The preseason comes to an end officially as the PFL goes into its third year with our Spring Classic. The collegiate level programs headline the annual event and this year the field is full of familiar faces. For our 21 year old’s who have turned 22 it is time for one last hurrah of sorts as we say goodbye to the young men that many of whom were instrumental is getting the league the notoriety that it has enjoyed over the past 2 years. Here are the teams that will be participating in the Spring Classic, and all will be in action tomorrow.
Bronx Colts – The defending Spring and Fall Champions of 2013 have been back at it for the 2014 season. The Colts have stayed committed to the things that have made them the only undefeated team in Spring play thus far. They have capitalized on their success and have even gone “Hollywood” with the filming of their Hard Knocks series. The question is whether the Colts will stay focused on playing solid football, or rest on the laurels and two trophies that they placed on the mantle in 2013.
Strengths – Veterans on this team are back and appear to still be hungry for more. The taste of victory is something that they got used to. Secondary is a true no fly zone with a very fast playing secondary. Any confidence that this group gets early will get converted into points.
Weaknesses – Running game has had a rotation that has not been a strong point for this team. Up front they have the ability to dominate, will they get downhill running to go with it?
Bronx Buccaneers – Last season they finished second place in the spring and the fall. Coach O’Neil and company are looking to move to the top spot and have been working very hard to do so, The team is a year older and a year wiser which gives them an advantage as a well coached group.
Strengths – The Buccs numbers in practice shows a dedication to winning. They are extremely well coached and usually have players that play beyond their talents. Their defense plays fast and has some major play makers that can turn momentum of a game on a single play.
Weaknesses – Size is an issue against teams with more experience. The Buccs offense takes time to develop and teams that blitz a lot and use pressure packages usually see success.
Bronx Seahawks – This second year program had glimmers of hope in the 2013 fall season. They are looking for one of those “signature wins” to catapult their name into the the upper echelon of teams in the PFL. They added a few pieces including some former players from the New York Knights. The mixture of the returning players and the new crew will be interesting to see.
Strengths – The Seahawks have talent and that is not a question. They have some solid role players and a few standouts from 2013. They added a lot of size and play makers to their roster.
Weaknesses – Team chemistry is always a worry when seeing so many new faces. It will take time to make those bonds and we shall see if they figure it out on time to make a playoff run. Throwing the ball was tough last season, with less chemistry, the pass game is the first thing that suffers.
Brooklyn Bobcats – The Bobcats return to the Spring with the hopes to turn the corner and become a winning organization. They have shown in small increments of games that they are capable of executing solid football plays, but they struggle being consistent enough to compete with good teams.
Strengths – Coach Tony has been recruiting and these new players have a new spirit and are looking to the future of the team and not the past.
Weaknesses – The Bobcats are prone to mistakes at the most inopportune times. Turnovers plagued them last season. They cannot play with a quality team if they continue to throw to the other team.
Staten Island Bandits – Given up for dead following Superstorm Sandy, The Staten Island Bandits went through hell trying to get their team back up and running. A stressful and unsuccessful Spring campaign has now found a place in the rear view mirror. The Bandits have a few new faces and they look like they have the factory up and running again.
Strengths – This team likes to throw the ball. They can do it and be successful with their new players. They know what they wan to do and will take advantage of mistakes.
Weaknesses – The missed some major playmakers that have graduated out last season so don’t expect to see the same guys out there. If the new players can step up and be bold enough to take a spot, that should decide their fate.
Brooklyn Pharaohs – The new kid on the block so to speak, the Pharaohs hung in with some very good PFL teams in exhibition games. They now have taken their first steps into full participation which includes what Coach Hugh Bent hopes will be a playoff run. They have a solid core of players and they are young and appear to listen (rare). Brooklyn has some great talent, but move best when disciplined as well.
Strengths – The team pays attention to detail. Looks over every detail and stresses 11 men on the field need to be perfect.
Weaknesses – Young teams make mistakes… Will it be through penalties or personal fouls? Still looking at the defensive line and whether they can get the needed pressure to get the advantage to the line of scrimmage.
