Saturday, September 12, 2009

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage September 12

Red & Black offense gets shot at redemption

The Watertown Red and Black has the chance tonight against the Quebec Titans to avenge its only loss of this Empire Football League season.
And what an ugly loss it was.
Four lost fumbles — one in the end zone — and just 113 totals yards yielded a 14-2 defeat on Aug. 15.
Quarterback Brian Williams felt the guilt, and so did his offensive teammates. Not so much for the brunt of the loss, but mostly for squandering the usual lockdown defensive performance turned in by the defense that night.
Hiding behind the facemasks of their helmets wasn't an option, and, inevitably, Tuesday's practice arrived. With plenty of tension.
"As an offense, we did feel like we let our defense down," Williams said Thursday after the Red and Black's final practice before tonight's rematch against the Titans. "And our defense let us know that week in practice that we needed to be better in certain situations. It's our job to put points on the board."
The defensive unit was justified in their frustrations. It limited Quebec to 59 rushing yards and 23 in the air, but Watertown turnovers inside its own five translated into a pair of touchdowns.
Yet the intensity and emotion during the practices that ensued didn't breed animosity within the nation's oldest semipro franchise. In fact, members of the team will likely concede it was the best thing that could have happened.
"There was some lashing out," linebacker Mike Dumaw said. "But the offense practiced hard that week, and did a hell of a job in that next game (against Plattsburgh). They did that on their own, regardless of what we did as a defense. They came out swinging, they were mad, they were hungry and they took care of business."
"They became a team that week," defensive coordinator Rich Potter said.
Watertown's grip on the ball has been vice-like since its implosion in Quebec, clubbing then-unbeaten Plattsburgh and Massena by a 69-0 combined score. The only turnover has been a meaningless Williams interception against the North Stars.
"We realized that what we run can be stopped if we don't execute day in and day out," Williams said. "Our focus now is taking care of the ball and doing one play at a time."
A win tonight would make Watertown 8-1, and in control of securing the No. 1 seed for playoffs and home-field advantage.
But the Red and Black isn't looking that far into the future just yet, the way it may have, in anticipation of a pending battle of unbeatens with Plattsburgh, before traveling to Quebec.
"We'll still have one more game against Binghamton," head coach George Ashcraft said. "Nothing is sure until Sept. 20. We just have to win (tonight) to assure we have a better chance at home field advantage."

Dragons try to s weep Massena

Staff report • September 10, 2009
The Broome County Dragons will try to complete a home-and-home sweep of the Massena Silver & Black Raiders when the two teams collide in an Empire Football League game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Binghamton Alumni Stadium.
The Dragons (4-3) are coming off a 35-34 squeeze past Plattsburgh in which quarterback Adam Good passed for four touchdowns and rushed for another. The Dragons trailed in that game, 27-13, through three quarters.
Massena (0-8) fell 14-13 to the Dragons in July. That was the Dragons' second game of the season. Massena was a 48-0 loser to Watertown in its most recent outing.
Published September 12, 2009 12:27 am - Plattsburgh closes out home season coming off 2 road losses in Empire Football League.

North Stars seek reversal
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars have a little something to prove.

The team looks to rebound from two straight losses after a 6-0 start to the Empire Football League season when it hosts the Vermont Ice Storm tonight at 7:30 p.m.

"The=2 0guys are eager to right the ship," Plattsburgh head coach Pat Keleher said.

A home matchup against the 2-6 Ice Storm, who Plattsburgh (8-2 overall) defeated by a 21-0 margin in Burlington earlier this season, should be a good opportunity to get back on track after playing three of its last four games on the road.

The Stars currently sit in third place in the EFL standings behind first-place Watertown (7-1) and second-place Quebec (6-1). Those two teams, however, will play tonight in Watertown, so one will have the same number of losses as Plattsburgh at the end of the evening, barring a tie in their matchup or a Plattsburgh loss.

The Stars face Quebec on the road for their regular-season finale.

"We know that destiny is in our hands," Keleher said. "Winning out can guarantee the second seed."

Austin Partain leads the Ice Storm (2-6) offensively with three touchdown catches and 308 yards receiving, and quarterback Matt Paul has completed just 33 perecent of his passes, throwing five touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

One of those interceptions was a pick-six by Stars' linebacker Jamil McCray, which boosted Plattsburgh to a 21-point fourth quarter.

Plattsburgh quarterback Ken Stay has been good on nearly 50 percent of his throws and has tallied 11 touchdowns with eight interceptions.

"Kenny wasn't completely comfortable with the offense when we played them earlier in week two, but he's got 10 games under his belt now," Keleher said.

Brandon Keleher leads the Stars on the ground with 627 yards and five touchdowns.

Kelly Gordon has caught six touchdowns and compiled 394 yards receiving so far this season.

Defensively, B.J. Godfrey leads the Stars in tackles with 52.

"Vermont has played some teams tough," Keleher said. "They haven't traveled all that well, but I don't consider coming across the lake a big trip."

PAL Night
Tonight's game is designated "PAL Football Night." A special admission price of $2 will be granted to all PAL football players who attend wearing their PAL football jersey.

Those PAL players and coaches in attendance will be recognized at half time.

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