Sunday, October 02, 2005

Stars move on

By Keith Kane, Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH -- The Lake City Stars weren't exactly ready for their season to end on Saturday.

Heath Geiser, Matt St. Clair and a strong defensive line made sure that it didn't as the Stars defeated Broome County 28-26 at Melissa L. Penfield Park in the first round of the Empire Football League playoffs.

Heath Geiser (21) of Lake City sheds off Broome County tackler Pasquale Iacono (50) on his way in for the touchdown. The Stars knocked off the Dragons, 28-26. (Staff Photo/ROB FOUNTAIN)

With the victory Lake City will travel to play No. 1 seed Albany at Union College on Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

The Stars held a 7-6 lead with five minutes gone in the second quarter when they used a bit of trickery to open the game up. Coach Ed McCallister had quarterback Kellen Nolan line up the team and yelled onto the field that they were not in the right formation. Nolan was walking down the line when center Joe Bushey snapped the ball directly to fullback Kyle Nolan who threw a strike to Matt St. Clair down the right sideline for an 87-yard touchdown. The touchdown was the only reception Lake City had for the game.

"They were packing the middle pretty good," McCallister said. "With the lead we didn't want to fling the ball all over the place; we wanted to run some time off of the clock."

Heath Geiser gave the Stars a 14-point lead when he ran it in from four yards out, his second four-yard touchdown run of the game.

Broome County's Ty Fish led his team down the field, however, and scored on a one-yard touchdown sneak up the middle with just 25 seconds left in the half. A key to the score was a 15-yard personal foul penalty on a late hit of the quarterback.

St. Clair hauled in the second-half kick off at the 24 yard line and shed multiple Dragon tacklers as he returned the kick off 66 yards down to the 10 yard line. Two plays later, Geiser scored his third touchdown of the contest on a four-yard run, giving Lake City a 28-14 lead.

Broome County didn't give up, however, as Fish led them on two consecutive scoring drives; the first in which he finished off with a one-yard touchdown run. The second touchdown, a nine-yard pass to Robert Stokstad, was helped along by another personal foul call against the Stars, their third of the game.

"The personal fouls ended up costing us three touchdowns," McCallister said. "They were bang-bang plays though and the referees have to protect the quarterback. The defense was just trying to make plays.

"Fish is a very good quarterback. We thought we scouted him well, but he was still able to hook up with on a lot of good pass plays. They were just able to make some big plays."

The Dragons, trailing by two, had one last drive for the win, but Fish was intercepted by Earl Parks with 1:30 left in the game and the Stars were able to run out the clock for the win.

Geiser finished with 81 yards rushing to go with his three touchdowns. Brandon Kelleher added another 49 on seven carries. St. Clair finished with one catch for 87 yards and a touchdown, while Kyle Nolan was the leading passer with the 87 yards.

Fish, who completed his first nine passes of the game, finished with 251 yards through the air and two touchdowns. Jon Bechy hauled in seven passes for 113 yards with Stokstad grabbing three balls for 61 and a pair of touchdowns. Jemall Johnson carried the load on the ground with 15 carries and 117 yards.

"Regardless of how nerve racking the game ended up, the defensive line was able to get to the quarterback and out on some pressure," McCallister said. "That rattled him a little bit and Earl just made a big play."

Don Staley led the defensive attack with a pair of sacks. The Stars also received sacks from Jeff Way and Craig Lamoy.

"Bottom line is we accomplished what we wanted to do tonight," McCallister said. "Our objective was to win our home playoff game and we did that. Now we have to go to Albany next week.

"We will play the best we can play and as long as we do that it will be fin with me. Our season could have ended here tonight, but it didn't and I am proud of them for that."

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