Sunday, August 31, 2008
AFA Newsletter August 17, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
EFL Post Game Press Coverage August 24
Quebec holds firm against Watertown
EFL MATCHUP: Red and Black makes progress, but Titans triumph at Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds
By MATT CORDOVA
SUNDAY, AUGUST 24, 2008
The Watertown Red and Black actually didn't have too bad a game Saturday night. The team limited the
Pretty much everything went according to plan. Except the final outcome.
The Titans took advantage of Denis Houle's 112 yards rushing, along with his pair of 5-yard scoring runs, to claim a 17-9 Empire Football League victory over the host Red and Black at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
The result left
"The defense played a great game, and we held them down in scoring. We probably should have put more points on the board ourselves," head coach George Ashcraft said. "But that's part of the game. Good things are starting to come out of this. Even if we're not getting the wins yet."
A re-energized offense gave the Red and Black an opportunity to notch the much-needed upset. Quarterback Anthony Noel went 4-for-15, but his completions totaled 100 yards, and
Lester Cole hauled in his first regular-season touchdown — a 50-yard strike from Noel — midway through the first, and
Ben Pritchard intercepted Kevin Wyeth's attempt at a shovel pass on
"People have to understand there are a lot of rookies here," Cole said. "For us to stay in this game all the way through the fourth quarter is an outstanding job."
Wyeth, who in July tossed three touchdowns against the Red and Black, didn't find the end zone Saturday and was intercepted four times. He kept throwing the ball in Brian Williams's direction, and Williams picked it off three times, raising his league-best total to eight. He also broke up two passes, both intended for the Titans' No. 1 receiver Marvin Joseph, in the end zone.
Twice during the final quarter, powered by the running of Joe Brennan (18-99),
More importantly for
"We got into a bad habit a little of overpursuing the ball, especially at linebacker," Brady Nix said. "We were trying to cut back on their runs and make arm tackles instead of getting in close and wrapping up.
"That's been the story of our season. We'll stuff somebody again and again, and they'll break a big run or pass, and score off it."
Dustin Houppert registered six tackles, while Quatrell Walker and Adam Bossinger each turned in five to help lead the defense.
"We didn't play that well on offense, with the four interceptions. But George's teams are tough," Titans' head coach John Mouland said. "You're going to have ups and downs. I've been there. Believe me."
The Deacon Demons' Ryan Corbit scored on a 10-yard run in the first quarter, and that was all the scoring
Jason Hudson caught a touchdown pass for
Mike Weller recorded a safety for Massena (0-5).
Published August 24, 2008 12:15 am -
Stars fall to Ice Storm
By NICK ST. DENIS
COLCHESTER, Vt. -- The Plattsburgh North Stars and the Vermont Ice Storm did some things right, and some things wrong Saturday night.
Stars' quarterback Kellen Nolan threw two interceptions, while
The Stars lost a fumble, and so did the Ice Storm.
But only one team took advantage of its offensive possessions despite a few misses now and then, and that was the difference in
"It's not good," head coach Pat Keleher put it simply after the team's second loss in a row.
Like the Stars' last game against
"They are good at forcing teams into making mistakes," Keleher said.
A prime example was when
Down by 14 points on second and third down, the Stars went for the pass.
Nolan was forced to roll right on both plays, and on the second, he tried to force the ball into coverage and was intercepted.
Meanwhile, the Stars' signal-caller had a receiver wide open crossing to the left on both plays -- but
"I don't know how much of it is what
Maybe it was a little of both.
Ruderman recorded three touchdown passes in the first half to give his team a 21-7 lead at the break.
He then came out firing on the team's first drive of the second half, and connected with Mike Jabour for a 31-yard touchdown strike down the left sideline.
"I had guys tell me they knew what their assignments were," Keleher said. "But then ended up blowing those same assignments on the field."
Despite the team's shortcomings,
Matt St. Clair had a big night in his first game back from injury, catching Nolan's only touchdown pass and intercepting Ruderman twice.
