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The Mighty Brookline Knights Add Five More Victories And
Another Championship In Post-Season Tournament Play
As the defending champions of the
Mid-Atlantic Classic Series, held annually on Thanksgiving weekend in
Canonsburg, the Knights were invited back to defend their crown. As one of the
top-ranked Pop Warner football clubs in the state of Pennsylvania, the
two-time SSYFL champion Knights were primed and ready for the task.
Prior to the M.A.C.S. tournament,
Coach Don received an invitation from the host to play a challenge game
against the Center County Bulldogs, another perennial A-List team from
near State College, Pennsylvania. The confident Bulldogs were looking for
some real competition. They got that, and then some.
Brookline traveled to North
Strabane on Saturday, November 9, and battered the Bulldogs by
the score of 38-12. It seemed as though the Knights hadn't skipped
a beat after their Super Bowl victory the week before. Brookline
dominated the game from start to finish, and showed the folks from
Center County what real competition is like. The Bulldogs learned
why wise men say "Be careful what you ask for."
Saturday - November 9, 2013
Challenge Game @ North Strabane Municipal Field
BROOKLINE 13 - 6 - 12 - 7 38
Center County 0 - 0 - 0 - 12 12
Nick Roell 1 run (Marques Watson run)
Marques Watson 7 run (conversion failed)
Nick Roell 1 run (conversion failed)
Mason Ventrone 63 run (conversion failed)
Jonathan Morin 51 run (conversion failed)
Jack Sullivan 45 pass from Nick Roell (Aaron King run)
After sending the Bulldogs back to
State College with their tails tucked tightly between their legs, the
Mighty Knights began preparing for the Mid-Atlantic Classic.
While mercury in the thermometer dipped into the freezing range, Coach
Don's warriors continued with their weekly practice schedule. As the
holiday games approached, Brookline's Mighty Knights were itching to take
the field and defend their M.A.C.S. title.
Looking at the Classic Series website
prior to the tournament, Brookline fans were treated to a picture of
last year's champions. Hopes were high for adding another photo of
the Brookline Knights to this distinguished gallery of stars.
Mid-Atlantic Classic Series Holiday Tournament
On Thanksgiving weekend,
November 28-December 1, 2013, the SSYFL champion eleven-year old Brookline
Knights returned to Canonsburg, Pennsylvania for the three-day
Mid-Atlantic Classic Series holiday tournament. As they did all season
long, the Knights swept through the competition. Their four-game title defense
culminated with a 25-0 victory over Bethel Park in the championship game.
The victory increased Brookline's overall record to 14-1 and gave the Knights
their second back-to-back championship of the 2013 season.
Brookline defeated their first opponent,
the Rostraver Leopards, 31-6, on Friday afternoon. Mason Ventrone rumbled for over
150 yards as the Brookline offense ran roughshod over Rostraver. The ferocious
Knight defense stifled the Leopard offense with a strong outing, highlighted
by three forced fumbles and an interception.
One of the Rostraver fumbles was caused by
punishing Ryan Elliott hit. The loose ball was recovered by his brother Dominic.
The defenders were led by Marques Watson and Chad Lubawski, who both registered
several bruising tackles. On the other side of the scrimmage line, the Knights
offensive trench warriors (Aidan Logan, J.B. Nelson, Zach Munn, Quinn Hunter,
Shane Woodhall, Terrence Rudolph and Jack Sullivan) did a fantastic job in taming
the large Leopard linemen.
Jonathan Morin scores a touchdown against
the Morningside Vikings.
