Friday Night Lights Out: Vikings Hand New Utrecht 13-6 Defeat Before Packed House


By Jerry Del Priore

It has been a long time since South Shore High School’s football team had the amount of excitement and electricity it had on Friday night at home. The stands were packed, as two former star players – Chris and Ricky Legree – were honored for their past accomplishments and contributions to the program.

Former South Shore greats -- Chris and Ricky Legree -- honored at half time, with current assistant coach and former Viking standout David Legree (middle).

Former South Shore greats — Chris and Ricky Legree — honored at half time, with current assistant coach and former Viking standout David Legree (middle).

The Vikings, behind junior quarterback Jason Martin’s two touchdowns, rewarded their fans with a 13-6 victory over New Utrecht, keeping their unbeaten streak intact.

Though South Shore (4-0) did pick up the win, head coach Matt Ciquera didn’t feel his team played up to its capabilities, and still is a work in progress.

“We still, through four weeks, haven’t really put it together completely,” Ciquera said after the game. “The ball was on the floor three times, and I lost track of how times we jumped offsides defensively.

“To be honest, I didn’t think we played well at all today. It just seemed like we were a little slow to get going. But once we got going, thankfully we were able to pull out the win. But definitely a lot of room for improvement. No question about that.”

The Utes (2-2) struck first on a short rushing touchdown to give them a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter.

The Vikings evened the score at six as Martin, who completed 11 of 19 attempts for 140 yards, punched it into the end zone on a quarterback keeper early in the second period.

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South Shore defensive back lines up for play in 13-6 win over New Utrecht.

South Shore took the lead when Martin eluded New Utrecht’s defensive pressure, and connected with senior receiver Michael Watson on a 40-yard touchdown strike, with the extra point making it 13-6 late in the second quarter.

The Vikings opened up the second half by fumbling the kickoff in its own territory. But its defense went into lockdown mode, and managed to keep the Utes off the scoreboard.

After three and out, South Shore punted the ball to New Utrecht. Senior Jermaine Garner raced down the gridiron, and stripped the ball from the Utes ball carrier, which senior Omar Jarrett pounced on at the 32 of New Utrecht.

The Vikings’ offense stalled on the ensuing drive, but its defense was able to keep New Utrecht from scoring the rest of the way.

Junior Armand Robinson led South Shore’s defense with 10 tackles, a sack, an interception and fumble recovery. Seniors Kendal Bates II, Aniah Prescod and Garner chipped in with nine and seven stops, respectively.

The Vikings travel to Thomas Jefferson High School field tomorrow at 7:00 p.m.

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Canarsie Sees Red After Port Richmond’s Dominant Second Half Sinks Team


Senior cornerback Shawn Cabbell looks in on line as plays gets ready to start.

Senior cornerback Shawn Cabbell looks in on line as plays gets ready to start.

By Jerry Del Priore

It was a tale of two halves for Canarsie.

The Chiefs did enough, though they didn’t play spectacular, to take a 13-12 lead into the locker room. But failed to put the Red Raiders away, as they overpowered Canarsie in the second half, handing it a demoralizing 34-19 defeat Saturday at home.

“We had the lead at halftime, and I told the kids ‘they’re not going to lay down for you,’” head coach Kyle Allen said. “In the first half, our defense played pretty sound. We bent a little bit, but we played sound. When we came out in the second, our defense stayed in the locker room. Our offense played well. We were able to stay in the fight for a while, but once we started missing tackles and giving up big plays, you know the moral to that story.”

Port Richmond (3-0) raced out to a 6-0 advantage in the first quarter after a long touchdown run.

The Chiefs answered back with a 50-yard touchdown bomb from senior quarterback Damario Spalding to senior running back Shawn Cabbell to knot the game at six midway through the second period.

The Red Raiders responded on the ensuing drive on a screen pass that went for a 15-yard score, staking them to a 12-6 lead with 1:12 remaining in the first half.

Not to be outdone, Canarsie (1-3) quickly marched down the field, capping the drive with a 28-yard TD strike from Spalding to senior receiver Darius Lancaster, with placekicker Ralph Foreste booting the extra point for a 13-12 advantage late in the half.

Senior Cyree Scott secured the first half lead with an interception.