Ken Ruwett gave his team a much-needed spark as well when he picked off a tipped Ruderman pass and ran it back for a touchdown, bringing the score to 28-14 midway in the third quarter.
But that was the last time the Stars would get a sniff of the end zone, and Ruderman made sure it wouldn't matter anyway when he hit Rob Joy for his third touchdown reception of the night to put the game out of reach.
"Sometimes you lose to good teams," Keleher said. "But in that case, I expect something like 28-21, not 35-14."
After dropping the last two games following a strong 6-0 (4-0 in EFL) start, the team feels that they are playing below their standards as of late.
"I'm just disappointed that we're not playing to the level we're capable of," Keleher said. "We did that in our first few games, but not these last two."
Saturday, August 23, 2008
EFL Pre Game Press Coverage August 23
Ice Storm face rival
Desperation looms for Red/Black
TIME TO GET GOING: Team's hopes for playoff run hinge on ability to overcome shortcomings
By MATT CORDOVA
SATURDAY, AUGUST 23, 2008
JACOB HANNAH /
The Watertown Red and Black works on drills during Wednesday's football practice at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
The Watertown Red and Black is in a rather precarious situation as it opens the second half of the Empire Football League season.
The nation's oldest semiprofessional team has seen better years, but it clings to the hope, however slim it may seem to be, that October will bring yet another postseason berth.
The first task on that journey is certainly tall, as the Quebec Titans, who defeated
"We're a young team, and we've had a rough first half of the season," veteran offensive lineman Aaron Brown said. "The second half has to define us going into the playoffs."
Yes. Even at 1-4, a second-half surge would likely ensure a spot in the EFL playoffs, for which the top four teams qualify.
Head coach George Ashcraft said the key will lie in the team's practice habits, which, he said, have been inconsistent.
"It's up to these men to show up, and play their butts off," he said. "Then we'd be fine. You do play like you practice. You don't win football games by just showing up on Saturday."
Here's a brief outlook on where the Red and Black stands at the year's midpoint.
QB NEEDS TO
Things started off great when Brian Green found Lester Cole for a 50-yard touchdown strike on the team's first play from scrimmage during an exhibition against Massena.
But that's proven to be the highlight of the team's air attack.
The shoulder injury Green suffered against
His signal-calling youth has been evident. Even though
During a 47-6 regular season win over Massena, Noel attempted just eight throws, completing three. Cole, the team's No. 1 receiver, has zero scoring catches in the regular season.
The efforts of Joe Brennan, Warren Spies, and Noel have given the Red and Black a dominant running game, however. The team gained 315 and 226 yards on the ground in its last two games.
"Offensively, we're the best we've been," Ashcraft said. "Anthony's getting more comfortable throwing. It's coming together. Hopefully fast enough so that it shows Saturday."
LIFE WON'T GET ANY EASIER
Allowing 27.4 points per game,
The league's second-leading passer, Kevin Wyeth (79-144-3-1,116, 12 TDs) is in town tonight, and there's still another date with the Ice Storm, too.
The Red and Black has shown vulnerability in the secondary, giving up 246.3 yards per game against opponents not named Silver and Black.
In spite of Brian Williams's league-best five interceptions, defensive coordinator Rich Potter said his unit has to become less predictable.
"We're doing some different things up front, to keep from letting our defense get broken down. We have to put some pressure on the ball," Potter said.
Laced into its schedule down the stretch are two games against
Brady Nix leads the defense with 26 tackles, followed by Demetric White's 25. Ben Pritchard has three sacks.
If the playoffs began today, the Red and Black would be out — one game behind
The team, though, hopes it won't have to be.
"We can't lose again. If we come out here thinking we can breeze through the second half of the season and still make playoffs, we might as well hang up our pads now," Brown said.
"We're 1-4 right now, and we haven't broken apart yet as a team. We're still sticking together. Still fighting through games."
Published August 23, 2008 12:30 am - The Plattsburgh North Stars visit the Vermont Ice Storm.
