Volume 20 Issue 20 | Sept. 28 - Oct. 04, 2007

Brennan Giffin, quarterback of the Downtown Giants 10-and-under team, takes the snap from Cliff Benfield in a 20–0 win against the Bronx Bengals Saturday in Battery Park City.

Giant teams prove there’s no place like home

“What time is it?”
“Game time!”
“Whose house is it?
“Our house!”

With this warm-up chant, the Downtown Youth Football Giants swung into action Saturday, playing host to a full slate of games in their “house” at the Battery Park City ballfields.  A fourth game was played on Friday evening under the lights at Pier 40.

The ballfields contests were historic, representing the first time that full-contact football has ever been played on the Downtown fields.  The results of the weekend were a rousing success for the whole Giants program, as the Downtowners took three out of four over tough clubs from East Harlem, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

In the first game on Saturday, the 10-and-Under/Junior Pee Wee Giants rebounded from a tough opening-week loss, to defeat the Bronx Bengals 20-0.  The offense was lead by three talented tailbacks, Kyle Frankel (90 yards rushing and two touchdowns) Wolfie Novogratz (65 yards rushing and a two-point conversion), and Louis Moreschi (60 yards rushing and a touchdown).

Brennan Giffin and Cliff Benfield played very solid games at quarterback and center, respectively, despite a wet and muddy football, and Matthew Knaus and Sean Gannon, two bruising fullbacks, softened up the defense to give the running backs more room to maneuver. In a game where the Giants offensive line dominated, three players stood out.  Rookies Henry Costello and Christian Novogratz, and second-year player Tom Rauffenbart each played hard on every offensive snap and made key blocks on the three touchdowns.

The defense was swarming all day and played with great enthusiasm and effort, drawing inspiration from a hard-hitting John Barbieri.  “John is among the lightest Giants,” said head coach Julian Swearengin, “but he was still able to stop all of the Bengals’ running backs with perfectly executed tackles against much larger players.”

Also among the smaller yet brave defensive players were Rene Loyola and Edison Bido, neither of whom gave up any ground to large players.  Andrew Nunez, William Natal, Reid Michaud and Oliver Michaud were all over the field and continually harassed the Bengal ball carriers. The fast and fearless Jarod and Joel Turner, playing cornerback and safety, both played very well against the pass and made sure that any promising Bengal plays resulted in only short gains.

Rookie Michael Banks also continues to impress with his ability to dominate play both on the offensive and defensive lines.

In the Giants opening loss to the Brooklyn Pride Lions on Sept. 14, the defense had been vulnerable to sweeps around end.  Against the Bronx, linemen shed blocks while the linebackers ranged out to snuff several attempted sweeps.

“They learned from the first game,” said assistant coach Michael Barbieri, referring to the improved sweep coverage.  “As a coach, that’s what you love to see.”

The 10-and-Under club, now 1-1, is tied for second in the Metro Division of the Big Apple Youth Football League. The 10-and-Unders travel to Brooklyn next Saturday to face off against the Pride Lions.

In other games at the B.P.C. fields on Saturday, the 8-and-Under/Mighty Mites Giants defeated the Bronx Renegades 18-0 to level their record at 1-1.

The 12-and-Under/Junior Midget Giants improved to 2-0 with another impressive win, this time over the East Harlem Titans.  An excellent overall running game provided the Downtown Giants with another shutout in a 14-0 win.  Brent Scardapane, Gregory Ruben, Jesse Douglas, Aaron Alers and Austin Vella were instrumental running the ball from the backfield.

Aaron Alers had a 10-yard rushing touchdown. The second touchdown was a 10-yard pass from quarterback Devin Kolb to tight end James Kapnick. Rushing for the extra point was Gregory Ruben. Defensively, David Decacmps, Dylan Weathered, Gilbert Almodovar, Munsur Ibric, Yonah Sichrovsky, Jorge Goodoy and Amir Ibric were very instrumental in keeping the Titans scoreless for the afternoon.

Rounding out the weekend’s action, on Friday night, the 11-and-Under/Pee Wee Giants lost a 12 - 7 squeaker to the South Bronx Chargers under the lights at Pier 40.  James Gales scored the Giants lone touchdown with a thrilling 60-yard run.

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