Spring Classic Camp Tour
Registration and PFL Sportscenter Filming
Wednesday March 26th: Bronx Colts 8pm @ Macombs Dam Park
Thursday March 27th: Brooklyn Pharaohs 7pm @ Gershwin Park
Bronx Seahawks 9pm @ 128th Street Field
Saturday March 29th: Bronx Buccs 1pm @ Williamsbridge Oval
Staten Island Bandits 4pm @ Staten Island
Monday March 31st: Brooklyn Bobcats 6pm @ Fort Hamilton
Tuesday April 1st: Cigar Night@ Mom’s Cigars in Yonkers (Filming PFL Sportscenter)
Thursday April 3rd: PFL Sportscenter released
Saturday April 5th: Week 1 Tripleheader @ Macombs Dam Park
Attention all teams. If you are intending on playing in the Pioneer League Spring Classic the deadline to have your fee in and commit is March 1st. No teams will be accepted after the deadline unless a team drops out.
The following are the minutes from the 2014 Pioneer League Meeting.
Sunday February 16th @ noon
Attendance was taken and the meeting started at 12:15
Commissioner opened with introduction of year 3 plan where he explained the leadership role of league owners must be clearly defined and standards achieved.
Went over agenda for the day
Presented the new structure of the bylaws. Unanimously ratified
2 teams still owe fine money (MHC & Nittany Lions) teams are not in good standing and cannot vote.
All money accounted for from last season. Over $900 in fines collected to balance the budget.
2014 League fee – Last year $450 per team $1100 unlimited. Additional items would require a higher league fee. Also depends on amount of new teams (overall budget). Deadline for payment July 1st. Late penalty tbd.
Owners discussed the two issues from last year. Major points were made in the areas of;
1) Referee control of the game leading to frustration
2) Ownership and Coaches control over players
3) Players who start fights should receive tougher penalties. Even a year long suspension.
2013 – more forfeits than in 2012
Reintroduction of death penalty (keep schedule fixed by eliminating problems early)
Ideas on the prevention of forfeits
1) Registration of players early to identify issues with team numbers
2) Early confirmation of game dates and times
3) Bylaws vote – 1st penalty for forfeit is a heavy fine as determined by the commissioner, second offense is the death penalty.
Games can be rescheduled due to acts of god of circumstances out of a programs control. If a team is bumped from a field they can have their game rescheduled only if they have “permit in hand” written permission to use the field.
Discussion of lack of teams participation in championship day if their team failed to make it to the big game. Problem raised by the Commissioner that failure to attend is not the main issue, the scheduling of games or events on the championship day so players and coaches cannot attend if they wanted to is a major issue.
All programs should be in attendance for the championship game. Attendance is defined by 1 adult (Owner/Coach/ or league representative and 2 players. Failure to comply will result in a fine.
Certification Process (results of vote)
Registration is approved – Jamboree / Registration Day for all teams tbd
League will create a PFL Identification card
State ID for all players
$10 registration fee for all players in lieu of raising the league fee.
Added Ms. Lakisha and Mr. Thomas to the Board of Trustees for the league by unanimous vote.
Football University presentation – By Coach Gerald (Long Island Spartans) Info to be posted
AYF Certification – Information available for younger programs that wish to become AYF certified to compete in National playoffs
Kennedy High School Coaches Clinic – Tues and Wed night sessions available in the next few weeks. Need a list of interested coaches
USA Football – offers online coaching certification for youth coaches
Heads Up Program – Offer to become a Heads Up League – Financial Aid is being offered for 501C3 programs. Will apply on the case by case basis.
Travel – Atlantic Coast Football League cross over games. Teams are in Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC and Philadelphia areas. They do have a few programs that would like to travel as well. PFL teams interested in traveling Steelers, Colts, Spartans.
Spring Classic – 2 weeks to decide who is in and get payments in. 7 teams have expressed interest. Need 4 to make it happen. Team needed to host games (Bobcats and Knights have expressed interest) Need permit in hand to schedule.
Media Blitz –
Teams are starting to look the part and now we can push the media end of the business like never before. Bronx Times will profile Mrs. Patterson as 25 most influential women in the Bronx. Will follow up to see if we can get a weekly spot. Darryl Brown will be assigned the “Game of the Week” and the game will be broadcast on Ustream. Also will connect with Bronxnet and other media outlets as well as get website more advertisement to draw visitors. All teams are required to send the score – brief description of the game and a few photos (3) to send to league for promotion.
