Dynamite edges out slumping Braves on final play


Dynamites game-tying TD to Ed Starr (red). Video of the winning PAT available at https://youtu.be/PIcNr4KzFAI Pictures and videos by Sean Goodwin

Anytime a flag football game here at the Epic Center is decided on the very final play, that game is a guaranteed lock to be written about.  This past Monday we had another all time classic finish in the game between the Buffalo Braves and Dynamite.  Both teams were on opposite sides of the standings as the Braves were 2-4 and Dynamite was 4-2.  The Braves have had a very disappointing season compared to their normal level of play.  Their year started off with a week one matchup with Dynamite which the Braves lost by 20 points.  Dynamite stifled  Braves quarterback Chris Lonzi in that game, and caused him to only complete 12 out of his 28 attempted passes.  Meanwhile Dynamites quarterback Bobby had a fantastic first game of the season going 14-18 with five touchdowns passes.  Quarterback play turned out to be monumental in the game this past Monday.
I did not expect the game to be much of a defensive show, but early on I was proved to be dead wrong. Both the Braves and Dynamites first two drives ended with a turnover on downs.  I was very impressed with the Braves defense early on, and Dame Powell was racking up the flag grabs with three on Dynamites first eight plays.  Dynamite was able to break through the stalemate on their third drive.  A perfectly thrown ball from Bobby was hauled in by Ed Starr from 52 yards out for the games first score.  After the extra point it was 7-0, and with just two minutes on the clock it looked like that would be the score at halftime.  However, Lonzi completed a long 48 yard pass to John Helbringer on second down to put the Braves in terrific field position to tie the game before half.  Following two straight sacks from Ed Harof and Travis the Braves were faced with a fourth down from about thirty yards out.  Lonzi was able to get away from the pressure and fire a strike to Helbringer that was knocked away by Cowboy.  The half did not end there as a flag was thrown on the play for pass interference on Dynamite.  Lonzi and the Braves then recollected themselves and ran a terrific play to find Dame Powell in the end zone from one yard out.  The halftime buzzer sounded and the score was 7-7.
Unlike the first half, the second half got off to a fast start from both teams.  Bobby was finding Ed Starr on almost every play, and the methodical eight play drive was capped off with another touchdown catch by Mr. Starr.  The Braves wasted no time in getting the score back to even.  Following a terrific 25 yard scramble by Lonzi, Mohammed Saleh hauled in a 28 yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 13.  The next drive by Dynamite was ugly to say the least.  A completion for negative yardage, and three straight incompletions gave the ball back to the Braves. This left the door wide open for the Braves to grab their first lead of the game, and that is exactly what they did.  A signature Dame Powell screen went 38 yards to the house, and the Braves were just a minute and thirty seconds away from victory.  Bobby and his team looked very confident walking out on the field with such little time and trailing by six.  Dynamite moved the ball very quickly, and called their final timeout with five seconds left and with the ball about ten yards out from the goal line.  Bobby decided to run a goal line fade play to Ed Starr who was matched up man to man with Darryl Rocha.  Without thinking twice about it, Bobby took the snap and threw up a perfect looping ball to the corner of the end zone which Ed caught to tie the game up at 19.  The PAT was going to either decide the game or give us the first overtime game of the season.  I was able to capture on video the walk-off game winner which was completed to Chris Franjoine.  Dynamite had won 20-19 in one of the most thrilling flag football games I can remember here at Epic Center.  The player of the game was Ed Starr who had all three of his team touchdowns, and finished with six total catches for 139 yards.  Dynamite improved to 5-2 record while the Braves difficult season continued as they are now 2-5.  It will be another tough task to get their third win next week as they play undefeated Mega Chargers.  Dynamite will play Hellagoods who defeated Dynamite in their first matchup this season. 

