By RICKY ST. CLAIR
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars were able to perform late-game heroics throughout the 2012 season, but failed to conclude a storybook ending in Saturday night’s 38-22 Empire Football League championship loss to Monroe County.
The North Stars (10-3, 9-2) were unable to cut into a 16-point differential, in a game that featured the Sting (10-3, 8-3) getting the better of second-half scoring 30-15.
Plattsburgh opened the game’s scoring when Harry Rascoe found Jamil McCray in the back of the end zone for a 32-yard score at 10:01 of the opening stanza. McCray’s reception marked the lone score registered in the first quarter.
Then, Sting quarterback Doby Howard ran a bootleg to the far sideline on a 4-yard scamper. Jay Wingate punched in the following two-point conversion, putting Monroe County up 8-7 at the half.
The North Stars could only muster 10 yards of rushing in the first half to go along with 77 yards of total offense.
“I think we made a couple small errors early on in the second quarter that kind of hurt our momentum,” said North Stars first-year head coach Scott Aguglia. “I thought we came out full of intensity, but we shot ourselves in the foot. (Running the ball) was not our game plan.”
Monroe County utilized its sideline-to-sideline quickness when Bernard Williams snatched a 20-yard reception with just 2:43 gone in the third period.
Before Plattsburgh could dictate the tempo with a 31-yard touchdown reception from Kevin Gibson, the Sting answered when Brent McGill broke an electrifying 49-yard run down the far sideline to go up 22-14.
“They’re a very fast team,” Aguglia said. “They have a lot of athletes and they brought it (Saturday). It’s a credit to them, really. They got off a five-hour bus ride and executed their game plan.”
Rascoe answered with a touchdown of his own on the first play of the fourth quarter, and hit Jordon Keleher on the ensuing two-point conversion to tie the game at 22.
Yet, the game wasn’t tied for long.
The Sting established a running game late and controlled a majority of possession in the final 14 minutes of play, eating a significant amount of time off the clock.
“There were a few times when we should have capitalized on their mistakes and we didn’t,” McCray said. “They had four fumbles and recovered every single one of them, but that’s football.”
McGill concluded a 59-yard scoring drive with a 9-yard score before Derek Davis caught a pass to extend the contest to a two-possession game.
The North Stars managed to get the ball inside the Sting 8-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs.
Rascoe, who finished the year with 32 touchdown passes and 2,391 yards through the air, started the contest 6-for-21 with 98 yards. The converted running back finished the ballgame 11-for-29 with 167 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
McCray finished with 95 all-purpose yards for an offense that totaled 272 yards on the night.
Aguglia, who won his first EFL championship with the Stars in 2010 as an assistant coach, was pleased with his team’s effort throughout the entire duration of the season.
“I’m so proud of this organization,” Aguglia said. “It was a great season and there’s always next year.”
Monroe County 38, Plattsburgh 22
Monroe County 0 8 14 16 — 38
Plattsburgh 7 0 7 8 — 22
P- McCray 32 pass from Rascoe (White kick), 10:01.
M- Howard 4 run (Wingate run), 13:54.
M- Williams 20 pass from Howard (Wingate from Howard), 2:43.
P- Gibson 31 pass from Rascoe (White kick), 4:46.
M- McGill 49 run, (run failed) 7:15.
P- Rascoe 1 run (Keleher from Rascoe), 0:07.
M- McGill 9 run (Wingate run), 3:36.
M- Davis 4 pass from Howard (Gibson run), 10:48.
M- McGill 8-115, 2 TD; Wingate 4-21; Davis 1-9; Gibson 4-8; Short 4-8; Gano 2-6; Howard 3-2, TD; Taige 6-(-5). Team totals: 32-164, 3 TD.
P- Rascoe 7-62, TD; McCray 3-12; Parks 4-7; Nephew 3-5; Dubuc 1-(-18). Team totals: 18-68, TD.
M- Howard 15-28-0-204, 2 TD.
P- Rascoe 11-29-2-167, 2 TD.
M-Davis 6-106, TD; Williams 4-72, TD; Crumity 2-31; Gibson 1-13; Gano 2-(-1).
P- McCray 5-83, TD. Gibson 2-37, TD; Price 2-30; Keleher 2-17.
M- West, Gano.
P- Staley 2.