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Lackawanna ranked No. 2

Oct. 30, 2019 - For the first time in program history, Lackawanna finds itself ranked No. 2 in this week's NJCAA poll. The 8-0 Falcons were ranked No. 3 earlier this season.

For the third-straight week, each Northeast Football Conference team can be found in this week's NJCAA poll. After its win over Monroe, ASA (6-2) is now No. 16 and Monroe (6-2) is No. 18.

When it was in the NEFC, Nassau was ranked No. 2 twice in the 2015 season.

Riding a 20-game win streak, which is the NJCAA's longest active streak, Lackawanna plays the New Jersey Warriors at 2 p.m. Saturday at Valor Field in Veterans Memorial Stadium.

This week: Saturday also sees Monroe hosting Erie at noon and ASA travels to Louisburg for a 1 p.m. game Sunday.

Win streak: Lackawanna's current win streak surpassed Nassau for the longest in NEFC history. Nassau won 18 consecutive games in 2009-10. The Lions won five-straight games to close the 2009 season before posting an 11-0 record in 2010 on their way to the NJCAA nonscholarship national title. Nassau then won its first two games in 2011.

Rankings notes: Before this season, the last time the NEFC had three teams ranked was in the Oct. 6, 2015, poll with ASA and Lackawanna both at No. 17 and Nassau at No. 20.

The NEFC has now had at least one team ranked in the last 212 NJCAA polls. The streak dates to Oct. 21, 2003. A NEFC team has been ranked 413 times since the 2002 season started.

Lackawanna remained No. 5 while ASA and Monroe were listed "on the bubble" in this week's jcgridiron.com Dirty 30 rankings.

Each loss suffered by a NEFC team has come to a ranked opponent as both Monroe and ASA have lost to Lackawanna, ASA defeated Monroe and the Avengers suffered a one-point loss to then-No. 19 Georgia Military College.

Duda now No. 7: The Falcons' 48-18 win over No. 20 Nassau Oct. 26 gave Lackawanna head coach Mark Duda his 185th win in 26 seasons. Duda, who leads active NJCAA coaches in wins, is tied with Chowan's Jim Garrison for seventh. Jones County's Sim Cooney is sixth with 187 wins.

Duda moved into the NJCAA's all-time top 10 list for coaching victories after Lackawanna's Sept. 14 win over then-No. 7 Snow.

At the start of the season, Duda's 69.4% winning percentage ranked sixth among active coaches and Monroe's Terry Karg ranks ninth at 61.3%.

NEFC stat leaderboard: Lackawanna quarterback Matt Cavallaro and Monroe quarterback Dominique Shoffner have each thrown 20 touchdown passes and they rank tied for seventh on the NEFC single-season rankings. Cavallaro is the seventh Lackawanna quarterback to rank in the single-season touchdown passes list and fourth different one ranked in five seasons.

Shoffner's 125 completions are tied for seventh in that category while his 1,818 passing yards rank ninth.

In kicking scoring, Lackawanna's Cameron Ceccotti and ASA's Andres Espinoza are tied for seventh with 66 points. Espinoza's 45 made point-after kicks rank seventh while Ceccotti's nine field goals rank tied for sixth. Monroe's Idrissa Nikiema has made 41 extra-point kicks to rank tied for 10th.

With two interceptions against Lackawanna Oct. 12, Monroe's Emmanuel Appiah-Tahkyi is tied for fifth on the NEFC single-season list with seven. Louisburg's Kewitt Koonce intercepted 11 passes in 2011 to lead the list. Appiah-Tahkyi's seven interceptions also leads the NJCAA.

Scoring Outburst: After scoring 98 points in the win over the New Jersey Warriors, ASA now holds the record for most points scored in a NEFC game, dating to the 2001 season. Lackawanna defeated Alfred State 84-20, Oct. 27, 2007, to set the mark for the most points scored in a conference contest.

Already this season, the NEFC has had five games featuring 70 or more points and three with 80 or more points.

Games featuring 70 or more points by the winning team are:

NOTE: The NEFC started in 1997 but scores are only available through 2001.

