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Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016: State championship coach accused of sexual assault

   Leading off today: The coach of a girls basketball state championship team from the 2011-12 season has been charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, Rochester-area media reported Tuesday.

   Mariano Velazquez, 51, was a paraprofessional and athletic coach at East High at the time of the alleged 2015 incident, according to a release from police. He was employed at Edison Career and Technology High School at the time of his arrest last week.

   He coached East's girls to the NYSPHSAA Class A championship in 2012.

   A letter from Edison administrators to families said Velazquez was suspended when the allegations first surfaced in early 2015, but "the allegations could not be proved and he was allowed to return to work," the Democrat and Chronicle reported. New information recently was brought to police and led to Velazquez's arrest. He has been placed on leave and "will not be allowed to have contact with students in any district school until this legal matter is resolved," the letter reads.

   Friars win L.I. showdown: Fernando Robayo tied the game midway through the second half and then set up Dom D'Angelo's winner as St. Anthony's rallied for a 2-1 boys soccer victory over Massapequa on Monday.

   The Friars extended their unbeaten streak to 10 straight games.

   Robayo scored his goal less than a minute after Alessandro Sambone broke a scoreless tie.

   "We found a way," D'Angelo told News12Varsity.com. "We're banged up, but we found a way."

   Girls soccer: Sophomore Lexi Perry's goal helped Victor hand Fairport, ranked third in the state in Class AA, its first loss of the season, 2-1.

   Kaci Messier scored Victor's first goal, and Hannah Hartman made seven saves for the Blue Devils.

   Bearish on youth football: The numbers of kids participating in youth football in New York City is in decline because of the fear of concussions, several coaches and league presidents told The New York Post.

   "It's not necessarily concussions as in parents seeing their kids get concussions, but concussion awareness that has scared some people off," said Edmond Wilson, the president of Empire Youth Football for kids between the ages of 6 and 14. "I have had kids who played before, and their parents don't want them to be tackled. They are afraid of concussions."

   Courtney Pollins, the commissioner of Big Apple Football for kids from ages 6 to 14, said his numbers have dropped from 3,500 participants last year to 2,800 this year. Wilson reported a slide from 1,500 to 1,200. At the same time, officials of two other major youth football leagues say they have gained players.

   Youth coaches used the phrase "fear mongering" to describe the situation, alluding to the movie "Concussion," about a forensic pathologist's fight against the NFL over suppressing his research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) brain degeneration.

   "Because football is in the place it is in this society, it has taken a lot of hits, no pun intended," said Bill Solomon, a coach in Empire State Youth Football. "It is so demonstrably physical and you have the NFL, where you have these issues, it gets more scrutiny. It doesn't mean that it's necessarily right. For every one (kid) who gets a concussion, I got 10 or 15 or 20 kids who finished high school and are on to college when they otherwise would not have been."

  
RoadToSyracuse.com
RoadToSyracuse.com football site





   At the secondary-school level, the PSAL has seen only a slight dip in its number of active varsity players, from 1,903 to 1,865 this fall. Even so, its coaches understand the effect the concussion debate has had on the sport.

   "There is a hard hit in practice and I'll even hear the kids say, 'Oh there's a concussion right there,'" Abraham Lincoln coach Shawn O'Connor told the paper. "They are just throwing those words around."

   Now that's a streak: When Louisville (Ky.) Sacred Heart Academy beat Voorhees (N.J.) Eastern Regional 3-2 over the weekend, it snapped a 142-game unbeaten streak.

   Eastern then proceeded to lose to Wyoming Seminary from Pennsylvania to create a two-game losing streak.

   Eastern has won four consecutive New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles and also ran off a 153-game unbeaten streak from 1999 to 2005. According to the NFHS, the national record for an unbeaten streak in field hockey is held by Watertown (Mass.) at 171.

   Softball selections: The New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports has announced the 2017 induction class for the New York State High School Softball Hall of Fame.

   Those selected in the players category are Micah Truax (South Glens Falls), Ann Magur (Union-Endicott), Beckah Wiggins (Susquehanna Valley), Jessie Winans (Afton), Stacy Kuwik (Fairport), Terry DeLuca (Williamsville East), Shelly Lis (North Tonawanda) Jackie Pasquerella (Bay Shore) and Carla Buonviaggio (St. Joseph by the Sea).

   Being inducted as coaches are Susan Cassidy (Holy Trinity) and Mike Carlacci (Pearl River), and radio station WMCR is being honored in the contributor category.

   The sixth annual induction ceremony is slated for June 17, 2017, in Herkimer.


  
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