The Knights returned on Saturday morning
to take on the Morningside Vikings. Once again, Brookline put on a dominant
performance, shutting out Morningside by the score of 27-0. Mason Ventrone,
Marques Watson, Jonathan Morin and Demetri Bose each had a fine game rushing
the ball. The Knight defenders held firm, with Jack Sullivan, Jahmaine Hatten,
Deshaun Alexander and Ventrone registering sacks. Bose and Morin also had
After vanquishing the Vikings, the
Knights met the Wilkes-Barre Plains Yankees on Saturday evening. The
Yankees, known as the Purple People Eaters, came into the tournament
boasting a three-year winning streak and a reputation as a hard-hitting
powerhouse. They ran a pro-style, spread offense and liked to throw the
ball. After forty-eight minutes of being force fed fundamental football
by the Mighty Knights, Wilkes-Barre's People Eaters had completely lost
their appetite. Brookline crushed the Plains Yankees by the score of 38-6.
The Knights defense drops a Morningside
runner for a seven yard loss.
Against Wilkes-Barre, the Knights were
playing without the services of one of their Four Horsemen, Marques Watson, who
sat out the game with a slight injury. It didn't matter. The other three
horsemen picked up the slack. Mason Ventrone gained over 200 yards rushing
and scored three touchdowns. Jonathan Morin eclipsed the 100 yard mark and
scored twice. Nick Roell contributed a touchdown run and a two-point toss
to Jack Sullivan. Lineman Quinn Hunter did an excellent job subbing for Watson
at the middle linebacker position.
The defining moment in this semi-final
contest came only minutes into the game. After the opening kickoff, Wilkes-Barre
went directly to the No Huddle offense and drove downfield. Facing a first and
goal from their own seven yard line, the Knight defenders stiffened their resolve.
They held the Yankees to three yards in four plays, with Aaron King, Sullivan and
Morin making excellent stops. The Knights took possession at the four. After a
short gain on first down, Ventrone burst loose for an eighty-two yard touchdown
run. A good defensive series, punctuated by a fourth down Jahmaine Hatten
sack, was followed by another quick Brookline score. The route was on,
and the vaunted Yankees were befuddled.
Quarterback Nick Roell scores on a
five-yard run against Wilkes-Barre.
Other Game Three highlights included a
second quarter Jonathan Morin interception that was returned for a touchdown. The
effort was negated by a penalty. On the next play, Morin ran fifty yards for
another touchdown. Once again, the score was nullified by an infraction. On the
next play, Mason Ventrone settled the issue with a sixty yard touchdown run. Aaron
King had several good runs during a fourth quarter scoring drive. Finally,
John Slebrich played perhaps his finest game ever. Junior became a crowd
favorite with some nice tackles and a five-yard two-point conversion
attempt that came within inches of the goal line.
The championship game was held
on Sunday evening. It was Brookline's fourth game in three days and their
opponent was the much-heralded Bethel Park Hawks. In a repeat of last
year's title game, the Knights buried the Hawks, this time by the score of 25-0.
The convincing victory by Coach Don's Wild Stallions added another exclamation mark
to their claim as one of the best teams to ever represent the Brookline
Knights Football Association.
In the title contest, quarterback Nick
Roell led the powerful Brookline offense up and down the field. Mason Ventrone
and Marques Watson both tallied over 100 yards rushing and combined for three
cross-country touchdown runs. Jonathan Morin added a fourth scoring dash. The
defense was sparked by the inspired play of lineman J.B. Nelson, who had several
blistering tackles, and Morin, who grabbed two interceptions. Other Knight
defenders that stood out in the championship game were Ryan Elliott, Aidan
Logan, Jack Sullivan, Zach Munn, Demetri Bose, Dominic Elliott and Deshaun
Photos From The M.A.C.S. Tournament
The Brookline Knights line up for a
team photo before the Morningside game.
The Knights warm up before their
Friday game against Morningside.
Mason Ventrone on a breakaway touchdown
dash (left) and Marques Watson plowing forward for the conversion.
Jonathan Morin runs for a score (left)
while the Mighty Knight defense lines up for a play.
Mason Ventrone scores one of his nine
tournament touchdowns (left) and Nick Roell lines up over center.
Aaron King scores against Rostraver (left)
and the second-team defenders holding firm.
The defenders shut out Morningside (left)
and Marques Watson carrying several defenders for additional yardage.
