Saturday, October 01, 2005




By KEITH KANE, Staff Write

PLATTSBURGH -- The Empire Football League begins a new season tonight and the Lake City Stars couldn't be happier.

The Stars host the Broome County Dragons tonight at Melissa L. Penfield Park at 7:30 p.m. in the first-round of the EFL playoffs, where everyone is now 0-0; admission for the contest will be $5 for all attendees.

The Dragons will come to Plattsburgh even though they share a 6-4 record with the Stars. Thanks to a three-way tie with the Montreal Titans and with each team beating each other, the points allowed tie-breaker was put into effect. Because Lake City had only allowed 142 points on the season, the home playoff game was granted to them.

The Stars have had a rough going of late as they have dropped their last two games, both on the road. Also, losing a handful of players including starting right tackle Keith Bushey to a broken leg a week ago.

"I have been here since 1997," Stars head coach Ed McCallister said. "This is by far the worst year for injuries we have ever had. It isn't a lack of conditioning, because we are a very conditioned team; we have just lost a lot of bodies over the year."

Lake City should be back to nearly full strength, minus Bushey. Tonight the Dragons come into town for the second time this season, with the Stars hoping the outcome to be a little different this go around.

"Looking back we have to finish our drives," McCallister said. "We left the ball twice inside the five-yard line and we turned the ball over on our own 25, which in turn gave them the winning score."

Lake City took a hard 14-11 loss to Broome County, giving up only two touchdown passes.

"(Ty) Fish is a good quarterback and he and his receivers have good timing routs," McCallister said. "They will out the ball in the air, but our offense has to put points on the board. We are capable of doing so, we just have to do it."

For the season, the Stars have been led on the ground by a trio of backs with Heath Geiser getting the bulk of the carries. Geiser has 483 yards on 85 carries with a touchdown this season. Brandon Kelleher has compiled 263 yards and three scored on 45 carries and Kyle Nolan adds 242 and three touchdowns on 43.

Eddie Castine should be back under center tonight after missing a couple of starts. Castine has completed 25 passes for 550 yards and six touchdowns on the season.

James Blocker has become one of Castine's favorite targets with 10 catches for 185 yards and a touchdown. Matt St. Clair has hauled in six catches for 141 yards and a score.

Defensively, captain Mike Lawyer leads the team in tackles with 53. Kellen Nolan adds 38 tackles and three interceptions from the secondary while Earl Parks has four picks on the season and 33 tackles.

McCallister said his squad is coming off of a very strong week of practice and know that after tonight the season could be over.

"This is it," McCallister said. "We hope to draw a little bit of energy, some emotion and momentum knowing that this could be it. Lose and we are done

"We aren't ready to let our season be over."

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