No Fly Zone’s James Cellotto puts in MVP-Caliber performance in win over Southside

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Aaron Shaw (29 White) heaves a deep ball to the end zone. Picture by Sean Goodwin.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. –After six weeks of games, the flag football standings are finally starting to clear up. The two favorites, Hellagoods and Mega Chargers, seem destined for a meeting in the championship game.  The real question is which team still has a chance to make some noise in the playoffs from a lower seed.  No Fly Zone is a team who dominated the lower division last session.  They were undefeated throughout the season, and finished it off with a recreation division title.  This session however, they got off to a very tough start losing two out of their first three games.  They looked to get back to their winning ways when they played Southside this past Monday.  Southside was having another tough season here at Epic Center. Quarterback Aaron Shaw, and captain Tyler Ciemny were looking to get any type of offense going after their 44-0 loss at the hand of Mega Chargers in the week before. They got some news of good luck before the game as one of No Fly Zones best players, John Caie, was out and unable to attend the game.  Former MVP Quarterback James Cellotto was going to have to rely heavily on his number two options Derek Bongiovanni, and Ben who lead the team in touchdowns respectively.

Southside won the coin toss, but decided to put their defense on the field to start the game. No Fly Zones quarterback James Cellotto led the offense on the field for their first drive.  The drive ended up lasting almost eight minutes due to penalties and fourth down conversions.  Derek B was targeted three times on that drive and caught all three passes with the last one capping off the drive with a touchdown.  I could tell Derek was going to be targeted heavily on the day, because he looked to be Cellottos number one read on every play.  Southside then took over on offense with a familiar deficit.  Aaron Shaw looked to get the running game going early on, but No Fly Zone has some of the best flag pullers in the entire league.  Ben and the entire defensive line of Dave, Jeremy Natka and Kelsy could not be contained by the Southside offensive line.  This led to poor reads, and bad throw-aways from Shaw especially on the first drive.  Following a turnover on downs from Southside, Cellotto needed just two plays to hook up with Derek B. in the end zone for the second time of the night.  Southside then got their first points of the game when James Cellotto threw a terrible interception on the PAT.  The next Southside drive looked to be promising, but a sack from No Fly Zones Kelsy on third down led to a necessary punt on fourth and long.  Kelsy would hop onto the score sheet one more time before the half as he caught Cellottos next touchdown pass from four yards out.  The score at halftime was 18-2 in favor of No Fly Zone.

Only down two scores, Southside was far from out of this game at the half. Tyler Ciemny knew he could get a score from his offense on their first drive, and that was the message throughout the halftime team-talk.  Their first big play of the game came on Southside’s opening drive of the second half.  On third and long, Shaw rolled to his right found a pocket of space and hurled a deep ball down the field.  Jordan Kulesz was waiting for the pass and brought it in up high with No Fly Zones Brian Stevens all over him.  Aaron Shaw then found Mike Tchorznicki from 18 yards out and Southside had their first touchdown in over two weeks of play.  The PAT was a key play of the game as they would be down just one score if they converted.  A false start penalty completely messed up their field position, and Shaw was sacked on the PAT.  Southside then got a little lucky as the first play from No Fly Zones next drive was called a safety.  Dave was caught holding in the end zone, and all of a sudden Southside had the ball with just an eight point deficit.  The turnover bug bit hard into Southsides chances at a win as Ben intercepted a poor Aaron Shaw throw into the end zone.  This led to Derek B. catching his third touchdown of the night on the next drive and Cellotto and co. putting the game to bed.  The final score was 24-16 and No Fly Zone was back to their winning ways.  The player of the game goes to the QB and his star receiver.  James Cellotto finished the night 12-20 239 yds and four touchdowns as well as two interceptions on defense.  Derek Bongiovanni had himself a day with three touchdowns on just five catches.  No Fly Zone will get a big test of their skill next week when they take on undefeated Hellagoods for the first time this year.  Southside will have to make improvements for their game against the Buffalo Braves if they are to have any chance.

