Saturday, September 10, 2005
Stars counting on big turnout tonight
By KEITH KANE, Staff Writer
PLATTSBURGH — After a two-week layoff — thanks to the Labor Day weekend — the Lake City Stars will be back in action tonight against the Ottawa Deacon Demons.
Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Melissa L. Penfield Park. Tonight’s contest will be the last home game of the regular season and the Stars are looking for some support in a bid to break the Empire Football League’s single-game attendance record, which currently stands at 15,000.
Anyone attending tonight’s game who brings a canned good for the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort will get one dollar off the admission price. The Stars will also donate all profits received during the 50/50 raffle toward the Relief Effort.
Lake City heads into the game with the league’s third best defense in points allowed. The Stars have only allowed 53 points all season.
Mike Lawyer leads the way for the defense, not only in tackles with a team-high 29 and 1½ sacks, but he also calls the plays on the field. Earl Parks leads the team in interceptions with three and is second in tackles with 23. Kellen Nolan is right behind Parks with two interceptions and third on the team in tackles with 22.
"I am really anxious to start playing after this two-week break," Lake City head coach Ed McCallister said. "This is the first game of the rest of the season. From here on out we play until we are done, whether that is in the playoffs or the regular season.
"I’d like to think we are going to make the playoffs, but there are no guarantees."
The Deacon Demons are coming off a 29-6 loss to Orange County. Ottawa comes in with a league-low 16 points for the season.
Shawn Harkes is the Deacon Demons main weapon on offense with 250 yards rushing on 64 carries; the team has only 416 rushing yards. Harkes is also a threat in the passing game with 71 yards receiving, good for second behind Rani Thoba, with 100.
"Harkes is a pretty good running back," McCallister said. "Obviously they should be able to put together a formidable team with as many people that they can draw from and their defense has always been very aggressive in years past.
"We have been able to play well against them in the past, but that is in the past. A lot of teams now seem to make their season by beating us and I don’t think this is any different. We have to be prepared and play solid football."
The Stars are coming off a 20-8 come-from-behind victory over the St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers. They pulled it out the win with fourth-quarter touchdowns from Heath Geiser and Kyle Nolan.
Brandon Kelleher led the way with 88 yards rushing. Geiser picked up 46 yards and Nolan added 34.
Lake City was without John Faheey and Vern Harrison.
Also missing was starting quarterback Eddie Castine. Marlowe Boylan filled in and posted 59 yards through the air, including a 57-yard touchdown strike to Chris Verkey.
"We will probably make a few mistakes coming back from the time off," McCallister said. "Hopefully, we can get back to gelling pretty quick.
"This is the first time Castine will be back on the field in three weeks. It will be nice to get him back under center and get him some reps."
The Stars are looking for a strong finish as they gear up for the playoffs with an eye toward gaining home-field advantage. Lake City comes into the game 5-2 while the Deacon Demons are 2-5, both wins coming as forfeits.
"It is important to win this game," McCallister said. "Basically we are starting the playoffs this week with Watertown and Albany coming up in the next few weeks.
"Hopefully, things will go good tomorrow with the clinic where we hopefully will get a solid turnout. It should be a good, fun day of football."