Sunday, September 18, 2005
RB romps to win
by Matt Cordova, Times Sports Writer
First published: Sunday, September 18, 2005
Revenge can be so sweet.
The Watertown Red and Black knew it was a different team Saturday night than the one that was embarrassed by the Lake City Stars in a July 23 exhibition. Lake City appears to be, too, after Watertown's 44-14 drubbing of the Stars in an Empire Football League game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
"I've said it all season, when this team finally decides to play together, it will be hard to beat us," said Red and Black head coach George Ashcraft.
He couldn't have been more accurate.
Watertown's defense swarmed and its offense operated with precision in its fifth straight victory. The Red and Black improved its overall record to 7-4 overall, 7-2 EFL.
Doug Black tossed four touchdown passes while completing 14-of-28 attempts. Black found Earnest Wash and Brian Beltz two times each for scores and finished with 193 yards through the air.
"This was our best game of the season," said Wash, whose five receptions covered 65 yards. Wash said that the defense was the heart of his team Saturday night. "The defense pretty much set the tempo, (the offense) just fell in line."
Lake City's offense was rendered useless and played at the mercy of the Red and Black's defensive unit all game long. Mike Dumaw led the charge with nine tackles and two interceptions. Ben Pritchchard, Lynn Patrick and Dylan Kirker racked up five tackles apiece to give the Red and Black the spark it has been looking for all season.
"We had a hell of a ball game," said Brian Podvin, who made a crucial stop on a two-point conversion attempt in the second quarter. "We controlled the tempo and everybody came together. Football is fun when it's like that."
Lake City (7-4, 6-3) managed one interception - Ron Fisher caught a tipped pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown with just over a minute left in the first half.
Black couldn't have asked for more from his supporting cast. His blockers provided enough time for Black to throw the ball to his third or fourth options. The receivers had sure hands and made tough catches in heavy traffic.
For much of the game the Stars' defense seemed confused by what Watertown was doing on offense.
"Their defense didn't adjust well to our shifting and misdirections," said assistant coach David Parker.
Said Black: "I was going to my second and third receivers, going through reads and not keying on receivers."
The Stars didn't do much to help themselves, either. They committed nine penalties in the game, including three personal fouls and two unsportsmanlike conduct citations. In the second quarter, Lake City had a 55-yard gain negated due to a personal foul. Head coach Ed McCallister, who was flagged in the second quarter for going on to the field to dispute an official's call, had no comment following the game.
Watertown wore down the Stars as time in the second half elapsed. Black and Co. put together a string of seven consecutive first downs en route to a Beltz touchdown in the third.
Al Countryman rushed 23 times for 69 yards and a touchdown to keep the Stars guessing. Anthony Noel accounted for 42 yards on the ground. The Stars appeared intimidated by Watertown's power running game. Wash was left wide open on a play-action pass in the second quarter. The play gave the Red and Black a 16-0 lead and set the tone for the rest of the night.
Linebacker John Check said that an adjustment during last week's game against St. Lawrence Valley set up this week's overpowering performance. "Some veterans suggested we switch to a 4-4 (formation)," Check said. "We've got the linebackers who can play the run well plus drop back in coverage if we have to. Guys are more relaxed, having fun."
The lopsided score also surprised some players. "I didn't think the score would be like that, it never stopped," Check said.
"I didn't expect a game like that after how we struggled up there," Black added.
Watertown basically wrapped up third place with the win and will most likely host a playoff game on Oct. 1.
John Kennedy threw two touchdown passes to help lead the Scranton Eagles to a win over the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers in an Empire Football League game in Scranton, Pa.
Kennedy threw a 6-yard pass to Terry Vieney and a 22-yard pass to Tadeusz Witeck to give the Eagles (4-5) a 21-6 lead after three quarters.
The Trailblazers scored on a 45-yard run by Rob Scott in the first quarter but were hindered in the second quarter when quarterback David Currier left the game with a pulled muscle in his leg.
Jimmie LeClair filled in for Currier and threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Joe Hutchison early in the fourth quarter to cut Scranton's lead to 21-14. But the Eagles responded with a 17-yard touchdown run from Bill Sandly and a 3-yard touchdown run from Andre Chollette.
Cheyenne Dashnaw led the Trailblazers defense with 20 tackles, including a forced fumble, and also recovered a fumble. Norm Martel made 11 tackles and Ricky Delaney had 10 tackles.