2nd Team All-State RB Mike Farabella
returns quicker and stronger for 2005.
Junior QB Mark Bennetti is 12-1 as a
starter for the Oatkan Knights.
   

The LeRoy Oatkan Knights varsity football squad returns a lot of experience, size, speed, and talent as they open the 2005 season this Friday evening against the Blue Devils of Batavia High. The Knights enjoyed an incredibly successful 2004 season in which the team was ranked number 1 in the state from the onset of the NYS Sportswriters Poll before falling 14-6 in the NY Class C State Finals to the Dobbs Ferry Eagles - Section 0ne. Much returns from last year's surprise 12-1 team as seniors play alongside some excellent underclassmen talent. The Knights have worked hard in the off season and have put in some intense practices and scrimmages. It is this hard work, along with excellent coaching, that has garnered the program some impressive stats over the past 10 seasons which include a 96-17 record, 7 sectional crowns, final state rankings of 1st-1995, 2nd-1996, 2002, 2004, and 4th-1998 (with a team with 4 losses!), and a home winning streak that began in the middle of the '98 season. This year's squad will likely add to the impressive resume'.

Head Coach Brian Moran, who is 129-38-2 since his arrival in 1989, is the first coach in Section 5 football history to earn double-digits in sectional crowns. 10 of his 16 teams have earned the sectional trophy and patches. The LeRoy program ranks 3rd (tie) in total sectional football titles (11) trailing only the elite programs of Clyde-Savannah and Cal-Mum (13 each). The Fairport Red Raiders have also earned 11 championships. Returning to Class C competition this season are the Red Raiders of Caledonia-Mumford, owners of 4 state titles and a gaudy 16-3 record in NY state playoff competition. Mike Monacelli's squad comes off a 4-4 season that was marred with injuries that plagued the squad the entire season. On September 9th, the Raiders will be out to prove at home that they still pack a punch which is the staple of their football lore. Since the NY state football playoffs began in 1993, Cal-Mum (19) and LeRoy (16) have played in more total playoff games than any other Class C schools in the state.

We like to think that the toughest ball is played in this 7 mile stretch of Route 5. To the east, is a program looking to break the CM-LR lock on Section 5 Class C - the Marcus Whitman Wildcats. The Cats return a great bit of talent themselves and have worked feverishly to become the first Section 5 team to enter the NY C state playoffs other than Cal-Mum or LeRoy since 1993. Look for the green clad squads of Pembroke and Avon to have top-notch seasons as well as these programs' stock have risen behind Coaches Chip Foster (Pembroke) and Andy Englert (Avon).

New to the LeRoy coaching contingent this season is former Brighton head coach and LeRoy resident Ron Plummer. Coach Plummer is an valuable addition to the program as he will be taking over the Offensive Coordinator duties from departed Chris Cappotelli who did the Knights proud during his tenure. Coach Plummer brings intensity and a great deal of offensive knowledge to the LeRoy program. Earlier this summer the Knights won the Small School Division at the St. John Fisher Passing Camp held at East Rochester High. This is not a typo. PASS is suddenly no longer a 4-letter word. More on that later. Needless to say, Coach Plummer's experience, wit, and vision of the game will reap big dividends for the 2005 Knights.

The defense is once again under the guidance of the master himself, Defensive Coach Extraordinaire Andrew Paladino. Andrew always places a well-coached defense on the field - having stopped some of the very best offenses in Class C throughout the state. He brings the work ethic and mindset to the defense that he has always had since his all-state football days back in the mid-70's when he donned the black helmet. Also on board as assistants for 2005 are Jim Bonacquisti, Dell Storey, and the venerable Hooks Robertson. Special hats off to Jim who tirelessly gives of his time to open the gym and teach the linemen how to get down and dirty in the trenches. No one bleeds more red and black than Coach B. While the team plays through their schedule, JV coach Brad Dietsch will be scouting future opponents. Coach Dietsch has been a Godsend to the LeRoy program over his past several years with the team. The varsity will not skip a beat in years to come as Brad has his JV squad primed for an outstanding season as well. The football publication "Friday Knight Lights", which will be available starting Week 3 at home, is his deluxe creation. Be sure to buy a copy of this outstanding program made possible by Coach Dietsch's tireless efforts.

   
 
The Knights are blessed with outstanding blockers in John Whiting (left)
along with Shaun Swanson and Tim Andrews (right).
 
