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Red and Black falls on road in debut

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LIVERPOOL — Two turnovers in the red zone and a few badly timed penalties cost the Watertown Red and Black its Empire Football League season opener against the Syracuse Shock on Saturday night.

Dewayne Gordon, the reigning EFL offensive player of the year, ran for a pair of touchdowns and the Shock captured a 30-6 victory over the Red and Black.

“We’ll be better next week,” Red and Black coach George Ashcraft said.

Watertown quarterback Tyler Michaelwicz completed 3 of 13 passes for 68 yards and threw four interceptions in his first career start for the Red and Black (0-1).

Trailing 16-6 late in the third quarter, the Red and Black possessed the ball at the Syracuse one-yard line.

After the Shock stopped Red and Black running back Joe Brennan just short of the goal line on second down, Michaelwicz fumbled the third-down snap and the Shock recovered in the end zone.

In the second quarter, Michaelwicz was intercepted on a fourth-down play on the Shock 15-yard line.

Garrick Cook, a 2012 Indian River graduate, provided the only points for the Red and Black with a 36-yard interception return with just less than four minutes left in the first quarter. Cook’s touchdown cut the Shock’s early lead to 8-6.

Gordon ran for touchdowns of 21 and 55 yards for Syracuse (2-0). Justyn Hardwick added a 97-yard touchdown run late in the game to seal the victory.

Shock quarterback T.J. Sheard threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Burke to put Syracuse up 8-0 on its first possession.

Watertown was also in position to score on its first possession. Michaelwicz found Edgar Givens up the middle for a 31-yard pass play to the Shock 5-yard line on 4th-and-9, but a personal foul call on the Red and Black erased the play and forced a punt.

“The first-half penalties really killed us,” Ashcraft said. “That was the biggest difference in the game.”

Brennan gained 40 yards on 17 carries for the Red and Black, which will play the NEPA Miners in its home opener at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

nThe Watertown Revolution’s game against the Gloves Cities Colonials in Jamestown was not played as scheduled on Saturday.

The game has been rescheduled for Aug. 17.

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