Sunday, August 10, 2008

EFL Press Coverage August 10

Zephyrs headed to Vermont to face unbeaten Ice Storm

By BILL CAIN, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: August 9, 2008


SOUTH BURLINGTON - Pressure will be the order of the day for the Amsterdam Zephyrs in today's Empire Football League game against the Vermont Ice Storm.

Amsterdam coach Tom Manny said Vermont runs the same offense and defense as last year, but head coach Doug Perez is good at adjusting to opponents' game plans. The Zephyrs will try to win what Manny predicted to be a "chess match" by pressuring quarterback Brad Ruderman.

"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 Montreal and Manny said he wants to see the same today from the likes of defensive end Alex McKinsey and defensive tackle Mishael Castrello. The goal will be to force Ruderman's passes underneath and shut down the passing attack with short gains or no gain.

Amsterdam's ground game was lacking last week, Manny said, and he will work on re-establishing that angle of attack today. He said the Zephyrs want to work the ground game with Tarquan Pearman and their other options in order to open up the pass for quarterback Ken Schaefer, who also is a threat to run.

Against Montreal, the Zephyrs lost 15-12 in overtime. Manny said the defense has come along nicely recently.

"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 Montreal with an injury.

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 Ottawa before the game was called due to thunderstorms.

Vermont is 3-0 and beat the Watertown Red & Black 28-14. Despite the margin of victory in that game, Manny said the league has been pretty competitive every week and no team is blowing out the competition.

"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


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.

Vermont is reigning back-to-back EFL champs and are 6-0 overall with three non-league victories. Amsterdam is 0-2 with two narrow losses to Plattsburgh and Quebec on the road.

Zephyrs head coach Tom Manny expects a lot of the same from Vermont this season.

"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 Amsterdam's defensive unit which did not allow a touchdown in the 15-12 overtime loss at Quebec.

"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 Quebec, quarterback Ken Schaefer led the team in rushing with 30 yards. It should be noted that running backs Elijah White and Tarquan Pearman were not available in that game.

"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 (Vermont) will have to deal with. Eugene Maye will be a weapon out of the slot as well."

A big factor in Amsterdam's two losses has been the lack of a kicking game. Amsterdam missed two extra point attempts in regulation against Quebec and missed three in a 25-24 loss to Plattsburgh. Manny does not hold his kicker Brian Barrett responsible.

"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 Plattsburgh in EFL loss to Titans.
Quebec topples North Stars
Staff Writer

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 Quebec, and this time it made a difference.

The visiting Titans handed the Stars their first loss of the season, 23-8, in Empire Football League action at Melissa Penfield Park.

"Kelly and Matt have the speed to stretch the defense," Keleher said. "So does Verkey. But not having those two, without question, allowed (Quebec) to bring more people up to the line of scrimmage."

Despite entering the Titans' side of the field half a dozen times -- including a third down on the Titans two-yard line -- Plattsburgh couldn't reach the end zone until just under four minutes remaining in the game.

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 Quebec's Zan Symonds, who then took the ball directly into the end zone to put the Titans up 23-8 with three minutes to go.

"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 Moore's position due to two injuries within the unit.

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.

Defensively, Plattsburgh (6-1, 4-1) held the Titans to just nine points until late in the third quarter, which included Quebec running back Denis Houle's single touchdown.

But with St. Clair out of the lineup at safety and Joe Conway only playing half of the game, Quebec quarterback Kevin Wyeth was able to connect with James Treldon on a deep post which went 78 yards for a touchdown to put the team up 16-0 entering the fourth.

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 Vermont, 62-35

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Amsterdam Zephyrs posted 373 yards of offense, but the Vermont Ice Storm shredded the defense for nine touchdowns in a 62-35 win Saturday.

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.

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