CANTON — The Ogdensburg Free Academy football team was so impressive in a 51-8 Northern Athletic Conference victory over Canton on Saturday that after it was all over Golden Bears coach Tommy Cloce talked about looking forward to driving to Syracuse in a few months to root for the Blue Devils in the state Class C championship game.
Of course OFA, which improved to 3-0 Saturday, still has a lot of football to play before it can even think about winning a state title, but a look at Saturday’s numbers combined with how the Blue Devils have started this season indicates why Cloce thinks they have a shot at it.
OFA rushed for 308 yards on 32 carries Saturday and the Blue Devils completed 10 of 11 passes for another 151 yards. Overall, OFA picked up 459 yards on offense on 43 plays, averaging 10.7 yards per play. The Blue Devils defense shut Canton down until the fourth quarter and held the Golden Bears (1-2) to 121 yards on 41 plays.
“They can do anything at will, basically,” Cloce said. “They threw the ball incredibly well. We tried to cover up their best receivers, and you can’t because they have five or six of them. They ran the ball really well. Their line, they can get outside, they get inside, they can double-team you, they can pull. They can do a lot of really good things. That team right there, I believe can go deep in the states and I hope they do, because they are from our section and it’s maybe their year.”
OFA has now outscored three teams 122-21 to start the season and even when the Blue Devils made rare mistakes against Canton they were able to erase them immediately.
On OFA’s first offensive series, the Blue Devils fumbled on Canton’s 13. But the very next play OFA forced a turnover when Stephen Morley pressured Canton’s quarterback, causing an intercepted pass by Tristan Lovely on the 15.
Lovely scored on a 15-yard run on the play after that and then ran in a 2-point conversion to start the Blue Devils on their way to a lopsided win.
“I thought the team played well,” OFA coach Matt Tessmer said. “I thought the linemen did a good job. At this point of the year we are just trying to build for the end of the year and we’re getting close to the middle. It’s little steps. We need to be detail-oriented. I’m not 100 percent sure where we are at. I think we made some strides, I hope we did. If you don’t do the detail it shows up against really good teams.”
OFA turned the game into a rout by scoring 30 points in the second quarter. By halftime the Blue Devils had outgained Canton 322-31.
The second touchdown came on a 27-yard pass from Jackson Jones to Morley.
MeSean Johnson took a routine handoff on the third touchdown and turned it into a 74-yard touchdown run and then John Powers ran for two yards to extend the lead to 30-0.
The Blue Devils later in the first half moved 52 yards on just four plays, ending with a 1-yard run from Jones to build the 38-0 halftime lead. Jones had a near perfect day statistically, completing 9 of 10 passes for 149 yards, including two touchdowns.
“We really moved the ball up and down the field and made a lot of good plays,” Jones said. “We really got things rolling in the second quarter.”
Johnson came up big on the first play of the second half, catching a sideline pass from Jones and running 40 yards for another touchdown. Johnson finished with 108 yards rushing on just six carries and caught two passes for 72 yards.
“As soon as I started going left I saw everyone pulling pretty fast,” Johnson said of his 74-yard touchdown run. “I cut back and there was absolutely nobody there. No matter what, we are always going to play hard, it doesn’t matter what the score is, we are going to play hard the whole time.”
Canton was led by tailback Conner Ramsey, who rushed for 100 yards on 15 carries. The Golden Bears’ touchdown came on a 2-yard run from Hunter Blauvelt with 9 minutes, 36 seconds left in the game.