Stars look to stop Ice Storm
So far, no team in the first five games of the Vermont Ice Storm's schedule has been able to accomplish that -- except for one.
The Stars look to challenge the Ice Storm when the travel to
The Ice Storm, however, managed to score just 10 points itself in that game.
Both offenses haven been firing on all cylinders so far this season.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
EFL Post Game Press Coverage August 17
Ice Storm roll past Massena
Austin Partain hauled in six catches and a pair of touchdowns four the Ice Storm, who led 36-0 at halftime and improved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the Empire Football League.
Rob Joy notched a 29-yard touchdown reception from Ruderman and back-up quarterback Matt Paul hit y Hershenhorn with 37-yard strike in the fourth quarter. Ruderman completed 13 of 18 passes.
Jason Young, Jed Randall, Adeem Williams and John Fahey tallied rushing touchdowns for the Storm.
And with the team (4-1, 6-1) suffering its first loss of the season last week at home against Quebec, the bye couldn't have come at a better time -- especially since the Stars travel to first-place Vermont next week.
"It's beneficial -- we were beat up," head coach Pat Keleher said. "It gives another week for us to heal."
Top receivers Matt St. Clair and Kelly Gordon missed the last two games due to injuries, and the team may have felt the effects last week in a 23-8 loss to
Though quarterback Kellen Nolan went without the two speedy downfield threats, driving the ball into the Titans' territory wasn't as much of an issue as finishing the drive with the ball still in
The Stars turned the ball over five times in the game: four Nolan interceptions and a fumbled handoff.
"The bottom line is you can't cross the 50-yard line six times and only come away with eight points," Keleher said. "We certainly had opportunities."
Nolan's four picks totalled more than in his six previous starts combined.
"It was a reality check, I think it brought us back down to earth," Keleher said. "The guys know we didn't play our best game against
Safety Joe Conway got hurt midway through the
"I'm expecting most of them to be back," Keleher said.
The team's two-week break from games also benefits in game-planning for the first of two meetings against the Vermont Ice Storm.
"An extra week to prepare for the number one team is also a good thing," Keleher said.
EFL standings as of 8/16/08
By MIKE ZUMMO, The Leader-Herald
POSTED: August 17, 2008
With fourth-and-the-game from the
His quarterback, Kenny Schaefer, however, was not.
Manny was ready to send out Brian Barrett to kick a field goal to tie the game at 31 and send it to overtime. Schaefer wanted to go for the win in the fourth quarter.
In the end, Schaefer convinced the coaches.
"When the timeout was called, we were going to kick the field goal," Manny said. "Kenny didn't like it and I have the respect for Kenny and [offensive coordinator] Mike [Finocchi] and I always listen to what Kenny has to say. Kenny came over and he said, 'I know what you're saying, but if we run that play action boot, I'll get in there.'"
Elijah White had already run the ball through the middle three times and Schaefer dove across the goal line for the game-winning touchdown with 34 seconds left in the game.
Joe Torres picked off Anthony Noel's pass on the last play of the game giving the Zephyrs a 35-31 win.
"Games like this are a lot of fun," Schaefer said. "You want to blow teams out, to run the ball and control the game, but it doesn't get more fun than that right there."
The Zephyrs got the ball 6:11 remaining in the game after the defense followed up Schaefer's 54-yard touchdown pass to Issmal Green by forcing the Red & Black to go three-and-out. The Zephyrs took over the ball on their own 10-yard line and Manny said they needed to use as much time as possible so they didn't give the Red & Black the ball with too much time left on the clock.
"The defense was tired and they came up with two stands we needed and we had to eat [the clock] as much as possible and that was really on our mind," Manny said.
Elijah White advanced the ball 10 yards before Schaefer hit two straight passes to Cedrick Pearman bringing the Zephyrs to the
White gained 18 and 22 on his next two runs to get bring the Zephyrs to the
Three straight runs by White got the Zephyrs to the 1-yard line with fourth down giving the Zephyrs their critical fourth-down choice.
