoy passing attack with his fine arm. His confidence should grow with each game, especially under the guidance of Ron Plummer, a welcomed offensive assistant helping the varsity after a tenure as Brighton's head coach. Zinni is a fiery senior competitor that will provide Coach Moran a versatile leader who can not only throw the ball, but be called upon to line up as a wide receiver to retrieve a pass. John will play center field on defense as a safety and will likely be a team leader in interceptions. John is a major plus for the team in 2004.

There is plenty of depth at running back with the likes of juniors Tim Andrews, Dan Horning, Mike Frew and Justin Casper. All of these players have worked hard in the off-season getting into top shape and will receive big minutes of play for Coach Moran. The targets for the passing game will be ably manned by 6-footers Boo Hinett and Colin Dailey. Hinett impressed coaches last season as a sophomore and was called up to the varsity after the Cal-Mum JV game, so he is no stranger to the varsity ranks. Junior classmate Dailey is a wiry-strong receiver with great hands and no fear to go across the middle or downfield to snag a pass.

The O-Line played very strong in the scrimmage with Victor and Spencerport. The line is lead by LCAA first-team all-star Tim Dieffenbacher at RG. Dieff has maintained his strong physical presence with some strong off-season workouts and will again be opening holes for the likes of Fox and Farabella. More on Tim later. Lining up to the right of Dieff at RT will be rough and tough senior Phil Niccloy. Phil will be looked upon to show the tenacity he is noted for on the wrestling match when banging in the trenches play after play. Another grappler looks to be the leading contender at TE, Matt Forti. The scrappy Forti will provide good push and a nice pair of hands for the Knights. Sophomore Kevin Brady has also impressed coaches with his play, justifying his call-up to the varsity ranks. Brady will be a force in the seasons to come, mark my words. Speaking of young talent, there is freshman, that's right, freshman John Whiting lining up at center for the Knights after playing on the line on last year's strong modified team. John possesses good size (235), strength, technique, heart, and perhaps most importantly, gridiron smarts to match his stellar grades in the classroom. We are talking a 4-year starter here. You are witnessing year one of what is sure to be one of the finest careers for a lineman at LHS. LG will be manned by Mike Pacer who has displayed he can play O-Line as well as he performs at LB, the position he is most noted for. Big Shaun Swanson at 250 lbs. will get the nod likely at LT. Shaun is improving daily and will also be called upon to boot the ball on PATs and FG attempts. He nailed a pair of 40+ yard FGs in the Victor/Spencerport scrimmage.

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 Niccloy and junior big man Zack "Poomba" Murray at tackle positions and Dieffenbacher and Forti at the DEs. Dieffenbacher moves in from his LB position to play DE and will be a monster. Tim was not only All-LCAA on the O-Line, he was a first-teamer all-county selection at LB as well. Dieff led all of the Knights with 71 tackles in his junior season in 2003. The team will look to juniors Aaron Scott (long snapper for the team) and Rob Morgan to provide depth on the D-Line as well. Linebacking will once again be strong in 2004 as three return in Fox, Farabella, and Pacer. The fourth LB looks to be Tim Andrews who has improved with hard work and increased knowledge and confidence. Zac Condidorio, able to play both LB and DB, will return to the fold after a summer time accident in which his foot was literally smashed in a construction accident. The sure tackling Condidorio, one of the school's finest all-time wrestlers, will play larger than his 5'4" frame when he returns. Look for Tommy Smith to get quality minutes at LB as well. Up from the JVs, Tom is quick and tough, much like his brother Ken who played a huge role for the LeRoy D in 2001/02. Juniors Frew, Horning, and Casper will also be called upon to utilize their speed and strength on defense for Coach Paladino. The defensive backfield will likely feature the likes of Bennetti, Zinni, and Dailey, all with a nose for the ball.

   
Senior Mike Pacer will start at LB and on the O-Line.
LeRoy frosh John Whiting is off to a strong start on the varsity.
   

The Knights' quest for a 11th sectional title, and third in 4 years begins on Saturday, September 4th, away against the Warsaw Tigers at 1:30 pm. Avon is up in game 2 and always provide the Knights with a good test. Week 3 brings the mighty Raiders of Cal-Mum in a great home opener at Hartwood Park. The Knights have not lost a contest at home, be it regular season or post-season, since 1998. Letchworth and Perry will be the respective Week 4 and 5 opponents before Bath visits LeRoy on Week 6. The Knights look to avenge a 31-0 loss to the Rams who totally manhandled the LeRoy squad in '03. Wellsville ends the regular season with a long trip to Hartwood before the start of sectional play. Look for Pembroke and Bishop Kearney to be strong competition in Section 5 Class C this season. Both squads return strong cores of talent and will not be intimidated by any LeRoy football lore or tradition. Good luck to all in the LCAA, Section 5, and throughout all of New York state. Let the games begin!

 

Zac Condidorio will be a sure tackler on defense.
Shaun Swanson will handle linemen and kicking chores.
Phil Niccloy is ready for battle on the line.
Zack Murray adds size and heart to the D-Line.
Matt Forti will have fans asking who #44 is.
Tim Andrews will play LB and carry the ball on O as well.
Boo Hinett is one of several receiving threats this year.
Tommy Smith will add toughness to the defense.
Mike Frew's success on JVs will transfer to the varsity.
Justin Casper - strong, quick, and focused.
Dan Horning will provide punch at FB and LB.
Classy Hooks Robertson offers a handshake.
Coaches: Chris Cappotelli, Andrew Paladino, Jim Bonacquisti, Ron Plummer, Brian Moran, Dell Storey

 

 

LEROY OATKAN KNIGHTS VARSITY FOOTBALL 2004
No.
Name
Positions
Grade
Height
Weight
7
Mark Bennetti
QB/DB
10
5'11
175
13
John Cordeiro
WR/DB
12
5'10
165
17
John Zinni
QB/DB
12
6'2
190
20
Marshall Silvernail
RB/DB
12
5'10
155
21
Brandon Cooley
WR/DB
12
6'4
190
22
Mike Frew
RB/LB
11
5'9
160
25
Zac Condidorio
RB/DB
12
5'4
135
26
Chet Brassie
WR/DB
11
5'8
150
28
Tim Andrews
RB/LB
11
5'11
170
30
Andrew Fox
RB/LB
12
5'9
185
31
Justin Casper
RB/DB
11
5'9
155
32
Mike Farabella
RB/LB
11
5'9
175
44
Matt Forti
TE/DE
12
5'11
195
48
Dan Horning
RB/LB
11
5'8
170
54
Mike Pacer
OL/LB
12
5'11
215
55
Aaron Scott
OL/DE
11
5'11
175
56
Tim Dieffenbacher
OL/DE
12
6'1
215
57
Phil Niccloy
OL/DT
12
6'1
220
58
Tom Smith
OL/LB
11
6'
180
63
Garrett Luckey
OL/DT
11
5'9
230
68
Zack Murray
OL/DT
11
6'2
250
74
Rob Morgan
TE/LB
11
5'11
200
75
Shaun Swanson
OL/DT
11
6'2
255
77
Andrew Aube
OL/DT
11
5'11
180
78
John Whiting
OL/DT
9
5'10
235
80
Boo Hinett
WR/DB
11
6'2
175
82
Mike Alexander
WR/DE
11
6'2
175
84
Kevin Brady
TE/LB
10
6'0
200
85
Colin Dailey
WR/DE
11
6'1
160
88
Steve Lapp
TE/LB
11
5'11
170
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