 

The Knights' offense returns 2 of their top 3 rushers from last season, 2nd Team All-State Mike Farabella and rugged Justin Casper. Farabella missed 4 games last season and still rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and 8 TDs. Mike is stronger and faster than 2004 in which he averaged 6.7 yards per carry. The speedster came up huge in the playoff run at season's end with big games against Marcus Whitman (170 yards in the Section 5 Class final), Falconer (110 yards in cold and blustery Ralph Wilson Stadium in the West Regional), and Dobbs Ferry (121 yards against the vaunted Dobbs defense that allowed just one rushing TD all of last year - a QB sneak by LeRoy's Mark Bennetti). Casper is a solid, fast runner who was instrumental in the Knights' win over arch-rival Cal-Mum in '04. Jut's 25 carries for 119 yards were just what the doctor ordered in the Cal-Mum tilt when Farabella was sidelined with an injured hand. Tim Andrews, a backfield starter from 2004 returns and will provide his excellent blocking skills along with some timely rushes. Depth is available at RB as senior Mike Frew looked solid in the Victor scrimmage and Tommy Bestor, a junior speedster, has done nothing but work hard all season to be ready to "go" at a moment's notice.

The QB duties will once again belong to poised and talented junior Mark Bennetti. Cool under fire, Mark had an incredible sophomore season, leading the Knights to the state title game. Mark completed 49% of his 90 passes last season while throwing just 2 interceptions. Mark's abilities to read the defense and find the open receiver has been greatly enhanced with the arrival of Coach Plummer. The two have been working together since winter which will make Mark one of the very best in Section 5. Look for Mark to improve well above the 10 TD passes he threw last season. Four good reasons for Bennetti's pass TD total to rise - the receivers. The Knights are loaded at wideout. When Plummer calls for "trips", opposing teams are in for a lot of head turning as LeRoy features 4 outstanding receivers. First off, there is senior "Boo" Hinett who snagged 28 catches in '04 for 437 yards and 6 TDs. Boo was instrumental with QB Bennetti in bringing the Knights from behind in a 25-14 state semifinal win over Walton of Section 4. Offensive MVP honors were his after his 2 outstanding TD grabs while under tight coverage. Senior Colin Dailey is also a sure-handed target for Bennetti as he displays no fear on the gridiron. Colin is wiry-strong and can dart to the open area to be a scoring target. A huge matchup problem for opposing teams this season will be junior Craig Tiberio, the leading receiver off of last year's outstanding JV team. Craig is tall, strong, and fast. When the ball goes long you may gasp how Craig can readily close the distance and snag the ball with total ease. He was named MVP of all small school receivers at this summer's St. John Fisher Passing Camp and that was not even a close vote. You want to double-up on Tiberio? Watch out for TE Kevin Brady. Once Kevin has the ball, he is looking to run you over. Concentrate on the 3 wideouts alone and Plummer will dump one to the rugged junior. Again, the receiving core is solid.

The O-Line played very strong in the scrimmage with Victor, Livonia, and Franklin/Jefferson. The boys up front get off the ball in a hurry and pop you. Last year's freshman stalwart John Whiting returns as a quicker, stronger sophomore guard with excellent technique. John is a team leader as a sophomore because he is an example of quiet, smart determination. He is up to 250 lbs and is going to get better and better with each game he plays. Next to John on the right side are tackle Shaun Swanson and the aforementioned Kevin Brady at TE. Swanson is a rock at 260 lbs and is very quick for his size. He will simply wear you down. Center will be handled by senior Tom Smith. Tommy provides a burst and wallop off the ball that belies his size. He brings attitude and a bit of nastiness to the trenches. Seniors Steve Lapp and Rob Morgan have 'gotten after it' well in practices and have received the coaches' nod to man the left side of the line. Also mixing in to that side will be sophomore Marcus "Big Cat" Epps who uses his hoops experience to move his 270 lb. frame easily on the gridiron. Remember that Whiting and Epps are but sophomores and the JV linemen due up next year are as big as these two. The next several years will produce some of the largest lines in LeRoy football history. After being whipped into shape and coached on technique over and over, the future looks bright in the linemen department.

Coach Andrew Paladino has a defense that has size and moreover, quickness. There are a lot of players that can and will come up and throw a lick on the opposition. Look for Whiting and Swanson to stop up the middle as DTs while the DE positions look to be handled by Smith and senior Mike Alexander. Mike saw a great amount of playing time as a junior and was seemingly in the opposition backfield all of the time with his tremendous reach. RB Jut Casper will also man the end with bull strength and quickness. Backing up the Front 4 will be middle linebackers Kevin Brady and sophomore Brady Bonacquisti. Bonacquisti has an uncanny ability to be in the right spot at the right time - an intelligent, power tackler. Farabella and Andrews will create havoc as outside linebackers as will diminutive Chad Condidorio. Condidorio and Andrews are LCAA wrestling all-stars that have no problem taking down the opposition while Farabella is a quick punisher on defense. The receiving core will likely man the pass coverage positions with Tiberio at free safety and Dailey and Hinett at the corners. Throw the ball just a tad off and these 3 will make you pay with their hands and then their feet.

