PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars will kick off their 28th season of semi-professional football against the Watertown Red and Black at 7 p.m. Saturday at Melissa L. Penfield Park.
The North Stars return plenty of familiar faces and add new, young talent to a team that fell, 41-30, to the Hudson Valley Mountaineers in the Empire Football League championship last year.
“A championship is always the goal when you start any season,” said Plattsburgh coach Scott Aguglia, who enters his sixth season at the helm with a 43-20 record. “I think that we have a pretty good squad this year. We have a lot of returning talent, but we're adding a lot more speed to go on top of that talent.
“I'm very encouraged from what I'm seeing so far.”
Harry Rascoe, the EFL's reigning Offensive Most Valuable Player, is back under center and has several weapons at his disposal.
Aguglia said Brandon Sawyer will anchor the run game, and Tory Bouyea will head the receiving corps.
The North Stars have added former Franklin Academy standout Zach Raymond, who's listed as a running back.
Raymond most recently played for Potsdam's North Country Tigers in the Northeastern Football Alliance after spending two seasons at Ithaca College.
Another addition to the offense is running back Hunter Nunes-Wales.
Nunes-Wales was a multi-sport star at Missisquoi Valley Union in Swanton, Vermont, and played in the 2018 Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, which features the top prep talent from Vermont and New Hampshire.
He was also listed on rosters with the Vermont Bucks of the New England Arena League and Castleton University.
Plattsburgh has five offensive linemen on its roster — Jim Reisdorf, John Dubuc, Brendan Woodard, Heydan Head and Calvin Marshall — and they average 305 pounds.
On defense, Aguglia said the North Stars have veterans on a strong defensive line, which is comprised of Kelsey Lenney, Tim O'Meara, Thomas McDevitt and Greg Archer.
Elijah Parks, who transitioned from fullback to linebacker last season, will continue to patrol the middle of the field, and Aguglia noted the secondary is exactly the same as last year.
“We're returning a defense that's pretty close to being intact from the championship run last year,” Aguglia said. “We feel pretty good about our D.”
The Red and Black, Plattsburgh's longtime rival, return to the EFL after spending the last two seasons in the Northeastern Football Alliance.
The two teams haven't met since Watertown's 35-12 win over the North Stars in an EFL first-round game back on Oct. 8, 2016.
This will mark the 47th all-time meeting between the two organizations, with the Red and Black holding the series edge at 24-22.
“It's always fun to play Watertown,” Aguglia said. “We've had a lot of battles over the ages. To open up with them this year is very exciting.”
There will be a new EFL champion, as Watertown replaced Hudson Valley, which departed for Major League Football, a semi-pro league with teams based in New York and New Jersey.
The Utica Yard Dogs have returned under new ownership and have been renamed the Mohawk Valley Nighthawks.
Schenectady's Tri-City Spartans, the Glens Falls Greenjackets and Brasher Falls' Seaway Valley Venom are all back in the league.
Four teams will qualify for the postseason, which begins with the semifinals on Sept. 28.
The EFL championship is slated for Oct. 5.
But Plattsburgh will look to take things one week at a time.
“It's Week 1, and we have to make sure we have our assignments correct and gel together,” Aguglia said. “That's the process we're gonna have to go through in the next few weeks.”
Email Ricky St. Clair:
July 13 vs. Watertown Red and Black
July 20 at Mohawk Valley Nighthawks
July 27 vs. Seaway Valley Venom
August 3 vs. Glens Falls Greenjackets
August 10 at Tri-City Spartans
August 17 at Watertown Red and Black
August 24 vs. Mohawk Valley Nighthawks
September 7 at Seaway Valley Venom
September 14 at Glens Falls Greenjackets
September 21 vs. Tri-City Spartans
September 28 EFL semifinals
October 5 EFL championship
Number Name Height Weight Position Previous Team
1 Tre Bucci 6-2 195 WR Plattsburgh North Stars
3 Thomas Montanarro 5-6 150 K Plattsburgh North Stars
5 Troy Lawyer 6-0 170 WR Plattsburgh North Stars
7 Travis Rasco 5-10 185 DB Saranac Chiefs
9 Ben Trombley 5-6 170 DB Plattsburgh North Stars
10 Jared Croy 6-0 175 DB Plattsburgh North Stars
