OFA Hosts Potsdam With Story Lines Galore
Updated: Oct 26, 2019
BY DAVE SHEA
OFA will complete its regular season and its 2019 Northern Conference Football season by hosting Potsdam on Friday at 7 p.m. at Coach Ron Johnson Field.
There will be story lines galore throughout the evening.
The Devils and Sandstoners will both carry 5-1 records into the contest and both will be looking close out a stellar NAC season with a win while preparing for the Section 10 Tournament. The Devils and Stoners resume a rivalry which produced a thriller last season with OFA prevailing a desperation touchdown pass as time ran out.
In the sectionals OFA is a three-time defending Class C champion and Potsdam is the defending Class B champion and both teams stand one game behind 6-0 Gouverneur which completes its season on Saturday at Canton.
It will also be OFA's Senior Night, Ogdensburg Pee Wee Football Night and the OFA Cheerleaders will be holding their annual Come Cheer With the OFA Cheerleaders Night leading to a massive crowd.
The game will be a study in contrasts and similarities of two teams guided by very successful coaches. Potsdam enters the game having allowed the fewest points in the NAC at 53 with third highest scoring offense at 202 points. OFA ranks second behind Gouverneur in scoring with 222 points and has allowed the third lowest points at 77.
Offensively Coach Matt Tessmer's Blue Devils operate the top passing offense in the NAC triggered by quarterback Jackson Jones (46x69-1-690 11 TDs) and complemented by a diversified run game which produced three 100-yard rushers (Tristan Lovely 8-117, MeSean Johnson 16-116, Stephen Morley 11-105) in Friday's 38-8 win over Malone.
Coach Steve Kirka's Stoners feature a signature run-oriented attack in a compact formation centered around a strong offensive line and hard-running tailback Will Varney who has gained over 100 yards in every game and scored 15 touchdowns. Zack Kirkey is a skilled read option quarterback and both are members of a rangy linebacking corps.
The Stoners defeated Canton last week 36-14 and their lone came in a 15-14 double overtime classic against Gouverneur.
"Potsdam is a very tough, physical team. They always have a tough I formation back who can carry the ball 25-30 times a game. This game will be won in practice," said OFA Coach Matt Tessmer after Friday's win over Watertown where the Devil defense came up with a pivotal defensive stop in the closing seconds of the first half and then adjusted to contain a quick hitting Cyclone run game in the second half.
"Our defense played very well and we had a very good second half. We scored on every possession except one. It was a second half we can build on."
The Devils will look to build on it against Potsdam and then move on to defend their Section 10 Class C title as the second seed behind undefeated Gouverneur. OFA will be home for the first round against third seeded St. Lawrence Central and Gouverneur will draw a bye.
The biggest development in the win over Watertown High was the return of sophomore running back-linebacker Tristan Lovely who had missed two games with a broken thumb. His return was impactful as Lovely gained 106 yards with touchdown runs of 41 yard and six yards run, another 40 yard run and intercepted a pass on defense.
He has rushed for 442 yards on just 40 carries with six touchdowns on the season and MeSean Johnson leads the team in rushing with 684 yards on 49 carries and receiving at 16-303 and 4 TDs, Stephen Morley has rushed for 272 yards on 35 carries and has caught 12 passes for 160 yards. Harry Powers has added 131 rushing yards on 20 carries and caught an 85 yard touchdown pass against Malone.
Defensively linebacker Owen Warchol was in on 13 tackles and Gage Austin was credited with the defensive play of the game when with a touchdown saving tackle when he dropped a Watertown running back on the verge of breaking into an open field. Harry Powers ended another threat with an interception on the OFA one yardline on the final play of the first half after MeSean Johnson broke up two passes in the endzone.
Luc LaFlair, Carson Barney, Austin Jones and Mark Barr and Derek Barr provided a strong offensive line surge throughout the season.