North Stars EFL Champions
October 10, 2010
Defeat Watertown 13-10 to wrap up first league crown
PLATTSBURGH — Two things are required to defeat the Watertown Red and Black — a stout defense and a good kicker.
The Plattsburgh North Stars have both, and that's why they're champions.
Mitch Ryder was good on field goals from 40 and 42 yards, and Plattsburgh's defense made two stands in the final five minutes as the Stars claimed their first ever Empire Football League championship in a 13-10 victory in front of their home crowd.
"I can't really explain how I feel right now," Ryder said.
No problem, the performance said it all.
Plattsburgh overcame some serious momentum swings, including two controversial calls by the referees and a lull in the second quarter when Plattsburgh was outscored 10-0.
Watertown's Brian Williams got in on a 2-yard run at the end of a drive that saw an incomplete pass on third down ruled a 30-yard completion.
Then, kicker Nate McKeever scored near the end of the half.
"You can't let that consume you," said Stars coach Pat Keleher, referring to the catch ruling. "That was a big momentum change, and we were too focused on it."
The offense was unable to get into the red zone throughout most of the game, but Plattsburgh had enough confidence in its kicker to play it safe and put up three points when the opportunity presented itself.
Ryder opened the scoring 5:49 into the game on a long, sustained first drive.
"When you have a kicker the quality of Mitch, it takes the pressure off of the offensive coordinator, because he doesn't have to worry about making a perfect call," Keleher said. "He's the best kicker in the league, in my opinion."
Plattsburgh's offense got going in the second half, keeping Watertown's bruising rushing attack off the field while the defense charged up for a big finish.
Ryder made his second kick in the third quarter.
The familiar connection of quarterback Ken Stay and Trevor St. Clair made a touchdown appearance four minutes into the fourth quarter to give Plattsburgh the lead, and the Stars defense took over from there.
"We want the pressure to be on our (the defense's) backs," said safety Shane Racette, who made an interception late in the game to help preserve the victory. "That's the type of team we are. Put it in the defense's hands and let us make it happen."
That mentality leaked over to the offensive playcalling. After Racette's pick, Plattsburgh used the ground game to wear the clock down before attempting a safe little slant pass.
"I told (offensive coordinator) Scott (Aguglia), 'don't do anything crazy,'" Keleher said. "If we have to run, we'll kick and play defense."
North Stars Go For EFL Title Tonight
October 9, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars wanted Watertown.
They got it.
Plattsburgh will host the Empire Football League championship tonight for the first time ever when the defending champion Red and Black pay a visit to Plattsburgh Athletic Complex for the second time this season.
The Stars fell to Watertown, 6-0, in last year's championship game at Watertown, but they clinched the 2010 regular-season title with 21-7 victory over the Red and Black a month ago.
"You're talking about the oldest semi-pro team in the country and the defending EFL champions," said Stars coach Pat Keleher. "If you're going to win a championship, you want to do it against the team that's been there the longest."
The North Stars had a three-week layoff after its last victory over Watertown because of a Massena forfeit and a bye, but they were primed to go in a 31-0 rout of Amsterdam last weekend in the semifinal round.
Watertown defeated Vermont to advance to the title game.
"The game at home was looming right in the distance," said Stars quarterback Ken Stay after last week's victory. "Obviously there were some question marks because we hadn't played in a while, but we were confident that we could come out and win and get to (this) week."
Keleher said the mood surrounding the team is as good as it's ever been since he's been part of the organization.
"It's terrific," Keleher said. "It doesn't get any better than this. We're expecting a big crowd and have gotten a lot of response from people about coming to see us play."
Watertown is a hard-nosed team with an extremely tough front seven on defense.
The Red and Black tried to apply pressure to Plattsburgh's offense when the teams met in August, but the Stars countered Watertown's aggressive rush with quick passes.
Plattsburgh prides itself on being a well-rounded offense, whereas the Red and Black prefer to run the ball.
"For us, we have to stop Brian Williams and control the run game," Keleher said. "Put them in situations where they have to pass when they don't want to.
"In the first game we didn't make any mistakes — didn't turn ball over. We took advantage of red zone opportunities. We created some turnovers when they had two or three fumbles on huge hits by our guys."
Stay Leading Stars During Playoff Run
October 7, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — Entering Week 1 in early July, Ken Stay wasn't given the nod to be the Plattsburgh North Stars' starting quarterback.
Saturday night, he threw four touchdowns and no interceptions against Amsterdam, leading the Stars to a decisive 31-0 victory that pits Plattsburgh in the Empire Football League championship game.
Since quarterback J.D. Moore went down with an injury against Vermont in early August, Stay has tossed 12 touchdowns to three interceptions in four games — all victories.
"He always had the gameplan, watched the film, always had the wristband on and was never out of it," said Stars coach Pat Keleher. "And when he got his chance, he took advantage of it."
The second-year quarterback hasn't gone without some help along the way, either.
Stars receiver Trevor St. Clair led the league in regular-season touchdown receptions with seven, and he grabbed two more in the semifinal game.
Also, tight end Chris Fish and receivers Kelly Gordon, Heath Geiser Jordon Keleher are very reliable pass-catchers.
"The receivers are running great routes," Stay said. "That's all you can ask for."
In addition, Plattsburgh boasts a top-tier offensive line that has improved in protection all season long and only gave up one sack against the Zephyrs due to a bad snap.
"It always starts up front," Stay said. "They're blending really well together and communicating very well."
Keleher said Stay's instant success in taking over the starting role behind center has a lot to do with experience.
He quarterbacked the Stars for their somewhat turbulent 2009 campaign in which the team finished the regular season 1-3 after winning its first six games.
Plattsburgh rebounded with two big playoff wins — one at home against Massena and the other at Quebec — to get to its first EFL championship game.
North Stars Reach EFL Final
October 3, 2010
Plattsburgh wallops Amsterdam 31-0 to reach championship game
NICK ST. DENIS &source;Staff Writer
Press-Republican Plattsburgh Press Republican Sun Oct 03, 2010, 03:23 AM EDT
PLATTSBURGH — Pat Keleher expected a dogfight Saturday night against Amsterdam.
What he got wasn't much of a fight at all.
The Plattsburgh North Stars ran a three-play touchdown drive that ate a whopping 1:37 off the clock on their first possession of the game and never looked back in a 31-0 victory over Amsterdam.
Plattsburgh will host an Empire Football League championship game for the first time in team history when the Watertown Red and Black pay a visit Saturday.
Quarterback Ken Stay found the end zone four times against the Zephyrs, connecting with Trevor St. Clair on two scores and Kelly Gordon and Harry Rascoe on two more.
"Honestly, I didn't think we would control the game the way we did," said Keleher, the North Stars head coach. "I thought we would have to work really hard to get what we got, especially early. We took control early, and I don't think we ever gave it up... It was a good win. Good statement."
Plattsburgh took advantage of an aggressive Zephyrs defense that insisted on bringing as much pressure as possible.
The North Stars offensive line handled it well, and extra rushers compromised a mediocre Amsterdam pass coverage that was exposed early.
"We knew they were an aggressive team," Stay said. "They bring a lot of blitzing guys, so we did a lot of play action right off the bat."
Stay hit Rascoe on a play-fake strike down the middle that Rascoe took the distance to open the scoring.
Rascoe led the team on the ground, picking up 83 yards on nine carries.
"Harry was great," Keleher said. "He runs hard."
Stay threw his first of two touchdowns to St. Clair midway through the second quarter before finding Gordon on a perfect 7-yard strike in the front-right corner of the end zone late in the third.
"That's just a designed rollout with a quick out," Stay said. "It's a goalline set play and he's my first look."
St. Clair grabbed his second touchdown early in the fourth quarter, chasing down a ball that only he was able to get to.
The Stars defense didn't have to face Amsterdam's top quarterback Scott Lawson, who sustained an injury during the week.
However, Keleher said he was still concerned about being able to apply pressure on backup Nick Shepard. Despite never being sacked, Shepard was hurried all night long.
"I was very pleased overall with the balance of the defense," Keleher said. "We didn't really get beat deep, and I basically started leaving their slots alone because they were running so much in the beginning."
Plattsburgh fell to Watertown in the EFL championship game last season, so the Stars seek redemption Saturday.
"I wanted Watertown," Keleher said. "One, because of last year, and I also think we match up better with them (than Vermont)."
Historic Opportunity for North Stars
PLATTSBURGH — In their two decades of existence, the Plattsburgh North Stars have never played an Empire Football League championship game at home.
Tonight, the team has an opportunity to erase that statistic forever.
The top-seeded Stars host Amsterdam in a semifinal matchup at Plattsburgh Athletic Complex at 7:30 p.m., and the winner will face either the Vermont Ice Storm or the Watertown Red and Black in the title game.
"It's a historic opportunity," said North Stars coach Pat Keleher. "Who knows when or if this comes around again, so we can't let an opportunity like this go. We have to take advantage."
The teams met earlier in the season at Amsterdam for a 6-3 Plattsburgh victory, but a lot has changed since then.
Plattsburgh has become more consistent and opportunistic offensively, and Amsterdam reclaimed quarterback Scott Lawson along with some players from the Albany Mallers.
Lawson has recorded a 108.2 quarterback rating this season, tossing seven touchdowns and two interceptions.
"He's as a good a quarterback as anybody in the league," Keleher said.
Amsterdam's defense will face a different signal caller than it did in the teams' earlier meeting, as Ken Stay took over quarterback duties for an injured J.D. Moore, who is recovered and will dress tonight.
Stay has thrown eight touchdowns to three interceptions on the year.
"I think if we take care of the football, we'll be fine," Keleher said. "Defensively, we're going to have to play a little better than last time we played them, but we were still pretty stout only giving up three points."
Keleher added that his team is comfortable with the position it is in, but nerves are inevitable.
"We had two good practices this week," he said. "Attendance was good and we got done what needed to get done.
It's a semifinal game, and the pressure is on us. But think the team is pretty loose."
North Stars in Favorable Position
September 29, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — It's good to be home.
For the first time since Pat Keleher has been head coach of the North Stars, Plattsburgh will host an Empire Football League semifinal game Saturday when Amsterdam comes to town for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
With a victory, the Stars would host the EFL Championship for the first time ever.
"The mentality of the team has been good the past few weeks," Keleher said. "We're very excited and we understand the position we're in. And we're happy to be home."
Plattsburgh's last game was a colossal home victory over the Vermont Ice Storm to clinch the regular-season league title, but that was Sept. 11 — over two weeks ago.
By Saturday, it will have been 20 days without a game for Plattsburgh.
"I'm not crazy about not playing for three weeks, but we've practiced well," Keleher said. "We've had decent attendance and have scrimmaged a little more than we probably would have during a regular week."
The long break has given the Stars a chance to rest some injured bodies after a physical game against Vermont that followed a road win against Oneonta and a dogfight when the Stars ousted Watertown, 21-7, at home.
"We had a couple guys dinged up who have now had a chance to heal," Keleher said. "That part of it has been good."
As the No. 1 seed this year, Plattsburgh will face a team very similar to the North Stars of 2009 in the Amsterdam Zephyrs.
"We're kind of looking at it in reverse," Keleher said. "Last year we were like Amsterdam. We had a decent midseason but ran into better teams at the end. We had to kind of turn thing around, and we did."
Last season, Plattsburgh captured a semifinal victory against Quebec in Montreal, catapulting the team to a hard-nosed 6-0 loss at Watertown in the EFL Championship.
"Amsterdam is much better than 5-5," Keleher said. "They had rocky start to beginning of year, missing some guys. But by midseason, most of the old guys came back and they picked up a few bodies here and there.
"They're like us last year, coming here knowing if they win one game, they're in the championship."
Watertown will host Vermont in the other semifinal game. If Plattsburgh wins, either the Red and Black or the Ice Storm will have to travel to Plattsburgh for the second time this year.
"It's human nature to look ahead, but I'm not doing it," Keleher said. "We can't look past Amsterdam.
"I made it very clear to the guys that we need to have a couple very focused practices this year, with 100 percent focus on Amsterdam."
Cracking the rankings
National Football Events released its national coaches poll Sept. 22, and the Stars made an appearance.
Plattsburgh is ranked 25th in the nation out of about 700 teams and sixth in the Northeast Region.
The Poll impacts selections made for the National Bowl Weekend in Deland, Fla. in January, so the Stars will have a shot a bowl game selection if they win the championship.
Plattsburgh has made big strides over the last three years. In 2008, the Stars made the playoffs and lost in the first round, tallying eight wins overall.
Last season, Plattsburgh made it all the way to the championship game on a road playoff schedule, totalling 11 victories on the season.
This year, the Stars captured the regular-season title and could go 10-1 with the league championship.
"Every aspect of the organization has grown each year," Keleher said. "Because of the success, we've had some new ball players come out and that has raised the overall talent level.
"Also, the board of directors and people working behind the scenes have gotten better. Now, we have a good routine and good people who do a lot to make my job easier."
North Stars Capture EFL Regular-Season Title
September 12, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh was down by six points with under five minutes to go.
A fumble early on the previous drive put the North Stars on back on defense, and a late-hit penalty gave Vermont a first down before Rob Joy of the Ice Storm hauled down the go-ahead touchdown reception.