"My thinking was I wanted to go for it and I was able to persuade the coaches and we came up with the bootleg," Schaefer said. "We went three times in a row to Elijah and they were really zoning in on him and I figured the bootleg was going to work."
The win sent the Zephyrs (2-3) into two off-weeks before facing the Vermont Ice Storm at Wilbur H. Lynch Field Sept. 6. They'll have a bye next week and the whole league is off Aug. 30.
The break will give the Zephyrs time to get their six injured starters back on the field for another critical game.
"We get six ball players back that have been injured and that's huge because half of them are starters," Manny said. "The numbers get shored up and we get starters back and we have a couple of weeks to get them back in form, who knows."
The Zephyrs' defense had their hands full with the running ability of Red & Black quarterback Anthony Noel, who constantly turned what appeared to be tackles into long gains. He connected with Quattrell Walker for a 60-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter after the pass bounced off Sweeney and into his arms and he ran for a 45-yard touchdown run leading the Red & Black to 16 second-quarter points.
The offense had trouble hanging on to the ball and Schaefer threw two interceptions trying to get the ball deep to Cedrick Pearman. White also fumbled the ball in the third quarter.
"We made three turnovers so we didn't help them much, but they made the stops when they had to and they gave us a chance to win the game tonight," Schaefer said.
The Zephyrs got the offense going after Manny Munoz kicked a field goal to give the Red & Black a 3-0 lead.
Schaefer threw two touchdown passes to Pearman and one to Green giving
"We started off in the first quarter trying to beat them deep because that's part of our game and I think they knew that," Schaefer said. "The second quarter is when we made some adjustments and were able to get some completions out of the slot and out of the backfield for short [passes] and they turned it into big gains."
W - FG Munoz 27, 11:34
A - C. Pearman 23 pass from Schaefer (Barrett kick), 7:18
W - Noel 45 run (kick failed), 6:13
A - C. Pearman 12 pass from Schaefer (Barrett kick), 3:24
A - Green 15 pass from Schaefer (Barrett kick), :39
W - Brennan 39 run (Munoz kick), 4:22
W - Noel 1 run (Noel run), 10:00
A - Green 14 pass from Schaefer (Barrett kick), 8:36
A - Schaefer 1 run (Barrett kick), :34
Saturday, August 16, 2008
EFL Press Coverage August 16
"Unpredictable' Wiltshire provides spark
NEW MASSENA QUARTERBACK: Former backup trying to lift struggling Silver and Black offense
SATURDAY, AUGUST 16, 2008
No one really knows what is going to come out of the mouth of Massena Silver and Black quarterback Mark "Magik" Wiltshire. Yet, what he does say makes some sort of odd sense.
"I got to say what I can when I can. That's why I say it well," he said. "I'm unpredictable."
He was the backup to former quarterback Dave Currier at the start of the season. After Currier left the team after a disagreement with the coaching staff, Wiltshire seized the opportunity and is now letting his play do the talking, even if he doesn't know exactly what he is going to do.
"There's no strategy," Wiltshire said. "Just don't let them see the same thing twice too many times."
He has put together a respectable first month of the Empire Football League season as a fill-in, completing 14-of-42 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns. He also leads the team in rushing, averaging 11.3 yards per carry on six attempts.
"We struggled on offense a little bit (at the start of the season)," Wiltshire said. "I try to give the team a little spark."
Today, Massena travels to
"We weren't prepared for the first game," Massena coach Jim Compeau Sr. said. "We've got Wiltshire at quarterback now and that's a big difference."
Compeau changed the offense for Wiltshire. Now, Massena will focus on short passing and running more than the long pass. James "Buddy" Compeau Jr. will be one of the keys in the backfield with the new offense.
"I'm going to play a big role this week," Compeau Jr. said. "I don't have a touchdown yet this year and it kind of bothers me."
