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Potsdam faces OFA in football battle of final NAC unbeatens

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The Potsdam Central varsity football team heads to Ogdensburg to face OFA in a matchup of the two remaining undefeated teams while Massena Central and St. Lawrence Central look to bounce back from tough losses in week five of the Northern Athletic Conference season.

POTSDAM AT OFA

The Sandstoners, who enter the game as the fifth-ranked Class C school in the latest New York State High School Sportswriters poll, and Blue Devils have taken different routes in remaining unbeaten through the first four weeks as they get set to square off Friday night in what will be Potsdam’s final game on the natural grass surface of Elliott Field. OFA is slated to unveil a new multi-use turf field for the start of the 2014 season.

In their four wins, the Sandstoners, who are coming off a 32-0 win over Franklin Academy in Malone, have outscored their opponents by a margin of 190-38 under the guidance of coach Jim Kirka and his staff. The Blue Devils opened with lopsided win over Canton but have won their past three games by seven points or less including last Friday’s dramatic come-from-behind 25-20 win at home over previously unbeaten Massena.

The majority of the Potsdam offense has once again been produced on the ground led by O’den Robertson with 576 yards and 10 touchdowns on 68 carries. Chase Palmer is the team’s next leading rusher with 271 yards on 26 totes. Rian McFadden and David Murray have also contributed out of the backfield while senior quarterback Will Coleman has effectively orchestrated the offense.

Along with being a threat to run the ball, Coleman has been the most efficient passer in the NAC this season, connecting on 14 of his 23 attempts for 162 yards with seven of his passes going for touchdowns, five of them to Jacob Bryant, and has yet to be intercepted. Travis Hall and Max Warden also have touchdown grabs.

Freshman quarterback Joey Dalton has emerged as a leading offensive threat for the Blue Devils. Since taking over for senior Josh Liebstein, who has been hobbled by injury after completing 23 of 37 passes for 280 yards and five touchdowns while being intercepted twice, Dalton has passed for 423 yards and six touchdowns, connecting on 28 of his 47 attempts. He’s also been intercepted twice. The duo of Jon Tayler (17x192 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Nick Sweeney (12x114 yards, 5 touchdowns) has accounted for the majority of the receiving yards while senior Jordan McCormick anchors the OFA running game, having gone for 358 yards on 52 carries.

Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m.

MASSENA HOSTS CANTON

At Mike Nicholas Field on Friday, the Raiders are hoping to get back on a winning track after suffering their first loss of the season on the road to OFA last weekend as they get set to take on a Canton Central squad that beat St. Lawrence Central for its first win since the 2010 season.

Coached by Anthony Diagistono, the Massena gridmen have been led offensively by senior running back JP Reagan who has produced a league-high 739 yards and 11 touchdowns on 69 carries. Junior Isaiah Dillabough has gone for another 174 yards and two touchdowns on 20 rushes while quarterback Rory Corcoran is the team’s third leading rusher with 155 yards on 27 tries. Corcoran has also connected on 17 of 54 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns while being intercepted three times. Junior Josh Manley has accounted for the majority of the receiving yards with 10 catches for 188 yards and all four aerial touchdowns logged by the Raiders. A total six different players have pulled down at least one pass.

Senior Jeremy Malone is the team’s leading tackler heading into the fifth game of the season with 26 takedowns to his credit. Dillabough has notched another 23 followed by Reagan with 18 while seniors Sam Gerber and Connor Paquin have recorded 17 apiece. Seniors Josh Blair and Ross Davis lead the team with three sacks each. Manley has picked off a team-high four passes followed by Reagan with three while junior Nolan Terrance had two fumble recoveries to his credit. Paquin had also blocked two punts.

Guided by Austin Weakfall, the Bears (1-3) have shown steady improvement since the start of the season as they look to build on the momentum of last weekend’s 35-22 win on the road over SLC. Quarterback Hunter Yerdon is a solid all-around leader on offense with a team-high 385 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 51 carries. He has also connected on 23 of 63 pass attempts for 277 yards and three touchdowns with five interceptions. Louden Porter is the team’s leading receiver with 121 yards on 12 grabs.

Friday night’s game is slated to kick-off at 7 p.m.

SLC AT GOUVERNEUR

The Larries head to Gouverneur on Saturday hoping to regroup from last week’s disappointing loss at home to Canton which left them as the only winless team in the NAC.

Coached by Bill Scharf, the Larries have shown potential in all four of their games but have been slowed by turnovers and mistakes. Senior quarterback Mike Burns has completed 23 of 55 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions while the duo of freshman Mike Plante and senior David Plante has combined to generate most of the SLC offense this fall. Mike Plante is the team’s leading rusher with 375 yards on 37 carries while David Plante has gone for another 293 yards on 44 tries along with pulling down 16 passes for 197 yards. They have also scored six touchdowns each with Mike Plante having returned both a punt and kick-off to the endzone.

Quarterback Troy Gates leads a rebuilding Gouverneur squad that enters with a 1-3 record after falling 27-12 to Tupper Lake last weekend. He has rushed for 385 yards on 51 carries while having completed just 19 of 50 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown with five interceptions. Aaron Bush is the team’s leading receiver with 63 yards on nine grabs.

Saturday’s game in Gouverneur kicks-off at 1:30 p.m.

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