Depth is plentiful on this year's team. Look for seniors Dan Horning, Zack "Poomba" Murray, and juniors Alex DiFrancisco, Tim Herron, and Justin Becker to all see lots of playing time for Coach Moran. Swanson will be in charge of the kicking duties. Shaun kicked 3 of 4 FG attempts in 2004 and connected on 85% of his PAT attempts. Punting duties will be aptly handled by the strong leg of Mark Bennetti .

   
 
The Knights will feature many top-notch receivers including
senior Boo Hinett (left) and junior Craig Tiberio (right)
   

The Knights' quest for a 12th sectional title, and 4th in 5 years, begins on Friday, September 2nd, away against the Batavia Blue Devils at 7:00 PM. The host Devils are looking for payback for their 2002 loss to the Knights, a 48-6 LR win at Hartwood Park. The Devils feature Monroe County all-star RB Jermaine Henderson, who is a great combination of size, strength, and speed. Look for the Knights to have their hands full keeping him in check. Good luck to all in the LCAA, Section 5, and throughout all of New York state. Let the games begin!

 

Offensive Coach Ron Plummer gets into
the thick of the action in practice.
LR Modified Coaches Ieon Koukides (left)
and Bob Gately (right).
Senior Justin Casper will be a force
on both offense and defense.
Senior Dan Horning concentrates in a practice drill.
Senior Tom Smith is all about intensity.
Senior RB Mike Frew is ready to roll on offense.
Senior DE Mike Alexander eyes another victim.
Senior Rob Morgan will open holes on the O-line.
Senior Zack Murray will make his
presence known on both sides of the ball.
Reliable Junior Kevin Brady will play LB
on defense in addition to his O-line role.
The Knights will showcase excellent underclassmen talent
in Alex DiFrancisco (left) and Brady Bonacquisti (right).
Senior Colin Dailey looks to jet
into the opposition's secondary.
Senior Steve Lapp has followed
Coach Moran's gameplan to a T.
The LeRoy offense will display added versatility in '05.
Coach Paladino's D will swarm to the ball as in years past.
 

LEROY VARSITY FOOTBALL COACHES 2005

Head Coach Brian Moran

Andrew Paladino
Defensive Coordinator
Ron Plummer
Offensive Coordinator
Jim Bonacquisti
Asst Coach
Hooks Robertson
Asst Coach
Dell Storey
Asst Coach

 

 
Row 1 (front) - Brady Bonacquisti, Tom Smith, Mike Farabella, Colin Dailey, Tim Andrews, Dan Horning.
Row 2 - Chad Condidorio, Tom Bestor, Justin Casper, Chet Brassie, Alex DiFrancisco, Mike Frew, Steve Lapp.
Row 3 - Boo Hinett, Rob Morgan, Kevin Brady, Justin Becker, Nick Paliani, Garrett Luckey, Tim Herron, Mark Bennetti.
Row 4 - Craig Tiberio, Mike Platek, Zack Murray, Shaun Swanson, Marcus Epps, John Whiting, Mike Alexander, Brandon Cooley.

 

LEROY OATKAN KNIGHTS VARSITY FOOTBALL 2005
No.
Name
Positions
Grade
Height
Weight
7
Mark Bennetti
QB/DB
11
5'11
185
12
Alex DiFrancisco
QB/DB
11
5'11
150
13
Craig Tiberio
SE/DB
11
6'3
175
20
Tom Bestor
RB/DB
11
5'9
155
21
Brandon Cooley
SE/DB
12
6'4
180
22
Mike Frew
RB/LB
12
5'10
165
25
Chad Condidorio
RB/LB
11
5'7
140
28
Tim Andrews
RB/LB
12
5'11
170
30
Chet Brassie
SE/DB
12
5'8
165
31
Justin Casper
RB/LB
12
5'10
165
32
Mike Farabella
RB/LB
12
5'10
175
33
Brady Bonacquisti
TE/LB
10
5'8
175
43
Dan Horning
OL/DE
12
5'8
175
56
Mike Platek
OL/DE
12
6'1
210
57
Rob Morgan
OL/DL
12
5'11
190
58
Tom Smith
OL/LB
12
6'
170
63
Garrett Luckey
OL/DL
12
5'11
235
65
Tim Herron
OL/DL
11
5'10
175
68
Zack Murray
OL/DL
12
6'2
260
74
Nick Paliani
OL/DL
12
5'9
240
75
Shaun Swanson
OL/DL
12
6'2
260
77
Steve Lapp
OL/LB
12
5'11
170
78
John Whiting
OL/DL
10
6'0
260
79
Marcus Epps
OL/DL
10
6'3
270
80
Boo Hinett
SE/DB
12
6'2
175
82
Mike Alexander
TE/DE
12
6'3
180
84
Kevin Brady
TE/LB
11
6'0
200
85
Colin Dailey
SE/DB
12
6'0
160
88
Justin Becker
SE/DB
11
6'1
165
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