Saturday Sports: Red & Black remain undefeated, celebrate Ashcraft’s 250th win

Published: Aug. 6, 2022 at 11:03 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Watertown Red and Black held their home opener of the 2022 Empire Football League season Saturday night at George Ashcraft Field at the Alex Duffy Fairgrounds, hosting the Plattsburgh Northstars.

The Red and Black looking to move to 5-0 on the season and stay in sole possession of 1st place in the EFL.

Before the game, Ashcraft was honored for his years of service to the team and the field being named after him.

It was all Red and Black on the 1st possession as Jason Williams finds DeQuace Jackson over the middle and he finds the end zone: Red and Black up 6-0.

The Red and Black’s defense coming up big on Plattsburgh’s next possession as Derrek Dalton comes up with the loose ball for the score: 13-0 Watertown.

On the next possession for the Red and Black, Jamal Finkley finds a hole up the middle for the 11 yard TD run: 20-0 Watertown.

On their next possession, the Red and Black keeping it on the ground as Rarday Burrell breaks it outside for the 42 yard TD run: 27-0 Watertown.

Late in the 1st, it was Williams with the swing pass to Chris Furr and he does the rest, taking it 47 yards for the touchdown. 34-0 Watertown after 1 quarter.

The Red and Black remain undefeated, beating Plattsburgh 47-0.

Ashcraft was presented the game ball as Saturday’s win was the 250th in Ashcraft’s Hall of Fame career.

”It’s a very big honor. When they named the field in my name this week, and then to get my 250th win in the same week, it’s surreal. A lot of good people have been here to make it all happen. My family, they’ve been a part of it every day of my life. I’ve been doing this for 50 years. Can’t say enough to all the coaches, players, the people that support us. We’ve got a great community here and I’m just glad I’ve been a part of this tradition,” said Ashcraft.

There’s been a lot of changes to Section 3 football this off season with one of the biggest ones involving a local team moving down in class for the 2022 season.

The Indian River Warriors have been a power year in and year out in Class A, winning multiple Section 3 championships along with taking home the State Class A Football Championship in 2014.

But due to how Section 3 sets up the classes due to enrollment size, the Warriors will not be playing in Class A in 2022, instead dropping down to Class B this coming season.

”You know we’re excited about being in Class B. Class A is a huge challenge, and we think Class B is going to be the same way. It’s just going to be some new opponents for us to face, some new things for us to get use to but all in all we’re excited,” said Coach Cory Marsell.

Instead of facing rivals like Whitesboro and New Hartford, the Warriors will have CVA, Camden, Homer and Oneida on their 2022 schedule along with the South Jeff Spartans who they will host on September 23rd in Philadelphia along with Carthage.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to face more teams. Of course we still got Carthage, really excited about that, and South Jeff, seeing our buddies. I know a lot of players on both teams. I’ve been getting to play them since I was real young- 6-7 years old, and getting to bash with them again on the varsity level,” said Connor McMahon.

”It’s gonna be fun getting to play some of the kids we knew, some of the kids we’ve played since we were younger all the way up through. Just getting ready for them is gonna be fun knowing we have them on the schedule is something to get excited about,” said Brady Lynch.

Marsell says keeping old rivalries like Carthage on the schedule and adding new ones like South Jeff is good, and adds that despite moving down in class, keeping the Comets on the schedule was important for both schools.

”Yeah, we get some local teams. I wouldn’t call South Jeff a rivalry just yet. I’m sure that will be soon enough. They’re very well coached and we’re excited to have a chance to play them and then it’s Carthage as usual, Indian River, it’s always a battle. It was something that both Coach Coffman and myself wanted. We worked to make sure that it happened and Section 3 made it happen so we’re excited,” said Marsell.

Carthage and Indian River square off on September 9th at Comet Field, keeping one of the area’s biggest football rivalries continuing for at least another season.

Saturday was Day 2 of the Thousand Islands Duals at the Cerow Recreation Park Arena in Clayton.

In it’s 20th year, the tournament features 2 divisions, junior high and high school, with teams wrestling in 3 divisions: the club division, the middle division and then a division consisting of high school teams.

56 clubs are taking part in this year’s event, with teams from Maine to Maryland and other areas of the Northeast taking part in the 3 day long tournament.

The lure for these teams: the level of competition at one of the biggest and best tournaments in the region year in and year out.

”Oh, it’s phenomenal. To be this close to home and come and see this kind of competition from numerous states is awesome for us because traditionally we’re use to traveling long distances to see this kind of competition in the off season,” said Gouverneur Wrestling Coach Joel Baer.

”It’s great to have the Thousand Islands Duals right here in our backyard. It’s a great measuring stick for our kids that have been working hard during the summer to test their skills against some of the best kids all along the East coast,” said General Brown Wrestling Coach Mike Hartle.

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