Sunday, July 27, 2008

EFL Post Game Press Coverage July 27


Kellan Nolan completed four touchdown passes as the North Stars hammered the Silver and Black Raiders in an Empire Football League matchup in Plattsburgh.

Nolan tossed three of his touchdown passes to Matt St. Clair in the first half. St. Clair hauled in scores of 48, 36 and 29 yards. Brandon Keleher recorded three touchdowns for Plattsburgh (3-0).

Lamont Lane produced a 25-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for Massena (0-3). James Compeau collected a team-high 12 tackles and added 63 kickoff-return yards.

Storm halts Zephyrs' home opener

By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: July 27, 2008

Photos by Bill Cain, The Leader-Herald
Amsterdam wide receiver Cedrick Pearman (1) tries to escape the tackle of Ottawa's Ryan Lorette during Saturday's Empire Football League game in Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM - The Amsterdam Zephyrs were on track to win their first Empire Football League game of the season, but strong thunderstorms stopped the game in the third quarter.

There will be a report on the game sent to the office of the league commissioner, who will decide whether the game should count, be resumed or reserved for a tiebreaker. Amsterdam coach Tom Manny said he believes the game will be pushed back and played if needed as a tiebreaker.

With 9:29 left in the third, Ottawa's Shaun Harkes scored on a 2-yard run to bring the Deacon Demons within seven points, 26-19. Harkes had 73 yards on 17 carries and was part of the rushing game giving Manny a headache.

"We're talking about staying strong, as in the mental aspect of the game," Manny said. "The guys have to learn to play four quarters, not play one and then step back. Teams in the league will come back on you in a heartbeat."

Amsterdam's Elijah White had run for 46 yards on five carries with a 20-yard touchdown and Tarquan Pearman ran for 29 yards on three carries.

Quarterback Ken Schaefer ran for 32 yards on five carries and threw for 117 yards and two touchdowns on an 8-for-12 night. Schaefer carried for 20 yards on Amsterdam's last scoring drive.

On a 1st-and-10 play, Schaefer faked the screen to wide receiver Cedrick Pearman, then handed off to White, who was stood up in the backfield. White pitched the ball back to Schaefer and he toted it upfield for 20 yards.

"I put that play in right before the game," Manny said a few minutes later. "And if you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you."

Schaefer said he and White both had the same idea at the same time.

"That's all instinct," he said. "I was yelling for Elijah to throw it to me and he said he didn't even hear me. He just used his instincts, saw me and pitched it to me. The play went in our favor, but sometimes those plays don't work out that way."

In the first half, Amsterdam outgained Ottawa 224-108. The Zephyrs were about to receive for their first possession of the second half when nearby lightning caused the game to be delayed. Amsterdam's Cedrick Pearman caught four passes for 55 yards and a touchdown, while Issmal Green caught three for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Manny said the offense has been dependable and is eating clock the way he wants, but the defense has to learn from this game.

"The offense is not a worry or concern of mine," Manny said. "On defense, we have moments of brilliance followed by moments of shut-down. The defense has to step forward for us to be successful."

One of those moments of brilliance was Eugene Maye's interception of a Davin Corbett pass, which he returned 45 yards for a touchdown with 14:03 left in the first half. With 3:33 left in the second quarter, Amsterdam's Jim Sweeney intercepted another Corbett pass, this one in the end zone.

Corbett was 3-for-8 with two picks for 32 yards. He was replaced by Francois Azzi in the second half.

The Zephyrs (0-1) will travel to Montreal next week, while Ottawa (1-1) will host Plattsburgh and Watertown will play Vermont.

"It's getting interesting," Manny said. "Everyone's squaring off pretty early."

Amsterdam 26, Ottawa 19, susp.

Ottawa 7 6 6 x - 19

Amsterdam 12 14 0 x - 26

First quarter

A - White 20 run (kick blocked), 7:11

O - Wakeman 24 run (Farah kick), 3:08

A - C. Pearman 42 pass from Schaefer (kick blocked), 0:25.0

Second quarter

A - Maye 45 interception return (Barrett kick), 14:03

O - Harkes 10 run (run failed), 9:33

A - Green 30 pass from Schaefer (Barrett kick), 1:51

Third quarter

O - Harkes 2 run (kick blocked), 9:29

Zephyrs, Deacon Demons suspended


Recorder Sports Staff

The Amsterdam Zephyrs may have earned their first win of the Empire Football League season over the Ottawa Deacon Demons.

The game was delayed due to constant lightning with Amsterdam holding a 26-19 lead with 9:29 remaining in the third quarter. League rules state that a game must be delayed 15 minutes for each burst of lightning.

After about 90 minutes and an ominous weather report, the game was suspended. Amsterdam will have an official win if the game has no bearing on playoff standings or home field advantage at the end of the season. If however the game does have an effect on playoff standings, Ottawa will have to come back to Amsterdam to finish the contest.

"Offensively we picked it up a notch," Zephyrs Vice President Rick Sager said. "We got Elijah White back which helps the running game. Defensively, we started kind of slow but came on in the second half."

