Wednesday, May 19, 2004
By Matthew Gionta
‘Sharks Quarterback Tony Racioppi and Jack-of-All-Trades James “Rocco” DeMaise earned NIFL Player of the Week honors for the second time this season. Racioppi, the Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Week, accounted for six ‘Sharks touchdowns in the victory over the Evansville Blue Cats, 52-40. DeMaise, this week’s Atlantic Conference Special Teams Players of the Week, accounted for 107 kick return yards and successfully made 4 out of 5 extra points.
Rocco DeMaise began this season with the CardSharks looking to be one of Tony Racioppi’s main targets. In order to maximize the depth on the 21-man roster, however, Coach Mike Siani had to look at players who could be featured at more than one position. Rocco is featured at wide receiver, running back, kick returner, and now kicker. He has found himself a nice niche on the team, and was awarded for his efforts by being named Week 10 NIFL Special Teams Player of the Week. The award is the second of the season for DeMaise in this category. Rocco currently ranks among the NIFL league leaders in all-purpose yards, with nearly 150 yards per game. DeMaise had 2 rushing touchdowns, 4 extra points, 2 catches, and even recorded a tackle against Evansville last week.
“Rocco is not the most imposing guy on the field, but he can do it all. He is a tremendous asset to the team, and has done all that we have asked of him,” stated Coach Siani. “It is important to have players who are willing to do whatever it takes to win. Rocco is the ultimate team player and consummate professional.”
Quarterback Tony Racioppi also ranks among the league leaders in several categories including: completion percentage (58.6%), touchdowns (21), and quarterback rating (103.0). Racioppi showed his versatility last week by not only throwing three touchdown passes, by he also ran for an additional three in the victory over Evansville.
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