Sunday, July 22, 2007

EFL Post Game Press Coverage July 22

Watertown Daily Times


Watertown's Lester Cole just misses a catch as St. Lawrence Valley's James Compeau breaks up the play in Saturday's game.

Cole powers Red and Black

WATERTOWN DOMINATES: Wide receiver provides three touchdowns in romp of Trailblazers




Sunday, July 22, 2007

Two games into the Empire Football League regular season, Lester Cole is already making boisterous statements.

And they're not all coming from his mouth.

The second-year wide receiver hauled in three touchdowns and racked up 128 yards Saturday night as the Watertown Red and Black dismantled St. Lawrence Valley 44-0 in a game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

Cole's ability to read the Trailblazers' defensive alignments led directly to scoring plays of 31 and 44 yards in the first half. From there, he simply relied on his legs, and they get him to the ball pretty quickly.

"They were bringing the safeties up, bringing nine in the box waiting for us to run the ball," said Cole, who has scored five touchdowns in two victories, "and there's not a corner in the league that can cover me in one-on-one coverage. I just had to let them know that."

Cole said he draws much of his motivation by watching his defensive teammates and trying to match their big plays. They provided plenty of highlights to emulate.

Watertown (4-1 overall, 2-0 EFL) held St. Lawrence Valley to negative-9 yards rushing, while quarterback David Currier completed 15 of 33 pass attempts for 117 yards. But five of those completions were on the Trailblazers' final drive of the game, which ended at the Watertown 1-yard line.

Truth Napier intercepted two passes for Watertown, and Carthage product Bryan Harris returned a pick 96 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

St. Lawrence Valley (0-2) threw a few trick plays at Watertown that fell just inches short of providing large gains. Plus, Currier and Watertown's Todd Kiechle each tossed two first-half interceptions. The Trailblazers, though, couldn't undo their damage.

Not until late in the fourth did Currier and Co. generate a consistent attack. By then, clearly, it was too late. Joe Hutchison paced the Trailblazers with five catches for 32 yards.

"The offense was sputtering," Trailblazers co-head coach Jim Compeau said. "We need to get some first downs and get the defense a break. They can't stay on the field for that amount of time."

Watertown has allowed only nine points thus far during the regular season.

"We're molded as one now. It starts off with communicating. Everybody here is on the same level. We've really made a jump since last year," Harris said.

In Anthony Noel's absence, Ernie Miller (13 carries, 74 yards) carried a bulk of the rushing load for Watertown. He was playing against his former teammates for just the second time since joining the Red and Black in 2006. He said last season that his relationship with SLV did not end well. On Saturday, he added that those feelings fueled his efforts as he powered for touchdown runs of 1 and 4 yards during a 20-point second quarter. His 20-yard jaunt keyed one drive that ended with him in the end zone.

"It was borderline anger playing against these guys," he said, "like controlled rage. The offensive line was awesome, and the way the defense keeps us on the field is phenomenal."

Stingy defensive play has been a staple for Watertown in recent seasons, but the team isn't shocked that the offense has jolted out 88 points over two contests. Because the Red and Black is three or four players deep at most positions, the team expects super efficiency.

"I've felt for the past couple years we should have (scored 40 points a game)," head coach George Ashcraft said. "Now it's happening. It's really because we have six great coaches for us doing a great job on both sides of the ball."

Leave it to Cole to loudly echo the coach's sentiments.

"It's a statement we want to stick to," he said. "We're going to put up as many points as possible, and not slow down for nobody."

Copyright 2007. Watertown Daily Times, Inc., Watertown, NY. All rights reserved.



Scranton Eagles crushed by Ottawa



OTTAWA — If it's possible, Saturday night's 49-0 Empire Football League loss at Ottawa was worse than the score indicated for the Scranton Eagles.

That's because not only did the Eagles get blown out at Minot Stadium, but promising quarterback Ted Wallingford left the game with a shoulder injury with 7:49 to play in the first half.

Ottawa scored in every quarter and the Eagles never got closer than the Ottawa 25.

Bright spots for the Eagles were kickoff return specialist Robert Solomini. The Bishop O'Hara product had two returns of 55 yards, another for 35 and a fourth for 25 yards. Lou Berdetto made five catches for 72 yards.

Defensively, George Romiti had nine solo tackles and eight assists. Nick Parlanti had six solo tackles and six assists for the Eagles (0-2).

