By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Dr. Joe Malys is a family dentist during the week and a surgeon on the football field on the weekends. As a quarterback on a highly-successful flag football team, he has carved up defenses for years.
His team, Joe's Pros, has twice been named the national team of the year by the Go Deep 4-on-4 Flag Football Association.
After playing in local leagues for many years, Malys, 48, quit playing for about 15 seasons due to family concerns. When he returned to competition, he's done nothing but win.
To Malys, producing a championship team wasn't difficult.
"We recruited heavily," Malys said.
Ingredients: "We knew that you had to have studs. You needed the big, fast, strong, intelligent guys. And you also have to buy into our system."
A 1971 graduate of Chaney High School, he was a running back for the Cowboys under Red Angelo.
The other integral part of the team is Dom Corso, a Woodrow Wilson graduate, who works for the United States Postal Service.
Corso developed many of the plays for the team but admitted he will also borrow a successful play from another team on occasion.
Jason Haggerty, a 1996 Chaney graduate, attempted to defined the element that helped the team post a 97-23 record in 2000.
"He has the drive," Haggerty said of Malys.
"I feel getting the athletes is good but if you don't have the right organization, if you don't have guys that have drive that are already on the team, it just doesn't work out. It's a tribute to what he and Dom have done. They have the drive."
This year the team participated in two leagues in the spring, two more in the fall and in eight tournaments from Dallas to Detroit to St. Petersburg, Fla.
In 2000, when Joe's Pros captured the national team of the year honors, they won five regional tournaments, was the runner-up in four regionals and captured two league titles.
Shawn Norman graduated from Canton Timken in 1989. He won the state 1,600-meter title with a time of 4 minutes, 12.58 seconds as a senior.
It was his speed which caught Malys' attention.
"I rely on my other teammates," Norman said. "We all understand each other. We play together."
It was the attitude of the team that made Norman want to join three years ago.
"We're in every game we play. Overall, most of our games come down to, if we get beat, either overtime or double overtime. We're always in the hunt."
The team was 80-24 in 1999 and caused the national organization to change some rules because of their offensive plays.
"We actually had some innovative plays that they changed the rules [for] on two or three occasions," Malys said.
Double pass: He gave an example of his team throwing more than one pass on a play but running out the clock in the process. Now the clock is stopped when that violation occurs.
"They're a model team," said Dan Williams of Canton, who began the national Go Deep program a decade ago.
"They are definitely a bunch of good guys on a good team; they play with class."
The 4-on-4 leagues have spread to 10 cities and have about 1,500 teams nationally.
Williams said Malys won the Player of the Year award in 2000 because of the respect he has earned on and off the field.
"In every tournament they are a factor. When they lose, it's always a close game."
Earlier this summer they took second in a regional in Columbus with a 4-1 record, losing in the final 19-12.
But, they will return to the national tournament, held yearly in Myrtle Beach, S.C. in February.