Saturday, October 15, 2005

Red-Black heads back to the O.C.

Watertown tries again to reach EFL title game
By Matt Cordova
Times Sportswriter

Saturday, October 15, 2005

When practice began in April, the Watertown Red and Black had one goal -- and that was to be playing a game on October 15.

The day has come and, indeed, the Red and Black will take the field tonight. The circumstances, however, are just a little bit different than originally expected.

Due to the postponement of last week's Empire Football League semifinal between Watertown and the Orange County Bulldogs, the league was forced to push back the EFL title game to next Saturday. For the second week in a row, the Red and Black will make the 5-to-6 hour trek to Orange County and try to earn the right to play for the team's first championship since 1980.

In addition to holding regular practices this week, Watertown head coach George Ashcraft met with EFL officials to decided where the game would be played. Ashcraft believed that his team should have been given an opportunity to host at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds. But after hearing arguments from both sides, the EFL voted to keep the game in Monroe. Ashcraft said he had no problems with the league's ruling. He also recognized the fact the Orange County did earn the No. 2 seed with their 9-1 regular season record. Watertown, which finished 8-2, drew the No. 3 seed.

"The bottom line is we already made the drive," Ashcraft said. "But I'll accept it, and move on."

Orange County owners Paul Williams Sr., Frank Williams, and Paul Williams Jr., were sympathetic to Ashcraft's concerns and apparently agreed to fund the Red and Black's bus trip for today. Ashcraft had much praise for the Williams family.

"They understand and they are just great people," he said.

Who wants to spend another weekend on the interstate just to come home with a season-ending loss, though? Certainly not the Red and Black, who, with a victory, would advance to next week's title game against the Albany Metro Mallers.

"If the motivation of making a six-hour trip and then having to do it again helps, we'll take it," Ashcraft said. "Hopefully we'll be going to Albany to play a championship game."

NOTES: The Bulldogs haven't played a game since Sept. 10 against Montreal. Orange County received a first round bye on Oct. 1, had their regular-season bye on Sept. 24 and received a forfeit on Sept. 17 for a scheduled game against Amsterdam, which dropped out of the EFL before the season. ... Tonight's game will be played at the Torne Valley Community Center in Hillbrun, not at Smith Clove Park in Monroe.

Copyright 2005. Watertown Daily Times, Inc., Watertown, NY. All rights reserved.

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