Senior receiver Darius Lancaster lines up for play during Canarsie's 34-19 loss to Port Richmond Saturday.

Senior receiver Darius Lancaster lines up for play during Canarsie’s 34-19 loss to Port Richmond Saturday.

But that was the last lead the Chiefs would hold, as Port Richmond scored on a 64-yard touchdown run on first and long early in the third quarter—a play that Allen said was the turning point in the game.

“In the second half, that big play, when we had them first and 25, and they broke a 60 yarder, that took the wind out of us,” he said. “From the point on, things went downhill.”

From there, the mistakes piled up for Canarsie. A bad snap on a punt gave the Red Raiders the ball at the Chiefs’ 17. Two plays later, Port Richmond signal caller Antonio Cotton tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass. The Red Raiders followed with the successful two-point conversion to give them a 26-13 advantage late in the third quarter.

On the next offensive possession, Canarsie turned the ball over on downs, giving Port Richmond excellent field position. The Red Raiders cashed in on the opportunity by tacking on another score, followed by a successful two-point conversion to extend their lead to 34-13 with a few minutes left in the tilt.

The Chiefs did have a moment of brightness when junior Tyleek Lowe returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards for the touchdown, narrowing the gap to 34-19 late in the contest.

Senior quarterback Damario Spalding waits for hike.

Senior quarterback Damario Spalding waits for hike.

However, it was a little too late for Canarsie as it extended its losing streak to three games.

The Chiefs travel to the Bronx Friday for a 7:00 p.m. game against JFK.

Former Longtime Chiefs’ Gridiron Announcer Andy Rizzo Reflects On Days Behind The Mic


By Jerry Del Priore

Andy Rizzo used to bring his trusty bullhorn to his son Joe’s Pop Warner football games so he could help energize the team and fans with his vivid play-by-play commentary.

Without realizing it at the time, Rizzo’s bullhorn work would lead him to a celebrated side career as Chiefs’ football announcer.

When Joe progressed to the high school ranks at Canarsie, former legendary Chiefs head coach Mike Camardese, current junior varsity coach at Poly Prep, asked him to assume press booth duties.

Andy Rizzo pictured with son Joe, who is also known as DJ Riz, a renowned DJ.

Andy Rizzo pictured with son Joe, who is also known as DJ Riz, a renowned DJ.

For approximately 20 years, Rizzo thrilled Chiefs’ football home crowds with signature calls such as his “Welcome to the House of Pain” war cry, igniting a raucous cheer from the Canarsie faithful.

As an integral part of Chiefs’ football history, the former Canarsien said he had the honor of witnessing several outstanding student-athletes advance to top Division I college programs, and even reach the NFL, such as the likes of Leon Williams and Lance Schulters.

“It was fun,” Rizzo, who called other sports at Canarsie and around the city, fondly recollected. “It was exciting to see these kids go on to big colleges. Some went on to the pros.”

A little over four years ago, the football staff invited Rizzo back to Canarsie Educational Campus to call a game against Flushing High School, with current announcer Antonio Rodriguez gladly stepping aside for the afternoon.

“That felt kind of funny because I wasn’t the main guy anymore,” said the Barnegat, N.J., resident, who’s retired from his full-time position as an investigator-supervising claim specialist at the NYC Comptroller’s Office. “Once it got into the flow, it was fun. It brought back many memories.

To honor Rizzo, the Canarsie football Chiefs honored him with a banner—which is affixed to the press booth—a few years ago, for his time behind the mic. But someone mistakenly removed it, the current administration said, and quickly replaced it when Rizzo requested, much to his delight, he noted.

Andy Rizzo Press Box at Canarsie High School in Brooklyn.

Andy Rizzo Press Box at Canarsie High School in Brooklyn.

While it has thrilled him to see former student-athletes go on to play at the next level, Rizzo said the “thing that excited me the most was seeing the stands packed with fans. When the fans started to do the (Florida State University) Seminole fight song chop, it became a rocking time on Saturdays.”

It’s a tradition that still carries on today. As any former Canarsie High School football player and current fan will attest to, “Once a Chief, Always a Chief.”

