Sunday, July 31, 2005

Orange County denies Stars

 By KEITH KANE Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH — It took awhile for the Lake City Stars to realize that they could play with the Orange County Bulldogs.

And when they finally got rolling, it was too late.

The Bulldogs held on with a late defensive stand inside their own 25-yard line to defeat the Stars 12-7 in Empire Football League action at Melissa L. Penfield Park on Saturday.

 Orange County’s running back Raheem Ridley (center) is gang-tackled by Lake City’s Brent Corron (84), Shane Cheeseman (53) and Joe Licardi (right) in Empire Football League action at Melissa L. Penfield Park on Saturday. The Stars suffered a 12-7 defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs.(P-R Photo/MICHAEL BETTS)
Lake City (3-1) trailed Orange County (4-0) 12-0 heading into the fourth quarter when quarterback Eddie Castine tried to hook up with receiver Shane Racette.

Racette was pulled down by a Bulldogs cornerback which set the Stars up at the Orange County two.

The Bulldogs held tough on first and two, when Castine tried to plow his way up the middle, but managed only one yard. On second down, however, John Faheey took a Castine hand off and went over left tackle for the score. Ryan DeCamp added the point after to move the Stars to within five points, 12-7.

Then on Orange County’s second possession of the quarter, Raheem Ridley took a Jared Pilletteri hand off for a seven-yard gain, but Lake City cornerback Earl Parks laid out Ridley forcing a fumble, which Ronnie Foster recovered for the Stars.

With Lake City taking over on the Bulldogs’ 41, Faheey carried the ball twice for seven and six yards to get the Stars down to the 18. Orange County, however, stepped up its defense and stopped Faheey three straight times, for a no gain, a loss of six and finally a loss of three.

The Stars had one final chance to go ahead as Castine aired one out on fourth down and 27, but Lake City’s hopes were dashed as Racette couldn’t hang onto the ball in the end zone. The Bulldogs ran out the final 1:33.

"We are a young team," Stars head coach Ed McCallister said. "Sometimes with youth comes a lack of confidence, but we definitely have a good football team.

"This game tells us that we are a good team. They (Orange County) have more experience at this level compared to what we have and they were bigger than us, but you can’t measure heart."

The Bulldogs took the lead late in the first half after as running back Anton Armstead raced 51 yards for the first score of the game with 1:45 left. Armstead finished with 50 yards on four carries.

Orange County struck again in the third quarter when Raheem Ridley took it in on a 12-yard run, which was set up on Pilliteri’s 41-yard pass to Paul Reed.

"It took us some time on offense to get going," McCallister said. "They’re a good defense and we were the first team to score on them all season.

"Once we decided we could hang with them we were OK. They’re a solid football team; they aren’t at the top of the standings each season by being lucky."

The Stars suffered another tough injury as starting tailback Heath Geiser went down with an ankle injury; his status is unknown as Lake City heads into a bye week.

Faheey, however, filled in nicely as he totaled 45 yards on just 14 carries and a touchdown. Vern Harrison added another 10 yards on two carries.

Defensively, the Stars gave up more yards on the ground then usual as the Bulldogs picked up 133 on 28 carries, but managed to come up with big plays when needed to hold Orange County to just 12 points. Parks picked up his third interception in as many games.

"I think that if we played the way we did last week against Watertown and giving just a little extra we would have won," McCallister said. "I am not disappointed about how things turned out though as we played hard, but it’s unfortunate that we lost.

"We have a bye this week and we are going to take advantage of it. We are going to be ready for Broome County on Aug. 13."

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