Dynamite hand Team No Name their First Loss of the Season

Captains Damon Powell (Yellow/Team No Name) and Josh Salada (Red/Dynamite) shake hands prior to their game. Picture by Sean Goodwin

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – Another fantastic night of Monday football went into the books this past week. One team put up 74 points while the Braves lost another tough game, and have yet to pick up a win this season.  The game that really caught my eye was the closing game at 11 o’clock.  Dynamite brought a 2-1 record in to face undefeated 3-0 Team No Name.  Dynamite was looking to bounce back from their narrow loss to Hellagoods in the week before.  Their quarterback Bobby has played well all year, and last week he had over 300 yards with 4 touchdowns.  This week also marked the return of star receiver Ed Starr who had not played since week one where he had two touchdowns.  Team No Name looked to add to their three-game win streak.  Their quarterback Tito has had a terrific season as well.  Tito has proven to be a very tough QB to defend primarily because of his running ability.  He has had 60+ rushing yards in all three of his games this season.  His primary weapons, Yusef B. and Tony Rivera were also ready to go against their toughest matchup of the season.

Team No Name began with the ball, but it was tough sledding for the entirety of the first half for their offense. Tito was finding it very difficult to complete passes especially on third and fourth down.  The edge defenders of Dynamite was playing terrific contain defense.  Ed Starr and Ed Harof were the primary contributors to the strong defense played by Dynamite early on.  Bobby and his offense were able to convert on the terrific field position given to them by Team No Name, and their inability to convert fourth downs.  Jeff Farr caught the first touchdown of the game on a great play by Bobby to buy a bunch of time in the pocket.  This was Farr’s fourth touchdown of the season, and also put him just three touchdowns behind the league leader.  Another turnover on downs from Team No Name on their next drive led to another touchdown by Bobby and Dynamite’s offense.  This time it was Ed Starr with his third touchdown in just his second game played.  Team No Name was able to catch some momentum and score before the halftime buzzer. Yusef B. made a great play on an errant pass from Bobby and brought in his fourth interception of the season.  Tito then capped off a terrific drive from Team No Name with a rushing touchdown from twenty yards out.  The score at halftime was 19-7 in favor of Dynamite.

Dynamite was able to score on their opening drive in the second half, and this increased their lead to 18 points. Tito and co. did not look like they were going to throw in the towel by any means but a comeback from 18 points with just twenty minutes left in the game is extremely difficult.  Damon Powell came alive in the second half for Team No Name, as he hauled in two touchdowns on five catches.  Unfortunately for Team No Name these were the only touchdowns they scored the rest of the game.  A key play of the game came on fourth down with Team No Name down just four points.  Tito threw a ball to Yusef B. who ran a great out route to get open and caught the ball on the goal line.  It looked like Yusef made the catch in the end zone, and then was pushed back out. However, the ref called him short claiming he did not have possession of the ball until he was pushed out of the end zone.  This led to a strong argument from Yusef, as well as the rest of Team No Name.  The call stood and Team No Name had to give the ball back to Dynamite with just two minutes on the clock.  The game ended in a 25-21 score in favor of Dynamite.  I decided to give the player of the game to Ed Starr.  He finished the game with 4 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, but his contributions on defense went beyond the stat book.  He showed how valuable he is to this Dynamite team especially when it comes to their defensive scheme.  It gets no easier for Dynamite as they get another undefeated team Mega Chargers in their next game this Monday.  Team No Name gets to face the only other undefeated team in the league this year, Hellagoods, in their next game here at Epic Center

Mike Scibilia has a Mega Night to Help the Mega Chargers Defeat the Buffalo Braves

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(Dean Thompson (ball) tries to get around Ryan Stevens (24) and the Braves defense.) (Pictures by Sean Goodwin.)


WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.- Mondays flag football games came and went, and it left me with a very tough dilemma. I had to choose just one game to cover when I could have honestly wrote about all four of the games.  There was Dynamite against Hellagoods, which was tight all game until the last minute when Hellagoods secured their victory.  Southside picked up their first win against Vengeance, in a game that was decided on the final play of the game.  There was also the two point win by Team No Name over No Fly Zone to end the night.  However, none of these games had quite the story lines that the first game of the night had.  It was Mega Chargers versus the Buffalo Braves.  The teams were at completely opposite sides of my flag football power ranking as well as the standing of our flag football league.  Mega Chargers are a new team playing at Epic Center this session.  They were 2-0 and had won those games with a combined score of 117-12.  Led by the Scibilia brothers (Nicholas at QB Mike at WR Joe on DEF) they demolished the two weak teams of the league by two insane score lines.  Then there were the Braves who actually brought in a 0-2 record to the matchup.  The Braves have been playing here every session since I started last year, and they were one of the top teams to play here at Epic Center for a long time.  Recently I just have not seen any of that type of top level play from the Braves.  Their quarterback Chris Lonzi was not having a terrific start to the season.  Damon Powell was playing a lot more effectively when he played for his second team Team No Name.  Big play receivers like John Helbringer and Yusef B. were just not on the same page with Lonzi this early in the season.  It only continued against the Mega Chargers.