Marques Watson scores against Morningside
(left) and Aidan Logan making a diving conversion reception.
Warming up before the championship game
(left) and a Bethel runner goes down after a short gain.
The Brookline Knights are the back-to-back
Mid-Atlantic Classic Series champions.
In the five games after the conclusion
of the SSYFL season, the Brookline Knights added to their already impressive
offensive and defensive statistics. Mason Ventrone's ten touchdowns increased
his grand total to twenty-four. Jonathan Morin's six scores give him a total
of nineteen, while Marques Watson's four upped his net output to fifteen.
Each finished the combined season with over 100 points (Ventrone 153 - Morin
120 - Watson - 101). The Brookline defenders recorded their seventh and eighth
shutouts and held their opponents to a miserly five points per
game. Over fifteen games, Brookline outscored the opposition 577-80.
Mason Ventrone, a fleet-footed sprinter
on offense and a hard-hitting linebacker on defense, was named the M.A.C.S.
Tournament MVP for the second year in a row.
Including the post-SSYFL games, the Knights
improved their three-year won-loss portfolio to an astounding 38-2. This year's
fourteen team victories ties the all-time mark set last season by these same
Knights. This incredibly talented group of youngsters is most definitely one of
the best to ever where the Green and Black of Brookline. Congratulations to the
players, coaches and fans on another fantastic tournament season.
Mid-Atlantic Classic Series Game Results
Friday - November 29, 2013
Game #1 @ North Strabane Municipal Field
BROOKLINE 13 - 12 - 6 - 0 31
Rostraver 0 - 0 - 0 - 6 6
Mason Ventrone 55 run (Marques Watson run)
Jonathan Morin 15 run (conversion failed)
Mason Ventrone 60 run (conversion failed)
Marques Watson 17 run (conversion failed)
Aaron King 5 run (conversion failed)
Interception: Mason Ventrone
Fumble Recovery: Jack Sullivan, Jahmaine Hatten,
Saturday - November 30, 2013
Game #2 @ North Strabane Municipal Field
BROOKLINE 14 - 7 - 0 - 6 27
Morningside 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 0
Mason Ventrone 39 run (Marques Watson run)
Marques Watson 25 run (Demetri Bose run)
Jonathan Morin 16 run (Aidan Logan pass from Nick Roell)
Mason Ventrone 3 run (conversion failed)
Interception: Nick Roell, Demetri Bose, Jonathan Morin
Saturday - November 30, 2013
Game #3 @ North Strabane Municipal Field
BROOKLINE 14 - 6 - 12 - 6 38
Wilkes-Barre 0 - 0 - 0 - 6 6
Mason Ventrone 82 run (conversion failed)
Jonathan Morin 51 run
(Jack Sullivan pass from Nick Roell - 2 points)
Mason Ventrone 60 run (conversion failed)
Mason Ventrone 69 run (conversion failed)
Jonathan Morin 32 run (conversion failed)
Nick Roell 5 run (conversion failed)
Interception: Jonathan Morin
Fumble Recovery: Nick Roell
Sunday - December 1, 2013 - TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Game #4 @ North Strabane Municipal Field
BROOKLINE 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 25
Bethel Park 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 0
Marques Watson 69 run (Mason Ventrone run)
Mason Ventrone 78 run (conversion failed)
Jonathan Morin 36 run (conversion failed)
Mason Ventrone 74 run (conversion failed)
Interception: Jonathan Morin (2)
Fumble Recovery: Mason Ventrone, Aaron King
* Note: In tournament play a conversion was worth one point.
Attempts from the five yard line were good for two points.
Thanks to Coach Jerry Tuite for the game information.
Photos courtesy of John Munn.
The Brookline Knights succeeded in adding
a second team photo to the M.A.C.S. Hall of Champions.
Banquet And Awards Presentation
Coach Don addresses the crowd at the
Banquet and Awards Presentation on December 8, 2013.
The SSYFL Champion Brookline Knights gather for one last team photo.