NEFL 2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Season-Preview

Militia’s Lionel Assie is arguably NEFL’s top player (pictured above)

2013 SEASON PREVIEW

New Haven, CT- “After taking a trip to the training camps of the eight teams in the AAA South and West division, I realize that every team has a chance to be a representative in the NEFL Championship game in November” said Bernie Armstrong. Armstrong, the Southern New England and Tri-State Regional Director of the NEFL, feels that the teams in the south and west have taken great strides in the offseason. “The general managers and head coaches of these teams really looked to improve their teams this year. From key players, new coaches, and better facilities, each team is ready to compete to be the league’s 20th champion.”

AAA SOUTH DIVISION

TEAM GatorsBRIDGEPORT (CT) GATORS
HEAD COACH Chris Weiner (1st Season)
WEBSITE www.conngators.com
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Akeem Wright is arguably the most exciting player in the NEFL. Expect to see him line up at running back, wide receiver, wildcat QB, and returning kicks.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH With a beefed up defensive front, DT Akeem Pierce will demand double teams from opposing offensive lines.
BIGGEST ADDITION Former Central CT State standout Anthony Julbes will fight for rookie of the year honors in the division. The 6’3 tight end will be a welcomed target for the Gators offense
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON With a new name (formerly called the Ravens) and a new coaching staff, the Gators look to have a fresh start in the NEFL South. “We need consistency from our players to win this year” said Weiner, “we have the talent, and we just need to pull it all together every week.”

 

TEAM Spartans 

NEW JERSEY SPARTANS

HEAD COACH Kevin Moss (6th season)
WEBSITE www.njspartans.com
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Carlo Thomas will be the playmaker the Spartans missed last year. As a receiver, Thomas gets great separation from defenders and is fearless across the middle of the field
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH NEFL All Star Gee Konah returns to provide needed leadership to the Spartans defense. Konah nose for the ball has made him the team leader in tackles for the past three seasons.
BIGGEST ADDITION Offensive tackles Allan Stroud and Justin Underwood are added to secure the edges of the Spartans offense. “These guys could be starters for us for the next seven to ten years; they are that good” said Moss.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON “We’ve restructured our coaching staff and how we evaluate players this year” said Moss, “this year our goal is to simply win games; offense, defense, special team, WE have to work together to achieve our team goals to be successful in the NEFL.”

 

TEAM Bulldogs 

TRI-STATE BULLDOGS

HEAD COACH Norman Mann (1st season)
WEBSITE www.tristatebulldogs.com
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Running back Cory Lane led the 2012 Bulldogs in both rushing and receiving yards.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Defensive lineman Stephen Hickson (6’5, 280) was brought in to slow down the rushing attack of fellow divisional teams.
BIGGEST ADDITION Mann’s 25+ years of coaching experience may be the missing ingredient for the Bulldogs. Mann won a National Championship with the New Jersey Buccaneers.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON The Bulldogs lost four games last season by a combined 12 points. “A play here and a call there and we are a playoff team last season” said Mann, “our team dedication and eye for detail will change us into the program I know we can be.”

 

TEAM Militia 

WESTERN CT MILITIA

HEAD COACH Lonnie Young (3rd season)
WEBSITE www.westernctmilitia.com
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Lionel Assie is arguably the top player in the NEFL. At 6’2 215, the Militia back can run through or around anyone in the league.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH With the offseason additions and the return of ends Joe Burnett and Chanselor Davis, the defensive line as a group will be the key to the Militia defense this season.
BIGGEST ADDITION Acquired in the offseason, the 6’4 300 Freeman Hardison heads an interior defensive line that was the Militia’s weakness last season.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON “Being balanced on offense and staying healthy are the keys to our season” said Young, we do that and we can make a run at a championship.” Young expects the newly acquired veterans can give them the “big game” experience they have lacked in the playoffs.

 

AAA WEST DIVISION

TEAM Whalers 

HARTFORD WHALERS

HEAD COACH James Ryals (2nd Season)
WEBSITE www.hartfordfootballwhalers.com
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Joe Macon, the veteran receiver, combines versatility and toughness. He will be a big part of the Whalers passing attack.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Safety Ziggy Bailey is a hard hitter who controls the middle of the field for the Whalers defense.
BIGGEST ADDITION Defensive tackle Mike Palmer brings his winning history from the Western CT Militia to the Whalers front line.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON The Whalers “ONE TEAM” motto sums up their approach for the 2013 season. “We have to stick together through every play this season” says Ryals,”talent alone won’t do it at this level.”

 

TEAM Panthers 

CONNECTICUT PANTHERS

HEAD COACH Derek Bortz (4th season)
WEBSITE www.yourctp.com
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Two-Time NEFL Championship game MVP Richie Snowden migrates to the Panthers to solidify their quarterback position. “When he’s on his game he is the best quarterback in the country.”
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH With the last two Defensive Player of the Year winners Tylee Flowers and David Reese on the same team, the defensive unit could be the best in the NEFL.
BIGGEST ADDITION Snowden’s leadership and quick release will be key for the Panthers. With a strong passer, the Panthers arguably could have won the last two AAA NEFL Championships.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON “I have a great coaching staff and key veteran additions who know how to win” said Bortz, “we have limited our distractions and will be a more polished product this season”.

 

TEAM Gamblers 

CONNECTICUT GAMBLERS

HEAD COACH Gary Wilcox and Tom Fisher (1st Season)
WEBSITE www.ctgamblers.com
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Quarterback Jose Torrez will be the center piece in Wilcox’s run first offense. “He’ll make plays for us both with his arm and with his legs this season.”
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Damien Edwards is a do-everything linebacker that brings experience and toughness to the defense.
BIGGEST ADDITION Rookie receiver Courtney Kennedy will be counted on to add firepower to the Gamblers offense.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON Playing in one of the toughest divisions in minor league football, the Gamblers plan to slow games down and make big plays on special teams and defense. “Our defensive unit has gotten better each week in the preseason; we will go as far as they can take us” said Fisher.

 

TEAM Warriors 

WESTERN MASS WARRIORS

HEAD COACH Junior Williams (5th Season)
WEBSITE www.westernmasswariors.com
OFFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Veteran Chris Boarders will start the season under center. His leadership will be the key for the reigning National Champions.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO WATCH Derrick Hatwood was the MVP of the National Championship game. The linebacker excels against both the run and the pass.
BIGGEST ADDITION Confidence. After winning every award and accolade a minor league football team could in 2012, the Warriors have collected 40 wins over the past three seasons. More than anyone in the US.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON The Warriors must realize that they will receive the best effort out of every opponent this season. “We are now the hunted” said Williams, “we cannot take any game lightly this season; each battle means everything.”
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