Sunday, July 17, 2005

St. Lawrence Valley unable to keep pace with Albany

by By Max DelSignore, Times Sports Writer
First published: Sunday, July 17, 2005

POTSDAM - Perplexed looks covered the faces of the St. Lawrence Valley defense.

By the time Albany wide receiver Collis Martin slashed and juked his way to a 56-yard touchdown before halftime, the Trailblazers stared off in a state of disbelief.

The overmatched Trailblazers fell to the Metro Mallers 46-0 in St. Lawrence Valley's Empire Football League opener at Sandstoner Park on Saturday.

Even though several factors led to Albany's dominance, Trailblazers head coach Mike Britton said the matchup came down to one element.

"Athleticism," Britton said. "They had more speed, more talent, more athleticism than we had on the field. When you look at their roster, they've got guys who've played Arena football, (NCAA) Division I, or at other college or professional levels."

However, on St. Lawrence Valley's opening possession, Massena native Dave Currier connected with Dan Staton for a 40-yard completion, catching the Metro Mallers on their heels. However, the play was called back following an illegal procedure penalty.

"Unfortunately, that one play was the only bullet we had in our gun," Britton said.

After forcing the Trailblazers to punt, Albany's experienced offense stepped up. The Metro Mallers scored a touchdown on every first-half possession. For the game, they marched inside the St. Lawrence Valley 20-yard line on all but one possession.

Martin caught three touchdown passes, and running back Jadel Whitfield rushed for two more to give the Metro Mallers (2-0) a comfortable 34-0 lead at halftime.

Albany starting quarterback Scott Lawson orchestrated shotgun and no-huddle offenses that led to scores. He said an all-around effort attributed to their success.

"Up front, our guys just dominated," Lawson said. "I believe we have the best receivers in the league. But you've got to respect our runners."

Trailblazers defensive back Kenny Campbell said the defense struggled at stopping the Metro Mallers' potent offense.

"A lot of guys went across the middle, safeties are suppose to pick them up, but it's the corner(back)'s job to follow, too," Campbell said. "So I don't know. We just got to work hard next week, especially the secondary."

The St. Lawrence Valley offense couldn't respond either, gaining only 59 total yards in the first half. Currier threw two interceptions and was sacked three times by an Albany defense that hurried the first-year starter for most of the game. Staton also fumbled twice after hauling in receptions that would've given the Trailblazers two first downs.

The sloppy performance on both sides of the ball led Britton to one final solution.

"We need more consistency at practices," Britton said. "Consistency and belief in each other and to help each other in practice. When you're at practice, you got to have competition to make guys better."

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