Seaway Valley Venom ready to start 2017 football season

MASSENA — Three teams in the Empire Football League have been granted a one-year leave of absence from competition. But, the Seaway Valley Venom, based in Massena, is one of the remaining teams and will play four regular season games and have a playoff berth.

“This year has been an interesting one to say the least, but I can say that the guys are excited about the opportunity to play for the title at the end of the season. To be the first team in St. Lawrence County to have that opportunity is really special and, I would ask that everyone from the north country rally behind these guys. We have a chance to bring home a piece of history,” said team owner Elijah Winfrey. Empire Football League officials recently held an emergency meeting to address leave of absence requests from the Watertown Red & Black, Syracuse Strong and Sussex Stags. Those three teams will participate in another league for the 2017 season.

“The Empire Football League has agreed to grant three of its member teams a one year leave of absence. The member teams (including those taking a leave of absence) voted to continue to operate with the two remaining teams (Seaway Valley and Glens Falls) playing an independent schedule including home and away games versus each other, with a championship sanctioned by the EFL and hosted by the team with the best winning percentage on a date to be determined,” EFL officials said in a statement.

The Seaway Valley Venom and Glens Fall Greenjackets will face each other twice during the regular season, and then again in the Empire Football League championships. Mr. Winfrey said this is the first time a St. Lawrence County semi-professional football team has played in an Empire Football League championship.

The Venom’s schedule includes a July 22 game at Rochester against the Westside Spartans. On Aug. 5, the Venom will play host to the Greenjackets at 7 p.m. on the Massena High School turf field. They’ll be on the road for an Aug. 12 game against the Carthage Revolution and a Sept. 16 game at Glens Falls. Mr. Winfrey said they are still scheduling more games for August and September.
He said the Aug. 5 game will be branded as Breast Cancer Awareness Night. In addition to the football game, BD Entertainment will be on hand (weather permitting) with inflatables in the “Kid Zone. The Lady Vipers Dance Team will perform for the first time, and the team’s new mobile concession stand — “TJs 50yd Line” — will be selling hamburgers, fries and more.

The Venom will also have a 50/50 raffle during the game, as well as raffling off a bicycle with accessories.

“The staff here has put a lot of work into making our fan experience as great as it can be. We want people to come to Venom games for the football, but leave with an overall awesome experience,” Mr. Winfrey said.

More information on the Venom can be found at

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