Fort Hamilton Spoils Varsity Chiefs’ Football Home Opener With 38-0 Rout


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Senior Canarsie Tailback Palyte Stubbs rumbles for solid yardage in 38-0 defeat to Fort Hamilton Saturday at home.

By Jerry Del Priore

The Canarsie varsity football team knew it would be in for a tough afternoon after Fort Hamilton, a talented squad, suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Grand Street Campus last week, angering the club.

Failing to muster up any offensive and playing less-than stellar defense, the pumped-up Tigers crushed the Chiefs, 38-0, Saturday in their home opener.

When the opposing squad outplays you in every facet of the game, it’s hard to identify just one thing that went wrong during the contest, Canarsie Head Coach Kyle Allen said.

“Losing 38-0, we were just outplayed; they were just better than us,” Allen explained after the game. “I can’t pinpoint one specific thing, and say ‘this is why the reason we loss,’ when they put up 38 points, and we put up none.”

Nevertheless, “It was definitely a lack of execution, and a lack of concentration,” both contributing factors to the lopsided defeat, as well as fatigue, he added.

Things didn’t begin well for Canarsie (1-2), as Fort Hamilton blocked a punt, recovered the ball, and returned it for a touchdown. The following successful two-point conversion staked the Tigers to an early 8-0 lead in the first quarter.

A rushing score pushed Fort Hamilton’s advantage to 14-0 late in the first period.

The Chiefs’ first drive of the second quarter didn’t go well, as it ended with a bad snap, resulting in a safety and a 16-0 hole.

Assistant Coach Chris Sino chats it up to Sidelines during break in action.

Assistant Coach Chris Sino chats it up to Sidelines during break in action.

Canarsie did get a measure of reprieve for the time being when senior defensive back Cyree Scott intercepted quarterback Conner Fitzsimons’ pass to thwart the Tigers’ offensive threat.

After holding off the Chiefs, who committed three turnovers in the tilt, Fitzsimons vindicated himself when he broke a few tackles on his way to a 38-yard TD run and 22-0 lead. The ensuing successful two-point play widen the gap  to 24-0 midway through second period.

Fort Hamilton (2-1) posted 16 more second half points while blanking Canarsie the rest of the way to complete the blowout.

Juniors Seba Nekhet and Troy Booker led the Tigers’ offensive with 132 rushing yards and a touchdown and 74 and three scores on the ground, respectively.

Feisty senior running back Noah Solano added a combined 113 all-purpose yards in the victory.

The Chiefs host Staten Island’s Port Richmond Saturday at noon.

Dismissal of Longtime St. Joseph’s College Coach, Athletic Director Frank Carbone Causes Uproar


St. Joseph's College Brooklyn women's basketball team.

St. Joseph’s College Brooklyn women’s basketball team.

By Jerry Del Priore

It seems as if an injustice has occurred at St. Joseph’s College in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, according to countless angry students and alumni, as the school fired its athletic director Frank Carbone Tuesday.

Upset and taking aback by the news, a groundswell of support from current students and alumni came together to form a Facebook group – with over 1100 current members – to help Carbone get reinstated.

They even started hashtags #BringBackFrank, #BearWitnessToTheShame, #FPCisSJC and #SackJack (to oust St. Joseph’s College President Jack Calareso), as way to help support the beloved Carbone even further.

Furthermore, they started hard copy and online petitions to spur their efforts to greater lengths. 

An email to students from Assistant Vice President and Senior Director of Athletics Shantey Hill Tuesday informed them of Carbone’s dismissal. In addition, Hill announced his replacement, Alex Winnicker–Associate Director of Athletics at SJC, hired in July to fill the newly created position–will step in and serve as the interim Alethic Director.

In an official statement from the school, St. Joseph’s said the reason for his termination was due to its decision to usher its athletics program in a different direction.

St. Joe's Women's basketball, with former head coach Frank Carbone.

St. Joe’s Women’s basketball, with head coach Frank Carbone.

“After a lengthy and thorough assessment process, St. Joseph’s College determined the need for new leadership in Brooklyn athletics,” the statement read. “The decision to replace Mr. Frank Carbone as Athletics Director was not an easy one, and in no way diminishes the significant contributions he made to the college and its athletic programs in Brooklyn over the past 18 years.

