Saturday, July 17, 2010

EFL Pre Game Press Coverage July 17

July 17, 2010
Depth no concern for Stars
Moore wins starting quarterback gig for Broome rematch
By RYAN HAYNER Staff Writer
PLATTSBURGH — When Plattsburgh faced the Broome County Dragons for the second time in 2009, the North Stars held a 17-7 lead at the half.

But an injury depleted an already thin secondary. The Dragons took advantage, stunning Plattsburgh with a 21-point onslaught in the fourth quarter en route to a 35-34 win.

The North Stars meet the Dragons at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Plattsburgh High for the first time since that tough loss, but depth is an issue of the past.

A deep and talented roster has already proven invaluable. When defensive tackles Chris Gibson and Kelsey Lenny missed last weekend's road game against Massena, much lighter defensive ends, Ryon Sorrell and Emmett Drollette, filled in.

The North Stars' defense limited the Silver and Black ground attack to just 36 yards on 29 carries.

"That's the greatest thing about this year with 50 guys on the roster," North Stars coach Pat Keleher said. "Last year, that could have been devastating. Because of the depth we have this year, we were OK.

"This year I have six corners, four safeties — and they're all good. To have that kind of depth, it's such an advantage."

The North Stars even have the rare luxury in the Empire Football League of depth at quarterback. After an open competition held through the first three games — one of which was a forfeit — newcomer J.D. Moore has officially earned the starting nod.

Moore, a former two-year starter at Wingate University, tossed two touchdown passes against the Silver and Black last weekend. Moore's collegiate experience at quarterback played a key factor in the coaching staff's decision to name him the starter.

"He understands how to read a defense and has a good sense of where to go with the ball," Keleher said. "He reads a defense and picks up on a blitz and knows the ball has to go to an open area.

"That comes with playing in a much more pass-oriented offense in high school and five years of collegiate training."

Ken Stay, last year's starting quarterback and former college safety, will see time at a number of positions including safety, tailback and special teams. He will also back up Moore at quarterback.

"The big thing about Ken Stay is he's a football player," Keleher said. "He's not a quarterback or a halfback or a safety — he's a football player."

Keleher said this is the first time he's had a true No. 2 quarterback.

Although Massena scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to make it a one-possession game in the final two minutes, gaffes by Plattsburgh were often the reason for Silver and Black touchdowns.

Massena got on the scoreboard on the last play of the half when a pass from Mike MacPherson bounced off of two leaping North Stars' defenders and into the hand of receiver Buddy Compeau for a 64-yard score.

The Silver and Black made it 27-14 when a snap went over Plattsburgh punter Chris Fish's head and a Massena defender fell on the ball in the endzone. Massena's final touchdown started with a 50-yard pass play to a receiver with no defender even remotely close thanks to a blown assignment.

A pass interference call put the Silver and Black on the goaline, and they scored to make it 27-21.

"Other than the two big plays in the passing game, I thought overall we played pretty well defensively," Keleher said. "I thought we played very well against the run."

Plattsburgh will play its first home game in more than a month tonight, and having the Dragons as the opponent gives the North Stars some added incentive.

"No question," Keleher said. "I know our team left one on the table. That was a game that we feel we should have won and were in control and let it get away."
E-mail Ryan Hayner at:

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