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Semi-Pro Football: Colts cap 17 successful years today

Saturday, October 14, 2000

By Paul Zeise, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

One of Pittsburgh's football institutions will end today when the Pittsburgh Colts, the city's only semi-professional football team, face the Cleveland Cardinals (7-3-1) at 2 p.m. at Duquesne High School Stadium in the National Minor Professional Football League championship game.

 
   
FAREWELL GAME

What: Pittsburgh Colts vs. Cleveland Cardinals.

When: 2 p.m. today.

Where: Duquesne High School Stadium.

At stake: Championship of the National Minor Professional Football League.

 
 

The Colts, who are 7-3-1 and ranked No. 18 nationally by Minor League Football News, are being disbanded because its board of directors and coaching staff have become the ownership group of the Pittsburgh Ironmen, a new professional indoor football team set to begin competing in February.

Colts Coach Ed Brosky said this game will be a bittersweet affair for everyone involved.

"I'm sad that the Colts' franchise is coming to an end because we've had a great run over the years," said Brosky. "But by the same token, it is new an exciting era for us all because we are entering the unknown with the indoor team. We've been to this championship game the past two years and lost both times. This time, we intend to win it, and that would be a perfect ending."

The Colts feature a roster of mostly local college stars and some former professional players. The team is quarterbacked by former Penn Trafford and West Virginia Wesleyan star Jeff Paladino. Former Duquesne High School star Maurice Demery is the team's leading rusher, and the Colts also feature former Pitt stars Jason Chavous and Billy West.

Former Uniontown and Juniata star Brian Giachetti, who plays wide receiver and quarterback, is the team's big playmaker and has 265 yards receiving and averages 18.9 yards per catch.

The Colts were founded in 1979 and ran until 1987 before taking a four-year hiatus. During their 17 seasons, they have compiled a record of 120-32 and won 10 division titles and three conference titles. Today will be their ninth appearance in the NMPFL championship game.

In 1981, the team advanced to the national championship game and traveled to San Francisco to play against the Twin City Cougars, who later became the Oakland Invaders of the USFL.

Brosky said part of the Colts' legacy that he is proudest of is the number of players who have used the team to get to the next level, and the fact that they've always tried to be good role models and good citizens.

"Our guys play because they love football," said Brosky. "That's what makes us so attractive to the fans. And we have had many players get tryouts and even play in the USFL, NFL, AFL (Arena), CFL and now we have several guys like [Franklin Regional graduate] Kevin Kurimsky who will be drafted by the XFL. And we have never tolerated taunting and trash-talking, and our players are all good citizens."

Pittsburgh beat the Cardinals, 19-14, in an Aug. 5 regular-season game. Brosky said the key to the game today will be his team's ability to slow down Adam Iacona, the league's leading rusher with 1,089 yards on 223 carries. On defense, the Cardinals feature defensive tackle Erwin Dillard, one of the league leaders in sacks with 14.

If the Colts were to win the championship game today, they could continue on in a 16-team national tournament, but Brosky said that the extra four weeks would take away from preparations for the indoor venture.

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