North Stars set for first-place showdown with Tri-City

KAYLA BREEN/STAFF PHOTO

Plattsburgh North Stars’ Brandon Sawyer tries to evade a Glens Falls Greenjackets defender during an Empire Football League game Saturday, Aug. 3, at Melissa L. Penfield Park.

SCHENECTADY — The two best teams in the Empire Football League will be facing off with first place at stake.

The Plattsburgh North Stars will be competing against the Tri-City Spartans at 7 p.m. Saturday at Schenectady High School.

The North Stars (4-0) are fresh off their Mayor’s Cup victory against the Glens Falls Greenjackets, where they came back from a 27-13 deficit in the second half to narrowly defeat them, 28-27.

“We did a lot this week to work on some of our passing game, which we had a little trouble with early in the first half last week. So we had some needed reps, and I feel good about it coming into the weekend,” Plattsburgh coach Scott Aguglia said.

The Spartans (4-0) are coming off a forfeit win and will be competing after a two-week break, which can be helpful for injuries but potentially harmful for successful continuity.

Either way, their success cannot be ignored.

The Spartans’ last game against the Mohawk Valley Nighthawks resulted in a 35-7 victory, and they’ve allowed only 33 points up to this point in the season.

“It’s really important for us to stop their running game (since) they have a fairly spirited running attack,” Aguglia said. “They have two really good running backs that are ranked in the top five in the league in rushing: Kireme Pitts and Lawrence Elliot. So those two need to be stopped.”

Plattsburgh played Tri-City twice last year, and Aguglia said they have a lot of the same players returning.

“We know that they’re definitely a ground-and-pound, in-your-face running team, and we know that they play tight defense as far as their secondary usually plays man-to-man. They (also) have some pretty experienced linebackers. So they’re a good football team all the way around, and I think it’ll be a good test for us,” Aguglia said.

As far as availability, Aguglia believes that they’ll have just about everybody suited up and ready to play, and is very happy with where they are in the season.

“It’s hard to complain when you’re 4-0,” Aguglia said. “It’s not a must-win, you know, when you’re 4-0 and you have to play them again, but we certainly would like to come out with a victory (Saturday) night.”

The North Stars will be playing their fifth game Saturday, which marks the midway point in their season.

“As long as we can keep them in check early with our defense and get our offense rolling the way it’s supposed to be, we’ll be in good shape,” Aguglia said.

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