The North Stars' crowd got quiet, but in a desperate tone, one fan screamed "Block the kick!" as Vermont's Oscar Ody lined up for the extra point.
Plattsburgh's special teams' response? A blocked kick.
Jordon Keleher brought the ensuing kick return to the 40-yard-line and scored on a 33-yard touchdown reception a couple plays later. Kicker Mitch Ryder didn't miss his extra point, and Plattsburgh went on to claim the Empire Football League regular-season title by defeating the Ice Storm, 21-20.
The victory puts Plattsburgh at home throughout the playoffs.
"There's the window," said Stars coach Pat Keleher about the inspiration the blocked kick had on the team. "The window opened, and that was big. It was that little lift to take the sorrow away from the touchdown.
"It really fired them up."
Contributions came from everywhere in the Stars' victory.
Trevor St. Clair caught two touchdown passes. Ken Stay threw three.
Harry Rascoe picked up two huge 10-yard gains for first downs that sealed the victory. Earl Parks made the biggest defensive play of the game on an interception after Plattsburgh's final touchdown.
Dan Marbut had a sack, a pass defensed and a fumble recovery in the first half. The defensive line as a whole played well.
And most importantly, the guys in charge did their part.
"I can't take a lot of the credit — I've got to give them a lot of the credit."
St. Clair grabbed his first of two touchdown scores on a fade from Stay that when 21 yards midway through the first quarter.
He brought in his second from another nice toss by Stay as St. Clair was double-covered to knot the score at 14-14 after Ray Herschenhorn and Akeem Williams found the endzone through the air and on the ground, respectively.
Ken Ruderman tossed his third touchdown of the game to Joy before Plattsburgh responded a little over a minutes later.
"Vermont is a great team," Keleher said. "They're probably as good as anybody up front defensively.
"They still gave us problems in protection, and we had a hard time running the ball against them at times. But at the end, we might have worn them down a little bit."
The Stars will be off next week because of a Massena forfeit and have a bye the following week for the first round of the playoffs.
North Stars' Fate in Their Hands
September 11, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars' meeting with the Vermont Ice Storm tonight will certainly have a playoff atmosphere.
That's because it's practically a playoff game.
The North Stars' destiny is in their hands, as a victory would guarantee Plattsburgh home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Plattsburgh, Vermont and Watertown each sit at 6-1.
If Plattsburgh loses, it opens up a whole different scenario.
"We've got to go into this game knowing it's a battle," said Stars coach Pat Keleher. "If we lose, we can theoretically fall to No. 3 — if we lose and Watertown beats Vermont."
Because of a Vermont loss to Watertown earlier in the year, Plattsburgh could hold every tiebreaker for first place in the Empire Football League standings after tonight.
Vermont got the best of Plattsburgh at home in early August, ousting the Stars, 20-10.
"We didn't protect very well in that game," Keleher said. "But I think we've come a long way with the offensive line. We still kind of controlled the game for three quarters but lost it in the fourth."
The Stars bounced back with an enormous victory over Watertown at the Plattsburgh Athletic Complex, beating the then-undefeated Red and Black, 21-7.
Keleher said the formula for beating Vermont is very similar to the one for Watertown.
"It's the same thing; when we have our chances to score, we have to score," he said. "We have to create a turnover or get a stop when they're in the red zone. That's how you win big games.
"That's what we did against Watertown but didn't do earlier in the year against Vermont."
Since getting beat at Watertown, the Ice Storm strung off five straight victories and took a forfeit win from Massena, which folded mid-season. Plattsburgh gets a forfeit victory next week.
J.D. Moore, who started the season as the No. 1 quarterback for Plattsburgh, has been sidelined the past few weeks after being injured at the end of the Stars' loss to Vermont.
Ken Stay, who is filling in for Moore, tossed five touchdowns and one interception for 251 yards the past two games.
"He's done everything we've asked him to do," Keleher said.
North Stars Notch Sixth Victory
August 29, 2010
ONEONTA — Ken Stay threw two touchdown passes and the North Stars' rushing corps found the end zone three times Saturday night in Plattsburgh's 35-20 victory over the New York Stallions in Empire Football League action.
Stay hit Andrew Price for a long strike touchdown in the first quarter, and Trevor St. Clair was the recipient of Stay's second score late in the half.
Elija Parks closed the first half with a 3-yard touchdown run, and Zach Blocker and Harry Rascoe scored rushing touchdowns in the second half.
"I was happy with the offense," Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "They moved the ball well all night and earned all 35 points."
Kicker Mitch Ryder was 5-for-5 on extra-points.
On defense and special teams, Plattsburgh (6-1) was not as smooth.
The North Stars committed costly penalties, including a roughing-the-passer and roughing-the-punter infraction, to help Oneonta to its touchdowns.
"On defense, we made a lot of mistakes," Keleher said. "We got some penalties that kept their drives alive."
The victory pits Plattsburgh in a heavyweight bout with the Vermont Ice Storm (5-1) at the Plattsburgh Athletic Complex Saturday.
Plattsburgh can secure homefield advantage through the playoffs with a win.
Stars Trying not to Look Ahead
August 28, 2010
ONEONTA — A lot is at stake tonight for the Plattsburgh North Stars.
The Stars travel to Oneonta to face the New York Stallions at 7:30 p.m. in a game that could set up a classic Empire Football League matchup between Plattsburgh and the Vermont Ice Storm in two weeks.
Plattsburgh and Vermont each have a single loss, so if the Stars get through the Stallions, the two premier EFL teams would be fighting for homefield advantage in the playoffs on Sept. 11 in Plattsburgh.
"(Vermont) could be a huge game, but we've got to take it one step at a time," Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "We can not look past this week. My opinion of the EFL is that any team can upset anyone any given week."
New York suffered a dismal loss in Plattsburgh in July, 40-3.
This time around, however, the North Stars (5-1 EFL, 7-1 overall) will be the team with nearly four hours of bus legs to shake off upon their arrival Hartwick College.
The trip will be Plattsburgh's longest of the season. The Stars are 2-1 on the road so far, defeating Massena and Amsterdam by scores of 27-21 and 6-3, respectively, before losing to Vermont, 20-10.
"Our last long trip (Amsterdam), we didn't play particularly well," Keleher said. "We really need to make sure we get off the bus, get prepared and come in focused.
"We want to go about the trip very business-like."
Plattsburgh is coming off what Keleher called a "monumental" 21-7 win over Watertown with backup quarterback Ken Stay at the helm. Watertown is bunched with Plattsburgh and Vermont atop the EFL standings.
"That was as good of a win as we've had since I've been coaching the North Stars the last four years," Keleher said.
Plattsburgh will use Stay's services again tonight as starting signal-caller J.D. Moore is still out due to an injury he sustained against Vermont. Stay tossed three touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Red and Black.
Moore threw for four touchdowns against the Stallions at the Plattsburgh Athletic Complex.
"Oneonta has some players who are very good," Keleher said. "Their top running back (James Armstrong) and wide receiver (Noble Champen) are quality players, and they can hurt you if you don't respect them.
"This is a classic trap game the week after a big win. Championship teams don't allow themselves to be lowered to the level of the opponent. They beat teams they should beat, and they rise to the occasion against the best teams."
Depth Paying off for North Stars
August 26, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — As the Plattsburgh North Stars' roster gets bigger and bigger each year under head coach Pat Keleher, good depth is inevitable.
However, one position has been pretty thin the last few years, and it's not a spot that a team can afford to struggle with.
"For the first three years, I had one quarterback," Keleher said. "Then, I had an athlete — a receiver, a running back, somebody — as a backup."
But that changed this season with the addition of first-year quarterback J.D. Moore.
Moore started two years at Wingate University, and quarterback Ken Stay returned in 2010 after calling signals for a Plattsburgh team that went to the Empire Football League Championship game a season ago.
Moore earned the starting job but was injured on the last play from scrimmage against the Vermont Ice Storm on Aug. 7.
A well prepared Stay, filling in for Moore, took the field last Saturday night against a tough Watertown defense. Stay threw three touchdowns and no interceptions to lead Plattsburgh to a 21-7 victory over the defending EFL champions.
"Obviously having two quarterbacks who have played at this level is huge, and it showed," Keleher said. "Kenny stepped in there, and if it wasn't for last year and everything he did then, he couldn't have gone in and done as well as he did."
In the EFL, depth is a luxury at quarterback, but it is imperative in most positions.
Plattsburgh boasts a seemingly bottomless defense, having capable players overflowing at each position. The team's ability to keep a constant rotation of players softens the impact fatigue and injuries can have.
"When our defensive tackles got tired, I had guys who could cycle in," Keleher said about the bruising game against the Red and Black. "Four defensive ends, all the guys in the secondary — I felt the defense stayed fresh and did a great job against a great offensive team.
The Stars hit the road Saturday to face the New York Stallions in Oneonta. Plattsburgh's victory over Watertown put the Stars in control of their playoff destiny.
If Plattsburgh win in Oneonta and defeats Vermont at home Sept. 11, it will be home for the playoffs.
"The win over Watertown was monumental," Keleher said."
Stay steps up in Stars' win, Plattsburgh beats Watertown 21-7
August 22, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — Not having a backup quarterback can be a problem.
Having two starting-caliber quarterbacks, however, is a problem most teams would kill for.
Ken Stay set up shop behind center Saturday night in the Plattsburgh North Stars' Empire Football League bout against previously unbeaten Watertown, filling in for injured quarterback J.D. Moore.
Stay certainly proved he had every right to be the guy calling signals, as he tossed three touchdown passes and no interceptions for 176 yards in the Stars' 21-7 victory over the Red and Black.
"He picked them apart tonight," said Stars offensive line captain Nick Moore. "That's the best game I've seen him play in the last two years."
Stay was the starting quarterback for last year's championship-bound North Stars, so he had plenty of experience to carry onto the field Saturday.
Regardless, Watertown is not the easiest team to go up against in a player's first start of the year. The Red and Black have a vicious front seven, but Plattsburgh was ready.
"The guys did a great job preparing," Stay said. "The offensive line was great."
Stay hit Trevor St. Clair in the end zone for a 31-yard scoring strike at the end of a 70-yard, 7-play drive to open the game.
St. Clair was also the recipient of Stay's last touchdown pass, a 7-yard strike that all but put the game away in the fourth quarter.
"Anything you throw his way, he'll get it," Stay said. "As a quarterback, having guys like that gives you lots of confidence."
Stay's other touchdown came on a perfect seam pass to Jordon Keleher late in the second quarter, which Keleher took 86 yards for the score.
"The corners were definitely playing soft the entire game," Stay said. "We recognized that. Jordan ran a slant down the middle and just took off with it."
Plattsburgh's offense was impressive, but it was the defense that kept Watertown from getting any momentum.
The Stars (5-1) made three crucial red-zone takeaways — two fumble recoveries inside their own 5-yard line and a Shane Racette interception on a play that started on Plattsburgh's 20. Joey Painter also grabbed a pick in the fourth quarter after letting a few slip through his hands earlier in the game.
Watertown (5-1) had a few long drives that got them into scoring territory, but Plattsburgh held tough on everything inside the 30-yard line.
"We're tough to do short-yardage stuff on because we're big and physical," Keleher said. "That's a team that averages 300 yards rushing a game.
"The only time they really got anything was to the outside when they were able to get their athletes involved, but we contained them in the option for the most part."
Watertown got its only points on a late fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Brian Williams to Earnie Wash.
Stars kicker Mitch Ryder was 3-for-3 on extra points.
Plattsburgh is slated to face the New York Stallions in Oneonta next weekend. With a victory over New York and a home-win the following week against Vermont, Plattsburgh is home for the playoffs.
"Destiny was in our hands to a degree entering the game," Keleher said. "Now, it is in our hands."
Stars back home to play Watertown
August 21, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — It isn't getting any easier this week for the Plattsburgh North Stars.
After suffering their first loss of the season, 20-10, to the Vermont Ice Storm two weeks ago on the road, the Stars host the undefeated Watertown Red and Black tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Watertown, as always, will bring a tough, physical battle to the gridiron.
"Every year," said Stars offensive coordinator Scott Aguglia. "They're going to try to out-muscle you and beat you up. You have to play hard-nosed football against them, all the time."
The Red and Black enter the meeting atop the Empire Football League standings, boasting a stout rushing game led by Brian Williams and Joe Brennan, who both have four touchdowns apiece on the ground.
Williams also has pitched a perfect 8-0 touchdown-interception passing ratio thus far, as Watertown has outscored EFL opponents by a 148-50 margin.
Plattsburgh traveled to Burlington two weeks ago, having given up just six total points in its last three games. However, the Stars barely edged Amsterdam 6-3 the week before, because the offense wasn't able to convert in the red zone.
Vermont advanced to 4-1 with the win over Plattsburgh, pitting the Stars at 5-1 and a game behind Watertown (5-0).
"I think the team attitude is pretty good, still," Aguglia said. "The loss may have refocused us a bit, but the guys realize that their playoff destiny and seeding is still in their hands."
Last week, Plattsburgh's normally productive rushing game was held to just 38 yards.
