Sunday, August 12, 2007

EFL Post Game Press Coverage August 12th


Early deficit stops Eagles



An early deficit was too much for the Scranton Eagles Saturday in a 15-12 loss to the Amsterdam Zephyrs in an Empire Football League matchup.

The Zephyrs struck first at the 8:25 mark of the first quarter when Alberto Montez kicked a 15-yard field goal for an early lead. One minute later, the Zephyrs' Eric Johnson picked up an Eagles fumble and rumbled 36 yards to give Amsterdam a 10-0 advantage.

The Eagles got on the board at 8:54 of the second period when DeShawn Myers recovered a fumble at the Amsterdam 44-yard line. On the next play, Ted Wallingford found Louis Verdetto with a 44-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 10-6.

The Zephyrs made it 12-6 with 1:30 to go in the first half when Eagles punter Phil Ross stepped out of the end zone for a safety.

After a scoreless third quarter, Amsterdam padded its lead when Montez hit a 33-yard field goal with 1:44 left in the game to give the Zephyrs a 15-6 lead.

On the final drive of the game, the Eagles were aided by a pass interference penalty that moved the ball down to the Amsterdam 1 with three seconds to go. Wallingford found Cory Champi with a one-yard pass as time expired to complete the scoring.

Wallingford finished 8-for-23 for 103 yards and a pair of scores while Verdetto had five receptions for 85 yards and a score for the Eagles. Gary Visnofsky led the ground game with 56 yards on six carries.

Defensively, George Romiti led the way with 17 tackles whle Nick Parlanti added 10 for Scranton.

The Eagles (1-4) return to action Saturday night as they travel to Potsdam, N.Y., to face the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers.

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©The Times-Tribune 2007

Zephyrs win without Schaefer


Recorder Sports Staff

Head coach Dom Ruggeri let out a big sigh of relief after the Amsterdam Zephyrs turned away the Scranton Eagles, 15-6, in an Empire Football League battle at Lynch field Saturday night.

When Ruggeri arrived at the field he encountered news that starting quarterback Ken Schaefer was suffering from a migraine and wouldn't be able to play.

That prompted the Zephyrs to go to plan B and that's to call upon last year's quarterback Eric Johnson. The talented receiver hasn't taken a snap all year and just had minutes to prepare.

"Without Schaefer I didn't know what to expect. I give Eric a lot of credit. The defense saved us tonight. That was the key," said Ruggeri.

The Zephyrs, 3-2, will now turn their attention to Chateauguay on Saturday at Lynch at 7:30 p.m.

It didn't take long for the Zephyrs to produce points taking the opening drive and going 51 yards on nine plays. Amsterdam used primarily a running game carrying the ball seven times for 42 yards. Alvaro Montes kicked a 31 yard field goal with 8:25 left to give the Zephyrs a 6-0 advantage.

The Zephyrs struck right back when Scranton's Gary Visnofsky fumbled on the first play from scrimmage on a hit from Penta Thomas.

Rich Johnson alertly picked up the ball and scampered 45 yards for the touchdown with 7:28 showing on the board and Montes delivered the PAT and a 10-0 margin.

Scranton took advantage of a turnover to cut the deficit to 10-6. Eric Johnson hit wide receiver Cedric Pearman on a three yard pass and was trying to get away from three defenders. Pearman decided to lateral the ball to Jared Brown and Scranton's DeShawn Meyers was there to recover and give the Eagles first and 10 from the Zephyrs' 44.

Then quarterback Ted Wallingford found Louis Verdetto for a 44 yard touchdown pass with 8:13 left in the second quarter.

After failing to move the ball, the Zephyrs went back into punt formation with Mike Philo doing the honors. He pinned the Eagles back on the one thanks to an outstanding play from Terry Coleman. A tough defensive stand saw the Eagles forced to punt and Phil Rose stepped out of the end zone for a safety and the Zephyrs went on top, 12-6, at halftime.

Unfortunately, the Zephyrs' Jorge Rodriguez received a neck injury on a running play and was taken off the field on a stretcher with 13:42 left in the game. There was a 20-minute delay as medical officials worked on Rodriguez.

