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Brigade Comes Close, but Falls in Season Finale

July 28, 2002 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Rochester Brigade News Release

(New Haven, CT)- The Rochester Brigade ended the regular season, with a 7 and 9 record, falling 54 to 50 to the New Haven Ninjas, who ended their first season of play with a 6 and 10 record. This was the last game to ever be played in the New Haven Coliseum, which is scheduled to be torn down in September, and 4,588 fans showed up to support the Ninjas for all of the great memories in their first and only season in New Haven.

The Brigade put the first points on the board to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, as WR/DB Vonkeith Spencer ran back the opening kickoff 50 yards for the Brigade’s only points of the quarter. The offense took the field twice, where they came up with two turnovers an interception and a fumble. The Ninjas didn’t take long to strike back, as QB Chris Boden hooked up with WR/LB Kazmell Minott twice from 9 and 24 yards to take the 14 to 7 lead at the end off the first quarter.

The Ninjas continued to roll in the second half, finishing off a drive at the tail end of the first quarter to build a 20 to 7; compliments of Boden and WR/DB Anthony Comer with a six-yard touchdown. The Brigade responded as D’Orazio connected with OS Martino Theus for a 16 yard strike, but the Ninjas responded once again as Boden connected with OS Terrance Quattlebaum for a 15 yard score to build a 28 to 14 lead. D’Orazio responded with his 20th rushing touchdown of the season, but the Ninjas scored the next ten points to give them the halftime lead of 38 to 21.

That was all the action QB Matt D’Orazio saw in the game, completing eleven of 15 passes for 107 yards and one touchdown.

The third quarter didn’t see much scoring, as the Brigade shutout the Ninjas to hold them at 38 points. The Brigade tallied seven points of their own off of the hook and ladder trick play, where Spencer caught the ball and pitched it to FB/LB Anthony Cleary to run it in untouched for the touchdown and make the score 38 to 28 heading into the final quarter of play.

The Ninjas started the fourth off with a 31-yard field goal from Kicker Dennis Wuestkamp to go ahead 41 to 28. The Brigade responded as QB Jason Visconti connected with Theus for his second touchdown of the game from 41 yards out. The Brigade later recovered a fumble to take over in their territory, but threw an interception which lead to another Quattlebaum touchdown to widen the score 47 to 35. The following series, the Brigade pulled another trick play that allowed Visconti to connect with OL/DL Antonio Dingle for his first touchdown of the season and make it a five-point game 47 to 42. The Brigade had one last chance to win the game as they went for it on fourth down, but came up empty. To no avail, the Brigade received yet another chance to capture the win as OL/DL Ahmad Whitehead recovered a fumble with 1 second to play, but they once again came up empty as time expired.

On the night, Theus caught eleven balls to give him 160 on the season. WR/DB Vonkeith Spencer was named Game IRONMAN after demonstrating a heroic effort on defense and kick returns. On the night, he returned six kickoffs for 134 yards including a 50 yard runback, caught five passes for 33 yards, registered 9.5 tackles (9 solo), forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles including a 23 yard return for a score, picked off two passes and registered two other pass breakups.

Next week the Brigade begins a whole new season, as they enter the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The Brigade will take on the Northeast Division Champion the Albany Conquest in Albany on Saturday, August 3 at Pepsi Arena. For information on how to attend the game, contact the Brigade office at 585-292-15530 or checkout the team’s website at

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