POTSDAM Converting a flurry of turnovers in to a 30-point halftime lead, the undefeated Potsdam Sandstoners advanced into the Northern Athletic Conference football playoff championship game with a 52-8 victory over Ogdensburg Free Academy on Friday night.
The game opened in similar fashion to last weeks 30-28 thriller in the regular-season finale for both teams when Potsdams Oden Robertson converted a foiled OFA snap from punt formation.
Last week the Blue Devils came up with a big red zone stop and played the rest of the game turnover free until an interception on the final play of the game.
On Friday, fullback Rian McFadden took advantage of the turnover and scored from four yards out on Potsdams first offensive play of the game.
The Sandstoners went on to take total control, scoring touchdowns after a fumble recovery by Kyle Martens and an interception by Will Coleman in the first quarter. Potsdam opened a 30-0 lead with 11 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the second quarter when Garrett Kilgore returned an interception 19 yards to the end zone, and Coleman hooked up with Shawn Clark for the conversion.
The defense definitely set the tone for victory. We corrected the mistakes we made last week and played extremely well, said Potsdam coach Jim Kirka after his 8-0 team earned the right to host the winner of todays game between Malone and Gouverneur for the NAC championship next Friday night.
We forced turnovers and we took advantage of them, he added.
Following the Martens fumble recovery, Robertson (11 carries, 88 yards, 2 TDs) scored on a two-yard run, and Coleman pitched a two-point conversion pass to Kilgore. The first of three Potsdam interceptions in the first half led to Coleman running five yards to the end zone and throwing a conversion pass to Jacob Woods.
OFAs lone touchdown of the game saw quarterback Nate Angel find Josh Liebstein with an eight-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass. Jordan McCormick (11 carries, 59 yards) ran for the two-point conversion.
Robertson finished off an 88-yard first half on the ground by darting 20 yards to the end zone.
Oden Robertson really did a nice job tonight picking his holes, Coleman said. Our defense really did a good job and the offense was very good at converting turnovers.
The Sandstoners second offense produced two fourth quarter scores on a 13-yard run by Adam Lewis (10-60) and a 21-yard keeper by Dave Adams, who also tallied a two-point conversion.
OFA (4-4) will have two weeks to regroup for state regional play where it will take on presently undefeated Saranac Lake.