Stars quarterback J.D. Moore threw a touchdown pass against the Ice Storm, connecting with Andrew Price on a 10-yard scoring strike, but Plattsburgh's offense stalled a few times in the air game.
"What slowed us down against Vermont was our own mistakes," said Aguglia. "Not catching the ball early and missing receivers. We had problems protecting the quarterback at times, as well."
Watertown is very good up front defensively, much like Vermont. The Red and Black have two big 4-3 tackles and an excellent linebacking corps.
"The key to the game will be how we control their front seven," Aguglia said. "Running against Watertown, historically, has always been difficult. I think that there's some opportunity there, but (the front seven) will be key."
Other notes: Watertown's Demetric White leads the EFL in sacks with 17... Mike Dumaw and Dylan Kirker are atop the league in tackles with 56 and 44, respectively... Stars' quarterback J.D. Moore, who was hurt on the last play from scrimmage against Vermont, is second in EFL passing yards with 631 (7 TDs, 5 INT)... Plattsburgh's Trevor St. Clair averages 19.9 yards per catch this season.
North Stars Facing Revamped Ice Storm
August 7, 2010
BURLINGTON, Vt. — The Ice Storm's year off from being a championship-caliber team is over.
Vermont had its first-ever losing season in 2009 due to twenty-something players from the 2008 championship season departing from the team.
But many of those players are back in 2010, including standout quarterback Brad Ruderman, who is helping the Ice Storm resurge into the high-powered offense they had pre-2009.
The Plattsburgh North Stars hope to combat the revamped Ice Storm (3-1) when they travel to Burlington for a 7:30 p.m. Empire Football League kickoff.
Ruderman leads the Empire Football League in passing this season, tossing nine touchdowns and six interceptions while racking up 636 yards.
Plattsburgh (4-0), which has proven its ability to pound the rock over the years, has also established itself as a threat through the air with first-year quarterback J.D. Moore calling signals.
Moore is second in league-passing with nine touchdown strikes, four picks and 499 yards.
The Stars, however, will need to shake off a game of untimely mistakes last weekend at Amsterdam. Plattsburgh failed to score touchdowns on four red zone trips — turning the ball over on two and settling for field goals on the other two.
Mitch Ryder converted on both kicks to help the Stars to a 6-3 victory, keeping the team's unbeaten streak alive.
Vermont dropped its first game of the season in a 24-17 decision on the road against Watertown. The Ice Storm then strung together victories against Massena, Amsterdam and Binghamton in mostly decisive fashion.
North Stars Get 4th Win
August 1, 2010
Ryder's 2 field goals all the offense for Plattsburgh in 6-3 decision over Amsterdam
Anonymous Press-Republican Plattsburgh Press Republican Sun Aug 01, 2010, 03:23 AM EDT
AMSTERDAM — The Plattsburgh North Stars' red-zone offense was not good Saturday night.
Fortunately for Plattsburgh, the defense was.
Mitch Ryder kicked field goals of 30 and 32 yards in the second and fourth quarters, respectively, and the North Stars defense made timely sacks as Plattsburgh edged Amsterdam, 6-3.
The Stars (4-0) were 0-for-4 in red zone trips.
Penalties pushed Plattsburgh back on two of the trips, which resulted in the field goals.
On the other two, Plattsburgh had a fumble inside the 10-yard line and quarterback J.D. Moore threw an interception in the end zone.
"We basically moved the ball up and down the field," Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "But we made many mistakes that costed us. We just couldn't get in the end zone."
Zach Blocker rushed for 93 yards on 13 carries, and Marvin Jenkins picked up 65 yards on seven touches.
Plattsburgh also totaled 116 yards through the air, with Jordon Keleher grabbing three receptions for 61 yards.
Amsterdam's field goal came late in the second quarter, and the Zephyrs had a chance to tie the game late in fourth.
The Zephyrs were just outside the red zone with three minutes to go when Dan Marbut and Kyle Babbie got sacks to force Amsterdam into a field goal that was missed.
Marbut had 2½ sacks, Adam Frennier led Plattsburgh in tackles with nine, and Earl Parks made an interception.
The Stars return to the field Saturday when they face the Vermont Ice Storm in Burlington.
Stars Look to Keep Streak Alive
July 31, 2010
Following a 37-point rout of the New York Stallions at home in the inaugural North Stars Hall of Fame Game last weekend, the Stars are back on the road.
Plattsburgh will look to extend its season-opening win streak to four games and remain atop the Empire Football League standings tonight when the Amsterdam Zephyrs host the Stars at 7:30 p.m. at Lynch Middle School.
Tonight will be the first time the Stars play a road game since July 10, when they defeated Massena, 27-21. The game will also be Amsterdam's season opener.
The Zephyrs dropped road games to the Stallions, 19-15, and the Vermont Ice Storm, 34-6, over the last two weeks.
The Watertown Red and Black, sitting at 2-0 in the standings, will be favored tonight in an away match against Massena. So, the weekend could be pivotal for the league standings if the Stars fail to take care of business in Amsterdam.
However, the Zephyrs will certainly be hard-pressed to slow down a team that has outscored its three opponents by a 74-24 margin, including a combined score of 57-3 in its last two games.
Plattsburgh unveiled a much more multi-faceted offense in its victory against the Stallions.
Quarterback J.D. Moore completed 13 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns, and Stars' rushers combined for 195 yards. The Stars totaled fewer than 200 yards through the air in its first two games of the season, as their ground game proved to be capable of controlling a majority of both matches.
Running back Zach Blocker currently leads the Stars ground corps with 166 yards and two touchdowns on 26 attempts.
Team leaders after 3 games
JD Moore Leads North Stars to Victory
July 25, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars put their passing attack in full gear Saturday night.
J.D. Moore tossed four touchdowns and amassed over 250 yards through the air in the Stars' 40-3 victory over the New York Stallions in the inaugural North Stars Hall of Fame Game at Plattsburgh High School.
Jordon Keleher, Nick O'Meara, Trevor St. Clair and Heath Geiser caught touchdown passes of 18, 10, 45 and 10, respectively.
St. Clair led Plattsburgh in receiving, catching three passes for 97 yards in addition to the touchdown.
Running back Zach Blocker added a productive game on the ground, rushing for two touchdowns and compiling over 70 yards.
Marvin Jenkins, Kenji Jones and Elija Parks also made big contributions to a rushing attack that totaled 200 yards as the Stars improved to 3-0 in Empire Football League action.
Moore, who completed 12-of-20 passes, hit Chris Fish on a mid-range strike across the middle on the first play from scrimmage, and Fish took the ball to the 1-yard line before Blocker pounded in his first rushing touchdown.
The Plattsburgh signal-caller was good on his first four passes before throwing five straight incompletions, followed by five consecutive completions. Three of his last eight passes went for touchdowns.
The Stars shut out the Stallions for the last 53:22 of the game after Jimmy Kazalski booted in a 32-yard kick for New York's only score.
Plattsburgh's defense gave up only 179 total yards, and Joey Painter intercepted two of New York quarterback James Champen's passes.
North Stars shut out Dragons
July 18, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars got the revenge they were seeking Saturday night against Broome County.
They just had to wait a little longer than expected.
After sitting through an hour-long lightning delay that struck toward the end of the first half, Plattsburgh finished its shutout against the Dragons, posting a 17-0 win at Plattsburgh High School.
Elijah Parks and Marvin Jenkins each found paydirt on the ground in the second quarter for Plattsburgh, which improved to 2-0 in Empire Football League play.
"They're a good team," North Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "To shut them out, it's really huge."
Plattsburgh's rushing attack churned out 160 yards and two touchdowns, and J.D. Moore went 6-for-9 for 69 yards and a late interception in his home debut as a starter.
The Dragons stunned the North Stars last year with a 21-point fourth quarter in a comeback win. Keleher said that added some extra incentive for his squad.
The defense did its part, shutting down an offense that dropped 37 on the Oneonta Stallions last week, and the offense converted on two short fields in the second quarter.
Special teams — a unit Keleher said the North Stars work hard on — also had a strong night. Jordon Keleher returned a punt 57 yards to the 3-yard line in the second quarter, and Parks scored on the next play to make it 7-0.
A shanked punt gave the North Stars the ball at the Dragons' 37-yard line not long after. Jenkins scored from 14 yards out three plays later.
"When you get a short field, you have to score, and that was the difference," Coach Pat Keleher said. "We scored when we had the opportunities to score, and they didn't."
Mitch Ryder made it a three-possession game after drilling a 37-yard field goal to open the third quarter after a 40-yard drive by the North Stars.
Broome County found running room in the second half, rushing for 45 yards on six plays to drive down to the North Stars' 32-yard line. But Adam Good's pass, the first of the drive, was picked off by a well-positioned Donny Coolidge in the end zone.
The Dragons moved into North Stars' territory once more, but turned the ball over on downs.
Broome County had a golden opportunity to score on its first drive of the game after reaching the North Stars' 5-yard line, but Mike Moran swatted a fourth-down pass at the line to thwart the chance.
Good finished with 136 yards, but completed just 10-of-31 with two interceptions. Dominique Henderson caught four passes for a game-high 66 yards.
Joey Painter also had an interception for the North Stars. Defensive end Dan Marbut added a sack.
Plattsburgh will remain at home for its next game, a July 24 match against the Oneonta Stallions slated for 7:30 p.m.
Depth No Concern for Stars
July 16, 2010
Moore wins starting quarterback gig for Broome rematch
By RYAN HAYNER
PLATTSBURGH — When Plattsburgh faced the Broome County Dragons for the second time in 2009, the North Stars held a 17-7 lead at the half.
But an injury depleted an already thin secondary. The Dragons took advantage, stunning Plattsburgh with a 21-point onslaught in the fourth quarter en route to a 35-34 win.
The North Stars meet the Dragons at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Plattsburgh High for the first time since that tough loss, but depth is an issue of the past.
A deep and talented roster has already proven invaluable. When defensive tackles Chris Gibson and Kelsey Lenny missed last weekend's road game against Massena, much lighter defensive ends, Ryon Sorrell and Emmett Drollette, filled in.
The North Stars' defense limited the Silver and Black ground attack to just 36 yards on 29 carries.
"That's the greatest thing about this year with 50 guys on the roster," North Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "Last year, that could have been devastating. Because of the depth we have this year, we were OK.
"This year I have six corners, four safeties — and they're all good. To have that kind of depth, it's such an advantage."
The North Stars even have the rare luxury in the Empire Football League of depth at quarterback. After an open competition held through the first three games — one of which was a forfeit — newcomer J.D. Moore has officially earned the starting nod.
Moore, a former two-year starter at Wingate University, tossed two touchdown passes against the Silver and Black last weekend. Moore's collegiate experience at quarterback played a key factor in the coaching staff's decision to name him the starter.
"He understands how to read a defense and has a good sense of where to go with the ball," Keleher said. "He reads a defense and picks up on a blitz and knows the ball has to go to an open area.
"That comes with playing in a much more pass-oriented offense in high school and five years of collegiate training."
Ken Stay, last year's starting quarterback and former college safety, will see time at a number of positions including safety, tailback and special teams. He will also back up Moore at quarterback.
"The big thing about Ken Stay is he's a football player," Keleher said. "He's not a quarterback or a halfback or a safety — he's a football player."
Keleher said this is the first time he's had a true No. 2 quarterback.
Although Massena scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to make it a one-possession game in the final two minutes, gaffes by Plattsburgh were often the reason for Silver and Black touchdowns.
Massena got on the scoreboard on the last play of the half when a pass from Mike MacPherson bounced off of two leaping North Stars' defenders and into the hand of receiver Buddy Compeau for a 64-yard score.
The Silver and Black made it 27-14 when a snap went over Plattsburgh punter Chris Fish's head and a Massena defender fell on the ball in the endzone. Massena's final touchdown started with a 50-yard pass play to a receiver with no defender even remotely close thanks to a blown assignment.
A pass interference call put the Silver and Black on the goaline, and they scored to make it 27-21.
"Other than the two big plays in the passing game, I thought overall we played pretty well defensively," Keleher said. "I thought we played very well against the run."
Plattsburgh will play its first home game in more than a month tonight, and having the Dragons as the opponent gives the North Stars some added incentive.
"No question," Keleher said. "I know our team left one on the table. That was a game that we feel we should have won and were in control and let it get away."
Stars Lend Excitement to Opening Win
July 11, 2010
POTSDAM — Pat Keleher could have done without such an exciting Empire Football League opening.
His North Stars held a 27-7 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Massena Silver and Black took advantage of Plattsburgh gaffes to score two touchdowns in a seven-minute span in the fourth quarter.
But Plattsburgh recovered a last-ditch onside kick and ran the clock out to hold on for a 27-21 victory over Massena Saturday at Sandstoner Park.
"Hey, we won," Keleher said. "I saw a lot more positives than negatives."
J.D. Moore completed touchdown passes to tight ends Chris Fish and Trevor St. Clair in his first start. Zach Blocker led North Star runners with 60 yards on seven carries, and Marvin Jenkins added a rushing score.
