OFA and Tupper Lake combined to produce five touchdown passes and any number of big plays on the edge in Friday nights Northern Athletic Conference Football contest at the Devils Alton W. Slim Elliott Field.
But the difference in the 3-0 Blue Devils 27-26 victory came down to stellar defensive and offensive line play, the slashing inside runs of scatback Jon Rogers in the final 5:40 of the game and three PAT kicks by Jon Tayler.
With 5:40 to play quarterback Morgan Stevens scored on a one-yard sneak to pull the Lumberjacks within one-point at 27-26.
Tupper Lake spread the field and tried to run straight ahead for the go-ahead two-point conversion but the play was stuffed by the Devils linemen and linebackers closing down all the gaps. After the OFA defense forced the Jacks (1-2) to punt from their own endzone, the Devils came out in their wishbone package and ran for two firstdowns to secure the issue.
Rogers, who rushed for 45 yards in the second half, keyed the possession and clock management by breaking loose on a 19-yard gain and then picking up the second first down with a six-yard fourth down gain.
We have struggled with our wishbone package all season but with the injuries we had tonight we had to go with it, said OFA coach Matt Tessmer.
The offensive line (linemen Kevin Goolden, Nolan Rufa, Zach Barr, Nathan Rishe, Deven Compo, tightend Jon Tayler) made their blocks and Jon Rogers ran very hard. He is a big part of that package. Rogers also proved to be a big part of the Devils passing package which featured two quarterbacks in freshman Joey Dalton and senior Josh Liebstein who was injured in the final minute of the first half.
Dalton completed eight of 16 passes for 158 yards in the second half and found Rogers (2-47) with a 24-yard fourth down touchdown pass to break a 20-20 tie with 8:12 remaining in the game. Taylers third PAT of night provided a 27-20 lead which survived Tupper Lakes 85-yard scoring drive anchored by a 59-yard ramble by Mitch Keniston off a screen pass from Morgan Stevens.
Keniston, who caught seven passes for 128 yards, also took a screen pass from Stevens (14x24-0-232 3 TDs) 59 yards to the endzone for the only touchdown of the third quarter. Stevens followed with a two-point conversion pass to Roger Delair to tie the score at 20-20.
For the second straight week we won a very tough game and I am really proud of the guys. We overcame some injuries and adversity and we had some guys who really stepped up, said coach Tessmer of his team which will be home for the next two Fridays to face unbeaten opponents in Massena (3-0 plays at SLC today) and Potsdam (4-0 with 52-20 win over Canton).
Tupper Lake had some dynamic players and they played their hearts out like they always do.
OFA countered with some dynamic players of their own to open a 20-12 halftime lead. Liebstien rushed for 68 yards in the first half and completed seven of 13 passes for 1-3 yards with TD connections of 11 and eight yards to Tayler who went on to catch nine passes for 115 yards.
Jordan McCormick (7-69), who returned to the game from two different injuries, raced 36 yards to the endzone on OFAs first offensive play.
Tupper Lakes first half touchdowns came on a 30 yard screen pass from Stevens to Brasen LaVassaur and four-yard sweep by Jeremy Roussel who gained a game-high 73 yards.
DEFENSIVE NOTES: Tupper Lake sustained its cause with three red zone turnovers in the second half: fumble recoveries by Nick Dukette and LaVassaur and an interception by Devin Larson which was created by the second of successive goalline deflections by Keniston. OFAs Jacob King had a fumble recovery and a sack along with Quinton Denner and Nolan Rufa. Rufa had three tackles behind the line of scrimmage along with Joe Loffler. Nash Botola had a sack for Tupper Lake.
POTSDAM - Potsdam churned out a 52-20 win at home over Canton Central after Will Coleman set the tone for the win on the second play of the game when he intercepted a pass attempt by Hunter Yerdon and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. Coleman also played a solid game at quarterback as he finished five of eight passing for 100 yards and threw three touchdown passes - one to Max Warden in the second quarter from 31 yards out and two to Jacob Bryant from 23 yards out and 31 yards out in the third quarter. Oden Robertson had just 12 carries for 113 yards but he scored in the first quarter on a 23-yard burst and again in the second quarter on a 14 yard run. Chase Palmer scored Potsdams other touchdown in the second quarter to key a 36-6 halftime lead.
Yerdon figured in all three Canton scores. He had a three-yard run in the first quarter for a touchdown and scored on a five-yard run in the fourth. Yerdon (13-103 rushing, 6-14-2-73 passing) also connected for a 40-yard touchdown completion to Cole Zeller in the fourth.