SJC went on to credit Carbone for his positive influence on the program, and its designs to build on its past success going forward. 

“While the College has come a long way over the past few years with the creation of The Hill Center and admission into the Skyline Conference, we see this as only a step toward continued growth, development and excellence,” the statement added. “In the coming years, we plan to increase opportunities for our student-athletes by adding athletic programs, improving our current programs and continuing to expand our facilities as we strive for excellence and greater success for the college.”

SJC Hoops

St. Joseph’s hoops team.

Carbone, 47, stepped down as coach of the women’s softball and basketball teams last month in order to concrete on his duties as Athletic Director, according to SJCBears.com. But it has many students and alumni speculating that he could have been a lame duck all along,

“I must say that I vehemently disagree with the decision and steps taken to fire Frank, as well as the timing of it,” a former student-athlete – who wished to remain anonymous – close to situation said.​ “That was only about a month ago. Frank Carbone didn’t have the chance to solely be an athletic director. With the new position created around him, it was clear that the pressure was on, and that he didn’t stand a chance against an administration that had its mind made up from months ago. The writing was on the wall, and that’s what I​ a​m​ most ​ disgusted with.”

Frank Carbone and an Assistant Softball Coach.

Frank Carbone and an Assistant Softball Coach.

One of the  Facebook group members, Stephanie Quick, a former Bears basketball player for four years, extoled the virtues of Carbone and his importance to the program during his long stint at the college.

“Frank taught us more than just the game he coached,” Quick, a 2103 graduate, explained. “He made SJC athletics a whole where every team supported one another. He made us a family. He gave his entire life to making SJC athletics to what it is now. He has put in more time than anyone could ever imagine. It’s a disgrace that he was fired.”

Former student-athlete alumni and celebrity Chris Distefano even spoke out on social media, remembering Carbone as a caring and dedicated athletic director and coach,  offering his support to help him get rehired.

“Athletic Director Frank Carbone was fired from St. Joseph’s in Brooklyn yesterday,” Distefano, a comedian and current cast member on MTV2’s popular show Guy Code and MTV’s Girl Code, wrote on Instagram Wednesday.

“This man was like a second dad to me during my basketball career there. If you know him, you know what I mean. Let’s help him get reinstated. It just wasn’t his job. It was his life. That’s (the) type of man you want running your athletic program.”

Carbone couldn’t be reached for comment since he handed over his cell phone to the school, and an alternate number wasn’t available at the time, according to several sources.

The Greenpoint, Brooklyn, native amassed a 271-246 as the basketball coach, highlighted by an NCAA Division III Tournament appearance in 2012. It was the first, and only, NCAA tournament berth in any sport in SJC Brooklyn history.

SJC Basketball Team, which earned NCAA D3 Tournament appearance in 2012, it's first, and only, in school history in any sports.

SJC Basketball Team, which earned NCAA D3 Tournament appearance in 2012, it’s first, and only, in school history in any sports.

Selected as the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National Basketball Coach of the Year in 2003, Carbone led the Lady Bears to nine National Championship appearances and six Hudson Valley Conference championships, claiming the title in two of the last three seasons. He capped off last season with the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (HVIAC) Co-Coach of the Year honor.

To honor Carbone’s overall hoops contributions at the college, the Bears’ home basketball court was named after him last December, when the state-of-the art Hill Center was opened.

He also started the softball program at St. Joseph’s in 2002, helping it compile a 620 record (287-175-3) over 14 seasons, producing winning records in all but two seasons. The three-time Association of Division III Independents (AD3I) Coach of the Year led the Lady Bears to eight USCAA National Championships, taking home a program-best third-place finish in 2010 while capturing nine Hudson Valley Conference titles.

 

Ex-Canarsie High School Sports Standout Enjoys Success In The Music Biz


As a youth, former Canarsie High School three-sport athlete Joe Rizzo balanced his life between his two loves: athletics and music. He received his first turntable from his dad, Andy, at the age of 14 and began spinning records for fun.

Joe Rizzo, A.KA. Dj Riz, at MCU Park during Brooklyn Night.

Joe Rizzo, A.KA. Dj Riz, at MCU Park during Brooklyn Night.