Two long touchdown passes from quarterback Ken Schaefer, combined with two key interceptions helped Amsterdam get ahead.

Fullback Elijah White got Amsterdam on the board first with a 20-yard touchdown scamper with 7:11 remaining in the first quarter. It was the stamp on a six play, 55-yard drive for the Zephyrs. The extra point was blocked and Amsterdam led 6-0.

Ottawa struck back on their next possession. Chris Wakeman had a 23-yard touchdown rush for Ottawa with 3:08 left in the first quarter. The score came on a fourth-and-4 situation from the 23-yard line. It capped off a seven play, 42-yard drive for Ottawa. Nick Farah's extra point was good and Ottawa took a 7-6 lead.

With 25 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, Schaefer hit Cedrick Pearman with a 42-yard touchdown. Brian Barrett's extra point attempt failed and Amsterdam led 12-7.

On Ottawa's next possession, Eugene Maye picked off Davin Corbett's pass and rushed in a 34-yard return for a touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed. Amsterdam now led 19-7 after Barrett's kick.

"Those two interceptions are huge," Sager said. "It's the first time we've had a performance like that in our existence over four years."

Ottawa responded with a seven play, 50-yard drive that was capped off with a 10-yard touchdown rush from Shaun Harkes. The PAT failed. Amsterdam led 19-13

Tim Sweeney picked off Corbett on Ottawa's next possession. That set up a 30-yard touchdown pass from Schaefer to Issmal Green with 1:51 in the half. It completes a four play, 80-yard drive. Schaefer contributed a 20-yard rush while Tarquan Pearman had a 25-yard run during that drive. Barrett's kick was good and Amsterdam led 26-13.

Ottawa opened the second half with a seven play, 68-yard drive. Harkes had a 2-yard rush to complete it. The failed extra point attempt would be the last play of the contest before the suspension.

Published July 27, 2008 12:30 am - Plattsburgh sets team scoring record in victory over Massena.

Stars ablaze in EFL rout

Staff Writer

Plattsburgh North Stars- Ken Ruwett (32) looks for running room after picking off a Massena pass in Empire Football League action Saturday night at Melissa Penfield Park. B.J. Godfrey (51) is also shown. North Stars won 56-7 to improve to 3-0. See story, Page B5. P-R Photo/Kelli Catana /

PLATTSBURGH -- The Plattsburgh North Stars set a team record for most points scored in a game Saturday night, passing the previous record of 49 with its 56-7 win over the Massena Silver and Black.

But head coach Pat Keleher was never aware of the feat until after the fact -- nor was it much of a concern.

"That was never in my mind," he said. "I didn't score for that reason, and I didn't even know until they announced it."

Record or no record, all that seemed to matter to Plattsburgh was getting on the board early and often to ensure momentum.

"I wanted to get out of the gate early," Keleher said. "Play hard and play focused."

Once Kellen Nolan and Trevor St. Clair connected on a 48-yard touchdown pass on the Stars' very first offensive play Saturday night, it became pretty clear fans would be in for a one-sided affair.

The avalanche began one play before, when Ken Ruwett picked off Massena quarterback Lamont Lane's pass -- the play that started the nightmare for Massena.

"You can't let a team like that into the game early," Keleher said. "Because if you do, they gain confidence and start believing in themselves, and then you're in trouble."

Keleher knew at that time that his players had the ability to get an extra step on Massena players on both sides of the ball.

"It showed that we had a lot more team speed than they did," he said. "So I kind of knew from there we would be able to go deep on them and do some things with the passing game, which we did."

Nolan reached the end zone three more times, hitting Matt St. Clair twice again for the second week in a row, and another to Brandon Keleher.

Keleher was no stranger to the end zone either, reaching it twice more on the ground.

"I thought we executed well," (Pat) Keleher said. "There were some mistakes, but overall we controlled the line of scrimmage and threw the ball well."

Nolan finished the game with 184 yards passing, going nine for 13 while hitting six different receivers.

Defensively, Plattsburgh broke down Massena's offensive line every time the Silver and Black had the ball, allowing Kyle Babbie to race around the outside and harass Lane.

Babbie added to his sack total again for the third week in a row.

The only breakdowns in the defense seemed to be the same issue that plagued the Stars against Watertown and Amsterdam -- preventing opposing quarterbacks from taking off on their feet.

"I thought we did well defensively," Keleher said. "The only thing that concerns me is that we let an athletic quarterback get away at times. That's something we've got to get better at with our middle linebackers and inside tackles. But overall, we played well."

The excess in scoring allowed backup running backs Cody Tromblee and James Currier to take some handoffs, and both showed the ability to break open decent gains.

The two combined for 80 yards in the second half.

"Tromblee and Currier are great athletes," Keleher said. "They've been working hard on both sides of the ball, and got their chance to perform."

Currier scored the team's last touchdown of the game, and Jordan Keleher connected with Emmett Drollette on the two point conversion after an interception by Matt Cooney.

Kyle Nolan also added a touchdown run, and kicker Thomas Monanaro made four extra points on seven attempts.

The Stars travel to Ottawa next weekend to take on the Deacon Demons, and return home the following week to host the Quebec Titans.


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