He has struggled, accumulating just 97 total yards of offense. Compeau Jr. is much more effective on special teams where he's returned seven kickoffs for 173 yards.
"I've put in the work," Compeau Jr. said. "It's going to pay off this week."
The Silver and Black are still winless and have yet to score more than one touchdown in any game. They've only been shut out once, but it was against
"I don't think the score will be quite as bad," he said. "If you can do better every game, then everything is progressing."
Massena has improved from the start of the year, decreasing their loss margin from 62 points in week one to 41 points last Saturday.
Wiltshire has been a big factor in that. He's ready to show
"The game plan is scrambling and go crazy. I want to go as deep as I can every play," Wiltshire said. "I want to pass far."
By MIKE ZUMMO, The Leader-Herald
POSTED: August 16, 2008
This week, the Zephyrs will play host to the Watertown Red & Black, which is coming off its first win of the season after pounding the winless Massena Raiders 47-6 last week.
"They have a lot of new faces," Zephyrs coach Tom Manny said. "He's had a lot of changes up there, but it will still be a George Ashcraft coached team. It's going to be pretty much what we've seen over the years, but there'll just be new faces."
The Zephyrs got everything they could ask for out of the offense last week in
"We have Joe Newborn and he's doing a fine job," Manny said. "He sprung Elijah on several occasions last week. He's also very good in the short game with the [quick] hitters."
Through the air, Ken Schaefer went 7-for-16 with 111 yards and threw two touchdown passes, one to Issmal Green and the other to Cedrick Pearman.
The Zephyrs' defense struggled, allowing 507 yards of offense to the Ice Storm with quarterback Brad Ruderman carving up the Zephyrs' secondary going 12-for-16 with 245 yards and four touchdown passes. Matt Paul took over late in the game and finished what Ruderman started by throwing for 85 yards of his own and one more touchdown.
"It was a nightmare," Manny said. "It was quicksand at its best. We would make a stop, then we'd make a mistake. It was just that way. There were occasions where the defensive backs could have had interceptions, but stopped running. It was the same defense that played outstanding in
The Zephyrs' defense will have another tough task ahead of them tonight when they face the Red & Black, who enter this game after victimizing the Raiders for nearly 800 yards of total offense with most of those yards coming on the ground as Joe Brennan and quarterback Anthony Noel picked up 197 and 162 yards respectively. The Red & Black nearly put another running back in triple figures as Warren Spies ran for 94. Brennan scored three touchdowns, Noel had two and Spies added one.
"[At practice], we're going to take a step back," Manny said. "And we're going through a few variations that George won't expect."
The Red & Black had some success through the air as Noel completed 21 passes for 326 yards and threw one touchdown, but was picked off three times.
However, for the Zephyrs to be successful tonight, they'll need a crisp effort on the field.
"We have to play a game mistake-free," Manny said. "We just have to get to that point. I'm getting concerned because that's a mental aspect. We have the physical capability, but we have to get mentally strong throughout the entire game."
Sunday, August 10, 2008
EFL Press Coverage August 10
By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald
POSTED: August 9, 2008
"Ruderman is one of the top quarterbacks in the league," Manny said. "He's very efficient and they're the type of team that can spread you out quickly. Our front four have to step up, like last week, and put a bunch of pressure on Ruderman."
The Zephyrs recorded four sacks last week against
"They have bonded together more than I could imagine," he said. "We took one of the top offenses and shut them down. The defense did the job and hasn't given up a touchdown in four quarters, now."
Raphael Nicosia registered 10 solo tackles, while Jim Sweeney had six solos, an assist and a pass deflection. The defense will get linebacker/defensive back Jorge Rodriquez back this week after he missed the game in
Schaefer was 10-for-31 through the air for 128 yards and gained 30 on the ground. He connected with Cedric Pearman for touchdowns of 20 and 18 yards.
The offense will return Bob Loffredo, an offensive tackle who was out with an injury last week. Manny said the return of both Rodriquez and Loffredo should improve the Zephyrs' chances this week.