If the Braves were going to have any chance at beating the Mega Chargers they were going to have to take great care of the ball, while being productive on offense. None of this came to be for the Braves as Lonzi was not able to get time in the pocket early on, and threw two interceptions on their first two drives.  Following the second interception, Nick Scibilia hit his brother Mike on a deep pass to end zone from 38 yards out.  Mike was turning out to be the early favorite for touchdown leader as his production was sky high from the first two games, and it continued with more this past Monday.  Nick S. made his first mistake of the season on Mega Chargers next drive.  While rolling right he decided to throw across his body to the left of the field, and waiting for him was Yusef who walked in the end zone for a short pick six.  At this point the score was 7-7, but on the Mega Chargers next play, Dean Thompson decided to run past the entire Braves defense for a 50 yard score.  The Braves again could not answer the score from the Mega Chargers, and were forced to punt after a drive of only negative plays.  Nicholas hooked up with brother Mike once again on a 40 yard bomb on first down, and it was 20-13 at the end of the first half.

The Mega Chargers looked at their seven point halftime lead and immediately realized this was not good enough. So they went on to play a second half of perfection in which they scored 28 points without giving up one to the Braves.  Mike Scibilia got his third touchdown of the day, and the other brother Joe Scibilia went deep as well for a 60 yard touchdown.  The final score was 48-13, and their was little to no doubt who the team to beat in this years session was.  It was some-what difficult to not give the player of the game to the Mega Chargers defense for that tumultuous second half of lock down pressure they put on Lonzi and the Braves.  However It was impossible for me to look past what Mike Scibilia did during the game.  He caught 4 passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns.  Mike also had an interception returned for a TD to go with one flag pull on the defensive side. Honorable mentions were given out to Tom (4 sacks) and the QB Nicholas Scibilia (13-22 325 6 TDs).  Expect another great stat line from these boys again when they take on Southside next Monday, who they recently defeated 65-0.  As for the Braves they will have another shot at defeating Hellagoods who they recently lost to on PAT as time expired.

Hail Mary answered in Hellagoods narrow victory over the Braves

Braves defense following the winning touchdown by Hellagoods. Picture by Sean Goodwin.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. – At the beginning of this past Mondays flag football action, I did not expect to be writing about another Hellagoods game. However, their game against the Braves ended in such a fashion I could not help but dive into this games stats and tell the story as I saw it.  The game was the first matchup between the two teams who have played each other a lot here at Epic sports center over the past couple months.  Monday’s game was the first Hellagoods game I can remember where their quarterback Mike Ford could not make it on the field due to injury.  Hellagoods brought in a former college quarterback Sam Castronova in to take his place.  Braves QB Chris Lonzi was looking to defeat Hellagoods for the first time in his four past tries.

Hellagoods offense did not look like it was missing Ford early on, as Castronova led the team down for a 28 yard score in just four plays. Sam was able to hit Derek Mcgee twice before capping off the drive with a strike to Alex Seifert for a 6-0 lead.  After a quick three and out from the Braves, Castronova would give them their first points from a dropped snap in the end zone.  This bonus score seemed to jump start the Braves offense as well as the plays came out very fluidly on their next drive.  Lonzi was able to find time in the pocket for a big completion the Mohammed Saleh down the middle of the field.  Damon Powell then finished off the drive with a great goal line out route to catch the TD from Lonzi.  The Braves offense was clicking, and Lonzi was a big reason why.  Hellagoods tough pass rush was not getting to him in time, and the Braves receivers were running terrific route combos to get open. John Helbringer and Ryan Stevens caught their first touchdonws of the season, and the Braves went into the halftime break leading by a score of 20-12