Rizzo played football, baseball and basketball for the Canarsie Chiefs while continuing to hone his craft of mixing and scratching records after every practice and game.

While he played well throughout his college career – making the JUCO Northeast Conference All-Star team with Nassau Community College – he found it difficult to give his all to both disciplines.

“It was the only two things I was vested in,” Rizzo said. “But it was almost impossible to dedicate myself to both at times.”

Rizzo’s playing days came to an end after college, during which he was able to dedicate himself wholeheartedly to spinning records full time.

It’s paid off for Rizzo, who has built an impressive career as one of New York City’s top DJs and producers. He’s played everywhere from Manhattan’s top nightclubs such as Palladium, Limelight, Tunnel and Expo, to exclusive places overseas. He’s even been fortunate enough to DJ several NFL special events, including a number of Super Bowls.

“I always wanted to go to at least one Super Bowl,” said Rizzo, who goes by DJ Riz. “I have been lucky enough to be the DJ at ten.”

DJ Riz with Brooklyn's Paulie Malignaggi, professional boxer and commentator.

DJ Riz with Brooklyn’s Paulie Malignaggi, professional boxer and commentator.

In addition to all of his highlights, MC Serch of famed rap group 3rd Bass asked Rizzo to join him and DJ Eclipse for an appearance on the “Arsenio Hall Show” in the early 1990s.

“It was great,” the 44-year-old DUMBO resident recalled. “It was definitely an experience.”

On the production side of the music business, Rizzo partnered up with his old neighborhood friend DJ Sizzahandz to form the Hip-Hop-based Crooklyn Clan in 1995. They are responsible for the huge club party anthem “Be Faithful,” featuring Fatman Scoop, which went platinum overseas, and was in the movie “Save the Last Dance.”

In 2011, Rizzo decided to foray into one of his greatest passions, the house/dance music scene, and developed a collaboration effort called SikDuo with his longtime friend Chris Moody. That same year, the duo released Boney M’s “Daddy Cool.”

DJ Riz with former Met Great and Brooklynite John Franco

DJ Riz with former Met Great and Brooklynite John Franco

The Duo had its singles “BIG” and “Boom” in rotation on BPM and Electric Area on Sirius XM satellite radio and have been behind the turntables during its residency at one of Manhattan’s hottest dance venues, Pacha, since 2005.

Though his sporting days are in the rearview mirror, and his music continues to evolve, Rizzo said he holds no regrets.

“I am proud of both things: the sports and the music,” he said. “I have no complaints.”

JV Chiefs Topple New Utrecht, 28-16, For First Win of Season


By Jerry Del Priore

New Utrecht’s junior varsity football team had numerous players on its roster, a large amount over Canarsie’s JV squad. To boot, the Utes fired up the crowd, yelling and banging on the gates on its way onto the gridiron for its game against the Chiefs, adding to the intimidation factor for a moment, varsity and assistant JV coach Kyle Allen said.

But Canarsie was able to shrug it off, and roll to a 28-16 win over New Utrecht Saturday on the road.

Canarsie Players Lines Up in Secondary.

Canarsie Players Lines Up in Secondary.

After playing to a first period stalemate, the Chiefs (1-1) drew first blood when sophomore quarterback Johnny Watson bolted for a 37-yard touchdown run that staked Canarsie to a 6-0 lead in the second quarter.

On the subsequent play, Watson, a promising player, caused a fumble, which was picked up by sophomore Tyrease Malone, who rumbled into the end zone for a 12-0 advantage midway through the second period.

Not to be out down, the Utes punched in a touchdown and the two-point conversion to slice the lead to 12-8 early in the third quarter.

But freshman Evens DeLouis scampered for a 35-yard touchdown rush, followed by the Chiefs’ successful two-point conversion play that increased their advantage to 20-8 at the end of the third period.

New Utrecht (0-1) refused to lay down, as a tipped ball, which landed in a Utes’ receiver’s hands for the 65-yard TD pass, cut the deficit to six points. New Utrecht converted the two-point conversion run to pull to within 20-16 at the 7:10 mark of the fourth quarter.

Not willing to stand by idly, DeLouis rushed for a 45-yard score, his second touchdown of the day. Watson followed with a two-point conversion run to increase the lead to 28-16 with 5:16 remaining in the tilt.