The North Stars defense looked strong for much of the game, notching five sacks and two interceptions. Donny Coolidge returned one 35 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
But mistakes nearly cost Plattsburgh the win.
Massena got on the scoreboard on the final play of the first half. Mike MacPherson launched a pass down the left sideline that bounced on two airborne Stars defenders and into the hands of receiver Buddy Compeau for a 64-yard touchdown.
After holding Massena scoreless in the third, Plattsburgh's special teams made a costly error. After the snap went over punter Fish's head, he made a weak kick at the ball as it rolled into the end zone.
Instead of a possible safety, Massena's James Elias fell on the ball. The extra point made it 27-14 with 7:34 left.
Massena forced Plattsburgh to punt after a three-and-out, and Massena receiver Steven Zackarakus exploited a blown assignment for a 50-yard gain to Plattsburgh's 5-yard line.
A pass interference call against the North Stars put Massena at the one, and Shaun Harkes plunged in to make it a one possession game with less than two minutes remaining.
Shane Racette, who also had an interception, caught the onside kick and went down. Plattsburgh ran the remaining time off the clock.
"We can't have that," Keleher said. "Championship teams don't break down like that."
Kyle Babbie had two sacks for Plattsburgh, and Mike Moran, Dan Marbut and Kevin Gibson each had one.
The North Stars defense limited Massena's ground game to just 36 yards on 29 carries.
MacPherson went 7-for-17 for 173 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Compeau caught three passes for 106 yards and a score before leaving with a leg injury.
"I knew Massena would be vastly improved," Keleher said. "They will beat teams this year."
The North Stars host the Broome County Dragons Saturday at Plattsburgh High School.
North Stars Open EFL Season Tonight
July 10, 2010
POTSDAM — The Plattsburgh North Stars open their 2010 Empire Football League season in Potsdam tonight when they take on the Massena Silver and Black at 7:30 p.m. at the Sandstoner Park football field.
It will be Massena's third year as an organization, and the Silver and Black have yet to record a win.
However, the team is revamped this season with some key players from the former EFL members the Ottawa Demon Deacons.
Shawn Harkes, the 2008 EFL leading rusher, will join James Compeau in the Massena backfield. Compeau was fifth in rushing last year during league play.
"We've got to understand that we're in for a battle," Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "Massena is greatly improved. They're going to be very excited to play us, and this is going to be much more of a typical EFL battle than in years past."
The Silver and Black also attained some good players on defense, including defensive back Fillipo Flocco and defensive end Craig Hodge, who are both former Ottawas players.
On June 29, the Silver and Black battled to a surprising 14-7 loss to the Glens Falls Greenjackets of the North American Football League.
Massena held a 7-3 lead at halftime over the Greenjackets, who claimed the NAFL Empire Division Championship the last two years.
Silver and Black starting quarterback Mike MacPherson had a rough outing against Glens Falls, going 5-for-22 for 98 yards, but Massena is still high on their signal caller's potential.
Plattsburgh defeated the Southern Vermont Storm, 35-12, in its only non-league game on June 12.
"Our guys are ready to play a game," Keleher said. "To practice for a few weeks, play a game, then not play a game in almost a month is tough."
Stars are Deep, Driven to Win in 2010
July 8, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — Two substantial factors will be the driving force behind the Plattsburgh North Stars' 2010 campaign — a massive roster, and the bitter taste of a championship that just slipped away in 2009.
The Stars are 50 players deep this season, with more than 30 guys returning from last season.
"Having a bigger roster has allowed for much more competition in practice," North Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "It makes you better as a team."
Like last season, that kind of depth will be key for Plattsburgh. The Stars have gained the identity of a team that wears its opposition down using multiple running backs, a strong receiving corps and a defense that has multiple starting-caliber players rotating in and out at each position.
Plattsburgh will be without last season's Empire Football League leading rusher in Brandon Keleher, but new running backs Kenji James and Marvin Jenkins, in addition to returner Zach Blocker, give the look of a versatile group behind either quarterback, whether it is J.D. Moore or Ken Stay.
Add in powerhouse fullback Elija Parks, who thrives in run blocking and is capable of picking up big, hard-nosed gains carrying the football, and the North Stars may end up in a similar situation as Watertown last year, as the Red and Black saw their top-three rushers combine for 1,954 yards.
The opportunity for a feature back is there, but Keleher is content with simply using the hot hand and using different guys in certain situations.
"I feel pretty good about the running back position," Keleher said. "Until somebody stands out and takes the main spot, it will kind of be a running back by committee."
Stay and Moore have been battling for the starting quarterback position this offseason, and both are expected to see some time behind center over the next two weeks.
Plattsburgh typically has two non-league games to build chemistry and make personnel decisions before the start of the EFL schedule, but it only played in one preseason game this year, a 35-12 victory over the Southern Vermont Storm, because its June 16 matchup with the Vermont Ravens was canceled.
The Stars open their regular season schedule Saturday at Massena, and Keleher hopes the game will do for the team what the second non-league game would have done.
"The first games are always tough because you have to work the kinks out," he said. "That's what was always nice about having the two non-league games."
Defensively, not much needs to be worked out.
Plattsburgh returns veteran defensive end Kyle Babbie, a top-notch tackler and good pass rusher, as well as a deep linebacker group anchored by veteran inside backer B.J. Godfrey, who was Plattsburgh's leading tackler a season ago.
Kevin Gibson, Nick Norris, Adam Frennier and Josh Nephew all have good experience at the position and are expected to be part of the most effective squad on the defense.
Mike Moran and Ryon Sorrell and Dan Marbut will be seen along the defensive line, and Kelsey Lenny and Mike Thwaits will appear at the defensive tackle spot alongside Moran.
Shane Racette will start at strong safety, with Joey Painter and Linn Morten at free safety. Earl Parks and Brandon St. John are slated to start at cornerback, and Donny Coolidge will be in that mix.
Last season, the Stars started its EFL schedule at 6-0, outscoring their opponents by a 159-26 margin, before losing three of their next five.
Plattsburgh rebounded in a 22-19 road victory against Quebec to set up a meeting with Watertown in the EFL Championship, but the Stars fell, 6-0, in a hard battle on the road.
"Last year made the guys know that they can play with the best of the EFL," Keleher said. "Our playoff run convinced the guys... And I think the returners know the feeling of having a chance to win the championship, and they let that get away."
North Stars Win 2010 Opener
June 13, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — Following an inconsistent first half Saturday night, the Plattsburgh North Stars outscored Southern Vermont 19-0 in the second half on their way to 35-12 non-league victory over the Storm at the Plattsburgh High School Athletic Complex.
The Stars used their depth to wear down Southern Vermont, as they had seven different players record rushes and completed passes to five different receivers using two quarterbacks.
"I was mostly happy with the way we played for the first game," said Stars offensive coordinator Scott Aguglia. "I was especially encouraged by the offensive line and our running backs."
Elija Parks, the only returning running back besides Heath Geiser who touched the ball Saturday, led a Stars ground game that covered 161 yards and averaged 6.2 yards per carry.
Parks picked up 65 yards on seven rushes and added 12 receiving yards behind an offensive line that is still gelling with some new pieces but has good veteran leadership in guard Nick Moore.
"Elija is going to really bloom this year," Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "I don't have many concerns with the rushing game."
Plattsburgh added 136 yards of passing. Returning quarterback Ken Stay went 5-for-8 with 88 yards and touchdown, and first-year signal caller J.D. Moore was 4-14, totaling 48 yards and a touchdown through the air.
J.D. Moore's completion percentage was partially a result of some very nice throws that were dropped.
"The thing is, you can't simulate game speed in practice, and I think that had a little to do with it," Keleher said. "But once we get settled in, those things will get better... Both guys made some throws and missed some throws."
Plattsburgh went up 13-0 early in the second quarter when Stay hit first-year receiver Andrew Price on a 15-yard toss to the back-right corner of the end zone.
Rookie running back Kenji James, who amassed 50 yards on the ground, went 19 yards for a rushing touchdown in the first stanza, and first-year rusher Marvin Jenkins showed some skill with 40 rushing yards on eight carries.
The Stars' lost some momentum, however, when Southern Vermont quarterback Sean Lennon hit Mike Watters for a 63-yard touchdown strike at 7:50 in the second quarter and connected with Steve Gore for a 20-yard score with 27 seconds to go in the half.
"The rust was definitely there, but it was the intensity level and mental aspect that really wasn't there early," Keleher said. "In the second half, the intensity level picked up and we stopped making mental mistakes."
After a 42-yard Mitch Ryder field goal late in the first half and a third-quarter safety put Plattsburgh up 18-12, J.D. Moore hit Trevor St. Clair with a 34-yard touchdown pass, Ryder made a 33-yard field goal and Kevin Gibson returning his first of two interceptions to the house for six, all in the fourth quarter.
North Stars Debut Against So. Vermont Storm
June 11, 2010
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars hit the gridiron tonight returning 31 players from last year's roster.
Plattsburgh, which also welcomes 17 new players for the 2010 campaign, will kick off its 20th season of semi-pro football at 7:30 p.m. when it hosts the Southern Vermont Storm at the Plattsburgh High School Athletic Complex.
"It's definitely the biggest roster I've ever had," Stars coach Pat Keleher said . "Our key nucleus is back... And we've picked up some solid guys."
The Stars, who went 11-4 a year ago and fell just short of the Empire Football League Championship, defeated the Storm 13-7 last season and expect a tough game from the New England Football League squad.
"This will be a very good opening ballgame for us," Keleher said. "They are a well-coached, disciplined team. More of a veteran team than anything."
While Plattsburgh is approaching the game competitively, Keleher and the rest of the coaching staff will use the matchup to give the entire roster a look.
Most of the defense returns this season with all of last year's linebackers back, as well as all but one player in the secondary. The defensive line is also mostly in tact from 2009.
However, a couple new cogs on the offensive life, a new offensive backfield and some changes in the recieving corps — with the losses of Matt St. Clair and Kelly Gordon — gives the other side of the ball a different look.
"(Tonight) will be a good test for these guys," Keleher said. "They're looking forward to hitting some guys, other than each other, for the first time."
Plattsburgh hosts the Vermont Ravens next Saturday and begins its Empire Football League season July 10 when it travels to Massena to face the Silver and Black.
North Stars Thank 2009 Supporters
November 7, 2009
TO THE EDITOR: The Board of Directors, staff and players of the Plattsburgh North Stars would like to thank the following businesses, organizations and people for their support during the 2009 season.
The primary game sponsors for 2009 were Crickets Casual Food & Spirits, Commercial Roofing Analysts Inc., Casella Waste Systems-Northem Sanitation, Della Suzuki, Gordon Oil, J&S Steel, NYSCOPBA and Plattsburgh Distributing Inc.
Additional 2009 sponsors were Adirondack Pennysaver, Alpha Stereo, Applebee's, Bill's Body Shop-Action Auto, Bushey's Furniture, Bluff Point, CV Fitness, Curtis Lumber, ET Harris Inc., Fuller's Excavating, KC Video, Kinney Drugs, Loreman's, Marty's Carpet, McSweeny's, Peabody's, Plattsburgh Ford, Plattsburgh Sheet Metal, S&L Trucking, Stadium Systems Inc., State Farm-Jay Kerley Agency, Trim's Auto Body, UniFirst, and VFW Post 125.
Special thanks to Plattsburgh City School District and Athletic Director Joe Staves, Pat Goodell and Bill Meyers for all your assistance on game night, Mayor Donald Kasprzak and the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department, Bob Goetz and Nick St. Denis of the Press-Republican sports department, Matt Hobbs and Ken Drake of WPTZ-Channel 5 sports, Jim Cring and his advertising staff at Plattsburgh Distributing, WIRY and WOKO Radio.
The North Stars would like to thank the following volunteers and game-day staff, Scott Robbins and the water boys, Joe Fish, Avis Foster, Teri Hart, Kerrie Keleher, Brian Marino, Sheryl McLean, Mike Stafford, Mark Tiffer, and the many volunteer chain-crew guys and gals who helped out throughout the season.
Finally we would like to thank the great North Star fans for their support and patronage throughout the 2009 season. We look forward to more exciting football in 2010, which will be our 20th anniversary as a semi-professional football club.
Plattsburgh North Stars Board of Directors.
Stars fall in EFL Final
October 11, 2009
WATERTOWN — The Plattsburgh North Stars fell just short of an Empire Football League championship Saturday night in Watertown, losing to the Red and Black, 6-0.
The Stars had one final opportunity to drive for a score with 1:05 remaining in the game. Plattsburgh quarterback Ken Stay connected on first-down passes to Matt St. Clair and Chris Fish, but Plattsburgh ended up just a yard short for another first down on fourth-and-10 with half a minute to go, just past midfield.
"The guys are disappointed, but they can be proud of their effort," Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "Our guys showed up tonight and played a heck of a game. We had chances to win the game."
Plattsburgh held the Red and Black to a fourth-and-goal inside the four-yard line late in the second quarter after three goal-line stops, but Watertown quarterback Brian Williams converted on a fourth down keeper.
"That was the only time they got into the redzone on us," Keleher said.
Shane Racette put Plattsburgh in good field position at Watertown's 45-yard line with a long return on the ensuing kick, but Stay threw an interception three plays later to end the drive, and eventually the half.
