Saturday, August 28, 2010
EFL Pre Game Press Release August 28
WatertownDailyTimes.com - Matt Cordova - 16 minutes ago
The Watertown Red and Black's path to a repeat Empire Football League championship once appeared free of obstruction.
August 28, 2010
AMSTERDAM — After getting an unexpected bye week last week when the Broome County Dragons franchise folded their team, the Amsterdam Zephyrs will face the same team tonight that they played two weeks ago in the Watertown Red and Black. The Zephyrs dropped a 31-27 heartbreaker to the previously undefeated Red and Black until they lost to Plattsburgh last weekend, creating a three-way tie at the top of the Empire Football League between Watertown, Plattsburgh, and Vermont all with identical 5-1 records. While Watertown was up in Plattsburgh last Saturday, Amsterdam had a week off to rest and recuperate for the stretch run. "The week off works good for us as far as injuries are concerned," Amsterdam vice president Rick Sager said. "It gives us a little bit longer to rest and we added a couple of players so that's going to give them a chance to get into the rhythm of the way we do things and the routes down.
Stars trying not to look ahead - The Plattsburgh North Stars know a win against the New York Stallions would set up a showdown with Vermont.
Zephyrs return to action at Watertown
By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
All that's changing from the team's last game is where the Amsterdam Zephyrs are playing the Watertown Red and Black.
The two teams met on Aug. 14, a back-and-forth contest that saw the Zephyrs fall at Lynch Literacy Academy by a score of 31-27. While the Red and Black played this past week — a loss to the Plattsburgh North Stars — the Zephyrs had a bye thanks to a forfeit win by way of the now defunct Broome County Dragons, leaving them nothing to think about but how to avenge their most recent loss when they head to Watertown this Saturday.
The Zephyrs (2-4) played likely their best game against the Red and Black (5-1) when the two teams met a couple weeks ago, scoring at will after the insertion of new quarterback, Scott Lawson. The new man under center threw four touchdowns and gained the team 220 yards through the air.
"He's phenomenal," said Amsterdam offensive coordinator Dom Ruggeri. "He's got some gas left in the tank and he said he wants to finish the season with us."
A longtime minor league and semi-pro football player, Ruggeri said Lawson has compiled hundreds of touchdowns and nearly 40,000 yards in his playing career. But, statistics aside, Ruggeri said Lawson's steady hand has really helped the team's young receiving core.
"I think it showed the guys we have talent at the receivers," Ruggeri said. "We just needed someone to pull the trigger consistently."
While Watertown will surely be looking to stop the Zephyrs' passing game after Lawson's performance against them, Ruggeri said he would not shy away from putting the game on Lawson's arm again.
"We feel we can definitely take advantage of them with the pass," Ruggeri said. "They can't cover our receivers and they know that."
Covering the Red and Black's offense is as tough an assignment the Empire Football League has to offer, easily seen when the two teams locked horns a couple weeks ago. Amsterdam defensive coordinator Bob Reynolds said his side did everything expected of them in that game, yet the Red and Black still managed more than 30 points. Reynolds said the key for his unit this Saturday is to be better prepared for when the option-based Red and Black switch up their scheme.
"We did a pretty good job stopping their run," Reynolds said. "So they're going to probably come out and pass because they had some success against us with that."
With the Red and Black's option offense seemingly figured out and Lawson guiding the offense into the end zone with regularity for the first team this season, the Zephyrs can focus on perhaps their toughest opponent this weekend — the Watertown faithful.
"Their fans are very vocal," said head coach Joe Hall. "They're behind their team 100 percent."
All three of the team's coaches told stories about past experiences playing and coaching up there, ranging from the fanatical to the criminal. Hall remarked that Watertown has drawn in the thousands in the past, with fans close enough to players to make it difficult for opposing teams to hear the plays being called; Reynolds said he remembered times when unruly fans would peg opposing players with beer cans and other objects as they stood on the sidelines.
"It's going to be real tough playing up there," Hall said.
The Zephyrs sit in fifth place in the EFL and likely need to win one of its two final games in order to secure the league's final playoff spot.
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