Zephyrs fall short against Ice Storm

By MIKE ZUMMO, The Leader-Herald

Published on Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo
The Amsterdam Zephyrs' Cedrick Pearman hauls in a pass as the Vermont Ice Storm's Scott Dennis tries to make the tackle during Saturday's Empire Football League game.

View additional photos and order prints online at

AMSTERDAM — Two bad snaps cost the Amsterdam Zephyrs 10 points.

The Zephyrs lost a chance for a second-quarter field goal and a bad snap led to the Vermont Ice Storm's first touchdown in a 26-14 Empire Football League victory over the Zephyrs Saturday at Lynch Field.

"We gave it to them," Zephyrs coach Dominic Ruggeri said.

Jason Majewski's high snap had already cost Alvaro Montes an opportunity to kick a 42-yard field goal in the second quarter, but it was a bad snap on a punt that did the most damage.

The snap got by Zephyrs punter Bryant Strozinsky and instead of falling on it, he picked it up and tried to punt the ball under duress. The ball hit the side of his foot and Vermont's Aaron Pyer grabbed the ball and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown giving the Ice Storm a 7-0 lead.

"If you make mistakes against good teams, it's going to bite you in the end," Ruggeri said. "We were sloppy."

Then things got worse as the Ice Storm (2-0) broke the Zephyrs' back at halftime. Quarterback Brad Ruderman hit Zach Howe on a first-and-15 and as the defense closed in on him, Howe lateraled the ball to Austin Partain who took it to the end zone for a 14-0 Vermont lead.

"It's like they fell asleep in the first half and they didn't play until the second half," Ruggeri said. "Take away the hook and ladder with one second to go and you take away the bad snap on the punt, we win the game."

The Zephyrs (1-1) were in position to stop the Ice Storm as the defense held on a third-and-inches play, but an offsides penalty on Amsterdam gave Vermont a first down.

"We sure didn't help ourselves," Ruggeri said. "We really hurt ourselves throughout the game. Stupid penalties keeping drives alive again. Giving them other opportunities to score and they were a good team by capitalizing."

The Zephyrs finally got themselves going in the second half, but not after giving up a score on Vermont's first offensive series.

Ruderman exploited the Zephyrs' defense in the middle of the field and hit Troy Canada for a 15-yard touchdown pass and a bad snap on the extra point gave Vermont a 20-0 lead.

"These guys are a very good football team," Ruggeri said. "They're tough all the way across the line. They've got a good quarterback, a good secondary and I knew it was going to be tough."

The Zephyrs responded with a 64-yard, eight-play drive that ended in a touchdown.

Shaffer connected with Evan DeGeorgio on a crucial fourth-and-two, and as he was falling out of bounds on second-and-goal, he hit Cedrick Pearman for a two-yard touchdown pass cutting the Vermont lead to 20-7.

"We didn't change anything," Ruggeri said. "We came out in the second half. They finally woke up and decided they wanted to play. We were flat in the first half. That's what I was afraid of. I knew if we made any kind of mistakes and fell behind, we were going to be in a big hole."

After holding the Ice Storm scoreless on the next drive, the offense engineered a 10-play drive that ended with Shaffer's second touchdown pass to Pearman — an 18-yard screen pass along the left sideline — that cut the Vermont lead to six points, 20-14.

But mistakes bit the Zephyrs on their next offensive drive as they attempted to take the lead. Eric Johnson caught what would have been a first down on a second-and-11, but was whistled for offensive pass interference costing Amsterdam the completion and 10 yards. Three plays later, the Zephyrs punted the ball away.

The Zephyrs got the ball to start the game and marched all the way to the Ice Storm's 3 yard-line before the drive stalled on an incomplete pass.

"I thought the offense in the second half started to exert themselves and play like they really could play," Ruggeri said. "In the first half, we were stagnant. You can't get inside the 10 and not score. You can't give opportunities away."

Vermont 26, Amsterdam 14
Vermont 0 14 6 6 — 26
Amsterdam 0 0 7 7 — 14

Second Quarter
V — Pyer 15 punt return (Beaulieu kick)
V — Ruderman 23 pass to Howe lateral to Partain (Beaulieu kick)

Third Quarter
V — Ruderman 15 pass to Canada (kick failed)
A — Shaffer 2 pass to Pearman (Montes kick)

Fourth Quarter
A — Shaffer 18 pass to Pearman (Montes kick)
V — Young 3 run (pass failed)

Storm topples Zephyrs


Recorder Sports Staff

Jason Young scored on a three yard run with 1:48 left in the game to put icing on the cake and give the Vermont Ice Storm a 26-14 victory over the Amsterdam Zephyrs in Empire Football League play at Lynch Middle School field on Saturday night.