Plattsburgh's best scoring opportunity came in the third quarter when the Stars sat at third-and-goal at the two-yard line.
Watertown defensive players charged Stay as he dropped back for a passing play and forced the first-year signal caller into a fumble.
Keleher said his defense did a good job slowing down Watertown's running game, but that the Red and Black were able to chip away at the clock with short gains.
"The biggest thing for us is that we were on the field a lot defensively," he said. "They just had the ball so long. The time of possession was probably around a 2-to-1 ratio.
I'm very proud of my team, just very proud of the way the guys stayed together and played. I'm proud of how far we came as an organization in three years.
North Stars go for EFL Championship Tonight
October 10, 2009
Plattsburgh takes on Watertown Red and Black tonight for EFL championship
PLATTSBURGH — For the last two games, the Plattsburgh North Stars needed to win to play another week.
However, a victory tonight over the Watertown Red and Black won't ensure another game this season. Instead, the Stars are playing for an Empire Football League championship ring.
So Plattsburgh offensive coordinator Scott Aguglia, who went to the finals in 2007 and 2008 as an assistant with the Vermont Ice Storm, is making sure the players keep their focus in the right direction throughout the biggest game of their season, and maybe the biggest of their EFL careers.
"What I want to try to convey to them is the fact that it's still a football game," Aguglia said. "Yes, it's a championship game, but they need to do the same thing as they have done every night. Just go out and execute — do your job for 60 minutes."
For Plattsburgh, the job will be slowing down Watertown's running game and keeping a tough Red and Black defensive line in check so the Stars can execute their multi-dimensional offense.
Watertown racked up nearly 300 yards of offense on the ground in the team's last meeting on its way to a 21-0 shutout over Plattsburgh.
Stars defensive end/linebacker Kyle Babbie said Plattsburgh's three-man front wasn't able to take up enough bodies at the line of scrimmage. That allowed Red and Black rushers to get momentum and break off bigger runs than Plattsburgh would have liked.
"We were trying to tackle them at the line of scrimmage instead of behind it," Babbie said. "I think with some adjustments we've made, we'll do a better job stopping them before they get a full head of steam."
The Stars also got beat on a couple deep passes to speedy wideout Lester Cole. Watertown doesn't go to the air often, but its stout ground game can lure opposing defensive backs into cheating up in coverage.
Stars coach Pat Keleher said he thought Plattsburgh slowed down the run enough, considering how often Watertown rushes the ball. He said the two big passes were what killed his team.
"Both of those plays set up touchdowns," Keleher said. "That's really what hurt us last time."
Plattsburgh's secondary will focus on recognizing where the ball is and trusting the front seven or eight to attack the run.
"We (defensive backs) just need to stay over the top and know that our defense is pretty solid up front," Stars defensive back Joey Painter said. "The defense has to play well and give the offense as many chances to score as we can."
Plattsburgh, which is much more apt to go to the air attack, will need quarterback Ken Stay to make good decisions and help the offense maintain a good time of possession.
Watertown has a tandem of big interior defensive linemen and quick defensive ends.
"We have to be balanced; We're not good enough to run it down their throats all game long," Keleher said. "The last time we played, we allowed them to tee off on us. The tackles gave us problems with the run and the ends pressured Kenny all night."
Stay threw a pick-six last week in the semifinal game against Quebec, but also ran for a score and threw for another. He tossed six touchdown passes two weeks ago against Massena.
"Our offense is playing well at this point and Kenny is really coming into his own at quarterback," Aguglia said. "Our game plan tomorrow is to just control the football.
"We'd like to get into end zone early and give our defense a little bit of cushion. Obviously, we want to make Watertown leave their comfort zone, which is the running game."
Keleher said containing the option and forcing Watertown into second-and-long, as well as third-and-long situations, will be key.
"They've proven that they can pass, but it's not their bread-and-butter."
Special teams will be important in the game. Without two blocked punts and two blocked extra-point attempts last weekend, Plattsburgh may already have been in the offseason this week.
The championship game will be available to watch on live webcast at www.steveweedproductions.com.
North Stars Reach EFL Title Game
October 4, 2009
MONTREAL — Chris Fish blocked a punt in overtime and Mitch Ryder sealed a dramatic win with a 21-yard field-goal kick to lift the Plattsburgh North Stars to a 22-19 victory over the Quebec Titans in the Empire Football League semifinal game.
It was a thrilling ending to a tough battle of defense and special teams.
"I can't emphasize how proud I am our team," Stars coach Pat Keleher said.
The Stars blocked the point-after attempts of Quebec's last two scores, including an extra-point kick that would have given the Titans a 1-point lead with 33 seconds remaining in the game.
Quebec started the overtime period with the ball, but the Stars got a big third-down sack after Quebec quarterback Kevin Wyeth gave the Titans a first down on a passing play.
"Our defensive line in particular played fantastic, pressuring him all night," Keleher said.
Plattsburgh grabbed two early points with a safety on defense, but Quebec returned an interception for a touchdown to give the Titans a 7-2 halftime lead.
However, Plattsburgh quarterback Ken Stay rebounded with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Fish, a 2-yard conversion completion to Jordan Keleher and a quarterback sneak for a touchdown later in the game.
Ryder added a 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter in addition to Quebec's two touchdown scores.
Plattsburgh's special teams softened the blow of the loss of Zach Blocker with excellent kick-return play from Jordan Keleher and Kelly Gordon.
"They had great returns all night," Coach Keleher said. "I don't think a single return went for under 30 yards."
Running back Brandon Keleher compiled 89 yards on the ground on 23 carries, including a 27-yarder that set up the game-winning kick.
"Coach (Tom) Sorrell and Coach (Scott) Aguglia put together great game plans, and we just stuck to them," Keleher said.
Plattsburgh is slated to face Watertown in the EFL championship game next weekend in Watertown.
The Red and Black defeated Vermont, 19-0, Saturday night.
Stars in EFL Semis Tonight in Quebec
October 3, 2009
MONTREAL — The Plattsburgh North Stars will appear in their first semifinal game this decade when they face the Quebec Titans in Empire Football League playoff action tonight at 7:30.
"I'm excited for it," Plattsburgh coach Pat Keleher said. "The team is going into it with the attitude that there is nothing to lose."
It will be the third time the teams have met this year. Plattsburgh won at home, 31-7, early in the year before falling, 24-0, on the road.
Both teams were missing key players in the respective losses — Quebec had former-Titan veteran players return to the roster after the loss at Plattsburgh, and the Stars were missing 14 players on their trip to Montreal.
Keleher said Quebec improved drastically on both the offensive and defensive lines throughout the season with returning players, and the addition of veteran quarterback Kevin Wyeth made the Titans that much better.
"They are a completely different team with Wyeth," Keleher said. "He's a very experienced quarterback. He understands the game at a high level, and can read defenses and check off at the line of scrimmage very well."
The Stars have made some strides in their passing game, as well.
Quarterback Ken Stay, despite the fact that he was facing a sub-par Massena team, was impressive with six touchdown passes last weekend. He connected with Matt St. Clair on four.
"It was good to see Matt get back into his groove," Keleher said.
Kelly Gordon will return to the lineup at receiver tonight, and standout running back Brandon Keleher will play after missing the last game against Quebec.
The secondary, which also was thin for the last trip to Quebec, will be a deeper unit this time around.
However, the Stars will have to overcome the loss of running back and punt-return man Zach Blocker, who broke his tibia in last week's game.
"Zach is the type of player where if you give him a seam, he can take it to the house at any time," Keleher said.
Jordan Keleher, who is a top-return man in the league, will share return duties with Gordon.
Keleher said the team is much more prepared personnel-wise entering tonight's game than it was two weeks ago.
"We're pretty much back to normal," Keleher said. "We've had some practice time to prepare where guys are going to play."
Stay Leads North Stars to Big Playoff Win
September 27, 2009
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars advanced to the second round of the Empire Football League playoffs with a 42-6 victory over Massena Saturday night at Penfield Park.
Stars quarterback Ken Stay threw six touchdown passes and no interceptions in the game, going 13-for-26 for 226 yards and connecting with receiver Matt St. Clair on four occasions.
"Kenny made some good reads tonight," Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "He made some good checkoffs."
The win marks the third time in the club's 19-year history that the team won 10 games in a season.
"I'm very happy for the organization," Keleher said.
Stay hit tight end Chris Fish for a 22-yard score before throwing three more touchdowns to St. Clair before the half.
Plattsburgh (10-3 EFL, 8-3 overall) tallied 14 points in the first, second and fourth quarters, but couldn't get in the end zone in the third.
"One area I was disappointed in was that I didn't think our offense was very aggressive in the third quarter," Keleher said. "Our defense also gave up some underneath throws for a period in the second half. I think we got a little comfortable there, too."
St. Clair also had an interception and Donny Coolidge added a pick for Plattsburgh.
"Overall, I was pretty pleased with the defense," Keleher said.
St. Clair grabbed his fourth touchdown catch of the game on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Stay hit Jean Mirlville for a score later in the stanza.
Massena scored its only points on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Mason to Lance Brown.
Brandon Keleher rushed for 99 yards and became the second player in team history to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in a single season.
"Brandon has been my workhorse," Stars offensive coordinator Scott Aguglia said. "We run such a balanced offense that teams aren't able to focus in on one aspect. I think that really helps us, too."
Plattsburgh will return to Montreal to face Quebec in semifinal action next Saturday.
Stars Host Massena in Round One of EFL Playoffs
September 26, 2009
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars will play their first home playoff game since 2003 when they host the Massena Silver and Black Raiders tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Penfield Park.
With a victory, it would be just the third time the team has won 10 games in a season in the club's history, alongside a 10-4 season in 1994 and an 11-4 record in 1995.
Also, the team's 7-7 Empire Football League record ties the 1994, 2003 and 2006 seasons as the second best regular-season record in team history.
"I'm very happy with the year we've had so far," Stars coach Pat Keleher said. Keleher, who is in his third season as head coach, won four games in 2007, eight in 2008 and looks to reach the double-digit mark tonight.
"We have a good core-group of guys, and each year we've added some key pieces," Keleher said.
Massena comes to town having lost to Plattsburgh by a total score of 80-6 in two games. However, Keleher's squad isn't taking the Silver and Black lightly.
"We've beaten them pretty handily twice, but what worries me is they've played everyone else, besides us and Watertown, tough," he said.
With a 1-9 record, Massena lost consecutive games to Binghamton and Vermont by two and one point, respectively. The Silver and Black has lost three other games by just eight points or less.
"Primarily, we're just looking to get back to executing well," Keleher said. "I thought there was point mid-season when we were playing very well, but offensively we kind of sputtered since Labor Day break."
Overall, Keleher has still been pleased with the offense as quarterback Ken Stay, running back Brandon Keleher and receiver Kelly Gordon each lead the league in their respective positions.
"We're hoping to get back to spreading the ball around offensively," Keleher said. "Running hard and making teams play honest on defense."
2009 North Stars Statistical Leaders
(Overall, Empire Football League)
B. Keleher- 150-930-8, 126-735-6 (#1 EFL). Z. Blocker- 64-385-2, 64-385-2. E. Parks- 39-209-2, 35-194-2. K. Nolan- 24-97-3, 24-97-3.
K. Stay- 125-255-1595-12TD-10int, 115-199-1287-11TD-10int (#1 EFL)
K. Gordon- 36-502-7, 33-445-6 (#1 EFL). M. St. Clair- 22-288-1, 16-208-1 (#8 EFL). C. Fish- 21-277-2 16-200-2 #9 EFL. J. Keleher- 18-217-0, 15-175-0 (#10 EFL).
Godfrey- 75, 66 (#2 EFL). J. McCray- 54, 50 (#9 EFL). Gibson- 54, 46. Babbie- 53, 48. St. John- 47, 42. Norris- 43, 38.
Gibson- 6, 4.5. Babbie- 5, 3.5.
M. St. Clair- 5, 4 (#3 EFL). St. John- 4, 4 (#3 EFL). Painter- 4, 3.
Coolidge- 13, 11(#1 EFL).
Fish- #2 Punter EFL. Ryder- #1 Place Kicker EFL. Z. Blocker- #1 Punt Returner EFL, 17-385 (22.5) long of 54. J. Keleher- #1 Kick Return EFL, 10-276 (27.6) long of 60.
Stars Shoot for Postseason Edge
September 18, 2009
MONTREAL — A playoff bye and guaranteed home-field advantage in the semifinals is at stake tonight when the Plattsburgh North Stars travel to Montreal to face the Quebec Titans in Empire Football League action.
Both teams currently sit with two losses apiece entering the regular-season finale — one more than first-place Watertown.
The Red and Black hold the first-place tiebreaker against Plattsburgh even if they lose and the Stars win tonight, so Plattsburgh is battling to lock up the second seed.
The Stars defeated Quebec, 31-7, in week three of EFL play because of a solid 21-0 fourth quarter.
The game was the third of six-consecutive (eight overall) victories to open the season, but Plattsburgh lost two-straight road games to Watertown and Binghamton before bouncing back last week in a 13-0 shutout of Vermont at home.