Players of the Week: The Northeast Football Conference selected ASA's Kaedin Robinson and Andres Espinoza and Lackawanna's Robert Kennedy as the conference's players of the week.

NJCAA honors: Lackawanna safety Ja'yir Brown and placekicker Cameron Ceccotti were named the NJCAA Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week, respectively. They joined Lackawanna quarterback Matt Cavallaro as Northeast Football Conference student-athletes honored this season.

Brown and Ceccotti became the 21st and 22nd NEFC student-athletes selected to the weekly honor since the start of the 2011 season.

Top players: The Northeast Football Conference had five individuals listed in 247sports.com's Oct. 22 report of the nation's top 50 junior college recruits. They are:

NJCAA statistics: Monroe's Emmanuel Appiah-Tahkyi leads the nation with seven interceptions. ASA's Durrell Johnson is second in the nation with 20 tackles for loss while teammate Andres Espinoza is second with 45 made extra-point kicks.

ASA's Kaedin Robinson is second with 23 yards per reception, fourth with eight receiving touchdowns and seventh with 83.5 receiving yards per game. Monroe's Jevin Frett (21) and Lucas Nunez (20) are fourth and seventh, respectively, in yards per catch.

Monroe's Idrissa Nikiema is fourth with 41 made extra-point kicks and Lackawanna's Cameron Ceccotti is seventh in that category. Ceccotti is sixth with nine field goals while Espinoza and Ceccotti are tied for seventh with 66 points.

Monroe quarterback Dominique Shoffner and Lackawanna quarterback Matt Cavallaro are tied for sixth with 20 touchdown passes. Shoffner is sixth in pass efficiency (165.4).

Monroe's Clayton Scott is tied for sixth with 10 rushing touchdowns while Shoffner is eighth with nine rushing touchdowns.

Lackwanna's Mike Crawford, Robert Kennedy and DeJahn Warren each rank eighth with four interceptions.

In the team statistics, Monroe leads the nation in scoring offense at 49.3 points per game. ASA is third at 45.5 and Lackawanna, fourth, 44.9. ASA is second in rushing offense, 261.3, and sixth in total offense, 466.4.

Lackawanna is first in scoring defense, 10.3, and points allowed, 82. Monroe is fourth in scoring defense, 13.3, and points allowed, 106. ASA is ninth in points allowed, 134.

The Falcons' 24 interceptions lead the nation while Monroe is sixth with 16 and ASA is ninth with 13. Lackawanna has returned a nation's best nine interceptions for touchdowns and has recorded 42 quarterback sacks to rank fifth.

Monroe leads the nation in rushing yards allowed (36.1 ypg), ASA is second (43.5) and Lackawanna is eighth (88.9). The Falcons are sixth in passing yards allowed per game (129.4). Monroe is second in total defense, 186.8; ASA is fourth, 201.9; and Lackawanna is sixth, 218.3.

Last Week: ASA's Andres Espinoza made a 21-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to lift No. 18 ASA to a 36-34 win over No. 18 Monroe College at the Aviator Sports Complex while No. 4 Lackawanna recorded a 48-18 win over No. 20 Nassau. Here is a quick look at the results:

Misc.: Since 2010, a Northeast Football Conference member has led the NJCAA in total defense six times -- ASA (2010, 2012, 2013 and 2018), Nassau (2011) and Monroe (2017). ASA (2018) and Monroe (2017) also led the nation in rushing defense, marking the third and fourth NEFC teams to have led that category since 2012. Lackawanna led in 2016 while ASA was the leader in 2012.

Lackawanna and Monroe both played in bowl games following the 2018 regular season. The NEFC had three teams play in bowl games in 2012. It also had two teams appear in 2008 and 2011 bowl games.

For the 2010 decade, Lackawanna and ASA both rank among the NJCAA's best in terms of final ranking points. The Falcons are tied for 13th with 48 points while the Avengers are 16th at 41 points.

Next week: ASA plays Richmond CC Nov. 9 while Monroe is at Hocking. Lackawanna plays Georgia Military College Nov. 10.