Sunday, September 28, 2008

EFL Post Game Coverage 9/28

Red-Black's switcheroo pays off with win No. 2

WILLIAMS-NOEL TANDEM: Watertown changes pair's positions en route to beating Amsterdam




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 Watertown's best effort. He chugged 80 yards on his first carry, faking out defenders and shaking off a jarring tug at his face-mask, for Watertown's first touchdown.

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."

Amsterdam got its only score on a 25-yard, second-quarter connection from quarterback Ken Schaefer to Joe Torres. The play gave the Zephyrs (3-6) a 7-6 advantage, but their defense wasn't up to the task of containing Watertown's attack.

The Red and Black, which tallied 315 rushing yards against Amsterdam last month, attempted just one pass in the second half, and it resulted in an interception.

Amsterdam threatened to capitalize on the turnover when Schaefer hit Tim Sweeney on a 26-yard pass to move inside Watertown's five yard line.

But the defense, which allowed Amsterdam to score a late winning score in the first meeting, wasn't about to let it happen again.

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.


Published September 28, 2008 12:30 am - Plattsburgh drops EFL finale; heads to Quebec next week in playoffs.

Ice Storm chills Stars

Staff Writer

Plattsburgh North Stars- fullback Kyle Nolan benefits from a good block as he attempts to maneuver his way past Vermont defenders. Vermont defeated Plattsburgh 27-7 as the teams closed out their regular season and prepare for the playoffs.
Staff Photo/Michael Betts /

PLATTSBURGH -- Nothing seemed to go the North Stars' way Saturday night in their regular-season finale, a 27-7 loss to the Vermont Ice Storm.

And although the outcome of the game had absolutely no bearing on the team's already planned playoff trip to Quebec, a win against the Empire Football League powerhouse would have been nice.

"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."

Vermont, however, was prepared to play as well.

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.

Plattsburgh was effective running the ball, as Heath Geiser picked up 73 yards on five carries, and Brandon Keleher recorded 75 yards on 12 carries. But the team lost crucial yardage to offensive penalties throughout the game.

The Stars made an early stop on a Vermont fourth-and-goal in the first quarter, but failed to capitalize on the ensuing possession with a missed field goal.

Ruderman connected with Mike Jabour and Austin Partain for touchdown passes to give Vermont a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

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, Plattsburgh and its fans were an inadvertent whistle away from a potential touchdown that would have brought the game within a touchdown.

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 Vermont defender.

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 Plattsburgh back while getting taken down by Vermont defenders -- again, a premature whistle.

But while the Plattsburgh crowd got into a sour mood because of the calls, the Vermont fans did just the opposite.

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.

Plattsburgh will have next weekend off from EFL play, and will then travel to Montreal the following week to take on the Quebec Titans in the first round of the playoffs.

"Everybody's got a 0-0 record now," Keleher said. "The reality is if we go up to Montreal an win, we're in the EFL Championship."

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