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




The Watertown Red and Black actually didn't have too bad a game Saturday night. The team limited the Quebec's powerful air attack, and even reeled off a few big, downfield plays of its own.

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 Watertown's postseason hopes even dimmer, as it dropped to 1-5 heading into the league-wide bye week for Labor Day weekend.

"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 Watertown eclipsed 100 yards rushing again.

Lester Cole hauled in his first regular-season touchdown — a 50-yard strike from Noel — midway through the first, and Watertown received another jolt of energy moments later.

Ben Pritchard intercepted Kevin Wyeth's attempt at a shovel pass on Quebec's next play from scrimmage, and returned it to the Titan 19. Manny Munoz buried a 32-yard field goal three plays later, giving the Red and Black a 9-3 edge. But the home team didn't score again.

"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.

Watertown was unable to convert those momentum shifts into points, however.

Twice during the final quarter, powered by the running of Joe Brennan (18-99), Watertown drove inside the red zone only to come up short.

Quebec made more of its opportunities, as it orchestrated a nine-play, 85-yard series to set up the clinching score.

More importantly for Quebec (6-1), and disheartening for the Red and Black, it overcame two holding penalties on the drive. Both flags negated long runs by Houle, but he still managed to find the goal line 7 minutes, 7 seconds after his team took possession. The Titans attempted only five second half passes.

"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."

Watertown plays again Sept. 6 at Ottawa.


The Deacon Demons' Ryan Corbit scored on a 10-yard run in the first quarter, and that was all the scoring Ottawa needed as it defeated the winless Silver and Black in an Empire Football League game in Potsdam.

Jason Hudson caught a touchdown pass for Ottawa (2-3), which has recorded both of its wins over Massena.

Mike Weller recorded a safety for Massena (0-5).

Published August 24, 2008 12:15 am - Vermont hands Plattsburgh second straight loss in Empire Football League play.

Stars fall to Ice Storm
Staff Writer
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 Vermont's Brad Ruderman threw three.

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 Vermont's 35-14 win over Plattsburgh.

"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 Quebec, the team's offense had a few opportunities in Vermont territory, but was given very little from the Ice Storm defense.

"They are good at forcing teams into making mistakes," Keleher said.

A prime example was when Plattsburgh's offense drove the ball inside the 10-yard line late in the second quarter, thanks to a 22-yard scramble by Nolan.

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 Vermont never gave him time to look.

Despite Vermont's heavy pressure on the Plattsburgh offense, Keleher questioned how much of it was based on how good Vermont played, or how poorly Plattsburgh played.

"I don't know how much of it is what Vermont is doing to us, or what Plattsburgh is doing to us," he said.

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, Plattsburgh didn't go without a few solid performances of its own.

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."


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