The Zephyrs relied on the toe of Montes again when he connected on a 33 yard field goal with 1:44 remaining and a 15-6 advantage.

Time and time again the Zephyrs defense rose to the occasion keeping the Eagles off the scoreboard.

"I'm proud of these guys, they fought throughout the game. Now we have to get ready for another important game with Chateauguay coming here," said Ruggeri.

Defensive coordinator Rod Schur was congratulating any member of the defense he saw when the game ended.

"The defense was just outstanding. They stepped up to the plate. I can't say enough about the guys. They knew what they had to do. The whole defense is just one big happy family, what a performance," he said.


Zephyrs top Scranton, improve to 3-2

By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald

Published on Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Leader-Herald/Bill Cain

Amsterdam's Jorge Rodriquez (22) runs past Scranton's Rob Wehner (9) during Saturday's Empire Football League game at Lynch Middle School.

AMSTERDAM — Somebody get Amsterdam coach Dom Ruggeri an aspirin.

In a 15-6 win over visiting Scranton on Saturday, the Zephyrs' coach had a lot on his mind, not the least of which was his starting quarterback Ken Shaffer lying on his back in the locker room with a migraine headache, unable to play.

"Without our starting quarterback, I didn't know what to expect," Ruggeri said. "But Eric [Johnson] did a good job for not having taken a snap all year."

Johnson went 8-for-16 for 73 yards and an interception. He didn't find the end zone, but showed enough control to keep the offense on the field for a while and keep the Scranton offense on the sideline.

When the Eagles (1-4) were on the attack, they had little success for much of the game. The Amsterdam defense caused two fumbles, recovering both, and frustrated the Scranton offense with good penetration and solid coverage downfield.

Amsterdam (3-2) scored on a 31-yard Alvaro Montes field goal on the opening drive. Then on the Eagles' first play from scrimmage, Penta Thomas forced Scranton's Gary Visnofsky to fumble. The ball was picked up by Richard Johnson and returned the distance for a 43-yard touchdown.

With Shaffer out, Ruggeri put his confidence in his defense and let Thomas know as much before the game.

"Before the game, coach took me to the side and told me I had to get in there and try to cause some turnovers," Thomas said. "He told me we had to help the offense as much as we could."

With 8:56 left in the half, Eric Johnson threw a wide receiver screen to Cedrick Pearman, but Pearman was held up and tried to pitch the ball to Jared Brown, who wasn't ready for it. Scranton recovered and scored on the next play when Ted Wallingford threw a 44-yard over-the-shoulder bomb to his favorite target, Louis Verdetto.

With 3:22 to play in the half, Mike Philo placed a punt at the Scranton 1-yard line. Later punting from the 2, the Eagles opted to step out of the back of the end zone for a safety instead of risking a block and a touchdown.

On the second Scranton play from scrimmage in the second half, Richard Johnson forced another Visnofsky fumble, this one recovered by Jeremiah Newborn.

Richard Johnson said the defensive unit knew it would have to step up and keep handing the ball back to their offense.

"The defense came together tonight," he said. "We played as a team and played with focus. We didn't have our starting quarterback, but Eric [Johnson] controlled the offense and didn't lose the game. That was all he had to do."

Wallingford led the Eagles on a 57-yard final drive to the Amsterdam 1-yard line, but was denied a last-second touchdown when it was deemed Verdetto came down with Wallingford's 1-yard pass out of bounds. A fourth-down pass interference call, which was hotly disputed by Ruggeri, brought the Eagles from the Amsterdam 35-yard line to the 1 with 33 seconds to play.

Beside the 73 yards Eric Johnson moved the ball through the air, Jorge Rodriguez ran for 29 before leaving with a neck injury, which kept him on the ground for 20 minutes. Brown ran for 33 yards, as did Elijah White. The Zephyrs gained 96 yards on the ground.

Visnofsky, despite his two fumbles, led the Eagles on the ground with 52 yards on six carries. Wallingford threw for 102 yards on a 7-for-19 night.

