Saturday, July 30, 2005

Lake City Stars host rugged Orange County


By KEITH KANE Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH — Four weeks into the Empire Football League season and the Lake City Stars will finally head into Melissa L. Penfield Park for their Empire Football League home opener tonight at 7:30 against the Orange County Bulldogs.

For the past two weeks the Stars haven’t played an actual EFL football with the folding of the Amsterdam Zephyrs and Green Mountain Gladiators for the 2005 season.

Last week, however, Lake City picked up a fortunate non-league game against rival Watertown, which should have prepared them for tonight’s opponent.

"This is the longest time I have gone without having a league opener at home for us," Stars head coach Ed McCallister said. "But, I feel it was good to play a non-league contest against Watertown out of choice, which shows a lot about us. Going in against Orange County now we at least have had a physical football game prior to going against them."

Lake City not only gained preparation for tonight’s game last week, but also a non-league victory over Watertown, 27-12. Eddie Castine led the team offensively and appears to be on the right track this season. Castine completed four passes for 125 yards and four touchdowns (one rushing).

Chris Verkey picked up huge plays through the air as he hauled in two passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Shane Racette also picked up a touchdown pass of 25 yards.

The rushing attack didn’t feature just one back, but a plethora of runners. Eight different backs took hand offs for the Stars and picked up 195 yards rushing on 43 carries.

Defensively, Lake City was very strong as they held the Red & Black to just 177 total yards. Mike Lawyer and Earl Parks led the way for the Stars, with Parks picking up an interception.

Lake City hopes to continue the rhythm they have picked up from last weekend’s game.

"We have to play the way we played against Watertown tonight against Orange County just to stay in the game," McCallister said. "If we play with that kind of intensity, play the physical and mental game I know we can and pick it up a notch I will be happy — that is all I can ask for."

The Bulldogs head into tonight’s game following a 64-0 blowout of the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers on July 23. Orange County’s defense hasn’t allowed a point in two games this season as they have also beaten Broome County, 21-0.

Quarterback Dave Post tossed three touchdown passes in the first half against the Trailblazers as the Bulldogs took a 44-0 lead at the half.

"They (Orange County) are a very organized and very disciplined football team," McCallister said. "When you get to where players are not worried about statistics but whatever helps the team, you usually have a good football team —I believe that is where we are now."

McCallister knows that when the Stars take the field tonight that they will be facing one of the better teams on the EFL schedule.

"Orange County could come out and beat us 54-0," McCallister said. "But, if we play the type of football I know we can, I can’t lower my head. We are capable of playing good football, when guys start to realize that then good things will happen for us.

"I think we will see a good football game tonight. Both teams play physical football and they play hard and clean — it should be a good game for fans to watch."

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