12 Tory Bouyea 5-10 170 WR Plattsburgh North Stars
13 Harry Rascoe 6-1 225 QB Plattsburgh North Stars
14 Hunter Nunes-Wales 5-9 185 RB Vermont Bucks
15 Zachary Raymond 5-8 195 RB North Country Tigers
17 Brandon St. John 5-9 175 DB Plattsburgh North Stars
18 Brandon Sawyer 5-7 185 RB Plattsburgh North Stars
20 Kyle McCarthy 5-9 175 DB Plattsburgh North Stars
21 Garren Arnold 5-9 220 LB North CountryTigers
22 James Bornemann 6-0 220 LB Carle Place Frogs
24 Matt Pray 6-0 215 SS AuSable Valley Patriots
25 James Braid 5-10 200 LB Plattsburgh North Stars
31 Taylor Chapple 5-11 180 DB Plattsburgh North Stars
35 Elijah Parks 5-10 230 LB Plattsburgh North Stars
42 DJ Barber 5-9 175 DB Plattsburgh North Stars
43 Ian Noone 5-9 175 DB Rookie
45 Nathan Giddings 6-0 230 LB Plattsburgh North Stars
50 J.T. Deon 6-0 250 DE Plattsburgh North Stars
51 Caleb McLaren 6-0 270 DT Plattsburgh High Hornets
53 Brandon Fox 6-2 265 DE Plattsburgh North Stars
55 John Longtin 5-9 225 LB Plattsburgh High Hornets
56 Ross Douglas 6-1 230 DE AuSable Valley Patriots
58 Greg Archer 6-3 260 DE Plattsburgh North Stars
63 Jim Reisdorf 5-11 280 OL Plattsburgh North Stars
65 John Dubuc 6-1 305 OL Plattsburgh North Stars
66 Tim O'Meara 6-4 300 DT Plattsburgh North Stars
71 Brendan Woodard 6-4 320 OL Plattsburgh North Stars
73 Kelsey Lenney 6-4 355 NT Plattsburgh North Stars
78 Heydan Head 6-0 300 OL Plattsburgh North Stars
79 Calvin Marshall 6-4 320 OL Saranac Chiefs
80 Ethan Bresette 5-10 165 WR AuSable Valley Patriots
84 Garrett Sheppler 6-2 225 DE Plattsburgh North Stars
85 Josh Nason 6-3 210 WR Beekmantown Eagles
88 Thomas McDevitt 6-2 275 DE Plattsburgh North Stars
89 Eric Oakes 6-4 230 DE North Country Tigers
90 Mike Thwaits 6-1 300 DL Plattsburgh North Stars
Watertown Red and Black (22-24)
Aug. 17, 1991 at Watertown Red and Black W 21-14
Aug. 31, 1991 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 10-7 (OT)
Sept. 12, 1992 vs. Watertown Red and Black L 27-13
July 31, 1993 at Watertown Red and Black W 7-5
Aug. 14, 1993 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 14-7
Aug. 20, 1994 at Watertown Red and Black W 10-7
Oct. 1, 1994 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 14-10
Sept. 9, 1995 Watertown Red and Black W*
Aug. 10, 1996 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 23-20
Sept. 28, 1996 at Watertown Red and Black L 29-0
July 26, 1997 vs. Watertown Red and Black L 38-21
Aug. 16, 1997 at Watertown Red and Black L 27-0
Oct. 4, 1997 at Watertown Red and Black L 26-16
July 4, 1998 vs. Watertown Red and Black L 41-25
July 15, 2000 vs. Watertown Red and Black L 51-14
Sept. 9, 2000 at Watertown Red and Black L 31-12
Oct. 7, 2000 at Watertown Red and Black L 20-0
Aug. 4, 2001 at Watertown Red and Black L 58-22
Sept. 15, 2001 vs. Watertown Red and Black L 38-28
Aug. 9, 2003 vs. Watertown Red and Black L 19-14
Sept. 13, 2003 at Watertown Red and Black L 26-18
Oct. 11, 2003 at Watertown Red and Black L 34-0
July 31, 2004 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 14-3
Sept. 11, 2004 at Watertown Red and Black L 24-13
Oct. 9, 2004 at Watertown Red and Black L 10-0
July 23, 2005 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 27-12
Sept. 17, 2005 at Watertown Red and Black L 44-14
July 8, 2006 at Watertown Red and Black W 12-9
Aug. 11, 2007 vs. Watertown Red and Black L 22-6
July 12, 2008 at Watertown Red and Black W 19-13
Aug. 22, 2009 at Watertown Red and Black L 21-0
Oct. 10, 2009 at Watertown Red and Black L 6-0
Aug. 21, 2010 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 21-7
Oct. 9, 2010 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 13-10
July 30, 2011 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 20-6
Sept. 22, 2012 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 31-14
Oct. 13, 2012 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 20-13
Aug. 10, 2013 at Watertown Red and Black L 28-13
Sept. 21, 2013 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 30-16
Aug. 2, 2014 at Watertown Red and Black L 40-35
Sept. 13, 2014 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 27-21 (OT)
Oct. 4, 2014 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 6-0
July 18, 2015 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 20-7
Sept. 12, 2015 at Watertown Red and Black L 35-0
Aug. 6, 2016 vs. Watertown Red and Black W 33-27 (OT)
Oct. 8, 2016 at Watertown Red and Black L 35-12