He had to deal with Thomas and Greg Woodward in his backfield all night. Thomas had three solo tackles, two assists and a sack to go with his forced fumble. Woodward had a solo, two assists and half a sack. Eugene Maye made five solos, Rick Fish made four solos and three assists, and Richard Johnson had two solos, a pass deflection, a forced fumble, recovered fumble and a touchdown.

Thomas said he would not have the success he has without defensive end Alex McKinsey.

"I feed off him," Thomas said. "He breaks one way and I break the other way."

Montes hit his second field goal, a 33-yarder, with 1:44 to play to put the Zephyrs up 15-6.

The Zephyrs will host Chateauguay (Montreal) next week.

The Titans beat Amsterdam in Canada when the Zephyrs were without seven defensive starters and lost seven other starters at the border.

Richard Johnson said the team won't look past Chateauguay to the following week's trip to Vermont, and getting the win against Scranton behind them feels good.

"It gives us a little more confidence," he said. "Now we have to focus on having good practices, work hard and get a win against Montreal."

Amsterdam 15, Scranton 6
Scranton 0 6 0 0 — 6
Amsterdam 10 2 0 3 — 15

First quarter
A — FG Montes 31
A — R. Johnson 43 fumble return (Montes kick)

Second quarter
S — Verdetto 44 pass from Wallingford (kick failed)
A — Safety

Fourth quarter
A — FG Montes 33

Section: Sports        Date Posted: 8/12/2007



Watertown Daily Times

Miller, Noel lift R/B

GROUND ATTACK: Watertown runners hit stride vs. Lake City


Sunday, August 12, 2007

PLATTSBURGH — The Watertown Red and Black played right into the strength of the Lake City Stars defense during Saturday night's Empire Football League game.

And the Stars still didn't stand a chance.

Ernie Miller (19 carries) tallied 92 yards, and Anthony Noel (14 carries) added 68 as the Red and Black piled up over 200 rushing yards, and beat Lake City 22-6 at Melissa L. Penfield Park.

Watertown became the first team this season to rush for over 100 yards against Lake City's defense.

One side was bound to cave, and by running the ball 46 times, the Red and Black made sure it was the Stars.

"We've just got some big physical guys up front, and they're doing their job," head coach George Ashcraft said.

Brian Beltz's 25-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter opened the scoring for Watertown (6-2 overall, 4-1 EFL), and was one of just four completions for Todd Kiechle.

Noel and Miller each scored on runs from inside the Stars' 10-yard line, and kicker Leo Grant added a 36-yard field goal with 57 seconds remaining.

Defensively, Rod Gleisner, Bryan Harris and Greg Roberson provided key sacks for Watertown, while Roberson also notched two fumble recoveries.

Miller entered the game as the league's second-leading rusher — 4 yards behind leader Shaun Harkes (Ottawa) — but fell just short of recording a third consecutive 100-yard game.

The Stars (1-3-1) managed only a third-quarter touchdown when Kellen Nolan connected with Matt St. Clair for a 6-yard score.


Kevin Wyeth threw five touchdown passes as the Titans topped the Trailblazers at LPP High School in Chateauguay, Quebec.

Wyeth tossed four in the first half, including 11- and 15-yard scoring strikes to tight end Sean Kennedy. He also connected with Marvin Joseph on a 76-yard TD and Zan Symonds on a 9-yarder.

The Titans' second-half scoring consisted of a Wyeth 8-yard pass to Al Kademore, a 6-yard run by David Dottin and 3-yard scamper by Recardo Moreau.

Andrew Blevings kicked seven extra points and added a 35-yard field goal in the third quarter for Chateauguay (3-2).

St. Lawrence Valley fell to 0-5.

