PLATTSBURGH — Scott Aguglia told his team from the outset, ‘you’ve got to be in the Empire Football League (EFL) championship game to win it.’
Aguglia’s defense responded, surrendering 217 yards of total offense, as the Plattsburgh North Stars defeated the Glens Falls Greenjackets 28-20 in an EFL semifinal contest Saturday.
“Coach (Dave) Hackett had a great scheme he put together this week,” Aguglia said. “The guys bought in, and they executed very well (Saturday). So the credit goes to him and the guys for executing.”
After touchdowns by DJ Barber, Ken Karnley and Chris Fish, the North Stars (9-2) maintained a 21-6 halftime lead.
Plattsburgh’s offense, though, became stagnant in the third quarter.
The North Stars could only muster nine yards of offense as the two teams exchanged possession on five occasions.
“I can’t really put my finger on it, and I won’t be able to until I see the film,” Aguglia said. “I think we just had a few weird things happen. I think a couple times, we may have tried to audible to something that we thought was there and ended up not being there. I think penalties also played a factor in slowing down some of our drives.”
Greenjackets (4-7) quarterback Brendan Frye registered 107 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, but was unable to beat Plattsburgh through the air.
Frye finished 9-for-30 with 51 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Greg Archer, Dave Staley and Kevin Jordan each recorded a sack for the North Stars.
“That was a big part of coach Hackett’s scheme — was to make them beat us on the ground,” Aguglia said. “We went over all the pass patterns they ran against us in the last game we played. We really keyed in on (wide receiver) Alec Conover.”
Conover finished the game with two catches for 13 yards.
Glens Falls cut Plattsburgh’s lead to eight points when Frye scored on a one-yard plunge at 12:38. Needing a successful two-point conversion to make it a one-possession game, Frye reached the end zone on a quarterback sneak.
The Greenjackets were able to recover the ensuing onside kick, setting up camp at their own 48-yard line with 2:11 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Eight plays later, Frye was picked off for the third and final time by Craig Livsey at the North Stars’ 40-yard line.
Plattsburgh quarterback Harry Rascoe completed 8-of-15 pass attempts for 132 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Former Morehead State University defensive back Dexter Geohagan recorded three receptions for 58 yards, while totaling two interceptions on defense.
Josh Nephew and Elijah Parks combined for 12 carries, 114 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
With the Syracuse Shock defeating the North East Pennsylvania Miners in the second of two semifinal games 33-14, Plattsburgh will host the EFL championship game at the Plattsburgh High Athletic Complex for 7 p.m. Saturday.
The North Stars defeated the Shock 38-18 in Plattsburgh July 27 before falling on the road in Syracuse Aug. 24, 50-27.
“It’s going to be one physical, hard-hitting EFL championship football game,” Aguglia said. “They are a run-first team. They’ve got two really good running backs, and they’re going to force us to stop their run. Hopefully, we’ll be up to the task.”
Plattsburgh dropped last year’s EFL championship game to Monroe County at home, 38-22.
“I’m happy to be going back to the championship,” Aguglia said. “Hopefully, we can get it done.”
Plattsburgh 28, Glens Falls 20
Glens Falls 0 6 0 14 — 20
Plattsburgh 7 14 0 7 — 28
P- Barber 22 pass from Rascoe (Barber kick), 6:07.
P- Karnley 1 run (Barber kick), 0:05.
GF- Frye 1 run (kick failed), 4:33.
P- Fish 6 pass from Rascoe (Barber kick), 12:52.
GF- Boodman 8 pass from Frye (pass failed), 6:47.
P- Nephew 3 run (Barber kick), 9:10.
GF- Frye 1 run (Frye run), 12:38.
P- Nephew 5-58, 2TD; Parks 7-56; Karnley 6-22, TD; Barber 1-8; Rascoe 2-(-1). Totals: 26-143, 3TD.
GF- Frye 10-107, 2TD; Caradonna 10-37; No. 21 7-21; Straight 1-3; Conover 1-(-2). Totals: 29-166, 2TD.
P- Rascoe 8-15-1-132, 2TD.
GF- Frye 9-30-3-51, TD.
P- Geohagan 3-58; Fish 4-52, TD; Barber 1-22, TD.
GF- Boodman 3-24, TD; No. 8 2-21; Wilde 1-11; Caradonna 1-11; Conover 2-13.
P- Geohagan 2, Livsey.
GF- No. 5.
P- Staley 2, Archer 2, Jordan.