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Regular season comes to a close

Nov. 6, 2019 - The 2019 regular season closes this weekend for the Northeast Football Conference.

No. 17 Monroe (7-2) is at Hocking Saturday. Sunday has both No. 2 Lackawanna (9-0) playing No. 9 Georgia Military College at Valor Field in Veterans Memorial Stadium and No. 15 ASA playing at the Wesley College JV.

Defensive battle: The Lackawanna/Georgia Military contest features two of the nation's top defenses. The Falcons lead the NJCAA in interceptions and points allowed and are second in passing yards allowed per game. Georgia Military ranks in the top seven in sacks, yards allowed per game, rushing yards allowed per game and points allowed.

Both teams feature high-powered offenses as Lackawanna averages 46.4 points per game and GMC averages 38.6.

Win streak: Owners of the NJCAA's longest active win streak at 21 games, Lackawanna will face its second ranked foe in three weeks. The Falcons' current win streak is also the longest in NEFC history. Nassau held the previous mark, winning 18 consecutive games in 2009-10. NCC won five-straight games to close the 2009 season before posting an 11-0 record in 2010 on its way to the NJCAA nonscholarship national title. Nassau then won its first two games in 2011.

The Falcons' win streak started with a 41-34 win over No. 11 Georgia Military College, Nov. 12, 2017, at Marshall University.

Rankings notes: For the fourth-straight week, each NEFC team can be found in the NJCAA poll. The four consecutive weeks featuring three teams in the NJCAA poll is the second-longest streak in the NEFC. In 2012, at least three conference teams were ranked for nine-straight weeks.

The NEFC has now had at least one team ranked in the last 213 NJCAA polls. The streak dates to Oct. 21, 2003. A NEFC team has been ranked 416 times since the 2002 season started.

Lackawanna has been ranked 100 times in the NJCAA poll starting with the final 2001 poll.

Lackawanna remained No. 5 while ASA was listed "on the bubble" in this week's Dirty 30 rankings.

The NEFC is 23-4 this season and each loss 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' 59-0 win Nov. 2 gave Lackawanna head coach Mark Duda his 186th win in 26 seasons. Duda, who leads active NJCAA coaches in wins, ranks seventh among all NJCAA coaches. 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 has thrown 22 touchdown passes to rank fifth on the NEFC single-season rankings. Monroe quarterback Dominique Shoffner has thrown 21 touchdown passes and is eighth.

Shoffner's 134 completions are fourth in that category while his 1,982 passing yards rank fifth. Shoffner and teammate Clayton Scott have each scored 12 rushing touchdowns. They are tied with six others for seventh.

In kicking scoring, Lackawanna's Cameron Ceccotti has scored 77 points to rank second. ASA's Andres Espinoza is tied for third with 66 points and Monroe's Idrissa Nikiema's 71 points are tied for fifth. Espinoza's 52 made point-after kicks rank second. Nikiema is fourth with 50 and Ceccotti is fifth with 47. Ceccotti's 10 field goals rank tied for third.

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.

NOTE: The NEFC started in 1997 but single-season statistics are only available through 2001.

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 Monroe's Dominique Shoffner and Jevin Frett and Lackawanna's KeShawn Moore as the conference's players of the week.

NJCAA honors: ASA kicker/punter Andres Espinoza became the fourth NEFC student-athlete named an NJCAA Player of the Week. He was the Special Teams Player of the Week Oct. 30. He joined Lackawanna's Ja'yir Brown, Matt Cavallaro and Cameron Ceccotti honored this season.

Espinoza was the 23rd NEFC student-athlete selected to the weekly honor since the start of the 2011 season.

Espinoza, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound freshman kicker from Columbus, Georgia, made the game-winning 21-yard field goal with five seconds left to lift ASA past Monroe. He also made a 22-yard field goal in the contest and four extra-point kicks. He also had four punts for a 32.5-yard average, placing two punts inside the 20-yard line.

Top players: The Northeast Football Conference had five individuals listed in's Nov. 5 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 and ASA's Andres Espinoza leads with 52 made extra-point kicks.

The NEFC also has several individuals ranked second: ASA's Durrell Johnson with 20 tackles for loss while teammate Kaedin Robinson is second with an average of 22.4 yards per reception and Monroe's Idrissa Nikiema is second with 50 made extra-point kicks.

Lackawanna quarterback Matt Cavallaro is fourth with 22 touchdown passes and seventh in passing efficiency rating. Monroe quarterback Dominique Shoffner and running back Clayton Scott are fifth with 12 rushing touchdowns. Shoffner is sixth in touchdown passes and passing efficiency.

Robinson is also fifth with eight receiving touchdowns and seventh with 84.8 receiving yards per game. Monroe's Jevin Frett is seventh with 20.7 receiving yards per catch.

Lackawanna's Cameron Ceccotti is third in kicking scoring and eighth overall in scoring. He is fifth with 10 field goals. Espinoza and Nikiema are sixth and ninth, respectively, in kicking scoring. Nikiema, who also scored a touchdown this season, is eight overall in scoring with 77 points.

Lackawanna's Mike Crawford, Robert Kennedy and DeJahn Warren and Monroe's Charles Amankwaa each rank ninth with four interceptions.

In the team statistics, Monroe leads the nation in scoring offense at 51.3 points per game. Lackawanna is second at 46.4 points and ASA is third at 45.9.

ASA is second in rushing offense, 258.1, and fourth in total offense, 465.1. Monroe is 10th in total offense, 414.3.

Lackawanna is first in scoring defense, 9.1, and points allowed, 82. Monroe is second in points allowed, 112, and fourth in scoring defense, 12.4 ppg. ASA is 10th in points allowed, 141.

The Falcons' 24 interceptions lead the nation while Monroe is third with 18 and ASA is eighth with 15. Lackawanna is fourth with 46 quarterback sacks while ASA's 37 sacks are ninth.

Monroe leads the nation in rushing yards allowed (27.9 ypg), ASA is second (41.3) and Lackawanna is eighth (76.2). Monroe is first in total defense, 168.8. Lackawanna is third, 195.8, and ASA is fourth, 203. The Falcons are second in passing yards allowed per game (119.6).

Last Week: Points were plentiful as the NEFC improved to a combined 23-4 overall record.

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.