BY KEITH KANE Sports Editor
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Watertown Red & Black handed the Plattsburgh North Stars their first loss of the season Aug. 10.
The North Stars had to wait more than a month to exact their revenge, but it was worth the wait.
Plattsburgh got four touchdown passes from Harry Rascoe and a solid defensive effort against a tough Watertown team to capture a 30-16 Empire Football League victory Saturday at the Plattsburgh High School Athletic Complex.
It didn’t take long for the North Stars to pounce once the game started.
Just 1:59 into the game Rascoe connected with D.J. Barber on third down for a 40-yard touchdown strike. Barber’s kick gave Plattsburgh an early 7-0 lead.
“That was the plan,” North Stars coach Scott Aguglia said. “The plan was to come out and strike early. We weren’t sure about the weather so we wanted to get what we could early.”
On its third possession of the first quarter, Rascoe went to Barber again, this time for a 35-yard score and a 14-0 lead.
Brandon St. John then gave Plattsburgh the ball back on the Watertown 29 when he picked off Red & Black quarterback Tyler Michaelwicz.
But, the North Stars gave it right back on a fumbled exchange — one of four fumbles on the night for Plattsburgh.
“We had a couple of fluke things happen,” Aguglia said. “But we are lucky it didn’t hurt us because our defense was able to pick us up.”
Darrin Morris got Watertown on the board at the 9:59 mark of the second quarter with a 30-yard field goal.
The North Stars, though, had one last drive in them before the half and Rascoe connected with Chris Fish for an 18-yard touchdown to give Plattsburgh a 21-3 lead at the half.
Things didn’t get much better for the Red & Black as the second half began.
On its first possession, Watertown’s Michaelwicz was sacked by the North Stars’ Dan O’Meara and Justin O’Neil for a safety and a 23-3 lead.
“Our defense has been improving all season long and they played great (Saturday),” Aguglia said.
Michaelwicz, though, would finally find the end zone. On just his second completion of the night he found Edgar Givens over the top for a 62-yard score to pull the Red & Black within 14.
Rascoe hooked up with Fish again for a 3-yard touchdown pass 45 seconds into the fourth quarter to close out the scoring for the North Stars.
Watertown would get into the end zone one last time on a 2-yard plunge by Shane Slate.
“I liked the way we ran the ball (Saturday),” Aguglia said. “Our offensive line did a nice job opening holes and I thought they protected Harry well so we could execute on offense.
“The biggest difference (between the two games) was we played with more emotion (Saturday) than in our trip to Watertown. That trip takes a lot out of you and we were definitely flat to start. It took us awhile to get our legs. But, (Saturday) we came ready to play.”
Rascoe finished with 173 yards passing and four touchdowns on the night. Barber hauled in six passes for 116 yards and two scores, while Fish finished with 44 yards and two touchdowns.
Ken Karnley led a balanced ground attack with 23 yards rushing.
Slate completed seven passes for 96 yards after replacing Michaelwicz, who had 64 yards and one score.
Joe Brennan rushed for a game-high 87 yards on 18 carries for Watertown.
The Empire Football League playoffs open up next week, but it appears Plattsburgh will have a first-round bye and will host a semifinal game.
The playoff schedule will be discussed at a meeting today.
“From what I can tell we should have a first-round bye and will host the winner of Glens Falls and Vermont,” Aguglia said. “Basically, we should host a semifinal game in two weeks.”
Plattsburgh 30, Watertown 16
Watertown 0 3 6 7 — 16
Plattsburgh 14 7 2 7 — 30
P- Barber 40 pass from Rascoe (Barber kick), 1:59.
P- Barber 35 pass from Rascoe (Barber kick), 14:03.
W- Morris 30 FG, 9:59.
P- Fish 18 pass from Rascoe (Barber kick), 14:42.
P- Safety (sack in end zone), 1:28.
W- Givens 62 pass from Michaelwicz (kick blocked), 11:58.
P- Fish 3 pass from Rascoe (Barber kick), 0:45.
W- Slate 2 run (Morris kick), 13:25.
W- Jo. Brennan, 18-87; Hickman, 1-(-1); Michaelwicz, 3-(-2); Je. Brennan, 1-(-3); Slate, 4-(-24), TD; Cox, 1-5. Totals: 28-62, TD.
P- Parks, 5-22; Nephew, 9-22; Barber, 1-9; Rascoe, 3-0; Karnley, 5-23; Thompson, 2-5. Totals: 27-81.
W- Michaelwicz, 2-9-1-64, TD; Slate, 7-12-0-96.
P- Rascoe, 14-21-0-173, 4 TD.
W- Givens, 2-83, TD; Furr, 4-62; Kurtz, 2-22; Swain, 1-17.
P- Barber, 6-116, 2 TD; Fish, 4-42, 2 TD; Geohagan, 3-22; Boyer, 1-7.
P- St. John.
P- O’Meara 2, O’Neil, Gibson.