OFA, Gouverneur Match 3-0 Starts In Friday Meeting
Updated: Sep 27, 2019
BY DAVE SHEA
The OFA-Gouverneur football history has been as intriguing as it has been exciting in the last three years.
Gouverneur has won three straight Northern Conference championships and have not lost a league game since the 2015 season. In two of the last three postseasons OFA has gone to Gouverneur and won the Section 10 Class C Championship and made deep runs into the state tournament including one trip to the New York Title game in 2016 and an appearance in the state semi-finals last year.
In 2017 Gouverneur played in the Class B ranks.
On Friday night the Blue Devils and Wildcats will renew their rivalry under the lights of Ron Johnson Field in OFA's Hall of Fame Game at 7 p.m. Prior to the game at 5 p.m. the second class of the Ogdensburg Free Academy/St. Mary's Hall of Fame Class will be inducted at the High School Auditorium. The OFA and Gouverneur JV's will play at 4:15 p.m.
The setting is very familiar as both teams enter the game with 3-0 records with three one-sided wins. OFA has defeated Massena 29-6, St. Lawrence Central 42-0 and Canton 52-8 while Gouverneur's wins came over SLC 50-0, Malone 50-66 and Watertown High 66-22. By virtue of wins over SLC both teams own 1-0 Class C records and Friday's winner will earn the Class C semi-final bye and the right to host the title game.
OFA Coach Matt Tessmer prefers to maintain an even keel despite all the high states ramifications swirling around the game.
"It is a big game but it is not the the of the world. For us it is a great midseason test to see where we stand in terms of getting better everyday. We played well today and we blocked well," said Tessmer after the win over Canton.
"Gouverneur is an outstanding team and once again they are extremely fast. It will be a tough physical game. They have some of the same players they had last season and some new players who are very fast."
Both teams feature a deep cast of talent at the skill positions on offense and show the ability to close down plays on defense very quickly. The OFA defense has been exceptionally impactful in the first three games forcing turnovers which led to multiple touchdowns in all three games.
At quarterback Gouverneur features an All-NAC and All-North quarterback in Caleb Farr who has run for 281 yards and four touchdowns while completing 9 of 18 passes in a big play passing game which has produced 210 yards and two touchdowns.
OFA's Jackson Jones, who missed half of last season with an injury and started the season with only one quarterback start behindd him, has played at an all-star level completing 21 of 26 passes for 296 yards and four touchdown and has run for a touchdown. Michael Reed and MeSean Johnson have also been effective when called upon.
Reed has completed six of 10 passes for 50 yards and a touchdown and has run for one touchdown gaining 26 yards on four carries.
Johnson took a keeper 74 yards to the endzone against Canton and also caught a 40-yard touchdown pass.
Gouverneur's running game has produced 13 touchdowns and running backs Cayden Stowell (28-271 1 TD), Mitch Tyler (32-272 1 TD), Joe Cummings (5-67 2 TDs), Kyle Savage (19-135 2 TDs), Jacob Shippee (9-68 3 TDs) and Jacob Wilson (11-86 1 TD) are also key components in the team's passing scheme and defensive leaders at linebacker and defensive back.
In the OFA backfield Tristan Lovely (32-225) has rushed for four touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass, Johnson has (18-287 ) has rushed for one touchdown along with Harry Powers (9-58), Jones (1-1), Reed (4-26) and reserve Drew Costello (13-72) who scored his first varsity touchdown against Canton.
Stephen Morley has caught 10 passes for 134 yards and two touchdown passes and Johnson (3-86) and Lovely (2-38) have also caught touchdown passes.
Lovely also starts at linebacker along with Mark Barr, Owen Warchol and Tristan Richardson while Powers, Johnson and Morley are all starting defensive backs.
Seniors Luc LaFlair and Carson Barney lead the rotations in the defensive line and also combine on the starting offensive line with Mark and Derek Barr and Austin Jones.
OFA Defensive Coordinator Charlie McCormick spoke of the importance of tackling against Gouverneur following the win over Canton.
"Gouverneur is a good football team with a good coaching staff. They will be physical so we have to wrap up and hit hard," he said.