EFL Communications – July 9, 2011
Lawson's three second half touchdowns leads Albany past Plattsburgh 19-10
ALBANY, N.Y. – On an evening where both teams displayed a bit of rust in the season opener, the Albany Metro Mallers used a solid defense and quality play from veteran quarterback Scott Lawson to push past visiting Plattsburgh, Saturday night at Bleecker Stadium. In the EFL Game of the Week, the defending champions fought furiously all night, but an 80 yard touchdown connection from Lawson to receiver CJ Tarver with 1:39 remaining, sealed their fate.
The Albany defense allowed the Mallers to stay in the game, going into the half only down three, succeeding a 24 yard field goal to North Stars kicker, Mitch Ryder. The second half was when the switch was made. Lawson replaced starting quarterback Emmanuel Isaac, but got off to a rough start. On his second pass attempt, the ball sailed over his receiver's head and into the hands of North Stars safety Joey Painter. Painter led all EFL defenders with six interceptions in 2010. On the ensuing possession the Maller defense showed its strength once again, pressuring Stars quarterback Ken Stay and stripping him of the ball forcing their second turnover of the game.
Following another Stars turnover, their second of the half, Lawson found his favorite target down the Mallers sideline hitting Tarver on a precisely ran corner route, setting Albany up at the Plattsburgh three yard line. After the Stars stuffed two run attempts, Lawson used a well executed play action pass to find Dorrio Henderson in the corner of the end zone for the Mallers first points. With 3:54 remaining in the third quarter the Mallers took their first lead 6-3 of the game and looked to add on more.
To begin the fourth quarter, Lawson led his team on a drive that lasted almost half the quarter. Using four first downs, three of them through the air, the Mallers put their second touchdown on the board. Lawson zipped a pass through the middle of the Stars secondary finding Ismael Green for the 23 yard touchdown. As Albany took a nine point lead with just over eight minutes to play, Plattsburgh dug in for a hard fought finish.
The North Stars used a shot gun, four-wide formation to spread out the Mallers' defense. Under steady pressure all night, Stay was able to find receivers in some of the Albany holes. Stay employed his entire stable of receivers hitting six different players throughout the game. Starting the drive at their own 13, Stay completed two consecutive passes, getting the Stars out to the 32 yard line. After a holding penalty and an Albany sack, the Stars were facing a 2nd and 28, when stay found the coaches son Jordon Keleher for 30 yards and the first down. With the scoreboard reading 7:00, the Stars continued to press the Mallers' defense.
Another Albany sack forced the Stars into a 4th and 8 on their own 47, but Stay once again displayed resolve, scrambling for 13 yards, keeping the Stars drive alive. Consistent Maller pressure forced a 3rd and 13 with just under four minutes remaining. Stay dropped back and found Lawrence Coolidge down the Albany sideline for 30 yards, setting up Plattsburgh at the Albany 4 yard line. A few plays later, Stay found Keleher on a four yard square out to bring the Stars within two, 12-10.
With three minutes left the Albany offense was not looking to take their foot off the pedal. The Mallers threw the ball twice in the final minutes, instead of choosing to run the ball and eat clock. In turns out that decision was a good one, head coach Chris Brown saw that the Stars two deep zone was bailing on his slot receiver, CJ Tarver. Following the two minute warning Lawson found Tarver on a five yard crossing route that he turned into an 80 yard touchdown and a Maller victory.
As expected in the season opener, both teams were riddled with penalties and turnovers in the first half. In the first quarter alone there were a combined two missed field goals and two turnovers. Along with several penalties on both sides of the ball, the first half witnessed each team attempting to establish the running game. The defensive fronts for both squads were as noted by each coach prior to Saturday's game as being stout. Neither team was able to get anything going on the ground in the first half.
Lawson eclipsed the 40,000 yard mark for his career on the 80 yard touchdown to Tarver. Lawson is the first semi-pro player ever to throw for over 40,000 yards. He finished the game going 12-19 for 208 yards and three touchdowns. The combination of Sylvester Cooperwood and Anthony Rice gave the Mallers 98 yards on the ground. Tarver caught four passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. The Maller defense forced three North Star turnovers and registered five sacks.
For Plattsburgh Ken Stay went 18-36 for 165 yards with a touchdown and one pick. Several of those throws coming in final minutes as the North Stars battled to the last second. Jordon Keleher had a game-high seven reception for 107 yards and a touchdown. The Plattsburgh running game was unable to get any momentum on the ground as they compiled just 19 yards rushing.
Missed chances by Plattsburgh allowed Albany to come away with the victory. The Stars had four opportunities in the red zone and couldn't take advantage of them. On a night where both teams play hard, Albany head coach Chris Brown reminds everyone that its just one game. "It's nice to get this victory over a great team like Plattsburgh, but its only one game and we have to move on and get ready for next week."
Plattsburgh 0 3 0 7 — 10
Albany 0 0 6 13 — 19
P- Ryder 25 FG, 10:44.
A- Henderson 2 pass from Lawson (kick failed), 11:06.
A- Green 23 pass from Lawson, (kick failed) 4:44.
P- Keleher 3 pass from Stay (Ryder kick), 11:49.
A- Tarver 79 pass from Lawson (Peterson kick), 13:21.
Other Scores Around the EFL:
Syracuse 76, Elmira 19
Glens Falls 27, Amsterdam 6
Note: Stats from the Albany, Plattsburgh game were provided by Courtney Lewis of the Press Republican.