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




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 Vermont to play the Ice Storm, the defending EFL champion which beat the Silver and Black 62-0 in the season opener.

"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 Vermont. Coach Compeau Sr. doesn't expect to get blanked again tonight.

"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 Vermont a different side of Massena tonight.

"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."

Zephyrs return home to face Red & Black

By MIKE ZUMMO, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: August 16, 2008

The Leader-Herald/Bill Cain
Amsterdam's Elijah White (44) breaks through a hole in the Ottawa line during the July 26 game at Wilbur Lynch Middle School.

AMSTERDAM - The Amsterdam Zephyrs' offense was good last week against the Vermont Ice Storm, however the defense couldn't get its legs under it as the Ice Storm rang up 62 points.

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 Vermont, especially the running game, which saw Elijah White rack up 204 of Amsterdam's 258 yards on the ground. He also crossed the goal line twice. Tarquan Pearman added 12 yards on three carries and a touchdown.

"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.

Watertown had its best offensive and defensive days against the Empire Football League's weakest team. Massena has scored only 19 points all season, while allowing a league-high 227.

Watertown and the Zephyrs are the only other teams to score under 100 points this season. The Red & Black have posted 88 points, while the Zephyrs have 97, which includes one incomplete game.

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 Quebec."

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."

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