PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh North Stars have had two weeks to prepare for tonight’s game.
Two weeks to recover from a tough, season-opening loss to the Vermont Ice Storm.
And two weeks to make the necessary adjustments in hopes of getting their first Empire Football League victory.
Plattsburgh hosts the Montreal Voyageurs at 7:30 p.m. tonight in its EFL home opener at the Plattsburgh High School Athletic Complex.
“The two weeks have been beneficial,” North Stars coach Scott Aguglia said. “We have had a couple of really good practices, and we were able to address some of the issues we had in the Vermont game.
“We had a couple of issues with our linebackers that we did address. We have made some adjustments.”
Plattsburgh is 1-1 on the season but 0-1 in the EFL after a 10-6 loss in Vermont on July 7.
The Voyageurs, meanwhile, opened their EFL season last Saturday with a 20-13 victory over Vermont.
The Ice Storm, who had been trailing most of the game, tied the game at 13 with two-and-a-half minutes remaining on a Jason Young touchdown run. But Montreal marched down the field, and Andrew Blevings scored on a 3-yard run with 34 seconds left for the win.
“I saw the Vermont-Montreal game on film,” Aguglia said. “I expect the same Montreal team that rolls in here every year. They never have a lot of numbers, but they are always very athletic and big up front. They have some good, skilled players.”
Mathieu Rene returns as the starting quarterback for the Voyageurs. In last season’s playoff game against Plattsburgh, Rene completed 13-of-18 passes for 114 yards in a 24-0 loss.
“They like to throw the ball,” Aguglia said. “In the tape they threw about 65 percent of the time. They really like to spread you out, and they will run or throw out of that.
“Their quarterback is pretty athletic and has a good arm. He is tall (6 feet, 3 inches) and can see over the line. This is his second year running the offense, so he is very familiar with what they want to get done.”
The Voyageurs’ defense was strong against the run versus the Ice Storm, holding leading rusher Young to just 28 yards on 13 carries. But they were susceptible to the pass, allowing 161 yards on 12 completions by Vermont’s Tim Kynoch.
“Their defense is very good,” Aguglia said. “They have two linebackers in particular that are very aggressive. Blevings is a perennial league All-Star, and (Ryan Perry) was pretty good last year and he showed up well in the Vermont game.
“Our offensive line will have to get a helmet on those two if we want to do much on the ground.”
Though Plattsburgh was pretty balanced in its last game with 20 carries and 19 pass attempts, Aguglia thinks he may go to the ground a little more this week.
“Offensively I think we’ll mix it up,” he said. “We threw the ball well against Vermont and we ran well early in the game. I didn’t do a good job of mixing things up, though. We will see a better flow this week.”
After a week off and three weeks since its nonleague game, the North Stars are looking forward to finally putting the pads on in front of their home fans.
“The guys are excited to play their first league game at home,” Aguglia said. “We hope the weather holds out and that we can get a big crowd to add to the excitement.
“I think the guys thought about (the Vermont loss) a lot during the off week. But it’s out of their heads now, and we’ll definitely go in fresh and look to get our first EFL win.”