Donnie Simmons paves way for fellow Stepinac grad, URI lineman Dwayne Scott

first_imgIn 20 years at Archbishop (New York) Stepinac High School, Mike O’Donnell had never had a player offered a scholarship before his senior season.That was until Donnie Simmons, a 17-year-old speedy defensive lineman, grew into his frame and started garnering early interest from colleges. Simmons received an offer from Akron and also attracted Ohio, but ended up committing to Syracuse before playing his way to all-league and all-state honors as a senior.“Donnie helped put us on the map more of being a football program and since then, more and more kids are going to play in college,” O’Donnell said. “Since then, we got kids to want to come to the school because of the level of football we’re playing. I think Donnie was a pioneer for us.”Of the kids who’ve benefited since Simmons graduated in 2010, one will play his first college game against Simmons and Syracuse when Rhode Island visits the Carrier Dome at 7 p.m. on Friday. Dwayne Scott, a freshman offensive lineman for the Rams, was a standout at Archbishop Stepinac and was inspired by Simmons and his state championship-winning team.And while it’s unlikely that Scott will see the field and find himself blocking Simmons — who is expected to be a Week 1 starter for the first time in his five-year career — he’ll be in the same building as the player who helped pave his football future.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We always said it, ‘We want to be like that 2010 team,’” Scott said. “It’s hard to put into words how good they were. We knew it and guys like Donnie, he pushed us to put in work.”Simmons and Scott are completely opposite players. At 6 feet, 2 inches and 264 pounds, Simmons uses speed around the edge to mask his small frame for a defensive end. At 6 feet, 2 inches and 304 pounds, Scott uses strength first and is always polishing his athleticism. Simmons’ goal is to run around players. Scott’s goal is to hold them in front of him.But their high school selves shared the common goal of playing college football, and Simmons visited White Plains, New York during breaks and told Scott and his teammates what the experience at Syracuse was like. The training, the facilities, the competition — Scott and his teammates sat around the weight room and listened intently to Simmons’ stories.Then Simmons would work out with the team, and Scott saw what it took to be a D-I football player.“Any time you get to work with a college player and you’re in high school, it can only make you better,” Scott said. “When Donnie came back to work out those times, you saw what it took.”On Friday, Simmons’and Scott’s paths will converge before they go entirely separate ways.After redshirting as a freshman and then missing all of 2013 with a torn ACL, Simmons sees 2015 as his chance to finally prove what he can do. Scott, on the other hand, is joining an offensive line that returned four starters and seven players with college playing experience. It will be the beginning of the end for Simmons, and the beginning of it all for Scott.For both of them, it all took root with Simmons’ success.“I tried my best to lead the way, so others could implement that same mindset to achieve great things,” Simmons said. “Not just staying at one level, just going for that highest peak and the best of your ability.” Comments Published on September 1, 2015 at 10:59 pm Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Zanzibar hold Kenya, progress to CECAFA semis

first_img0Shares0000Harambee Stars winger Ovella Ochieng vies for the ball with Zanzibar’s Issa Hidari during a CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on December 9, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaMACHAKOS, Kenya, Dec 9- Kenya’s Harambee Stars are faced with a must win tie against Tanzania on Monday if they are to retain their hopes of making it into the semi-finals of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup after being held to a 0-0 draw by Zanzibar in Machakos on Saturday.Zanzibar became the first team to book a semi-final ticket after the draw. The result takes the islanders to seven points with one group match left, while Kenya remain second with five. Zanzibar tackle Libya in the final match with the North Africans also having an opportunity to progress to the semis.  If they win against Zanzibar and Tanzania beats Kenya, then Libya and Zanzibar will progress to the last four while Kenya will be dumped out.It was another frustrating afternoon for head coach Paul Put whose boys failed to score for a second consecutive match. They have only scored one goal from open play in three matches, a huge concern for the Belgian tactician.Put made two changes to his squad, the injured Massoud Juma missing out and his place taken up by Kepha Aswani. Ovella Ochieng who came up in the second half against Libya on Thursday started ahead of Chris Oduor.The changes saw Kenya revert to the system it used against Rwanda playing with a target-man upfront supported by three men, two with speed out wide.The speed of Ochieng on the right and George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo on the left was the masterstroke Kenya needed to open up the Zanzibar defense.In the fifth minute, Stars had the first opportunity at goal when Wesley Onguso’s long throw from the left dropped down on Aswani’s feet, but the striker’s shot at goal was blocked for a corner.Harambee Stars winger Ovella Ochieng and defender Jockins Atudo fly in for a header during a CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup match against Zanzibar at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on December 9, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaKenya’s attack majored on the speed on the width and set pieces, of which throw-ins counted for much, Onguso’s prowess at swinging in the long throws exploited to the maximum. However, none of those could open up for a goal.In the 23rd minute Aswani came close again, this time rising in the midst of Zanzibar markers to head an Ovella corner, but the effort went over. Two minutes later, Jockins Atudo had a similar effort from a Patillah Omotto cross go over.As the game progressed, so did Zanzibar get into the match. Abdul Aziz Makame and Feisal Salum Abdallah’s partnership at the heart of midfield once again was Zanzibar’s key but the final ball when it mattered most never came through for them.In the 32nd minute, Aswani broke away to rush to an Omotto long pass, but he was pulled down with goal in sight at the edge of the box by Abdallah Salum Kheri.From the resultant set-piece, Omotto’s effort was saved by the keeper with the rebound falling on his path again, but his low shot hit the side-netting.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more