WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Empire Football League playoffs begin Saturday night for the Watertown Red & Black as they host Mohawk Valley in the semifinals.
Watertown snapped a three-game losing streak to open the season by beating Mohawk Valley 14-7 on the road and closed out the season beating Mohawk Valley 27-20 at the Alex Duffy fairgrounds..
With a pair of forfeit victories over Seaway Valley, the Red & Black are riding a seven-game winning streak entering the postseason.
"I'm glad it's a home game again for the players and for the fans, but I really truly believe that the team we got will rally," head coach George Ashcraft said. "They've played the last two games that we've won, we were real short handed with our military guys doing their military duties, whatnot -- a couple of other people were missing the games because of personal reasons.
"We should have everybody back this week and I see that this could be the game that will put us in the championship in two weeks.
The Red & Black will be without Joe Brennan once again. Brennan injured his knee in a win against Glens Falls a few weeks back and missed the final game of the regular season against Mohawk Valley.
That means Jarrod Hendricks will get the start under center.
"I think that he's right on par now to where he should be this time of the year, he's throwing the ball well, he's making better decisions," Ashcraft said. "I think that our line's working better to give him more protection even."
Brennan won't be the only key member missing Saturday night. Ashcraft himself won't be on the sidelines for the first time in his 30-year coaching career due to a medical condition.
“With what I’ve got going on medically right now, I’ll be on the home front waiting to catch the score,” he said.
Ashcraft said his 30 years as coach has "been a great ride and I hope its not over."
Kickoff for Saturday’s game will be at 7 p.m.