Brookline Knights Football Association
The 1998 Mitey-Mites
Bringing Home The Glory

1998 turned out to be a magical year for Coach Ray Ventrone and his Mitey-Mites as they captured the W.P.M.F.L. championship, the second-ever league title for Brookline's Mitey-Mite contingent. The Knights finished the season with a 9-3 record, and their 20-8 thrashing of Mount Oliver in the final was a fitting triumph for a team many felt was the #1 seed all along.

The season was not without its ups and downs. After exiting the gate with three straight wins, the Mites hit upon some rough times. A heart-breaking 10-6 loss to Swissvale followed by two close defeats left the team 3-3 and searching for an identity.

Coaches Don Helman, Pat Quinn, Parris Tsangaris and Earl Taylor never lost faith in the talented boys under their care, and guided by Coach Ray the team clawed its way out of the slump and rolled up six consecutive triumphs in route to championship glory.

With a second championship to go with their 1996 Termite title, what future awaits these Knights as they graduate to the Midget ranks? These boys have their eyes on a triple crown. Midget coaches Joe and Brian Nicholas can't wait, but let's not dwell on a promising future. Coach Ray and his crew have an entire year to bask in the glory of their achievement, and they've earned it.

Note: The core group of kids from this Knight's championship team went on to capture a championship with the 2000 Midgets to go with their 1996 Termite title, completing what could be refered to as the Triple Crown of youth football. That's quite an accomplishment for a great group of kids from Brookline!

1998 Mitey Mites

The Brookline Knights Mitey Mites
1998 WPMFL Champions

First Row: Tom Plungin, UNKNOWN, Robert Robinson, Adam Jumblat, Jason Bialek, Darnell Payne, Ross Ventrone, Jonathon Chapel, Louis Prince, Matt Jackson, Tom McQuaide, UNKNOWN.
Second Row: Steffan Rossetti, Andrew Robinson, Nate Totino, Justin Blake, C.K. Mayo, Casey Quinn, Matt Berberich, Nick Tsangaris, UNKNOWN, Chris Tsangaris, Paul Tondolo.
Third Row: UNKNOWN, Jeremy Bock, Josh Niswonger, Julian Morena, E. Bressanelli, Sean Sullivan, Cody Hoffman, Kevin Flaherty, Geoffrey Giegucz, E.J. Taylor, Michael Haggerty.
Fourth Row: Coaches Pat Quinn, Don Helman, Ray Ventrone and Parris Tsangaris.

Game-By-Game Summary

Game 1 - Brookline 20 <> Steel Valley 6
Game 2 - Brookline 22 <> Duquesne 6
Game 3 - Brookline 26 <> West Mifflin 8
Game 4 - Swissvale 10 <> Brookline 6
Game 5 - Mount Oliver 14 <> Brookline 12
Game 6 - Steel Valley 12 <> Brookline 6

Game 7 - Brookline 26 <> Duquesne 6
Game 8 - Brookline 28 <> White Oak 8
Game 9 - Brookline 18 <> Swissvale 6
Game 10 - Brookline 36 <> Clairton 18
Playoff - Brookline 16 <> Steel Valley 6
Finals - Brookline 20 <> Mount Oliver 8

Photos from the Semi-Final Playoff Game
* October 31, 1998 *

 1998 Mitey-Mites are #1
Darnell Payne cuts back for a gain following a fine block by Ross Ventrone. Darnell and Ross were
both key contributors to offensive coach Don Helman's solid ground attack.

 1998 Mitey-Mites are #1
Veterans of the Mitey-Mite squad, Darnell Payne, C.K. Mayo, Jason McNaught, Geoffrey Giegucz,
Josh Niswonger and Casey Quinn head to midfield to shake hands with their victims,
Steel Valley, after Brookline's 16-6 first round playoff win.

 1998 Mitey-Mites are #1
E.J. Taylor, Cody Hoffman, Josh Niswonger, C.K. Mayo and Michael Haggerty.

 1998 Mitey-Mites are #1
Running back C.K. Mayo bulls his way into the endzone
for one of Brookline's two touchdowns.

Semi-Final Wrap-up

The Brookline Mitey-Mites (8-3) kept their championship hopes alive with a 16-6 Semi-Final win over the Ironmen of Steel Valley (7-4). The evenly matched teams went head-to-head in the first half with Brookline emerging with a slim 8-6 lead. The second half was also a tight contest. Ross Ventrone broke the ice by running for a touchdown to make the score 14-6. A successful two-point conversion put the Knights in command. They never looked back. Coach Ray Ventrone and his staff have done a marvelous job with their young Knights, fighting off a mid-season slump and coming on strong at just the right time. These Knights are pumped up and ready to extract revenge from their final opponent, Mount Oliver (8-2-1), who beat the Mitey-Mites in an early season contest. Mount Oliver beat Swissvale (6-3-2) to earn their shot at the title.

Photos from the Championship Game
* November 7, 1998 *

The 1998 Mitey-Mites are #1    The 1998 Mitey-Mites are #1
Darnell Payne (left) hits the dirt while Ross Ventrone (right) scores Brookline's third touchdown.

 1998 Mitey-Mites are #1
The Moment of Triumph ... That's all folks ... Game Over ... Brookline is #1.

 1998 Mitey-Mites are #1
The Mitey-Mite team gather around Head Coach Ray Ventrone. This year was the culmination of Ray's
years of hard work for the Knights organization. Coaches Don Helman, Earl Taylor, and Pat Quinn,
along with Coach Ray, have a fine group of players who should do well the next few years.

The 1998 Mitey-Mites are #1    The 1998 Mitey-Mites are #1
Coaches Don Helman and Ray Ventrone (left) celebrate; Ross Ventrone sheds tears of joy.

Championship Wrap-up

The Brookline Mitey-Mites (9-3) fought off a late game challenge by Mount Oliver (8-3-1) to win the 1998 WPMFL championship game. The Knights defense strangled the opposition while the offense built up a 12-0 lead. Mount Oliver came back late in the game with a touchdown and successful two-point conversion to close the gap to 12-8. The ensuing onside kick was recovered by Brookline. Moments later, Ross Ventrone broke loose and raced down the sidelines for a touchdown, making it 18-8. Matt Berberich put the icing on the cake with an endzone grab for the conversion. Final score: Brookline 20, Mount Oliver 8.


The Cheerleaders

1998 Cheerleaders

Nicole Nicholas, Dara Varady, Gabriella Vachino, Dana Masullo, Ashley Haggerty, Krystle Collavo, Amanda Sero, Jessica Gozur, Jamie Nicholas, Lindsay Nelson, Kimberly Drischler, Laura Smith, Kristy Tondolo, Shauna McDaniels, Megan Mandarino and Lindsey DeCarlo.

The 1998 Brookline Knights Mitey-Mite team featured
future NFL player
Ross Ventrone.

Ross Ventrone - New England Patriots

* Photos courtesy of Barbara Giegucz and Joy Sero *

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