"We gave it (win) to them. We came out and played in the second half. We were very, very flat in the first half. These guys (Vermont) are a very tough team. They have a good quarterback and good secondary. We outplayed them. Our defense was tired toward the end," said Zephyrs head coach Dom Ruggeri.

Both teams had opportunities to produce scores early but walked away empty.

The Zephyrs' Alvaro Montes attempted a 41 yard field goal with 7:48 left in the first quarter and a bad snap put an end to that.

Eugene Maye picked off an Ice Storm pass and gave the Zephyrs first and 10 at the 16. Eventually, the Zephyrs were forced to punt. New punter Bryant Strozinsky tried to handle a bad snap from center. He got away a short kick. Aaron Pyer scooped up the loose ball and rambled 14 yards for a touchdown with 2:56 showing on the board and the Ice Storm went up, 7-0.

The Zephyrs failed to move the ball and Vermont took over on its 42. Quarterback Brad Ruderman showed why he was last year's EFL Northern Division MVP. He connected on passes to Matt Bombardier for 14 yards and Troy Canada for another five.

The Zephyrs helped with two offsides penalties.

Ruderman hit Canada again on an 11 yard pass. With time running out, Vermont used the old hook-and-ladder play. Ruderman passed to Zach Howe who lateralled to Austin Partain and he scampered 23 yards for a touchdown. The kick was good and Vermont led 14-0 at the halfway mark.

"At halftime, I was pretty angry. If you make mistakes against a good team, it will bite you. We hurt ourselves giving them opportunities," said Ruggeri.

It didn't take long for the Ice Storm to do more damage. Partain returned the opening kickoff 29 yards to the 49. Again, Ruderman went to work in the air and completed four passes including a 15 yard scoring aerial to Rob Joy who caught the ball in the middle of the end zone. The Ice Storm had a 20-0 advantage.

The Zephyrs finally reached the scoreboard. Quarterback Ken Schaefer hit Cedric Pearman for 25 yards, and his favorite receiver Evan DeGeorgio twice for 10 and 12 yards.

Schaefer connected with Pearman on a short two yard touchdown pass with 5:49 left and the Zephyrs cut the deficit to 20=7. On the play, Schaefer was scrambling to his left and going out of bounds when he spotted Pearman.

The Zephyrs got back into the game when they took possession on the 20 after a missed field goal by Vermont.

Schaefer hit Pearman for 17 yards and Josh Newborn for 11 and 14 yards. The culmination was an 18 yard touchdown pass to Pearman with 9:12 left in the game and the score read Ice Storm 20-14.

The Ice Storm put the game away when Young scored. Amsterdam had a final drive but couldn't get anything going.

"We're going up to Montreal a little light. We have to regroup this week. Rick Hulett hurt his shoulder and Bryant Strozinsky his tailbone and Brian Thompson is out for the year with an arm injury. This is a tough one to swallow," said Ruggeri.

The Zephyrs saw their EFL record even at 1-1 while the Ice Storm are 2-0.


Lake City gets first victory

The Lake City Stars’ defense gang-tackles Chateauguay Titan running back Denis Houle (25) during an Empire Football League contest at Melissa L. Penfield Park on Saturday. Lake City captured a 35-31 win over the Titans.
Rob Fountain / Staff Photo

Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH — The Lake City Stars showed just how good a team they can be during the first three quarters.
The fourth quarter, however, almost proved to be a nightmare.
Chateauguay scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, but Lake City was able to hold on for a 35-31 victory over the Titans at Melissa L. Penfield Park on Saturday.
"At the end of the game our youth really showed and we almost buckled under the pressure," Stars head coach Pat Keleher said. "The mistakes we were making were not due to lack of skill, they were mental mistakes. We were blowing coverages and sometimes (we) didn't know our assignments.
"The biggest thing at the end of the game was our mental mistakes."
After Chateauguay kicked a 28-yard field goal to open scoring, Lake City marched down the field 59 yards to take a 7-3 lead on Brandon Keleher's 1-yard touchdown.
The Titans took the lead back, however, at the end of the quarter when quarterback Zan Symonds got away from a couple of tacklers and found Treldon James open for a 46-yard touchdown pass.
It was all Stars in the second and third quarters.
Matt Bezio connected on a trio of touchdown passes — two coming in the third quarter — as the Stars took a 28-10 advantage.
Bezio first found Matt St. Clair on a 6-yard touchdown in the second quarter for a 14-10 lead.
The duo liked it so much that they decided to do it again to start the third quarter, this one of the 35-yard variety.
Bezio's third touchdown pass was to Heath Geiser, who caught a pass on an out route, managed to keep himself in bounds and took it the distance.
"I am very happy that we won," Pat Keleher said. "We played so much better as a team tonight then we did against Amsterdam last week.
"Montreal didn't show us anything that we weren't prepared for. We protected better and got Matt some time, and we has time he knows what to do with it. He over threw some guys in the first quarter, but I think the adrenaline was just pumping a little too hard.
"We ran the ball a lot better tonight, we did just enough to keep the defense honest and that really helped our passing game."
Kevin Wyeth took over for the Titans at quarterback in the fourth quarter, and thanks to a recovery on a touched ball on a punt, got Chateauguay within 11 when he found Marvin Joseph for an 8-yard score.
The Stars, however, quickly responded as Bezio hooked up with Chris Verkey for a 47-yard pass down to the four. Brandon Keleher took it the rest of the way on the next play for his second touchdown of the game.
Just 52 seconds later, a trick play by the Titans caught Lake City off guard, and Sean Kennedy found a wide open James for a 60-yard touchdown.
The Chateauguay defense held the Stars to a three-and-out on their next series and its offense went 65 yards for a Andrew Blevings 1-yard touchdown run.
Instead of going for two and getting the game within a field goal, the Titans decided to kick the extra point and were still down by four.
Chateauguay's onside kick was recovered by Lake City's Kellen Nolan, and the Stars ran out the final 1:40 to capture the win.
Bezio finished 11-for-23 for 232 yards and three touchdowns. St. Clair hauled in five passes for 74 yards and a pair of scores while Geiser pulled in three catches for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Brandon Keleher rushed for a game-high 62 yards for Lake City while Geiser added another 49 on the ground.
Symonds led Chateaugay with 125 yards through the air on 7-of-13 passing and a touchdown. Wyeth came in to connect on 6-of-12 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.
James caught five passes for 153 yard and two touchdowns while Joseph pulled in six catches for 121 yard and a score.
Denis Houle paced the Titans' rushing attack with 45 yards.
"We did a lot of good things tonight," Pat Keleher said. "We just need to polish up our mental mistakes and get some things squared away in the secondary and I think we will be able to play with anyone.
"Now we'll just get back to work for Vermont next week."
The Stars will head to Vermont next Saturday to take on their rivals the Ice Storm for a 7:30 p.m. contest. The Ice Storm defeated Amsterdam 26-14 to improve to 2-0.

Lake City 35, Chateauguay 31
Chateauguay 10 0 0 21 — 31
Lake City 7 7 14 7 — 35
Scoring summary
First quarter
C- 28 FG by Blevings, 8:11.
LC- B. Keleher 1 run (Montanaro kick), 12:31.
C- James 46 pass from Symonds (Blevings kick), 14:32.
Second quarter
LC- M. St. Clair 6 pass from Bezio (Montanaro kick), 13:58.
Third quarter
LC- M. St. Clair 35 pass from Bezio (Montanaro kick), 3:05.
LC- Geiser 23 pass from Bezio (Montanaro kick), 12:02.
Fourth quarter
C- Joseph 8 pass from Wyeth (Blevings kick), 8:46.
LC- B. Keleher 4 yard (Montanaro kick), 10:00.
C- James 60 pass from Kennedy (Blevings kick), 10:52.
C- Blevings 1 run (Blevings kick), 13:39.
Individual statistics
C- Houle 13-45; Blevings 4-11, TD; Symonds 4-22; Dottin 4-13. Totals: 25-91, TD.
LC- B. Keleher 16-62, 2 TD; Ky. Nolan 4-14; Geiser 5-49; Bezio 2-13; M. St. Clair 1-2. Totals: 28-140, 2 TD.
C- Symonds 7-13-0-125, TD; Wyeth 6-12-0-105, TD; Kennedy 1-1-0-60, TD. Totals: 14-26-0-290, 3 TD.
LC- Bezio 11-23-0-237, 3 TD. Sacks: 1-(-5). Totals: 11-23-0-232, 3 TD.
C- James 5-153, 2 TD; Joseph 6-121, TD; Leduc 1-(-2); Houle 2-18. Totals: 14-290, 3 TD.
LC- Geiser 3-72, TD; M. St. Clair 5-74, 2 TD; B. Keleher 1-26; K. Lamoy 1-18; Verkey 1-47. Totals: 11-237, 3 TD.
C- Abraham.

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