Runner Up or Division Championship trophies or plaques (Budget Issue)
Call local precinct or firehouse and ask about getting an ambulance to hang out by the field in case of major injury. May be done free of charge. Can also ask hospitals if they can donate medical kits.
The Pioneer League has been talked about since its inception. The accolades that have been rolling in since the league opened its doors. Now two seasons later the most important milestone may have been reached by Mrs. Melissa Patterson, the co-owner and League Attorney for the Pioneer League.
Mrs. Patterson has been named one of the top 25 most influential women in the Bronx by the Bronx Times Newspaper. She is a very deserving recipient as she has a laundry list of accomplishments and an even longer list of unrecognized contributions. As a role model for all young women she has excelled in the classroom, her profession, and her civic activities with the Pioneer Football League. During the day she is general counsel for R.A.I.N Inc. where she assists in the administration of one of the top Senior assistance programs in the city. She also teaches undergraduate and graduate programs at Concordia College in Bronxville. She teaches Business Law and is considered one of the professors whom you want to learn from with her dynamic style.
It would be at this point where we could begin to mention her contributions to her community to the Pioneer Football League. As legal counsel she drives the business of football off the gridiron by checking contracts and communicating effectively with players to ensure they are properly registered. Referred to by many of our football alum affectionately as “Mama Patt” she has mentored and given assistance to players of all ages in college and career development. From GED programs, to jobs, to resume building/writing it is her tireless efforts that make the difference in the Pioneer League. On a typical weekend in the fall you can find Mrs. Patterson doing any one of multiple things that make the PFL the premier league in the city. Whether it is sitting in the stands with a camera, doing interviews with players, on the sideline with paperwork or handling budget issues we applaud Melissa for receiving this distinguished award and honor.
Congratulations to Melissa Patterson, one of the 25 most influential women in the Bronx… And the most influential person in allowing the Pioneer League to run so effectively.
The New York – New Jersey Host Committee put on a show for Super Bowl week. We went around to Super Bowl Boulevard and ran into some Pioneer family enjoying themselves. We are on a break but will get the hype machine cranked up shortly after the league meeting February 16th. Stay tuned for full coverage!
The Pioneer League season officially came to a close last night in a winter wonderland with the 5th annual Spartan Bowl game. The latest installment of the series brought in for the first time a 3 way fight between New York, New Jersey and the undefeated champion mother nature. Nat Turner Field in Newark New Jersey was the snow covered battleground for another classic battle in Spartan Bowl history. In Spartan Bowl II the New York team came from two scores down to beat the Garden Staters… But this time the New York team was down 6-0 but with just 2 minutes left on the clock and 8 inches of snow on the field.
In what would be a miraculous sequence of events, the Pioneer League All Stars overcame many obstacles including a 1st half touchdown that was called back for an inadvertent whistle to keep the game at a scoreless tie. Another penalty put New Jersey in a position to get the ball back at midfield as New York had been driving before. New Jersey converted the opportunity into a touchdown on a big run play through the snow.
So with two minutes left the PFL offense had stalled out again as their speed was neutralized again by the conditions. New Jersey had the ball and were looking to run out the clock. Then, a big play by the defense put the Spartans back on their own 1 yard line. Coach Moss and the Jersey Spartans opted to snap the ball through the back of the end zone for a safety to make the Pioneers offense drive the field. On the ensuing kickoff there was a short kick but the Pioneers had to drive nearly 40 yards to score with 1 minute left. Raphael Trammell took the reigns at quarterback and ran the ball to around the 20 yard line. After 3 stops by the Spartans the Pioneers faced 4th and 10 from around the snow covered 20 yard line. Trammell ran around and threw up a hail mary. Timothy Fears jumped over 2 defenders at the 2 yard line. The Spartans defenders tried to grab a hold of Fears who wiggled free and scored. After the 2 point conversion it was New York now up 10-6. The defense held for 3 plays after the kickoff and the miracle was complete. The New York Pioneers (Spartans) win the Spartan Bowl. In the midst of this big win the PFL All Star Team (4-0 in two seasons) had big contributions from our 15-17 programs including Bronx Nittany Lion running back Tjae Montgomery who picked up big yards in the 2nd half, Dajawn White of the Harlem Jets, who played excellent in the elements as quarterback to keep the game close, and Theo Jackson of the Yellowjackets, who played against some very big competition and rose to the occasion. Awesome job to all PFL programs and players that participated!