Quebec won four-straight after the loss to Plattsburgh, but the Red and Black ended that streak last weekend in Watertown.
Plattsburgh's ground game is led by Brandon Keleher, who has compiled 735 yards and six touchdowns this regular season.
Quarterback Ken Stay has totaled 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions in that span with a 2-0 touchdown-interception ration in Quebec and Plattsburgh's only meeting.
Kelly Gordon has also made an impact with six receiving touchdowns.
Sigmund Charles leads a Quebec running corps that has amassed just 546 rushing yards this season.
North Stars blank Ice Storm
September 12, 2009
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars got back on the winning track Saturday night, defeating the Vermont Ice Storm, 13-0, and putting themselves in a one-game battle for the league's second seed next week against Quebec.
After two weeks of giving up more big plays than they'd like in Plattsburgh's only two losses of the year, the Stars' secondary returned to its ball-hawking ways, picking off Vermont quarterback Matt Paul three times thanks to the hands of Brandon St. John, Shane Racette and Matt St. Clair.
Vermont had brief success completing passes underneath, but Stars coach Pat Keleher said he doesn't mind giving up a few short passes to prevent a long one.
"The secondary did a great job keeping stuff in front of them tonight," Keleher said.
Brandon Keleher scored Plattsburgh's lone touchdown on a five-yard run. He compiled 84 yards on the ground on 19 carries.
Fullbacks Kyle Nolan and Elija Parks made their presence felt again, leading the way for Keleher and Zach Blocker. Blocker tallied 58 yards rushing in the game.
Vermont's Kevin Fournier and Akeem Williams combined for 109 yards rushing, but they lost effectiveness the closer they got to Plattsburgh's end zone.
"I was pleased that we shut them out, we made the stops when we had to," Keleher said. "And in the second half, we ran the ball when we had to."
Stars quarterback Ken Stay went 9-for-25 passing, totaling 107 yards and an interception.
Paul was 11-for-27 with 125 yards to go along with his three interceptions.
Mitch Ryder was good on field goals of 23 and 25 yards.
The Stars travel to Montreal next weekend to face Quebec. With a victory, Plattsburgh can secure the second seed and a first-round bye, as well as a home game.
"(Vermont) was an important win — we needed it," Keleher said. "Now, it's in our hands."
North Stars Seek Reversal
September 11, 2009
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars have a little something to prove.
The team looks to rebound from two straight losses after a 6-0 start to the Empire Football League season when it hosts the Vermont Ice Storm tonight at 7:30 p.m.
"The guys are eager to right the ship," Plattsburgh head coach Pat Keleher said.
A home matchup against the 2-6 Ice Storm, who Plattsburgh (8-2 overall) defeated by a 21-0 margin in Burlington earlier this season, should be a good opportunity to get back on track after playing three of its last four games on the road.
The Stars currently sit in third place in the EFL standings behind first-place Watertown (7-1) and second-place Quebec (6-1). Those two teams, however, will play tonight in Watertown, so one will have the same number of losses as Plattsburgh at the end of the evening, barring a tie in their matchup or a Plattsburgh loss.
The Stars face Quebec on the road for their regular-season finale.
"We know that destiny is in our hands," Keleher said. "Winning out can guarantee the second seed."
Austin Partain leads the Ice Storm (2-6) offensively with three touchdown catches and 308 yards receiving, and quarterback Matt Paul has completed just 33 perecent of his passes, throwing five touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
One of those interceptions was a pick-six by Stars' linebacker Jamil McCray, which boosted Plattsburgh to a 21-point fourth quarter.
Plattsburgh quarterback Ken Stay has been good on nearly 50 percent of his throws and has tallied 11 touchdowns with eight interceptions.
"Kenny wasn't completely comfortable with the offense when we played them earlier in week two, but he's got 10 games under his belt now," Keleher said.
Brandon Keleher leads the Stars on the ground with 627 yards and five touchdowns.
Kelly Gordon has caught six touchdowns and compiled 394 yards receiving so far this season.
Defensively, B.J. Godfrey leads the Stars in tackles with 52.
"Vermont has played some teams tough," Keleher said. "They haven't traveled all that well, but I don't consider coming across the lake a big trip."
Tonight's game is designated "PAL Football Night." A special admission price of $2 will be granted to all PAL football players who attend wearing their PAL football jersey.
Those PAL players and coaches in attendance will be recognized at half time.
North Stars Lose Heart Breaker in the Fourth
August 30, 2009
BINGHAMTON — Following a dominating offensive performance and a 27-14 lead after three quarters, the Plattsburgh North Stars gave up 21 points in the final stanza in a 35-34 loss to Broome County Saturday night.
Plattsburgh had a chance to dodge the loss with a final drive with three minutes remaining, but a bobbled snap on a field goal attempt inside the 20-yard line prevented a chance for the game-winning kick.
The Stars converted on multiple fourth downs to keep the drive alive.
"The offense played pretty well all night, 34 points on the road is pretty good," Plattsburgh head coach Pat Keleher said. "We just fell apart on defense in the fourth quarter."
It was Plattsburgh second-straight loss as the team drops to 6-2 in Empire Football League play and 8-2 overall.
"We have a bye week next weekend and then play Vermont at home the following week," Keleher said. "We've got to right the ship."
Broome County 35, Plattsburgh 34
North Stars Take Long Road
August 29, 2009
BINGHAMTON — After a tough road loss in Watertown which ended the Plattsburgh North Stars undefeated run, the team takes its longest road trip of the regular season tonight when it faces the Broome Country Dragons in Binghamton.
Plattsburgh (6-1 Empire Football League, 8-1 overall) got its first win and handed the Dragons their first loss of the season in July, as the Stars scored on a punt return, passing and rushing play.
Quarterback Ken Stay completed one touchdown and two interceptions in the game, going just 7-for-20 for 44 yards.
However, Stay has throw eight touchdowns and four picks since that game, and the rushing game has improved since week one with the addition of fullback Kyle Nolan and the development of halfback Zach Blocker, in addition to backs Brandon Keleher and Elija Parks.
"We did a good job running against (Broome County) earlier this year," Plattsburgh head coach Pat Keleher said. "We didn't throw the ball very well but Ken has come a long way since then."
Despite the fact that it faced a very tough defense in Watertown, Plattsburgh will need to be much better running the ball than it was last week.
The Stars totaled just 35 yards on the ground. Brandon Keleher got hurt early in the game and Blocker had to go from his usual change-of-pace position to the primary rusher.
Stay did pile up 165 yards but Plattsburgh couldn't convert a field-goal attempt or two red zone passes that were overthrown.
Plattsburgh can solidify a home playoff game with a win in Binghamton and can, at worst, garauntee the No. 2 seed if it wins its final three games.
"As far as I'm concerned (Broome County) is a must-win," Keleher said.
Stars put streak on line
August 22, 2009
WATERTOWN — Facing a team that has scored 171 points in six games and leads the league in scoring may seem like a tall order.
But noting that 15 of the Red and Black's 18 offensive touchdowns and 1,402 of their 1,481 yards have been on the ground, the task becomes a bit clearer when the Plattsburgh North Stars travel to Watertown to face the Red and Black tonight at 7 p.m.
The undefeated Stars will look to shut down Watertown's running game and use their own versatile offense to get their seventh-straight Empire Football League victory and improve to 9-0 overall.
"Watertown is very good, they run ball very effectively," Stars head coach Pat Keleher said. "They have good backs and a good running quarterback. They do something we traditionally don't see — run the option."
The Red and Black will need that running game tonight, as Watertown quarterback Brian Williams has completed just 9-of-79 passes in the six games, totaling 79 yards through the air.
Putting Watertown in a passing situation late in the game could be key for Plattsburgh, which has shut out its opponents three times this season.
"Can we completely stop their running game? Probably not," Keleher said. "We have to contain the run. And I believe if we can keep it in check and force them to have to throw ball to win, we'll be in pretty good shape."
In addition to its running game, Watertown is no slouch on defense.
Only the Stars have given up fewer points than Watertown this season. Plattsburgh has surrendered 26, while Watertown has given up 40.
The Red and Black (5-1) also have more touchdowns on defense than they do through the air on offense. Anthony Tykala has taken two interceptions back for touchdowns, and teammates Adam Bassinger and Mike Dumaw have scored one apiece on picks.
"Offensively, we have to be able to move ball," Keleher said. "They're probably every bit as good defensively as we are. I think that (defense) is where they are strongest."
Plattsburgh quarterback Ken Stay has continued to absorb and become more comfortable with offensive coordinator Scott Aguglia's system, as the first-year signal caller has thrown nine touchdown passes in EFL play.
He also went three games without throwing an interception before getting picked off twice against Massena in Plattsburgh's 40-6 win at home.
"Scott has done a great job bringing Ken along and working with the offense as a whole," Keleher said. "He and Tom Sorrell, who works with the special teams, has done a really good job prepping our guys — something I'm really appreciative of."
Plattsburgh has a stout run game of its own, led by Brandon Keleher, who leads the team with 522 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season.
Change-of-pace back Zach Blocker has chimed in with 249 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and a solid group of fullbacks including Elija Parks, Kyle Nolan and James Blocker has been a big contributor in leading the way and jamming in a few scores of its own.
As the only unbeaten team in the league, the Stars know everyone is now gunning for them.
"I think we definitely have a bull's-eye on our back," Keleher said. "That's just natural.
"We're excited about this game. It's one of those marquee games that could send a message to the league."
North Stars Crush Silver and Black
August 16, 2009
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars compiled 422 yards on offense in a 40-6 blowout victory over Massena Saturday night at Plattsburgh High School.
The win, along with last weekend's 40-0 road victory over the Silver and Black, improves the Stars to 6-0 in Empire Football League play and 8-0 overall.
"Well, I can say, it's the first time we've been 8-0 since I've been here," Plattsburgh head coach Pat Keleher said. "That's pretty exciting."
Stars quarterback Ken Stay completed 12 of 22 pass attempts for 211 yards in Saturday's game, including a 60-yard touchdown strike to Kelly Gordon. Stay and Gordon continued to show good chemistry, connecting for 105 yards through the air.
Stay also scored the game's first touchdown on a quarterback keeper.
Brandon Keleher had a big night for Plattsburgh, scoring on a 60-yard run and tallying 127 yards on the ground. He also found the end zone on a 3-yard rush.
Fellow halfback Zach Blocker gained 78 rushing yards and scored for Plattsburgh, as well.
"We have a real good group of fullbacks between Kyle (Nolan), Elija (Parks) and James Blocker," Keleher said. "Elija made some textbook blocks tonight that set off some big gains."
Zach Blocker and Jordan Keleher brought back a handful of big kickoff and punt returns, as they've been doing all season long.
"Zach and Jordan do such a good job of setting up the offense and demoralizing the other team with field position," Keleher said.
Unfortunately, Plattsburgh was unable to capitalize on two of those big returns because of false start, illegal shift and holding penalties. On one drive, the Stars started a series in the red zone and found themselves first-and-30 a minute later.
Massena scored its only touchdown on a 49-yard fumble recovery return by Daniel Colbert.
Nolan recorded the game's final points on a 2-yard run and Brandon St. John made the last meaningful play with Plattsburgh's only interception late in the fourth quarter.
The Stars travel to Watertown next weekend to face the Red and Black in a battle of EFL heavyweights. Bragging rights, as well as possible home field advantage in the playoffs will be on the line.
"We're going to go into Watertown like it's a playoff game," Keleher said.
Stars Look to Stay Unbeaten
August 15, 2009
PLATTSBURGH — For the sixth straight time this season, the Plattsburgh North Stars will enter a game with an unbeaten record.
And if last week's 40-0 victory over Massena was any indictation of what is to come tonight when the Stars host the winless Silver and Black at 7:30 at Plattsburgh High School, that number will likely be seven.
However, head coach Pat Keleher isn't about to let his team take the Empire Football League matchup lightly.
"We're approaching everything the same way — Massena is a better team than the score indicated," Keleher said. "We played very well in that game, but they have very good potential. I do not want our guys in any way thinking this game is in the bag. It could very well come down to a dog fight."
Plattsburgh (7-0 overall) is 5-0 in league play, as an Ottawa forfeit counts on their record.
Quarterback Ken Stay fell into a groove last weekend, tossing three touchdown scores, no interceptions and connecting on 12-of-19 passes for 172 yards. The first-year signal caller had made a habit of starting off slow and getting better later in the in the team's first six games, but that was not the case last Saturday.
Keleher expects less early-game rust and better play out of the gate from Stay as he continues to get comfortable with the offense.
"He understands our offense now and (offensive coordinator) Scott (Aguglia) has done a great job bringing him along," Keleher said. "The other half of it is playing experience. The game is slowing down for him."
Plattsburgh's depth all around has been critical, as well.
Kyle Nolan's return to the team, along with Elija Parks, gives Plattsburgh two solid fullbacks in front of a 1-2 punch in Brandon Keleher and Zach Blocker at halfback.
Defensively, Kyle Babbie has played more of a linebacker role instead of his prior spot at defensive end. Babbie, however, still moves up to the line in four down linemen sets and is part of a linebacker group that can rush and play coverage.
