Sunday, August 14, 2005
Stars lose 14-11; turnovers costly
By KEITH KANEStaff Writer
PLATTSBURGH — Turnovers and missed opportunities haunted the Lake City Stars on Saturday and in the end they came up about one foot short.
The Stars suffered a 14-11 loss to the Broome County Dragons at Melissa L. Penfield Park, dropping their second straight Empire Football League contest.
"I don’t think we were mentally ready to play," Lake City head coach Ed McCallister said. "And I guess that is my fault — I should have had them ready to play."
The Stars turned the ball over three times, two of which came in Dragons’ territory.
Lake City, already trailing 7-0 on a 34-yard touchdown catch by Jon Bechy from Ty Fish, traveled 61 yards on 15 plays down to Broome County’s three-yard line.
On fourth down, McCallister called Heath Geiser’s number to take it into the end zone, but the usually sure-handed back fumbled the ball and the Dragons’ Brian Davis recovered.
"Thinking about it now I probably should have kicked the field goal," McCallister said. "Then we would have been going for the win instead of the tie. Geiser’s fumble was the last thing I thought would have happened on that play."
Ryan DeCamp got the Stars on the board early in the second quarter with a 29-yard field goal to move Lake City to within four.
Broome County, however, answered on its second possession of the quarter when Fish hit Brian Mister on a 10-yard touchdown pass. The drive was set up by a Stars’ fumble at their own 28 yard line.
Trailing 14-3, Lake City’s defense stepped up in the second half as the Stars intercepted Fish twice and held the Dragons out of the end zone.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Stars were able to move within striking distance. On the second possession of the quarter, Eddie Castine hit Matt St. Clair on a 51-yard reception and then hit James Block for six yards down to the 24. Castine used his legs on the next play as he ran 18 yards to the six and Kyle Nolan took the hand off three plays later for a two-yard touchdown. Vern Harrison carried it in for the all-important 2-point conversion to move Lake City to within three.
On the Dragons’ next possession, Fish dropped back on third and 15, but St. Clair picked him off to set up the Stars at the 50 with 2:34 left in the game.
The Stars picked up one first down and found themselves at the 23-yard line. Two incomplete passes and a Vern Harrison negative run forced McCallister to send in the kicking unit on fourth down to tie the game.
DeCamp, who had been nailing 50-yarders in warm-ups with ease, kicked a beauty that appeared heading through the uprights, but came up a foot short.
"He didn’t get as much leg into it as he usually does," McCallister said. "But that is in no way he’s fault. It is very difficult for a guy to go in and kick a 44-yarder with limited practice time. It’s not that the kicking game isn’t important, it’s just we sometimes run out of time during our practices."
The Dragons took over after the missed field goal and took knees to run out the clock.
Fish finished with 143 yards through the air on eight completions with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Bechy picked up 79 yards on three catches and Rob Stokstad 60 on two.
The Stars held Broome County’s running game in check as they only totaled 72 yards on the ground.
Castine had another strong performance as he completed 11 passes for 173 yards and no interceptions. St. Clair had three receptions for 69 yards while Blocker added 44 on four catches. Castine led the Stars in rushing with 34 yards as Lake City totaled 114 yards on the ground.
"I think we were able to move the football," McCallister said. "But you can’t drive the ball down the field and get nothing to show for it. You can’t kill yourself with mistakes.
"We definitely didn’t get beat playing our best ball. I am not taking anything away from Broome County, that is a good football team. We can’t let a team of that caliber stick around — they made big plays."
The Stars have fallen into a small losing streak with two straight losses, but hope to rebound on Saturday against the Scranton Eagles at Melissa L. Penfield Park.
"We’ll be hungry next week," McCallister said. "I know 11 players and hopefully more will be ready to play football."