Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

July 9, 2008

SEMI-PRO FOOTBALL: NFA by any other name

The names keep changing, but it’s all the same when it comes to semi-pro football in Western New York and New York state.

This weekend, the Lockport Rage enter their second season in the Northeastern Football Alliance, which was known last season as the New York Amateur Football League. Lockport tackles the Lyndonville Tigers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Bruno Picini Field at Royalton-Hartland High School in Middleport.

The NFA is an American football league based mostly in upstate New York. It was formerly known as the NYAFL, which split off from the Mid-Continental Football League in the mid-1990s. A former Lockport semi-pro team grid team, the Invaders, competed in the MCFL, before folding.

The NFA covers upstate New York with 12 franchises this season. The league shares territory with the Empire Football League, but most of the NFA’s teams are in Western and Central New York, whereas the EFL mostly covers the eastern half of the state.

This year’s NFA franchises are the Lockport Rage, Lyndonville Tigers, Buffalo Gladiators, Monroe County Sting, Syracuse Shock (known last year as the Central New York Express), Albany Metro Mallers, Southern Tier (Elmira) Diesel, Utica Yard Dogs (formerly the Mohawk Valley Vikings), Troy Fighting Irish, St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers (Potsdam), Glove-Cities (Golversville) Colonials (Gloversville) and Watertown Revolution.

Four of these organizations, Albany, Buffalo, Monroe County and Syracuse, have won or played for national titles in the last four seasons.

The NFA 2008 regular season begins on Saturday and ends on Sept. 27th. The top eight teams will compete in the postseason, which will begin on Oct. 4. The league season winds up with the 2008 championship game on Oct. 18.

Lockport, which plays all of its home games at Exchange Club Field, Outwater Park, hosts last year’s runner-up, Syracuse, at 7:30 p.m. on July 26.

The Buffalo Gladiators, which features head coach John Augustine, the former Invaders quarterback, plays its home games at John B. Wiley Field, the former site of Buffalo War Memorial Stadium.

The Gladiators have won more league championships than all of the other NYAFL teams combined, winning six titles in its first nine seasons of the league.

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