Sunday, July 24, 2005

Lake City Stars Win, 27-12

Lake City Stars’ Shane Racette (22) hauls in a touchdown pass from Eddie Castine in the second quarter as Watertown cornerback Todd Kiechle (18) trails the play. The Stars picked up a 27-12 non-league victory over the Red & Black on Saturday at Melissa L. Penfield Park. (P-R Photo/MICHAEL BETTS)

By KEITH KANE, Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH — For the second straight home game, the Lake City Stars took Melissa L. Penfield Park’s field with nothing on the line but pride.

Staring back at them was the team that knocked them out of last season’s Empire Football League playoffs with a 10-0 win — the Watertown Red & Black.

Both teams were coming off a bye week, but the Stars looked to be a little more refreshed.

Eddie Castine took control of the game early and the Lake City defense shined as the Stars defeated their rivals, 27-12, in a non-league game Saturday.

Castine, who completed just two passes for 62 yards in Lake City’s EFL opener against Montreal, struck for the first time with 3:32 left in the first quarter as he hit Chris Verkey on a 24-yard touchdown pass.

With just three minutes gone in the second quarter, Castine aired it out again, this time to wide-out Shane Racette on a 35-yard touchdown pass. Castine wasn’t done finding receivers through the air, as he hit Verkey again just three minutes into the second half on a 61-yard touchdown bomb to put the Stars ahead, 21-6.

And for good measure, the talented quarterback showed he has more than just a strong arm as he followed his offensive line into the end-zone for a two-yard touchdown run.

"Eddie played tonight the way I know he can play," Lake City head coach Ed McCallister said. "Tonight, against a team of this magnitude, he played outstanding. A game like this could ignite him for the rest of the season and that would really help the team.

"To beat Watertown you have to throw the football. We have a lot of confidence in our running game, but they put eight guys up in the box so Eddie had to make plays and he did that."

With defensive coordinator Nick Damiani unable to attend the game, McCallister scrambled for a capable play-caller and found one in linebacker Michael Lawyer.

"Michael Lawyer took on a duel role for us tonight," McCallister said. "With our defensive coordinator not here, Lawyer not only played the game, but called the plays. Without him this would have been a different game — he did a great job."

The Stars defense played outstanding football as they held the Red & Black to just 74 yards rushing, including holding Al Countryman to just nine yards.

The only dent in Lake City’s armor was giving up two big plays to a Watertown team that struggled to get anything going against the Stars defense.

With just three minutes remaining in the first half and the Red & Black trapped on their own 18 yard line, quarterback Doug Black hit wide receiver Rod Gleisner in stride for an 82-yard touchdown pass to put Watertown on the board.

The Red & Black again struggled to move the ball in the second half, but Lake City’s special teams let Countryman get free up the middle for a 56-yard punt return and Vince Williams took it the final four yards for a touchdown, Watertown’s final score of the game.

"I thought we played well in every facet of the game tonight," McCallister said. "The special teams did a great job, except that one play. You have to play the whole game and we took one play off and it hurt us.

"With the youth on this football team this is a good win for us. I was extremely pleased with both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball."

Castine finished with 125 yards passing and three touchdowns as well as 15 yards rushing and a touchdown. Verkey hauled in two passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns.

Heath Geiser rushed for 45 yards on 12 carries, Vern Harrison picked up 38 on seven carries, Kyle Nolan added 33 on six carries and newcomer John Faheey tallied 28 yards on four carries.

Watertown was paced by Williams’ 56 yards rushing. Black went 5-for-18 passing with an interception (Lake City’s Earl Parks) and finished with 103 yards through the air. Gleisner hauled in two passed for 88 yards and a touchdown.

"This was a big win for us, but doesn’t do anything in the standings," McCallister said. "We still have to show up next week against Orange County and play, but tonight is the way we need to play. Our defense was aggressive and with that good things will happen.

"Every week we are getting better and we have to do that with the caliber of teams we face in this league. If not we will be in trouble. Hopefully, we will put forth this same kind of effort on Saturday, get some guys healthy and get into a little bit of rhythm so we can get on a roll."

Copyright 1999-2005, Plattsburgh Press-Republican, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.

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