Dynamic Leaders Set Pace For OFA Football
BY DAVE SHEA
Dynamic is a word that OFA Football Coach Matt Tessmer uses a lot when talking about high football matchups.
He uses it a great deal when speaking of the offensive potential of his 2019 squad which will complete its second week of practice on Saturday in traveling to Malone for a preseason scrimmage.
The Devils will open a new North Conference Football season on Sept. 6 hosting Massena under the lights of Ron Johnson Field. The Devils' regular season will be composed eight league games with Watertown High returning to the NAC this fall.
The Devils will open the season with outstanding depth at the skill positions including four players in seniors Michael Reed, Jackson Jones, MeSean Johnson and Stephen Morley who all played at least two games last year at quarterback because of a rash of injuries.
"We have four quarterbacks who call came through last season and all four may see action at quarterback again. They are all excellent football players who will see action at different positions. They are all dynamic players and we have other players with the potential to be dynamic," says Tessmer.
"As a sophomore Tristan Lovely is a very elusive runner and he is bigger this year at 212 pounds. And we have high hopes for Harry Powers and other players. We have a group guys who will line up at slot receiver slash running back."
Returning lineman who will anchor the offensive front are: Luc LaFlair, Mark Barr and Carson Barney.
The Devils will be looking pick up from last fall's postseason where OFA (10-2) checked three outstanding offensive football teams in Gouverneur (28-0), Section 7's Saranac Central (20-7) and number one ranked Cambridge-Salem (16-6) to reach the New York State Class C semi-finals where they stopped by Dobbs Ferry (55-22).
"We played outstanding complementary football to get the Final Four. Our defense, offense and special teams all played very well. But it started with our defense," said Tessmer.
A defense which will have to be reconstructed as the only returning starters are: Stephen Morley at defensive back and linemen Luc LaFlair and Austin Patterson.
"We lost all of our linebackers in Mason Talbot, Wyatt Kirby, Jordan Fennessy and Zach Kimble and all-state players Hayden Ives and Jackson Troiano in the secondary along with Nate Jenkins. Jackson and Hayden were also outstanding receivers," said Tessmer who will once again be assisted by coaches Charlie McCormick, Tony Williams and Brett Monnat and equipment manager Rick Amo who has been with the OFA program for over 40 years.
"This is a season where we will need everyone to come through. Our seniors have played in a lot of big games and we will need several players to do a lot of things on offense and defense. The league is going to be very tough. Gouverneuer has not lost a league game in three seasons and they are going to be very fast again."
OFA FOOTBALL 2019
Michael Reed (Sr QB/SE/DB), Eli Bullock (Jr SE/DB), Aaron Ellis (So SE/LB), Drew Costello (So RB/LB), Tristan Richardson (Jr RB/LB), Jackson Jones (QB/SE/DB), Stephan Morley (Sr RB/DB), MeSean Johnson (Sr QB/RB/DB), Blake Wright-Ashley (Jr SE/DB), Harry Powers (SR (RB/DB), Tristan Lovely (So RB/LB), Lee Sovie (Jr (SE/LB), Kassidy Johnson (Sr SE/LB), Owen Warchol (Sr RB/LB), Gage Austin (Sr OL/OL), Mark Barr (Sr OL/LB), Derek Barr (So OL/LB), Garrett Zulauf (Sr OL/DL), Austin Jones (Jr OL/DL), Elliott Roberts (Jr OL/DL), Blake Hall (Jr OL/DL), Ethan Kiah (Jr OL/DL), Gavin Webster (So OL/DL), Devon Williams (Jr OL/DL), Carson Barney (Sr OL/DL), Luc LaFlair (Sr OL/DL), Corbin Durham (Jr OL/DL), Austin Patterson (Sr OL/DL), Xavier Stewart (Jr SE/LB).