Plattsburgh also added Shane Racette in to the mix with Jamil McCray and Josh Nephew in the extra-back/strong safety spot.
The defensive blend Keleher has put together demands chemistry and selflessness, both of which the Stars have seemed to have in its front seven and eight.
"The D-line is doing a good job stalling up front," Keleher said. "They're very unselfish, not worrying about sacks." He added that quarterback pressure has still been a good as ever despite fewer sacks than a majority of EFL teams.
The Stars' success has gained them gained national attention — they're in the top 25 in all three major semi-pro football national polls. This week Plattsburgh is ranked No. 11 in the Minor League Football News poll, 18 in the National Football Events Coaches' Poll and 24 in the Semi-Pro BCS Poll.
A win tonight would garauntee Plattsburgh a winning record and fuel the fire in an already anticipated matchup against undefeated Watertown on the road next weekend.
"My message to the team is still one game at a time," Keleher said. "But I'm very pleased about where we're at right now."
Stay Leads Unbeaten Stars to 40-0 Victory.
August 9, 2009
MASSENA — The Plattsburgh North Stars focused on the passing game during their bye week, and it showed when they returned to action Saturday.
Quarterback Ken Stay tossed three touchdown passes — including a 62-yard score — to help the Stars shut out the Massena Silver and Black 40-0 in an Empire Football League game.
The Stars improved to 4-0 in league play.
Stay finished 10-for-18 for 151 yards and no interceptions.
"One of the things we did during the bye week was work hard on the passing game, letting Ken see the field," Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "He's really had two good (games) in a row now. He's starting to understand the offense. The game's slowing down for him; he's starting to see the field. He played very well tonight."
The Stars' offense was kickstarted by the special teams, specifically Zach Blocker's kick returns.
"He set us in their territory a couple times," Keleher said. "He had a 50-yard opening return to start the game. That put us inside their 30, and bam, three plays and we're up 7-0."
Blocker totaled 137 return yards and added 22 rushing yards.
Stay connected with Matt St. Clair for a 62-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 and found Kelly Gordon for a 6-yard score before the end of the first quarter.
The Stars went into halftime ahead 27-0.
St. Clair finished with a team-high 75 receiving yards, and Gordon totaled three catches for 27 yards. Chris Fish had a 9-yard touchdown reception.
Brandon Keleher led Plattsburgh's ground game with 12 carries for 101 yards and the opening touchdown. Kyle Nolan had a 23-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter, and Elija Parks scored from the 6-yard line in the fourth.
The Silver and Black's best chance to get on the board came late in the game.
"They had a first-and-goal from the six, and we held," Pat Keleher said. "They didn't gain any yards. They went 0-for-4 from the six. That was really the only time they threatened.
"I think we're very solid up front defensively, and that allows what I believe is a very talented group of linebackers to run free, make plays. The secondary was solid (Saturday). They didn't give up any home-run balls."
Massena, which visits Plattsburgh next week, dropped to 0-5 on the season.
North Stars Face Massena
August 8, 2009
MASSENA — After a 3-0 start to the Empire Football Leauge season (5-0 overall) and a bye week to work out whatever kinks they still have, the Plattsburgh North Stars return to the field Saturday in Massena to take on the Silver and Black.
While Plattsburgh remains unbeaten, Massena stands winless at 0-4 and will be hungry after losing its last three games by eight or fewer points.
Massena dropped close games to Binghamton and Vermont, losing 14-13 and 14-12, respectively, following a season-opening blowout defeat to Watertown.
The Silver and Black lost to Quebec, 20-12, last week while Plattsburgh was off.
The Stars look to first-year quarterback Ken Stay to continue directing an offense that has produced 73 points in three league games, second in the EFL behind Watertown.
Stay's main target through the air has been Kelly Gordon. The two have connected for 132 yards and four touchdowns.
Plattsburgh's running backs have put in their share as well. Brandon Keleher, Zach Blocker and Elija Parks have combined for 540 yards and three touchdowns in the three games.
Good penetration from the inside of the defensive line and steady pressure outside has made Plattsburgh's linebacking corps one of the best in the league, allowing the 'backers to successfully chase down the running back or help the secondary in pass coverage.
BJ Godfrey leads the team in tackles with 21, and Jamil McCray already has an interception for a touchdown.
The secondary has combined for seven interceptions in league play as Joey Painter, Matt St. Clair and Brandon St. John have two apiece.
Plattsburgh returns home next weekend to host Massena before going on the road two weeks in a row.
North Stars Nationally Ranked
August 1, 2009
Plattsburgh. The Plattsburgh North Stars have cracked some semi-pro football national top 20 polls. The Stars are ranked 11th nationaly in the Minor League Football News national poll and 18th in the National Football Events coaches poll. The North Stars are ranked 6th in the Northeast region as of August 6th.
North Stars Remain Unbeaten
July 26, 2009
By NICK ST. DENIS
PLATTSBURGH — The stage was set for Zach Blocker.
For the first two games of the Plattsburgh North Stars' 2009 Empire Football League season, the running game was the key on offense. Brandon Keleher and Elija Parks consistently picked up big yardage on up-the-middle runs.
But in the first half of the team's meeting against the Quebec Titans Saturday night, that just didn't seem to be working.
Blocker's outside speed was needed for a spark, and the first-year running back delivered with a momentum-boosting 48-yard touchdown scamper, giving the Stars a 10-0 lead early in the third quarter. Plattsburgh (3-0, 5-0 overall) exploded offensively in the second half on its way to a 31-7 victory over the defending EFL champions.
"I was very impressed with the concentration and the attitude the guys brought tonight," Stars head coach Pat Keleher said. "We were extremely focused and very serious."
Blocker had another big run later in the game for 42 yards behind another crucial block from his fullback. An Elija Parks block set up his first big play and Kyle Nolan set up the second.
Keleher and Parks, despite totaling just eight rushing yards in the first half, moved the ball effectively in the second. 48 of Keleher's 53 yards on the ground came in the second half and included a 14-yard touchdown run. Parks tallied 15 yards in three second-half carries.
"They (Quebec) have one of the best middle linebackers in the league and a very solid front four," the third-year Plattsburgh coach said. "Those inside-the-tackles runs were tough to get."
Stars quarterback Ken Stay was nearly perfect in the second half. Stay completed 7-of-8 pass attempts and hit Kelly Gordon in the end zone twice. He totaled 108 yards in the game and didn't throw an interception.
The same can't be said for Quebec signal-caller Michael Ghorayeb, who was picked off twice by Joey Painter and twice by Brandon St. John.
Ghorayeb hooked up with Sean Kennedy for a touchdown strike in the third quarter for his team's only points. The touchdown brought the score within six, but any Quebec (1-1) momentum was short-lived thanks to a 54-yard kick return by Jordan Keleher. Stay connected with Gordon in the end zone 1:38 later.
Mitch Ryder was good on all four of his extra point attempts and split the uprights on a 21 yard field goal. His field goal was the only points on the board at halftime.
Plattsburgh is on a bye week next weekend before hitting the road in three of its next four games.
Stars Host Titans
July 25, 2009
By NICK ST. DENIS
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars are back home tonight to face the 2008 Empire Football League champion Quebec Titans at Plattsburgh High School at 7:30 p.m.
The Stars, who sit atop the EFL standings at 2-0, look to a stout defense and a steadily improving offense for the team's third-straight league victory.
"I think our linebackers are as good as anyone else in league and we're solid with running backs and receivers," Plattsburgh head coach Pat Keleher said. "The question going into the season was 'how would the quarterback and secondary handle it?' Well, the secondary has shown a lot of growth since the preseason and Kenny (Stay) is getting better and better each week."
Last week, Jamil McCray gave the linebackers a score when he took an interception into the end zone and the secondary was on lockdown against some big and talented Vermont receivers.
Stars running back Brandon Keleher has rushed for 100 yards in three of the last four games (including preseason), and Stay finished Saturday's game with a 45-yard sideline strike to Kelly Gordon for a touchdown.
So Coach Keleher definitely understands what he has in his team.
And apparently so does the National Football Events Coaches' Poll.
The Stars have been ranked 19th in the first edition of the 2009 poll and hold the sixth spot in the Northeast Region.
"That was a pleasant surprise. I was obviously very excited and proud about the ranking," Keleher said. "But it's still early. A ranking like that means more in September than it does in July. So I told the guys to enjoy it and respect it, but don't let it get to our heads and that we need to continue playing at a high level."
Plattsburgh won its home opener against Broome County and rode a fourth-quarter scoring wave to victory against the Vermont Ice Storm last weekend in Burlington. Quebec squeaked by Vermont with a 13-6 season-opening win before having a bye last week.
Tonight's matchup against Quebec will give a serious indication of how good the team really is.
"Last year (starting out the season) we had a big win against Watertown and an exciting comeback win against Amsterdam," Keleher said. "But I think when you can beat a team the quality of Vermont in their house and win against Binghamton, who I think is a better team than people realize, it's a good sign.
Now, facing the defending EFL champions, I feel we're going to be a little more battle-tested than were this time last year."
Plattsburgh will have a bye next week and will be on the road for three of its next four games.
Plattsburgh beats Broom County 21-13
July 12, 2009
Stars win EFL opener
By NICK ST. DENIS Staff Writer
PLATTSBURGH — All three of the Plattsburgh North Stars' units put in their fair share Saturday throughout the team's Empire Football League season opener at Plattsburgh High School.
Special teams took care of the first quarter, the offense picked it up midway through the game and the defense finished in Plattsburgh's 21-13 victory over Broome County.
"It wasn't pretty," Stars head coach Pat Keleher said. "But we won."
Zach Blocker jump-started Plattsburgh with a 65-yard punt return late in the first quarter to give his team a 7-0 lead.
Blocker also took some change-of-pace handoffs at running back and finished the game with 28 yards on five rushes.
"There's no substitution for speed and quickness," Keleher said. "Once he ran that kick back and had another big one after, they kicked away from him."
The big special teams' play compensated for a lack offense early.
Plattsburgh quarterback Ken Stay went 0-for-7 on his first seven throws, including an interception that set up Broome County up on its first touchdown drive.
Broome County quarterback Adam Good threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter. He hit Sam Whitney for a nine-yard strike and Bill Smith for a three-yard score.
Stay finally made a completion to Chris Fish on his eighth attempt and had an end-zone ball intended for Matt St. Clair tipped and caught by Kelly Gordon for a touchdown two plays later.
The Stars running game was productive behind starter Brandon Keleher, who rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts.
"I was very pleased with James (Blocker) and Elija Parks leading the way at fullback," Keleher said.
Plattsburgh's defense was solid all around, particularly in the second half when it held the Dragons to no scoring.
After spending the first half running Ahmeel Kirton on a good portion of its plays, Broome County got heavier in the pass as Plattsburgh held the lead in the second quarter.
Plattsburgh adjusted with a selective pass-rush and eliminated some holes in the secondary with its pass defense.
That approach got Plattsburgh the ball back for a final clock-killing drive when Matt St. Clair picked off Good. Good had defensive ends Kyle Babbie and Kevin Gibson in his face and threw it up for grabs off his back foot.
North Stars open season tonight
July 11, 2009
North Stars open season tonight
Hosting Broome County Dragons
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars host the Broome County Dragons tonight in their Empire Football League opener at Plattsburgh High School at 7:30 p.m.
Broome County, a Binghamton-based semi-pro team, returned to the EFL this season after a two-year absence.
The Dragons went 5-5 in 2006 and 6-4 in 2005. Plattsburgh is coming off a 6-4 season that ended in the first round of the postseason.
"Broome County is basically a complete unknown right now, but I know Binghamton is a football-rich area," Stars head coach Pat Keleher said. "They will probably be pretty good."
Plattsburgh went 2-0 in the postseason with victories over the Southern Vermont Storm and the Vermont Ravens by scores of 12-7 and 25-7, respectively.
Keleher hopes some second and third-year players will step up early in the year since Plattsburgh will be without tight end Trevor St. Clair for a few weeks and all-purpose veteran Heath Geiser for the season.
Geiser suffered a hip injury in the team's second preseason game and was taken to the hospital by an ambulance.
Saturday will be Plattsburgh quarterback Ken Stay's EFL debut. It will also mark offensive coordinator Scott Aguglia's first year as part of the Plattsburgh North Stars organization after spending eight seasons across Lake Champlain with the Vermont Ice Storm.
Aguglia grew up in Plattsburgh playing Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football for Beekmantown and has been living on this side for the past five years.
"I'm very thankful for Coach Keleher giving me the chance to coach in my hometown," Aguglia said.
Both coaches expect the league to be very well-balanced. And after being part of two national-title teams in Vermont, Aguglia sees good potential in the Stars.
"I see no difference in level of play here than what we had in Vermont," he said. "This team will go as far as guys want to as long as they are committed."
North Stars 2009
July 9, 2009
North Stars have good mix of new pieces, key returners
By NICK ST. DENIS
PLATTSBURGH — Things are changing for the Plattsburgh North Stars.