From there, Canarsie’s defense went into lockdown mode, coupled with its potent ground game, to shut the door on the Utes.

4559 -- Canarsie running back follows blockers as he turns the corner for positive yardage.

4559 — Canarsie running back follows blockers as he turns the corner for positive yardage.

The victory was a first for first-year JV head coach Robert Palmer, who also guides the boys’ rugby team—PSAL champions for four of the six seasons of the sports’ existence.

“It’s great. It feels really good, actually,” Palmer said of getting on the win side of the ledger. “This will get us to next week.”

Palmer ultimately attributed the triumph to firing on all cylinders as the week of practice progressed.

“We just gelled this week,” said Palmer, an assistant on the varsity coaching staff. “They basically clicked. I noticed in the weight room Thursday they were going nuts. They were making it into a competition. With school starting this week, they got it together at the end week, so it was good.”

Offensive line coach Chris Sino instructs one of his players during a break in the action.

Offensive line coach Chris Sino instructs one of his players during a break in the action.

The JV Chiefs host Fort Hamilton Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

Chiefs Varsity Football Drop 18-6 Affair to New Utrecht In Ugly Fashion


Canarsie football coaching staff looks on from sidelines.

Canarsie football coaching staff looks on from sidelines.

By Jerry Del Priore

It was a day the Canarsie varsity football team would like to forget. The Chiefs struggled on the gridiron all game long, committing numerous penalties and three turnovers, leading to 18-6 loss to New Utrecht Saturday on the road.

Head coach Kyle Allen attributed the defeat to lack of dedication to practice during the week and plethora of infractions committed during the game.

“We shot ourselves in the foot all week long in practice,” Allen explained. “We had kids not showing up on time, kids not showing up at all. We shot ourselves in the foot so much, that we shot both of our feet off even before we got off the bus. We kept shooting ourselves by jumping offsides. Some of the penalties were questionable, but you can’t win when you keep committing fouls.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Utes scored on a seven-yard touchdown rush by junior signal caller Miquin Jenkin Davis for a 6-0 advantage early in the second quarter. New Utrecht (2-0) had its chance to extend its lead. But defensive pressure on Davis caused an errant throw, which senior cornerback Shawn Cabbell picked off, and returned to Canarsie’s 19 to thwart its drive late in the first half.

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, senior quarterback Damario Spalding threw an interception of his own, the first of two, late in the second quarter, ending any threat of tying the game going into the locker room.

Canarsie (1-1) fell even further behind when Davis bulldozed his way into end zone on fourth and one for a one-yard TD and a 12-0 lead in the third period.

Canarsie Receiver Darius Lancaster points to ref asking if he's lined up onside.

Canarsie Receiver Darius Lancaster points to ref asking if he’s lined up onside.

Though tempers flared in the second half when a verbal quarrel between fans – including some parents – and a referee caused stoppage of play, the situation was worked out without incident. The dispute stemmed from a confrontation between a Chiefs player and a referee, according to sources close to the situation.

More importantly, however, Allen gave credit to his players who were able to control their emotions, and concentrate on the contest at hand.

“I’m proud of my boys for the way they handle it,” Allen said. “It got a little bit edgy, but then they were able to calm themselves down, and stayed focused on the football game, even though there were extracurricular things happening off the field.”

As for the parents, Allen said: “As upset as they were, they were able to regain composer for the sake of the boys, and the sake of the game. They’re really good people. So things got little heated, but they were able to control themselves.”

The Utes tacked on another touchdown when Davis, who rushed for 120 yards on 13 carries, ran straight up the middle for an eight-yard score, increasing their advantage to 18-0 midway through the fourth quarter.

Canarsie Senior Corner back Shawn Cabell follows developing play.

Canarsie Senior Corner back Shawn Cabell follows play.

Canarsie answered back on the ensuing play, as Cabbell found pay dirt on an 85-yard kickoff return, narrowing the gap to 18-6 with 4:04 remaining in the tilt.

But that’s as close as the Chiefs would get, as their defense was unable to give the ball back to their offense the rest of the way.

Canarsie hosts Fort Hamilton in its home opener Saturday, September 19 at noon.

