The 2013 NAC varsity football campaign heads into the final week with three teams hoping to claim at least a share of the regular season title.
Of the three teams, undefeated Potsdam is the only one that controls its own destiny. In a game that will feature the top two runningbacks in the conference, the Sandstoners play host to a Massena Central squad that enters tied for second place with OFA in the standings at 5-1. OFA will be closing out its regular season at home against Gouverneur (1-5). A Potsdam win clinches sole possession of the NAC banner while wins by Massena and OFA would create a three-way split.
Both games are slated for Friday night at 7 p.m. while the regular season ends on Saturday with the other two finales - Franklin Academy at St. Lawrence Central and Canton at Tupper Lake - set to kick-off at 1:30 p.m.
POTSDAM HOSTS MASSENA
Both teams are coming off convincing home wins as they get set to square off against each other in Friday nights regular season showdown at the Potsdam Central turf.
Guided by Jim Kirka, the host Sandstoners have methodically marched through their way to a 6-0 record this season and are coming off a 56-19 decision over Tupper Lake. Potsdam enters the game averaging more than 48 points a game while allowing fewer than 11. The senior duo of quarterback Will Coleman and runningback Oden Robertson anchors a well-balanced and efficient Sandstoner offense. Along with being a threat to run the ball, Coleman has been the most accurate passer in the NAC this season having completed 22 of 38 passes for 319 yards and 10 touchdowns with no interceptions. His main target has been classmate Jacob Bryant, who has pulled down 11 throws for 147 yards and averages one touchdown catch per game. Seniors Travis Hall and Conner Warden have also made key contributions to the passing game.
The Sandstoners have generated the majority of their offense with their ground game, led by Robertson who has amassed 866 yards on 107 carries. Seniors Rian McFadden, Andrew Ace and David Murray have also effectively run the ball out of the backfield along with junior Chase Palmer.
Guided by Anthony Diagostino, the Raiders got back on track offensively last week in pulling away to a 42-19 win at home over Gouverneur. Highlighting the Massena offense is senior runningback JP Reagan, who has emerged as the leading rusher in the NAC this season with 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns on 100 carries. Junior Isaiah Dillabough is the teams next-leading rusher with 237 yards and two touchdowns on 34 totes.
Senior quarterback Rory Corcoran and junior runningback Josh Manley are the other offensive standouts on a Raider squad that has averaged 33 points a game while allowing 16. Corcoran has also been a two-way threat this season, with 233 yards and a touchdown on 34 runs while having completed 27 off 77 pases for 436 yards and eight touchdowns while being picked off four times. Manley is the teams leading aerial threat with 15 catches for 300 yards and seven touchdowns. A total of six Raiders have recorded at least one catch this season.
Senior linebacker Jeremy Malone is Massenas leading tackler with 44 takedowns on the season followed by Dillabough with 32 and Reagan with 25. Seniors Josh Blair and Sam Gerber have notched three sacks each while Manley has notched four interceptions followed by Matt Thibault with three. Jayce Lanning has converted on 10 PAT kicks and Malone is averaging more than 34 yards per punt attempt.
SLC HOSTS FA
The Larries (1-5) enter their regular season finale looking to build on the momentum of a 52-40 loss at home to OFA last weekend in a game where they outscored the Blue Devils 34-30 in the second half.
Guided by Bill Scharf, SLC has relied offensively on the duo of senior David Plante and freshman Mike Plante along with senior quarterback Mike Burns. David Plante is the teams second-leading rusher with 377 yards on 61 carries and stands as the teams leading receiver with 263 yards on 19 catches. Mike Plante leads the SLC ground game with 651 yards on 63 carries and ranks among the NAC leaders in scoring with 80 points on 12 touchdowns, including several kick-off returns, and four two-point conversions. David Plante has produced 48 points on eight touchdowns, including a pair of kick-off returns.
Along with running the offense, Burns has completed 29 of 72 passes for 381 yards and three touchdowns while being intercepted four times.
The Huskies, who evened their record at 3-3 with a 47-30 win last week at home over Canton.
Zach Raymond is the leading offensive threat for FA. He ran for a season-high 173 yards on 12 carries and scored four touchdowns in the win over the Bears and enters the game as the teams leading receiver with 168 yards on nine grabs. Camron Gallagher is starting to find his stride in his first year at quarterback. Hes completed 16 of 47 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns while being intercepted just once.. Jordan Yando has caught nine passes for 114 yards.
POST-SEASON NOTES: The Potsdam and Massena football teams will take different post-season routes following Friday nights regular season finale. The Sandstoners will host a Section 10 Class C semi-final game the next week against either St. Lawrence Central or Canton while Massena, the lone Class A school in the section, is scheduled to travel to Malone on Saturday, October 19, to face Franklin Academy in a non-league tune-up for the state tournament. Tupper Lake, the lone Class D school, will be taking on Gouverneur in a similar contest. Gouverneur and FA are then slated to meet in the sectional Class B final the following weekend. OFA will also be hosting a Class C semi-final the weekend of October 19-20 against either St. Lawrence Central or Canton. The Class C final is slated for the weekend of October 26-27 at the home of the higher seed.