The Zephyrs are 0-2, but led against
"This year, everybody knows every week is a street fight," he said.
He said the Zephyrs are anxious to get their first win, but the players are not consumed by the early winless streak.
"They're human, so of course they're frustrated," he said. "I'm frustrated. But we're not letting it take root. We're knocking on the door and, soon, we're going to knock it down.
"This is a big test. If we can pull it off, then we have four home games in a row. It would be a big turnaround."
Zephyrs searching for first win
BY TONY PASTORE
Recorder Sports Staff
The Amsterdam Zephyrs are still looking for their first victory in the Empire Football League season and today it won't get any easier for the team as they face Vermont Ice Storm.
Zephyrs head coach Tom Manny expects a lot of the same from
"From the tapes I saw of them this year and what I saw last year, they have not changed anything. They run a west coast offense. We have a defense to stop it. It will be interesting. They are disciplined and don't make mistakes."
One aspect of the game Manny is happy with is
"We haven't given up touchdown in four quarters," Manny said. "We had a lot of sacks. The linebackers executed. The secondary played great. Everything was there. We played the way we can on defense."
Offensively, the Zephyrs will throw the ball more then in their previous two games. Last week at
"Missing Elijah didn't help our running attack but we have to execute. We did not run the ball well," Manny said "It looks like the run game is going to be used to keep em honest."
Manny is happy with the air attack.
"The whole passing game has been effective. Cedrick Pearman is our top guy. Jason Newborn is going to be a weapon they (
A big factor in
"Our line is not doing their job up front and I'm pulling my hair out over it," Manny said "It's not a problem with snaps, holds or kicker. We are not blocking properly. I almost lost a gasket over it. We know what the mistakes are but we have to stop making them."
With the two losses, Manny acknowledges there is some level of frustration.
"We're frustrated. We're so close yet so far. We're not letting our frustration dictate our performance. We are going over game plans and we just need to execute. We have to hit on all cylinders. We have to play mistake free football without any turnovers."
Published August 10, 2008 12:30 am - Injuries, turnovers catch up with
By NICK ST. DENIS
PLATTSBURGH -- Unlike last week, the Plattsburgh North Stars felt the effects of their missing pieces on offense Saturday night.
The team again missed the likes of receivers Matt St. Clair and Kelly Gordon in the team's matchup against
The visiting Titans handed the Stars their first loss of the season, 23-8, in Empire Football League action at
"Kelly and Matt have the speed to stretch the defense," Keleher said. "So does Verkey. But not having those two, without question, allowed (
Despite entering the Titans' side of the field half a dozen times -- including a third down on the Titans two-yard line --
After a short Kyle Nolan score late in the fourth quarter, the fullback caught a two-point conversion to bring the score within eight.
But an onside kick gone bad put the ball in the hands of
"They knew we were going onside, and the ball popped up and he caught it in stride," Keleher said.
Quarterback Kellen Nolan, who has been more than efficient in taking advantage of Stars' offensive possessions all season, turned the ball over four times in the air in Titans' territory and saw (Kyle) Nolan fumble the ball during a handoff.
The Stars' signal-caller never looked completely confident behind an offensive line that put starting center Nick Moore at the tackle position and backup Josh Pray in
However, Keleher insisted that the position moves weren't an issue, and that it didn't have an effect on Nolan's passing game.
"I don't really think that had a big effect; we practiced all week that way," Keleher said. "(Kellen) has had six pretty good nights, and he had one rocky night tonight."
Nolan finished the game going 15 for 25 with 144 yards, with four interceptions and no touchdowns, while running back Heath Geiser led the team on the ground with 44 yards.
But with St. Clair out of the lineup at safety and Joe Conway only playing half of the game,
I don't think we played poorly defensively," Keleher said. "But we blew the coverage on the long touchdown."
Wyeth finished 14 for 25 with 226 yards in the air.