The Hellagoods offense deserved more points then it had in the first half. Sam Castronova was showing off his true talent with the ball in his hand.  The dropped snaps are what costed him early as he still did not have a fluid connection with center Adam Huard.  Sam was able to start the second half well as he led his new squad down for a quick score to Alex Seifert to cut the lead to 20-18.  The Braves offense looked strong out of the break as well scoring on their first drive.  Lonzi was having a terrific day throwing the ball to John Helbringer.  He seemed to complete every pass he threw Johns way including a big 40 yard precision pass in the back corner of the end zone.  On the extra point of that touchdown, Lonzi made a key mistake throwing a ball up for grabs which was brought down for a interception and one point for Hellagoods.  This made the score a manageable 26-19, but with such few time left a comeback seemed unlikely from Hellagoods.  It then ended up being fourth down and goal from fifty yards out for Sam Castronova and company.  In Aaron Rodgers like fashion, Castronova heaved a deep ball after scrambling around for time and after a couple tips Eric Flynn brought down the pass for a touchdown.  Now down one point with only a minute to play, Ford yelled “go for two” from the sideline, and it was clear Hellagoods was going for the win.  Sam C. drew up a great play, and Robert Malave hauled in the winning two point conversion.  Hellagoods had came back and won 27-26.  The player of the game was easily the new guy at QB for Hellagoods, Sam Castronova.  He finished the game 24-32 373 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first game playing at the Epic Center.   There were three stand outs at receivers, Alex Seifert (5-149 3 TDs) Eric Flynn (5-106 1 GWTD) and Derek Mcgee who had a game high seven catches in some very clutch moments.  It only gets tougher for both of these teams.  Hellagoods has to play Mega Chargers (2-0) next week who look like the early favorite for the League title.  Braves will look to rebound from this tough loss against Dynamite (2-0) who are also having a terrific season so far after two games.

Hellagoods defense holds off Celtics for second straight Epic Center Championship

QB Terrell runs the Celtics offense. Picture by Sean Goodwin.
Hellagoods Team Photo following their victory. Picture by Sean Goodwin


The first session of Winter here at Epic Center finally came to a close this past Monday night. Flag footballs top division champion still needed to be crowned.  Hellagoods and Buffalo Celtics were the top two teams by far in this past sessions football blue division.  The game came so late due to most of the players being away for a national tournament in Florida.  The matchup I was watching for during this game was the leagues top offense in Hellagoods going up against the top defense of the Celtics.  League MVP Jaleel Harris was playing against former League MVP Mike Ford (QB Hellagoods) for the first time since week 2.

Celtics won the coin toss, and threw their outstanding defense on the field to start the game. Ford, and wide receiver Noah Huard were on fire early connecting on their first three targets of the game.  The Celtics almost held Hellagoods to a fourth down incompletion, but a late flag from the official penalized Robert Malave for pass interference.  The call was questionable, but it did not slow down Hellagoods momentum.  Ford and Huard connected for the games first score from three yards out, and Hellagoods took their lead that they would never relinquish.  The Celtics quarterback status had been questionable all season long.  They used 4 different quarterbacks in just six games, and this came back to bite them in the end.  Terrell made the start for them on Monday, but was unable to really find his groove in the pocket.  Celtics had a total of four possessions in the first half, and they were all turnovers including an interception by Dean Thompson to end the half. A dropped snap in the end zone from Ford was all the Celtics were able to put on the board in the first half.  12-2 was the score at the break in favor of Hellagoods.