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



Watertown wins defensive battle

Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH "" The Lake City Stars' defense played an absolutely incredible game on Saturday.
But, Watertown's defense played just a little bit better.
The Red & Black held the Stars to just 58 yards of total offense as they went on to a 22-6 victory at Melissa L. Penfield Park.
"The guys played hard," Lake City head coach Pat Keleher said. "They battled the entire game and I am proud of that.
"Watertown is a very good team "" possibly the best we have played. They are solid up front and very powerful defensively. Their linebackers were great. Anytime there was even a sliver of space in the line the backers were there."
For the most part, despite being out gained by Watertown 281-58, the Stars were right with the Red & Black through three quarters.
After a scoreless first quarter, Watertown found the end zone first when quarterback Todd Keichle connected with Brian Beltz on a 24-yard touchdown pass.
Lake City, however, bounced back to tie the score at six when Matt Bezio hooked up with Matt St. Clair on a 9-yard touchdown pass. The play was setup by a beautiful interception by Kellen Nolan, who returned the ball to the nine.
It was there that both teams lost their composure, and the rest of the contest was marred by personal foul penalties and even a few ejections.
"We lost our composure and basically moved them from their own 45 to first-and-goal," Keleher said. "It took the wind out of our sails after a nice interception and a score on our part. We had the momentum; things were swinging out way, then bam we give it right back."
After a slew of penalties, Watertown was standing at the Stars' four yard line and Ernie Miller took it the rest of the way to give the Red & Black a 12-6 lead "" a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Lake City would have its chance on the very next possession as the Stars took the ball down to Watertown's 26. A fumbled shotgun snap, however, was recovered by the Red & Black's Greg Roberson eliminating Lake City's chance to tie the game.
With just over four minutes remaining, the Stars' defense held strong and forced Watertown to punt. The Red & Black's punter, Mike Dumaw, faked the punt and raced 28 yards to preserve the drive, and more importantly take more time off of the clock.
Watertown would score on the drive on Anthony Noel's 5-yard run, and the point-after would give the Red & Black a 19-6 lead.
Leo Grant would add a 36-yard field goal in the final minute to close the scoring.
"That fake punt really hurt us," Keleher said. "If we stop them there, then we get the ball back with time and it's still a 12-6 game.
"Our guys up front really battled. They must have outweighed them by 40-to-50 pounds per man and over time that really weighs on you. Our protection wasn't horrible and Matt had time to throw. It's just he had no one to throw to."
Keichle finished 3-of-18 passing for 44 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown. Miller rushed for 90 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown. Noel added 56 yards on the ground on 13 carries and a score.
Bezio completed eight passes for a net of 47 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Matt St. Clair hauled in four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.
The Stars as a unit were only able to rush for 11 yards on 16 carries.
"We don't quit," Keleher said. "We are constantly battling and we gave them a game. Now we have to get ready for Vermont next Saturday. And we'll give them a game too."
Vermont remained undefeated at 5-0 with a 28-7 over Ottawa on Saturday.
Watertown 22, Lake City 6
Lake City0060""6
Scoring summary
Second quarter
W- Beltz 24 pass from Keichle (kick blocked), 3:48.
Third quarter
LC- M. St. Clair 9 pass from Bezio (kick blocked), 8:58.
W- Miller 4 run (run failed), 13:54.
Fourth quarter
W- Noel 6 run (Grant kick), 10:43.
W- Noel 36 FG, 14:03.
Individual statistics
W- Miller 19-90, TD; Dumaw 2-46; M. Quay 3-11; Keichle 6-35; Noel 13-56, TD; F. Quay 2-(-1).
Totals: 45-237, 2 TD.
LC- B. Keleher 8-8; Ky. Nolan 2-3; Geiser 4-1; M. Bezio 2-(-1). Totals: 16-11.
W- Keichle 3-18-2-44, TD.
LC- Bezio 8-19-2-64, TD. Geiser 0-1-0-0. Sacks: 1-(-17).
Totals: 8-20-2-47, TD.
W- Beltz 1-24, TD; Noel 1-15; Miller 1-5.
LC- J. Keleher 2-15; M. St. Clair 4-41, TD; Verkey 1-2; Geiser 1-6.
W- Napier, Jones
LC- Murphy, Ke. Nolan
W- Gleisner

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.

Lake City Stars- cornerback Evan Murphy (24) intercepts a Todd Keichle pass intended for Lamont Lane (1) during the first quarter of Saturday-s Empire Football League game against Watertown. The Red & Black knocked off the Stars, 22-6. Bonus photos of this game will be available at at midday.

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