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Friday, Oct. 31, 2014: Judge upholds Section 5 ruling against Aquinas

   Leading off today: A judge handed down a 12-page decision Friday afternoon upholding Section 5's ruling knocking the Aquinas football team out of Saturday's Class AA semifinals.

   State Supreme Court Justice Scott Odorisi heard arguments Friday morning about the eligibility ruling related to the use of star junior quarterback in last weekend's 37-20 win over Pittsford in the quarterfinals. The ruling restores Pittsford to the semifinals vs. Rush-Henrietta.

   Zembiec played in only two regular-season games because of a broken wrist and was cleared to play in the regular-season finale but sat out. Section 5 ruled that left Zembiec one game short of the minimum of three games as an "eligible participant" under the representation rule, which became the basis for Aquinas's appeal.

   Aquinas, the defending NYSPHSAA champion, had won eight straight sectional championships.

   "We're excited from the standpoint that the integrity of the rules are intact," Robert Zayas, executive director of the NYSPHSAA, told the Democrat and Chronicle. "I was confident in the case that we made and the facts that we presented. Although we prevailed I really don't see that there were any winners today. Kids were negatively impacted throughout the week and I think attention was taken away from the accomplishments and achievements of those teams still in the playoffs."

   In a statement after the ruling, Aquinas President Michael Daley characterized it as a difficult week for the school and the football team.

   "This is an opportunity to remind ourselves that things do not always go our way," he said. "When they don't, we need to respect those in authority and the opinions of others, even if we disagree. I know that our Aquinas community will move on and be very supportive of all remaining participants still competing in sectional playoffs.    Good luck to the sectional champion in our classification. We know they will represent Section V well."

   You can view a PDF of Odorisi's decision here.

   Port Jervis icon dies: Joe Viglione Sr., who won 194 games coaching at Port Jervis and Warwick, died Wednesday at the age of 86.

   A Navy serviceman in the mid-1940s, Viglione began his coaching career in Camden, N.J., and then La Plata, Md., before arriving at Port Jervis in 1955, where he won more than 150 games through the end of the 1983 season. He retired from high school coaching after a stint from 1987-1991 at Warwick but remained active in the semi-pro ranks.

   He was the winningest coach in Section 9 history until being passed in 2011 by Monroe-Woodbury's Pat D'Aliso.

   Going out in winning fashion: There are probably more difficult places to coach football in New York State than Albany High, but the list would be indisputably small. All now the search there for a coach will start anew with the news that fifth-year coach Jon McClement stepped down in what he characterized as a mutual decision.

   McClement went out a winner as the Falcons rallied to beat Lansingburgh 19-14 in a Section 2 crossover, giving him a record of 3-42.

   "Probably at this point, it is good to have a fresh face and someone that can take it further than we did," McClement

  

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    told The Times Union.

       In Section 6 non-playoff action, Kurt McGowan broke his own school record for yards in a game with 268 as Kenmore East won coach Matt Chimera's farewell by outlasting Medina 39-32.

       Chimera, the Bulldogs coach since 2000, will remain as the school's softball coach.

       Buffalo calls in big names: Former Buffalo Bills great Joe DeLamielleure, PGA golfer Dudley Hart and Olympic swimmer Gary Hall are among the athletes on the task force appointed by the Buffalo School Board to recommend changes for the district's high school athletic programs.

       The board requested a review the district's various sports offerings and wants recommendations by May about changes to elevate the city's sports offerings and participation, The Buffalo News reported. The more than two dozen members of the task force come from a variety of sports backgrounds and many have ties to school board member Larry Quinn, a former Buffalo Sabres executive.

       "I'm sure it won't work exactly the way I think it will, but we'll figure it out," Quinn said. "If someone has an athletic gift that is coming to our schools, we owe it to them to give them a way to participate."

       Jon Dandes, Buffalo Bisons president and president of the Buffalo Public Schools Foundation, said he expects an examination of how district programs are funded, managed and executed, as well as a review of facilities, equipment and coaching.

       Other well-known names on the task force include former Bills quarterback J.P. Losman, former scholastic stars Modie Cox and Malik Campbell, and former Buffalo News running columnist and reporter Michael Beebe.

       The Buffalo approach -- a committee of diverse backgrounds examining all aspects of sports -- is in stark contrast to the Rochester City School District, which paid former Syracuse University and NFL tight end Roland Williams $34,000 to study its high school football programs a year ago.


      
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