Sunday, September 28, 2008
EFL Post Game Coverage 9/28
Red-Black's switcheroo pays off with win No. 2
By MATT CORDOVA
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2008
There goes Brian Williams, and there goes Anthony Noel. The Amsterdam Zephyrs were left helpless Saturday night, with no real clue about how to stop the Watertown Red and Black's newly discovered backfield tandem.
Knowing it could run the ball effectively against the Zephyrs, Watertown pounded it, racking up a season-best 321 rushing yards that paved the way, through giant running lanes, to a 30-27 Empire Football League victory at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
It was exploitation at its best, as the Red and Black (2-7) wrapped up just its second win of the season, and first at home.
"To get a win was great, and having it at home made it even sweeter," head coach George Ashcraft said. "If we could have figured out this combination of Williams at quarterback and Noel running two months ago, we could have done some great things. But there's no sense looking back."
Williams, who already serves as a cornerback and punter, took over at quarterback in the second quarter to stage
The position change allowed Noel to move back to his normal running back spot, and his legs did just as much damage, picking up 172 yards on 13 carries. His 52-yard jaunt late in the fourth quarter sealed the final result.
"It felt like being home again," Noel said of returning to running back. "I love running the ball.
"When you lose games like we have this year, it feels good to get this at home."
The Red and Black, which tallied 315 rushing yards against
But the defense, which allowed
The Zephyrs had plenty of chances, but failed seven times to score from inside the six or closer. It was the defense's best stand of the season, and then all Williams had to do was hand the ball to Noel.
"The goal-line stand, and then to go over 90 yards is what truly iced it," Ashcraft said. "(Noel) getting those two first downs right after were huge."
Noel pushed through the middle for consecutive runs of 11 and 10 yards. Two plays later, as receiver Paul Blouin sealed off his defender for about 20 yards, Noel was headed for the end zone.
And although the outcome of the game had absolutely no bearing on the team's already planned playoff trip to
"We wanted to perform, and we wanted to beat these guys," Head Coach Pat Keleher said. "Our mindset was that we didn't care it was week 10, it could have been week one. We were prepared to play."
Ice Storm quarterback Brad Ruderman had one of his typical nights, completing 17 of his 22 passes for 229 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
"He's just an outstanding quarterback," Keleher said. "It seemed like every time we tried to get to him with the blitz, which we did a few times, he made the throws."
The Stars' offense showed a few bright spots at times, but failed to reach the end zone until late in the fourth quarter on a one-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Nolan to Jordan Keleher.
The Stars made an early stop on a
Ruderman connected with Mike Jabour and Austin Partain for touchdown passes to give
Then, when things seemed like they were about to turn around for the Stars on a late second quarter offensive series, the team hit yet another bump in the road.
On a third down following two incomplete passes,
During the play, Nolan completed a nine-yard pass to Matt St. Clair, who put his knee to the ground during the catch, got up and took off for the end zone.
But one of the officials had whistled the play dead, even though St. Clair was untouched by a
The Stars were rewarded a "redo" of the third down, but failed to take advantage.
"That took a lot of wind out of our sails, I thought," Keleher said. "If he doesn't get ruled down there, St. Clair scores and we go into the half 14-7."
Then, two plays later in the same series, Nolan was whistled down when flopping the ball to a
But while the
Ruderman connected with Partain for another 15-yard touchdown strike in the second half, and again to Rob Joy for a 6-yard passing score to put Vermont up 27-0 in the fourth quarter to finish the team's scoring.
"Everybody's got a 0-0 record now," Keleher said. "The reality is if we go up to
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