PLATTSBURGH — The opening game of the Empire Football League schedule is always important for the Plattsburgh North Stars.
But not only are the North Stars playing their rivals from across Lake Champlain in the Vermont Ice Storm, but Scott Aguglia is also facing off against his old team for the first time as Plattsburgh’s head coach.
The game gets underway tonight at 7:30 p.m. at South Burlington high school.
“I spent eight glorious years in Vermont,” Aguglia said. “Five years as a player and three more as a coach. We won three championships and two national championships.
“I have a lot of fond memories and a lot of friends still involved with the team. I wish them nothing but the best — after tonight.”
The North Stars are coming off a 34-19 nonleague victory over the Southern Vermont Storm last weekend. That game showcased Plattsburgh’s talent but also showed there were still things that needed to be worked on.
The offense had a handful of turnovers, but when it was clicking it looked almost unstoppable.
Harry Rascoe completed 7-of-9 pass attempts for 151 yards and a touchdown, while the running game compiled 249 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, paced by Ken Karnley’s 71 yards on 10 attempts.
“(Turnovers) happen in the first game,” fullback Elijah Parks said. “We have a lot of new people that are looking to show what they can do, and mistakes are bound to happen. I think with a game in and a few more practices things will be cleaned up.
“We’ll be ready to go.”
The Ice Storm, meanwhile, have two games under their belt before meeting the North Stars tonight.
“We watched them twice in the preseason,” Aguglia said. “There weren’t many surprises. They run multiple formations and have a great wide receiver in (Rob) Joy and a good running back. They also have a decent, young quarterback.
“They will be pretty versatile but have a pretty balanced offense.”
Vermont opened its season with a nonleague victory over Southern Vermont, 24-17.
Rookie quarterback Tim Kynoch completed 9-of-13 passes for 126 yards. Talented wide receiver Rob Joy hauled in four passes for 62 yards, while running back Jason Young rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown. Young also returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Last weekend, the Ice Storm improved to 2-0 with a 19-6 nonleague win over the Vermont Ravens. Kynoch was 9-of-26 passing, with all nine completions going to Joy for 104 yards. Young, though, was strong out of the backfield with 84 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns.
“They always play us tough,” Parks said. “No matter how they look, they’ll always bring their ‘A’ game against us. We have to be prepared — we have to be at 100 percent.
“We are going to need to be aggressive and not be scared to hit.”
Plattsburgh will also be gaining a few more bodies this week. Parks, who missed last week’s game for his wedding, will return to a backfield that already showed a lot of promise. Also returning are Jordan Keleher and Andrew Price, who will both help strengthen the receiving corps.
“Team spirit seems to be good, and they are looking forward to the opening game,” Aguglia said. “We will have to see how it goes.
“Yes, I spent a lot of time in Vermont, but that was awhile ago. That is the furthest thing from my mind. I am more interested in the North Stars gathering a win than what my former mates think after the game. This game is not about me.”