Saturday, July 26, 2008

EFL Pre-Game Press Coverage July 25

Red and Black to hold weekend festivities


The Watertown Red and Black is hosting a family fun day at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds at 1 p.m. today.

The event includes rides, face painting for kids and a punt, pass and kick competition. Entry fee is $5, and concessions will be provided.

The team will also host a chicken barbecue at 11 a.m. Sunday at Jean's Beans on Eastern Boulevard. The cost is $8 for a whole chicken and $4 for a half.

Zephyrs play host to Ottawa


Recorder Sports Staff

Football season has finally arrived in the Mohawk Valley as the Amsterdam Zephyrs take on the Ottawa Deacon Demons, 7 p.m. at Lynch Middle School tonight.

The Zephyrs are coming off a 25-24 loss on the road to the Plattsburgh North Stars. A 53-yard touchdown reception and a 80-yard kickoff return for Plattsburgh in the third quarter was the difference in the game.

Quarterback Ken Schaefer threw four touchdown passes in that contest for Amsterdam despite the loss.

"Schaefer is one of the top quarterbacks in the league, if not the top quarterback in the league," Zephyrs head coach Tom Manny said. "He has great leadership qualities and can read defenses well."

Behind Schaefer, fullback Elijah White and running back Tarquan Pearman will be getting a lot of carries this season.

"We need to get Elijah going this week," Manny said. "It will be key this week and throughout the season. Jason Newborn can also run the tail so we have a lot of versatility."

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackle Ralphie Nicosia will be a key returner.

"He (Nicosia) will solidify that defensive line," Manny said. "We're also looking forward to seeing linebacker Brian Domingo. I have concerns about the defense and getting guys in so they can gel. I saw a lot of positives last week against Plattsburgh. It was two plays that broke our backs. Hopefully this week will be a coming out party for Ralphie and the boys."

Defensive backs Eugene Maye and Jeremiah Newborn were also cited as key defensive players for the Zephyrs.

General numbers seem to be better for the Zephyrs this season. Over 40 players made the trip to Plattsburgh last weekend. Having a large bench is a big advantage in the Empire Football League, especially when the health of the players are already a concern.

Tarquan Pearman and Cedrick Pearman are already banged up, but Manny expects them to play against Ottawa.

"They aren't debilitating injuries but we aren't going to push them in practice," Manny said. "It would be a disaster if we lost them to injury."

Manny, in his first year as Zephyrs head coach, expects a lot of the same from Ottawa this season.

"They will try to power us up the middle but they will stretch us in the secondary as well. Their quarterback can go deep," Manny said. "Our offense needs to get on track with the ground game. We've done well running but not well enough. Our passing attack is there."

Manny continued about the importance of the running game against Ottawa.

"If we get the running game going, I'll be happy. We'll eat up more clock and have less defensive time. We could walk out with a one or two point win."

Manny discussed the keys to the game.

"A major key will be stop shooting ourselves in the foot," Manny said. "We've gotten leads but made key mistakes with turnovers, long touchdowns and mental breakdowns. It's the mental aspect. They need to be mentally strong this week."

Published July 26, 2008 12:45 am - Plattsburgh aiming for third victory in Empire Football League play.

North Stars host Massena

PLATTSBURGH -- The schedule gets a little friendlier this week for the Plattsburgh North Stars.

Following two tough games against Watertown and Amsterdam to open the regular season, the newly-formed Massena Silver and Black comes to town tonight to take on the Stars at 7:30 at Melissa Penfield Park.

Plattsburgh stands atop the EFL standings with Quebec at 2-0.

Massena has been less fortunate at 0-2, having been outscored by a margin of 124-6 in the team's first two games.

Getting a third win moving on to Ottawa next week will be important since two unbeaten teams, Vermont and Quebec, face one another tonight.

The Stars offense, which collectively recorded six touchdowns in the two regular season games, has been efficient so far.

Quarterback Kellen Nolan is currently completing 67.7 percent of his passes, throwing for 3 touchdowns and almost 400 yards in the two games.

Wideout Matt St. Clair is certainly a big part of those statistics, recording over 200 yards receiving so far on just 8 catches.

He reached the end zone twice last week, and has without a doubt established himself as a deep-threat option for Nolan.

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