With a new field, a new offensive coordinator, head coach Pat Keleher moving to defensive coordinator and a new quarterback along with additions and subtractions at a number of positions, Plattsburgh looks to do what it failed to do a year ago — finish what it started.
Last season, the Stars bursted out of the gate with six consecutive wins before going 2-4 to finish the regular season and ending the year with a 23-6 loss to Quebec in the first round of the playoffs.
With a bit of a back-heavy schedule once the team got past big season-opening victories over Watertown and Amsterdam, as well as some crucial injuries to the defensive line, Plattsburgh was unable to finish on much of a high note.
"(Last year) we started out real strong, but I don't really think we fizzled off. Toward the end of year we faced Vermont twice and (Quebec) three times," Stars tackle and captain Nick Moore said about the 2008 league champions (Quebec) and Empire Football League powerhouse Vermont. "Those are two very high-quality opponents."
Still, the Stars will need to tame the only two teams that finished ahead of them in the EFL standings a year ago if they want to be considered the top team in the league.
The addition of offensive coordinator Scott Aguglia should be a step in the right direction. Aguglia spent the last eight seasons as a member of the Ice Storm, helping the team to two national titles in the process. Aguglia played receiver and quarterback for five years before taking over as offensive coordinator for the last three.
"All you have to do is just look at the numbers he put up in Vermont with similar personnel that I know we have," Moore said.
Those numbers include 34 passing touchdowns last season from Vermont quarterback Ken Ruderman — exactly twice as many as Plattsburgh quarterback Kellen Nolan threw in the same year.
Vermont's offense led the league in passing in both the 2006 and 2007 seasons with Aguglia calling the plays.
And while the first-year North Star was blessed with a top-notch signal caller in Ruderman, Aguglia sees good potential in first-year quarterback Ken Stay.
The fact that the two are joining forces with the team at the same time should be beneficial in offensive continuity.
"I like the idea that it's a new quarterback coming in the same time as the coordinator," Aguglia said. "It certainly does help in the sense that there are no bad habits to break, or any difference in philosophies."
It's unlikely, however, that there would have been any of those issues with Nolan still behind center. In fact, the loss of Nolan and his brother, Kyle, who was a standout at fullback, in addition to losing all-purpose veteran Heath Geiser to a preseason injury, poses just as much of a void in leadership as it does in talent.
"Kellen and Kyle could have cared less about stats, they just wanted to compete and win. They were all about the team's success," Keleher said. "And Heath is everything you want in football player. He's a great captain and outstanding leader. When a guy like that goes down, its very impacting to a team."
Despite the losses, Plattsburgh still has plenty of weapons on offense, including wideouts Matt St. Clair, Kelly Gordon and Jordan Keleher. St. Clair caught a team-high nine touchdowns for 533 yards last season.
Tight end Trevor St. Clair, who led the team in receptions last season, is also back, but will be out for a few weeks with a bad ankle sprain.
A big, athletic Chris Fish is a key addition that will help smooth things out at that position. The first-year tight end should make an immediate impact with his ability to go up and fight for the ball in the air.
Brandon Keleher will return as Plattsburgh's No. 1 halfback. Keleher tallied 622 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground in 2008. He will run behind a solid offensive line that saw its anchor, Moore, move from center to tackle this season.
"Nick can play anywhere on the offensive line," Aguglia said.
Coach Keleher finds himself a bit more at home now that he's playing the role of defensive coordinator. The third-year head coach called plays on the offensive side of the ball for the first two seasons.
"D is a better fit for me," Keleher said. "I've been on both sides in my football coaching career but have spent much more time on the defensive side of the ball. I've always had passion for defense."
This year, Keleher has plenty to work with.
Kyle Babbie returns as the league's two-time defending sack leader. Babbie, a defensive end, linebacker Jamil McCray and defensive end Kevin Gibson should find themselves meeting at the quarterback enough times to keep opposing signal callers on edge.
McCray, who joined midway through last season, played more of a third-down role in 2008 but is expected to be a key player on the defense this year.
Keleher also looks for Dustin Frederick, new to the defensive line, to make a big impact because he is "fast and strong."
Plattsburgh is a bit young in the secondary, but has a good leader in first-year defensive back Chris McMillan.
"McMillan is definitely the field general," Keleher said. "The new DBs have been showing a lot of promise and working hard. If these DBs stay around they will be good in time."
At middle linebacker, B.J. Godfrey returns after making 83 tackles last season, which was second-most among EFL defenders.
Lastly, special teams looks to be a strong point for Plattsburgh. Gordon led the league in return average and had the only kickoff return for a touchdown in 2008. Jordan Keleher is also a threat on returns.
The addition of Mitch Ryder at kicker is the icing on the special teams unit, giving Plattsburgh consistent confidence in taking three points if necessary.
Plattsburgh begins its regular-season schedule at Plattsburgh High School against Broome County at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Stars beat the Ravens 25-7
June 28, 2009
Stars win preseason test
By NICK ST. DENIS
PLATTSBURGH — The Vermont Ravens made their first pass completion three minutes into the third quarter and scored their first touchdown on a 27-yard strike from Sean O'Connor to Michael Ball.
And while it was a nice-looking play, it was a rare sight in the Plattsburgh North Stars' 25-7 victory over the Ravens at Plattsburgh High School Saturday night.
On the first play from scrimmage, Stars' linebacker Jamil McCray gave a glimpse of things to come with a harassing blitz that forced O'Connor into a wobbly throw.
Brandon St. John intercepted the ball on the play, and Plattsburgh went on a 19-0 first-half run.
"I was happy with the defense," Stars head coach Pat Keleher said. "Especially the secondary, I thought they played very well and are picking up the system nicely."
Donny Coolidge made a fourth-quarter interception for the Stars.
Plattsburgh quarterback Ken Stay, who graduated from PHS in 2007, made a respectable return to his high school turf, going 9-19 for 136 yards, no passing touchdowns, no interceptions and a quarterback keeper for a score.
"It was kind of a déja vù playing at my old stomping grounds," Stay said.
The first-year signal caller had one dry spell in the second quarter, throwing five-straight incomplete passes. However, Stay insisted he and his receivers are quickly developing chemistry, and it showed.
He hit Kelly Gordon on a perfect touch pass for 27 yards on the team's third offensive play.
Stay also connected on a deep 64-yard pass with Matt St. Clair in the first quarter that was taken to the end zone but negated on a holding penalty.
The two connected for a 21-yard strike on the next series, and Stay found Jordan Keleher for 23 yards on the next play.
He missed one good scoring opportunity at the beginning of the fourth quarter, underthrowing a wide open Gordon down the left sideline.
"I thought (Stay) played real well," Stars offensive coordinator and former Vermont Ice Storm offensive coordinator Scott Aguglia said. "It seems like he's starting to get pretty comfortable with the offense."
Brandon Keleher provided some offensive support by putting together a stout ground game for Plattsburgh. The Stars halfback and captain rushed for 115 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter.
Heath Geiser scored a 15-yard touchdown and totaled 54 yards rushing before going down with an apparent hip injury. He was taken away in an ambulance.
Coach Keleher said his fullbacks made big contributions blocking and the play of the offensive line was "much better" than last week.
First-year kicker Mitch Ryder tallied an extra point with 38 and 26-yard boots for seven total points.
"Mitch adds a lot," Keleher said. "It's nice to have confidence in being able to make field goals, even though I wasn't real happy with being forced to take them after being stopped pretty close to the end zone."
The Stars, along with the Empire Football League, are working out schedule issues today. Plattsburgh is slated to face the Vermont Ice Storm in three weeks, but an official schedule for the upcoming weeks is to be announced.
Stars to host Ravens
June 27, 2009
Stars to host Ravens in final preseason test
PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars host the Vermont Ravens tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Plattsburgh High School in their final preseason test before kicking off the Empire Football League season in mid-July.
It will be the second consecutive year Plattsburgh faces the young Ravens organization.
The Stars cruised to a 40-13 victory over Vermont in last year's meeting, but Plattsburgh captain and center Nick Moore insists his team isn't taking the visitors lightly tonight.
"We beat the Ravens handily last year, but the word out there is that they picked up some good, new guys and will be a stronger team," Moore said.
The Ravens finished their 2008 New England Football League A Division regular season at 3-5, losing to the eventual League champions, the Tri-City Charge, in the playoffs.
North Stars head coach Pat Keleher said he's taking the same approach in the game as he did last weekend in the team's 13-7 victory over the Southern Vermont Storm.
"We're playing to win the game, but it is still an opportunity to get everyone in and rotate people through positions," he said.
He added that if the team gets in a "crunch time" situation near the end of the game, the personnel whom he thinks gives the team the best chance to win will see the field.
North Stars on the Move
June 26, 2009
North Stars on the move
Plattsburgh North Stars to call PHS home after 19 years at Bailey/Penfield Park
By NICK ST. DENIS
PLATTSBURGH — For the first time in 19 years, the Plattsburgh North Stars will not take the field at Melissa Penfield Park, or what was known as Bailey Avenue Park for most of the organization's years.
Instead, the Plattsburgh High School football field will now be the Stars' home turf, starting Saturday night.
"From day one (of taking the reins in 2007) I explored the possibility of going to PHS," Plattsburgh head coach Pat Keleher said.
And the third-year coach had his reasons.
While the Stars' old home field has been a reliable and humble arena for nearly two decades, multiple issues proved to be too easily solved by the move.
One of the most glaring, said Keleher, is the lack of locker room facilities for both the home and visiting team — especially the latter.
Having no way for opposing players to shed the mess of a muddy game before heading home was a concern.
"Visiting teams pay a lot of money for coach buses," Keleher said. "And after they play a muddy game at (Penfield), teams have to basically go straight from the field to the bus. It can get messy, and that can lead to them losing their deposits. It's just not convenient."
The faster, more consistent playing surface of turf will also play a factor in the Stars' performance, especially with an experienced group of wideouts and what Stars' center Nick Moore says is a "cannon" of an arm on new quarterback Ken Stay.
Stay, along with first-year defensive back Chris McMillan, are among several players returning to their old stomping grounds at PHS, though Stay was fortunate enough to actually play on the new field in high school since it opened for play in 2006.
"It should be pretty cool for ex-PHS players," Moore said. "But from what I've noticed, people among the community in general really like that field and they're excited to see us out there."
However, as far as Moore is concerned, a field is really just a field once it's time to line up and snap the ball.
"To be honest, I really don't think the field makes a heck of a lot of difference," he said. "I'm pretty indifferent — I've been at (Penfield) for a while, so it really doesn't matter to me."
Keleher said the move was not the result of any problems between the North Stars and the City of Plattsburgh. In fact, it represented a working relationship turned positive.
"We approached the City with the idea in 2007 and discussed it among the board, but they were not in favor it at that time," he related.
"But now, the City and the school district see us as more reliable, professional, upfront and dependable."
The school's athletic booster club will run the concession stand during the games. Also, Keleher is happy to say that the games' $5 admission remains the same since the team first took the field in 1991.
"I think we've come a long way within the last three years," he said. "This year, we're moving forward the same way we did last year."
The Stars will face the Vermont Ravens Saturday at 7:30 at the Plattsburgh High School football field for their home opener and final preseason game.
June 21, 2009
North Stars pull out victory
By NICK ST. DENIS
MANCHESTER CENTER, Vt — It wasn't pretty, but that's why it's preseason.
The Plattsburgh North Stars took some time to find their rhythm Saturday, scoring twice in the fourth quarter in a 13-7 victory over Southern Vermont at Applejack Field in Manchester Center, Vt.
"For three quarters, we were sluggish and outplayed," Stars head coach Pat Keleher said. "I give (Southern Vermont) credit. They played very hard — They're smaller than us, but very quick and athletic."
The fourth quarter, however, was a different story.
Brandon Keleher put Plattsburgh on the board midway through the stanza on a two-yard touchdown run, capping off a 60-yard, seven-play drive.
Keleher totaled 80 yards in the game.
The Stars defense picked up where the offense led off, forcing a 3-and-out thanks in part to a swatted-down pass and good pressure on the quarterback by Kevin Gibson.
On the ensuing possession, tight end Chris Fish made an aggressive 21-yard catch to keep the drive alive on third and 13.
Plattsburgh moved over 70 yards in four minutes on that drive.
"Fish just went up and took the ball away from three guys," Keleher said.
Ken Stay, who replaced Kellen Nolan at quarterback this season, connected with Kelly Gordon on a 12-yard touchdown strike with 1:03 on the clock. Mitch Ryder was good on the extra point.
"Stay showed some composure," Keleher said. "He got hit in the first half — I was very impressed with his toughness."
Stay went 13-23 for 152 yards and no interceptions with his touchdown.
The Storm scored their lone touchdown on a 3-yard bootleg on fourth and goal by quarterback Sean Lennon.
Lennon was picked off three times in the game — once each by Donny Coolidge, Joey Painter and Matt St. Clair.
Keleher credited his defense and late play by the offense, but expects a little more as the regular season approaches.
"I'm a little disappointed it took us three quarters to get up to speed," Keleher said. "We didn't have the intensity we need to have to survive in the Empire Football League."
Plattsburgh will host the Vermont Ravens at Plattsburgh High School Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
||Plattsburgh North Stars