Sunday, August 23, 2009

EFL Post Game Press Release August 23, 2009

R&B deadly efficient

CONVINCING WIN: Watertown hands Plattsburgh first loss
Watertown's Dustin Houppert sacks Plattsburgh's Ken Stay during Saturday night's game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
Watertown< SPAN lang=EN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt; COLOR: #333333; FONT-FAMILY: Arial; mso-ansi-language: EN">'s T.J. Williams runs over Plattsburgh's Ken Ruwett during Saturday's 21-0 Empire Football League victory.
One side of the scoreboard at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds remains stuck at zero, and that's not good news for the rest of the Empire Football League.
Playing its third home game of the regular season Saturday in front of a near-capacity crowd, the Watertown Red and Black rode a dominant running attack and impenetrable defense to a 21-0 EFL victory over the Plattsburgh North Stars.
More importantly, the Red and Black (6-1), which hasn't surrendered a point at home, took a giant step toward a first-place, regular-season finish and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Last week's 14-2 loss to Quebec seemed like it happened years ago to head coach George Ashcraft, whose team handl ed previously unbeaten Plattsburgh (6-1) with relative ease.
"Good teams bounce back and improve after a bad game," he said. "And that's what we did. It was a great team effort."
Watertown controlled the clock, and kept Plattsburgh's offense on the bench, by orchestrating long drives to wear down the defense. T.J. Williams ran for 123 yards and a score on 14 carries, while Anthony Noel took over the league lead in rushing with 75 yards and touchdown runs of 37 and six yards.
"I wasn't even getting touched in the backfield," said Williams, who missed two weeks because of a family reunion in Italy. "So it's all the O-line and good blocking by the receivers. When the blocking is on point, everything comes easy."
If losing to Quebec exposed any lack of focus, Watertown has surely cured it by now. The defense seemed to know what the North Stars were going to do as soon as the snap was delivered on most plays.
"Our defense is always strong at home," linebacker Mike Dumaw said. "We didn't let them alter what we wanted to do. We knew they like to run, and that they'd have to mix it up with some passes.
"We had a couple of very intense practices this week, and won as a team. (Plattsburgh) really didn't have an answer for anything we did."
The North Stars entered the game having allowed the least amount of points in the league, with the EFL's top passer in Ken Stay, and the top rusher, Brandon Keleher. But they hadn't yet faced a defense like Watertown's.
Plattsburgh's final, 10-play drive in the fourth quarter, when it already20trailed by three touchdowns, was its longest. Stay finished with 134 yards passing, but he threw for 52 on that last series.
Watertown limited Keleher to negative-seven yards, and the North Stars gained just 19 on the ground.
"Their linebackers ran free all night, and when that happens it causes problems," Plattsburgh coach Pat Keleher said.
"We got so caught up in Watertown's running game, that we didn't play assignment football. The last thing I thought we'd give up was a big pass play, and we gave them two."
They were the only two throws — both to Lester Cole — quarterback Brian Williams completed for Watertown, but each one set up scoring runs.
Cole, who has played most of this year at cornerback, returned to the offensive huddle Saturday. He's built a reputation the past four seasons for hauling in long passes, and his 58-yard grab directly preceded the six-yard scamper Noel completed to give Watertown the 21-0 edge.
The play was just enough to make Plattsburgh protect, at least a bit, against the pass for the rest of the night.
"We showed we can put the ball in the air," T.J. Williams said. "The best running teams can pass the ball, too. Brian Williams showed that tonight. This is definitely a championship-caliber team."
Despite snagging three interceptions, Massena couldn't overcome the Ice Storm's early scores from Rob Joy and Austin Partain, falling in an EFL game in Burlington, Vt.
Partain scored on a 24-yard pass f rom Matt Paul, and Joy caught a 16-yard pass for Vermont (2-5).
Andy Deon punched in a 1-yard run for Massena (0-7).

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