Sunday, July 10, 2005

Stars win EFL opener


MONTREAL — The Lake City Stars rebounded nicely from a hard loss in the preseason to win their Empire Football League opener over the Montreal Titans, 22-13, Saturday in Montreal.

James Blocker’s 41-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Eddie Castine and Heath Geiser’s subsequent 2-point conversion run in the third quarter gave the Stars the lead for good.

"This was a good, physical football game," Lake City head coach Ed McCallister said. "There was a lot of intensity on both sides — this is what I have been looking for.

"It is a great way to start off the season. Now the guys know what they are capable of doing."

The Titans scored first on a Sean Hoas touchdown pass.

The Stars jumped back in the second when Castine found paydirt on a one yard touchdown run, but Lake City was unable to take the lead when the point-after attempt was blocked.

Late in the half, Montreal capitalized on a Stars’ fumble at the 25 to take a 13-6 lead.

The second half, however, Lake City’s defense dominated the Titans.

"Defensivel,y the guys played outstanding football," McCallister said. "It’s too hard to single out any one person; this was definitely a total team effort. The second half is the way we have played football the last several years I have been here. We found the intensity and literally came out and slammed the door on them."

With the defense keeping the Titans out of the end zone, Castine hooked up with Blocker for the go-ahead score. Kyle Nolan put the game away with a 19-yard touchdown run with Geiser again adding the 2-point conversion.

The Stars could have had another score, but a 70-yard touchdown prance by Vern Harrison was called back on a call McCallister thought was unnecessary.

"The officiating was abysmal," McCallister said. "It was just horrendous. Harrison ran for his 70 yard touchdown and they threw a flag after the fact. They were just horrible and for us to overcome that, it was pretty big."

Geiser raced for 172 yards on just 16 carries. Harrison added 42 on eight carries and Nolan finished with 53 on nine.

Castine aired it out only seven times in the rain-soaked contest, completing two passes for 62 yards and a touchdown. Nolan added 21 yards receiving to go with Blocker’s 41.

"This was a physical football game," McCallister said. "It rained and the field became real muddy, which ended up benefiting us because they were a passing team. We ran them down with our running attack and we were just in much better shape than they were, which was a plus.

"It was a total team effort and our special teams was much improved. (Nick) Damiani (the Stars defensive coach) received the game ball for his first victory on the defensive side of the ball. Our offensive line really earned the props they have received. It was a good victory, really good."

The Stars will have a bye next week since the Amsterdam Zephyrs, have folded. The Stars have two more open dates on their schedule and are in the process of filling one of two voids with an exhibition contest.

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