Celtics knew they had to show some sort of offensive prowess on their first drive coming out of halftime. A dropped pass by Ronnie on second down followed by a terrific rush from Kyle Roy to force a throw away from Terrell led to another punt from the Celtics offense.  Dean Thompson lead the league in touchdowns for Hellagoods this past season, and was actually held in check by Harris, and Daryl Rose in the first half.  However, on Hellagoods first drive of the second half he broke free catching three passes including an 8 yard touchdown pass from Derek Mcgee.  The score was then 18-2, and there was very little hope of a comeback from the Celtics bench.  It was too little too late when Celtics finally scored touchdowns on their final two drives.  Hellagoods had taken their foot off the gas, and their prevent defense led them to their second straight Epic Center flag football championship.  The final score was 18-16.

The entire team of Hellagoods gets my nod for player of the game, and championship MVP. The team defense was outstanding from Noah Huard and Eric Flynn in the secondary to Adam Huard and Kyle Roy rushing off the line of scrimmage.  Mike Ford played another solid game while nursing a leg injury (19-23 186 YDS 1 TD 1 INT) and Derek Mcgee led the team in flag grabs (5) while throwing two touchdowns from Hellagoods double QB formation.  Both teams will return to the field in our extended flag football session that started this past Monday.

No Fly Zone completes Perfect Season in 32-21 win over Drip Squad


No Fly Zone following their 32-21 win. Picture by Sean Goodwin


No Fly Zone finally got their chance to prove their dominated run in the flag football green division was no fluke.  Championship Monday came, and Drip Squad was the only team standing in the way of No Fly Zone capping off a perfect season before they move up to the competitive division next session.  The game was almost handed to them due to a forfeit.  However, Drip Squad was able to field a couple extra players in place of some of their best players including Max D’Andrea the league leader in interceptions.  The quarterback matchup between MVP James Cellotto, and Drip Squad’s Marcus was the key matchup of the day.  Marcus had a fantastic season finishing as green divisions top rusher as well as second in touchdown passes.  James Cellotto had a just as impressive season leading the league in all passing statistics by a wide margin.  It also didn’t hurt him he had John Caie to throw to who finished with 11 total touchdown on the season.

The game started off in the hands of James Cellotto, and the No Fly Zone offense.  It only took them two plays to move into the red zone.  Cellotto winged a deep throw over to John Caie who created perfect separation, and hauled in a diving catch right in front of the goal line.  It then took a fourth down conversion for the games first score.  Old reliable Derek B. won the tip drill in the end zone and put No Fly Zone up 6-0.  Drip Squad took the challenge, and scored a quick touchdown right after this.  Marcus and Jesse Meyer connected for a 16 yard score after they hooked up for a 56 yard strike earlier on the drive.  Marcus then picked off the first throw from Cellotto on the following drive, and then threw another touchdown pass to put Drip Squad up 12-6.  No Fly Zone were schocked they were on other side of the scoreboard for the first time this year.  This lasted only a couple minutes before John Caie went deep again for a 52 yard score from Cellotto and tied the game at 12.  Following their quick double score, Drip Squads offense just did not look the same.  The flag grabbing from Derek Pugh and the other front 5 from No Fly Zone was unbelievable.  A safety on their next drive from a dropped snap in the end zone was the beginning of the end for Drip Squad.

The second half began with a pick six via John Caie. This gave No Fly Zone a 20-14 lead, and Drip Squads defense disappeared in the tackling department.  Ben took a short pass on their next offensive drive, and absolutely few down the left sideline past everyone in sight.  The lead ballooned to 26-14 with just five minutes to go, and No Fly Zone finally looked comfortable.  The game finished 32-21 in favor of No Fly Zone.  The perfect season was complete with all of their wins coming by ten points or more. James Cellotto finished the day 14-23 for 337 yards and four touchdowns.  John Caie collected a pick six and four catches for 112 and a touchdown reception, and won my pick for Playoff MVP.  Derek B. had two catches both in the end zone, and every starter on their defense had at least on flag grab.  It was a complete day from the most complete team in the green division, and it came on the final night of the season.  The top division teams are going to hear a lot more about No Fly Zone next season when they make the league jump.  Drip Squad on the other hand, finished a very strong season in their first session here at Epic Center.  I expect big things from them next session, and are big favorites to host the trophy a couple months from now.  Congratulations to No Fly Zone as my focus now moves to next weeks top division championship to be played between Buffalo Celtics and Hellagoods.