October 10, 2010
Defeat Watertown 13-10 to wrap up first league crown
— Two things are required to defeat the Watertown Red
and Black — a stout defense and a good kicker.
The Plattsburgh North
Stars have both, and that's why they're champions.
Mitch Ryder was good
on field goals from 40 and 42 yards, and Plattsburgh's
defense made two stands in the final five minutes as the
Stars claimed their first ever Empire Football League
championship in a 13-10 victory in front of their home
"I can't really explain
how I feel right now," Ryder said.
No problem, the performance
said it all.
some serious momentum swings, including two controversial
calls by the referees and a lull in the second quarter
when Plattsburgh was outscored 10-0.
Williams got in on a 2-yard run at the end of a drive
that saw an incomplete pass on third down ruled a 30-yard
Then, kicker Nate
McKeever scored near the end of the half.
"You can't let that
consume you," said Stars coach Pat Keleher, referring
to the catch ruling. "That was a big momentum change,
and we were too focused on it."
The offense was unable
to get into the red zone throughout most of the game,
but Plattsburgh had enough confidence in its kicker to
play it safe and put up three points when the opportunity
Ryder opened the scoring
5:49 into the game on a long, sustained first drive.
"When you have a kicker
the quality of Mitch, it takes the pressure off of the
offensive coordinator, because he doesn't have to worry
about making a perfect call," Keleher said. "He's the
best kicker in the league, in my opinion."
got going in the second half, keeping Watertown's bruising
rushing attack off the field while the defense charged
up for a big finish.
Ryder made his second
kick in the third quarter.
The familiar connection
of quarterback Ken Stay and Trevor St. Clair made a touchdown
appearance four minutes into the fourth quarter to give
Plattsburgh the lead, and the Stars defense took over
"We want the pressure
to be on our (the defense's) backs," said safety Shane
Racette, who made an interception late in the game to
help preserve the victory. "That's the type of team we
are. Put it in the defense's hands and let us make it
That mentality leaked
over to the offensive playcalling. After Racette's pick,
Plattsburgh used the ground game to wear the clock down
before attempting a safe little slant pass.
"I told (offensive
coordinator) Scott (Aguglia), 'don't do anything crazy,'"
Keleher said. "If we have to run, we'll kick and play