Sunday, November 11, 2007
Fanfare doesn't last long for Red & Black at Harvest Bowl
The pregame ceremonies may have been the highlight for the Watertown Red and Black Saturday night at Watertown High School. It was nearly all downhill after that as the Monroe County Sting ended the Red and Black season with a 21-6 victory in the second round of the Harvest Bowl national tournament.
A Delta Kiowa Warrior Helicopter from the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Drum landed near the football field prior to the game. Col. Erik Peteron, commander of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, embarked from the helicopter and brought the game ball to midfield. Peteron participated in the coin toss prior to the start of the game.
Monroe County Sting quarterback Doby Howard took charge after that as he threw for two touchdown passes. Derrick Davis scored the other Sting touchdown on a 6-yard run.
The Red and Black (10-3) trailed 21-0 before scoring its lone touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 47-yard pass play from quarterback Doug Black to receiver Lester Cole. Anthony Noel rushed for 62 yards on 17 carries for the Red and Black. It was the Red and Black's first game since mid-October when they lost to Vermont 9-8 in the Empire Football League championship game.
Black started at quarterback over regular-season starter Todd Kiechle on a hunch by Red and Black coach George Ashcraft.
"We thought we could be successful with our passing game with Black," Ashcraft said. "It didn't work out."
Black was 6-for-24 in the air for 78 yards with most of the yardage coming on the touchdown pass to Cole.
"It was the first time I've played in a game since October of last year," Black said. "I was a little rusty and it was tough to get it going."
Kiechle, who saw considerable playing time as a receiver, saw action at quarterback in the first half, fumbling twice after long gains. One fumble ended a drive inside the Sting's 20 yard-line. Kiechle didn't make any excuses for the turnovers.
"I put the ball on the ground twice when we were moving the ball," Kiechle said. "I think we all played as hard as we could. This is a national tournament and you can't make mistakes in big games like tonight."
The Sting (13-3) scored its first touchdown on a 39-yard, four-play drive with Howard passing in the end zone to Bernard Williams on the final play of the first quarter.
The visitors opened the second half with a scoring drive that covered 66 yards with Davis scoring on a short run. Early in the fourth quarter, Howard teamed up with Willie Givens on a pass play that covered 22 yards.
While Howard had some success running the ball, he did get sacked four times. Ben Pritchard, who returned last week from Iraq, had two sacks as did teammate Greg Roberson.
"Maybe not playing in four weeks or practicing that much since our last game hurt us tonight," Ashcraft said. "The turnovers hurt us. It wasn't meant to be. I am proud of the guys that were here all year. In the end, we had a really great year."