"Our front four has gotten to just about every quarterback," Keleher said. "I think tonight was the first night we didn't put a lot of pressure on him."
"We got beat tonight."
Zephyrs fall short at
Elijah White carried the ball 17 times for the Zephyrs (0-4) for 204 yards and scored two touchdowns, the second of which came on a 69-yard run in the third quarter. Kenny Schaefer completed seven passes for 111 yards and connected for two touchdown passes, one to Cedrick Pearman and the other to Ishmael Green.
Pearman caught two passes for 54 yards and Green caught three for 48.
Defensively, Kip Stewart had 10 tackles, five solo, and one sack and George Rodriquez made seven tackles, five solo. Mark Nellis made four solo tackles out of his seven.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Red and Black still winless, still optimistic
Maybe Brian Williams is right. Or perhaps he's just trying to remain upbeat. Only time will tell.
Either way, an already frustrating season for the Watertown Red and Black took another downturn Saturday night as the visiting Vermont Ice Storm won an Empire Football League game 28-14 at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
The loss drops Watertown's record to 0-3, as defending champion Vermont (3-0) took advantage of three touchdowns and 248 passing yards from quarterback Brad Ruderman to remain undefeated.
Things can only get better for the Red and Black, which plays at winless Massena next week.
"We know in three weeks, we'll be 3-3," said Williams, who notched seven tackles and two interceptions. "We know we'll make playoffs. As long as we keep that mentality there's no problem. A team's real character is determined when it's down, not when we're winning all the time. That's how we're going to look it at."
In spite of what Ruderman's numbers suggest, Watertown's defense put forth a respectable effort. The team intercepted him four times, and allowed just two second half receptions.
Watertown's offense, which is made up primarily of first year players, wasn't efficient enough to hold up its end of the bargain, however, as it ran only 13 plays —minus punts — in the first half.
Starting quarterback Brian Green, who was taken by ambulance in the third quarter with a possible dislocated shoulder, finished just 4-for-7 with 11 yards. His replacement, Anthony Noel, didn't fare much better, going 1-for-10 with a pick.
Lester Cole shot through the wedge on a first quarter kickoff return to post Watertown's first touchdown.
Ben Pritchard jarred the ball loose on a crushing hit to Ruderman two minutes before halftime, and Ka'mel Brave pounced on it in the end zone for Watertown's final score.
Williams, who also punts, was often the offense's busiest player.
"This whole offense is brand new together," head coach George Ashcraft said. "It takes longer than playing together a few months to get going."
Watertown's challenging task of mounting a second half comeback got even harder when Green was injured while scrambling. Noel completed his first pass, but not another. He rushed for 44 yards from the QB position, but Vermont crowded the line of scrimmage for most of the second half, knowing Watertown's ability to go deep was severely limited.
The Red and Black was forced to punt on four of their six second half possessions.
"They knew I'd run the ball," Noel said. "I have to get a rhythm of the throwing the ball, too. This team needs to be balanced, with a passing quarterback and then we can establish the run."
Long connections weren't a challenge for Vermont, as Ruderman tossed scoring strikes of 34 and 26 yards, respectively, to Rob Joy and Mike Jabour. Vermont's rushing attack (94 yards) was just good enough to prevent the Red and Black from stacking the secondary.
"More power to the receivers and Ruderman," Williams said. "He throws a great ball. We tried to mix up some coverage, but he's going to get his yards and completions. We let up two big plays, and it hurt us."
Vermont got a few breaks, too.
Williams returned a first quarter interception 70 yards, only to watch the ball squirt from his hands and the Ice Storm recover at its own 19. Vermont recovered a couple of its own fumbles as well.
Adam Bossinger registered six tackles and an interception, while Brady Nix and Trevor Fine had eight tackles apiece.
Noel, who rushed just once in the first half, will prepare to be the team's signal caller for the foreseeable future.
"We all just need to be on the same page," he said. "At times we have to be more disciplined, but this is going to be a learning year. It starts at practice, and then it will translate to the game field."