Former Brooklyn Cyclones Michael Conforto Puts up Solid Fantasy Numbers for NY Mets


By Jerry Del Priore

Since the New York Mets called up left fielder Michael Conforto from AA Binghamton on July 24, the former Brooklyn Cyclones outfielder has raked to the tune of .278, six home runs and 20 RBI, with a .356 OBP and .878 OPS through 115 at-bats.

Writer Jerry Del Priore with Michael Conforto outside MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Writer Jerry Del Priore with Michael Conforto outside MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

While the former Oregon State University product’s numbers might not blow away fantasy baseball players’ minds, remember, it’s just a small sample size for a player consider by many baseball insiders to have a high celling.

So, Conforto, the Mets first round selection in 2014, number 10 overall, could catch fire and improve upon his number, making him a solid pickup down the stretch for fantasy GMs looking for a difference maker.

Furthermore, Conforto seems to be playing well in the high-intensity atmosphere of the National League (NL) East pennant race.

I liked the six-foot-one, 215-pound 22-year-old prospect since I saw him debut with short-season A Cyclones. You could tell that he had a real clue at the plate, hitting the ball with authority all over the field, almost at will.

Conforto finished his first season in professional ball by slugging an impressive .331 with three long balls, 19 RBI, a .403 OBP and .448 OPS in 163 at-bats.

It’s hard to predict how a player will perform over a course of season, especially when it comes to picking him up for your roster or sitting him. But with the Mets up seven games in the standings, Conforto should see even more playing time, with manager Terry Collins and Mets’ brass getting even a better look at him for the future.

I’m not saying that New York has the division locked up (remember 2007 and ’08), but it’s a nice option to get a look at your future while still mattering in September.

So, pick Conforto up while you still have the chance. If not now, you’re sure to see him as a hot commodity for fantasy leagues down the line.

 

Despite Lackluster Performance, Vikes Blank Boys & Girls, 20-0, In Season Opener


Vikings take knees with a break in the action.

Vikings take knees with a break in the action.

By Jerry Del Priore

South Shore and Boys & Girls football teams played to a stalemate in the first half. It was evident that the Vikings, a squad expected to make some noise in the PSAL’s City Conference this season, had some trouble clicking on offense, sputtering at times.

The Vikings (1-0) made some adjustments during halftime, however, and posted three unanswered touchdowns in the second half, on its way to a 20-0 shutout of the Kangaroos Saturday at home.

“It felt like we did a good job preparing, working hard all offseason, but the first was just real sloppy,” South Shore head chance Matt Ciquera said after the game. “They kind of controlled us a little bit, we put the ball on the floor, and committed a couple of penalties; things like that really hurt.”

One particularly play cost the team in the first half. After senior Aniah Prescod forced a fumble, and recovered it, advancing it to the 28-yard line of Boys & Girls, signal caller Jason Martin fumbled the snap on the ensuing play, handing the ball back to the Kangaroos (0-1).

South Shore kicker boots extra point.

South Shore kicker boots extra point.

“We let the other team hang in the game where we feel like we could have had maybe a one or two score lead at half if we executed, and came out to play,” Ciquera said. “But now, next thing you know, we’re in a dog fight in the second half. You just got to be prepared for that every week.”

Ciquera and the Vikings did come out ready to play in the third quarter, making the necessary adjustment at half time to take control of the tilt.

South Shore Vikings player runs out on kickoff.

South Shore Vikings player runs out on kickoff.

Senior Oshane McGregor pounced on a fumble at the 17 of Boys & Girls. After a few plays, Martin took it straight up the middle for the score, followed by a successful extra point, putting South Shore ahead, 7-0, early in the third quarter.

South Shore capitalized on another fumble when senior standout Omar Jarrett recovered the pigskin at the Kangaroos’ 33-yard line. Martin quickly went to work, connecting with senior Michael Watson on 33-yard touchdown reception for 13-0 advantage midway through the third period.

Martin capped the scoring on 20-yard scamper down the left sideline, followed by another successful point after that increased South Shore’s lead to 20-0. It was the junior quarterback’s third touchdown of the day.

The Vikings travel to Flushing Saturday, September 12th for a 12 p.m. game at Flushing Memorial Field.