OFA Seeks Rebound Win At Malone Saturday
BY DAVE SHEA
In the two of the past three seasons OFA came full cycle from a regular season loss to Gouverneur to defeat the Wildcats in the Class C Championship game of the Section 10 Tournament.
For the Blue Devil camp, the first step in what is hoped to be a return trip to the postseason title game will take place in Malone on Saturday (1:30 p.m. kickoff). The 3-1 Devils will head to Crowner Field on the campus of Franklin Academy looking to rebound from a 42-14 loss to undefeated Gouverneur while 0-4 Malone seeks to regroup after a 42-0 loss to Potsdam.
The host Huskies enter the game struggling against low numbers and a lack of varsity experience under first year coach Cory West who served as an assistant coach for many years. The Huskies returned only five players from last year's 4-4 team and are looking for their younger plays to come of age as season enters its final three weeks..
Malone's previous losses were: 41-6 to Massena, 21-6 to Canton and 50-6 to Gouverneur.
Following Saturday's game OFA will host Potsdam which will visit Gouverneur in match of NAC unbeatens on Saturday.
But the approach of the OFA coaching staff remains the same for week five of the season.
To get better with each game and each practice.
Head Coach Matt Tessmer stressed the need for a sense of urgency to improve after Friday's loss to Gouverneur which exploited its impressive team speed in offense, defense and special teams to take a 32-14 lead at the half..
"We couldn't play at Gouverneur's level tonight. It was our midterm exam and we didn't do well at all. But that doesn't have to be our final grade," said Tessmer.
"We just have to get a lot better before we can play them again."
The Devils did make a spirited comeback in the first half and turned in a strong defensive effort in the second half against Gouverneur.
The Devils cut a 12-0 deficit to 18-14 late in the second quarter but the comeback was washed away in a matter of three plays. Cayden Stowell returned a kickoff 87 yards to the endzone and Kyle Savage picked off a second down pass and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown.
The only touchdown of the second half came in in the fourth quarter on a three-yard run by Joe Cummings. The Devils did a much better job setting the edge and gaining defensive penetration in the second half.
"I was very happy with our defense in the second half," said Coach Tessmer.
Running back MeSean Johnson led the OFA offense catching five passes for 83 yards with a 54-yard touchdown from quarterback Jackson Jones and rushing nine times for 119 yards.
Stephen Morley, who shifted from wide receiver to fill in for the injured Tristan Lovely at running back, gained 59 yards and 14 carries.
Jones completed 10 of 17 passes with one interception for 110 yards in the first half and shifted to wide receiver in the second half catching three passes for 29 yards from Michael Reed (3x6-29 yards). Reed also rushed six times for 25 yards.
Stowell (9-119) ignited Gouverneur's fast start with touchdown runs of 34 and 17 yards in the first half. Quarterback Caleb Farr (12-79) orchestrated the rushing offense with his ballhandling and provided the inside complement to the Widlcats speed sweeps.