Complementary Football Keys Devils Debut Win Over Massena
BY DAVE SHEA
Complementary football keyed OFA's drive to the New York State Class C semi-finals last fall.
The Blue Devils used the same formula to open their 2019 Northern Conference campaign by scoring 15 unanswered points in the second half to gain a 29-6 victory over a hard-nosed Massena squad on Friday at Ron Johnson Field.
The defense and special teams created excellent field position for the offense which seized the opportunity to pull away from a 14-6 lead late in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter.
The momentum swing hinged on fourth down stop by linebacker Tristan Richardson with 3:36 to play in the third quarter who bolted into the Massena backfield and dropped quarterback Dominic Monacelli on an option run. It was the second fourth down stop by Richardson who was very effective on blitzes throughout the night.
The Devils' capitalized quickly as halfback MeSean Johnson (9-57) rocketed through a huge hole and raced 33 yards to the endzone straight up the middle of the field. Johnson also provided field position for two OFA scores with punt returns.
"I am always looking to catch the punt and try to break one," said Johnson.
Quarterback Jackson Jones followed with a roll-out two-point conversion pass to Harry Powers.
Jones and Powers connected again to set up a quick strike touchdown after Stephen Morley recovered a Massena fumble.
Jones (6x9-0-72) dropped a perfectly thrown pass to Powers running behind the secondary for a 38-yard reception to the two-yard line. Powers darted into the endzone on the next play and Morley, who caught three passes for 32 yards, kicked a PAT to complete the night's scoring.
"I thought our defense played really well in the second half. The coaches really gave us a great plan," said linebacker Owen Warchol who was in on several stops at our behind the line of scrimmage for OFA.
"But we all know we have a lot of things to improve on."
Warchol and Luc LaFlair each had four stops at or behind the line of scrimmage in the second half. Carson Barney, Austin Jones and Mark Barr were all in on two.
The first half saw the Devils overcome a staggered start where the Raiders' Ethan Miller, Ian McDermott, Preston Guynup (2) , Hunter Pryce and Zachary Austin all came up with stops at our behind the line of scrimmage.
The Devils broke through with a six-yard scoring run by Tristan Lovely, who rushed for 46 of his 58 yards in the first half, after forcing Massena to punt deep in its own territory. Jones followed with a two-point pass to Johnson for an 8-0 lead.
Massena, which was hindered by three fumbles trying to establish ball control with a promising power running attack, answered with its only touchdown of the night when Monacelli capped a sustained drive on one-yard keeper. An attempt for a tying two-point conversion was thwarted by a Michael Reed tackle after defensive penetration dispersed a Raider running play.
The Devils took a 14-6 halftime lead on four-yard run by Johnson.
"We made some first game mistakes especially early when we lined up wrong a few times. But that happens to all teams," said OFA Coach Tessmer who lead his team to St. Lawrence Central's new artifcial turf field on Friday night. SLC lost its season opener to Potsdam 36-0 on Friday.
"But the guys came through and got the win because they have worked very hard in practice. Now we have to work at getting better in all phases of the game. Massena was a tough team."
The Raiders' toughness was personified by halfback Zach Goolden who rushed for 75 yards on 23 carries. Fullback Jaden McCollum picked up 38 yards on eight carries and Monacelli ran for 33 yards on 13 carries,
Massena won the preliminary junior varsity game 28-6.
OFA 29 - MASSENA 6
First Quarter: Lovely (O) on 6 yard run (Jones pass to Johnson). Monacelli (Mass) on 1 yard run. (run failed).
Second Quarter: Johnson (O) on 4-yard run. (pass failed).
Third Quarter: Johnson (O) on 33 yard run. (Jones pass to Powers).
Fourth Quarter: Powers (O) on 2 yard run, (Morley kick).
OFA Rushing: Lovely 14-58, Johnson (9-57), Powers 4-12, Richardson 3-3.
Massena Rushing: McCollum 8-38, Goolden 23-75, Monacelli 13-33, Page 1-6, Miller 3-17, Eastwood 1-2.
Passing: Jones (O) 6-9-0-72, Reed (O) 1-2-0 1. Monacelli (Mass)1x3-0 8.
Receiving: Morley (O) 3-32, Reed 1-2, Powers 2-39. Gooden (Mass) 1-8.
Records: Massena 0-1, OFA 1-0.