Saturday, August 14, 2010
EFL Pre Game Press Coverage August 14
56: MORE THAN JUST NUMBER
IN MEMORIAM: Red & Black linemen don jersey to remember Towles
By MATT CORDOVA
SATURDAY, AUGUST 14, 2010
Jared Cook stared at the No. 56 jersey he was about to wear as the Watertown Red and Black prepared for its season opener on July 10. He wished he didn't have to put it on, but was honored to do so.
Such emotions are a weekly occurrence this season in the Red and Black locker room.
Each of the 10 offensive lineman listed on Watertown's roster will wear No. 56 once this season in honor of former center David Towles, who died last fall in an auto accident.
Zephyrs in action tonight
By DEREK DUNNING, The Leader-Herald
The Glove Cities Colonials and Amsterdam Zephyrs are at the exact opposite points they were one week ago.
The Colonials were riding high, undefeated and carrying a 5-0 overall and 3-0 league record, before a sloppy effort gave them their first blemish of the season in a 22-14 loss to the Finger Lakes Impact out of Waterloo.
"We came out and played flat," Glove Cities coach Matt Capano said. "Hopefully we've got it out of out system. We had a nice practice on Thursday and the guys seem to be together again."
On the other hand, the Zephyrs were 0-3 before posting their first win of the season with a 19-16 over the Massena Silver and Black Raiders in Potsdam.
Zephyrs back at Lynch
By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
Coming off their first win of the season this past week against the Massena Silver and Black Raiders, the Amsterdam Zephyrs are faced with the most daunting opponent the Empire Football League has to offer — the Watertown Red and Black.
"They're a very good team," said Zephyrs (1-3) head coach Joe Hall. "We're going to need our 'A' game against them."
The undefeated Red and Black (4-0) average a shade over 29 points per game, the best in the EFL by almost a touchdown. Scarier for their opponents, the Red and Black's offense can put up a lot of points in a hurry — last week, the Red and Black scored 35 second quarter points against the New York (Oneonta) Stallions (1-3). Watertown went on to win, 49-6.
Watertown is led by its quarterback — and the EFL's leading rusher — Brian Williams, who is the focal point of his team's option-based offense.
"They run the option to perfection," Hall said, calling the offense one of the oldest and toughest to stop in the game.
The run-based offense of Watertown against the stingy Amsterdam defense should provide a fun matchup for fans this week at Lynch Literacy Academy. Defensive coordinator Bob Reynold's defense is at its best against the run, and said that the onus tonight will be on those lining up at defensive end. Reynolds said his outside linemen need to create pressure quickly on the Watertown quarterback to force his hand.
"They need to make the quarterback pitch the ball, [and] the sooner the better," Reynolds said. "A lot of times you can get a bad pitch."
But no matter how well his defense plays, Reynolds said he cannot see this Watertown team not putting up at least a decent number of points on the scoreboard. The, at times, anemic offense of the Zephyrs (10.8 points per game) will need to be able to put up points of its own in tonight's game and win the time of possession battle.
"This week the key is we got to control the clock," said Dom Ruggeri, the team's offensive coordinator. Ruggeri said the team will rely on running back Alex Heath (105 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown last week) to keep the chains moving and the Red and Black offense on the sideline.
The Zephyrs' other premier runner, Elijah White, will miss his second consecutive game with turf toe.
Still, though faced with a stiff challenge in tonight's game, Hall said the team was in good spirits this week after notching its first win of the season, defeating the Silver and Black Raiders (0-4) by a score of 19-16 on the road. He said the enthusiasm on the team's boisterous ride home after last Saturday's game had carried over to this week.
"The bus ride home was great," Hall said. "The guys were all happy and pumped about [the win]."
The Zephyrs had an extra development to be happy about this past week — the Broome County Dragons announced they had folded, with the team's remaining games being ruled as forfeits, an EFL representative confirmed in an e-mail. In an e-mail to other league owners, Dragons' owner Karol Cronin said her team could not persist further "due to a lack of financial resources and unplanned expenses."
Amsterdam was scheduled to play Broome County two times in the coming weeks, which will be counted as forfeits when those weeks roll around. When accounted for, the Zephyrs will pick up two wins that puts them in the lead for the league's fourth and last playoff spot.
"You hate to pick up wins like that," Hall said, saying he would rather have seen his team get two more chances at game action. "[But], that was a big lift for us."
Tonight's game starts at 7:30 p.m.