PLATTSBURGH — Two weeks ago, the Plattsburgh North Stars were coming off a pair of losses and saw their season slipping away as they fell back in the Empire Football League standings.
What a difference two weeks can make.
After a 41-21 dismantling of the Vermont Ice Storm a week ago, the North Stars knocked off the top team in the EFL — and No. 9 team in the country — the Syracuse Shock, 21-7, at the Plattsburgh High School Athletic Complex on Saturday.
“I think our defense has finally come around,” Plattsburgh coach Scott Aguglia said. “We are stopping the other team’s run and focusing on what they do best.
“Offensively, we are just clicking.”
The defense for the North Stars was smothering all night.
Plattsburgh finished with six sacks — three by Greg Roberson — and a trio of interceptions, while limiting the Shock rushing attack to just 57 yards on the ground.
Syracuse’s only large play of the game came late in the fourth quarter when Tyrone Burke hauled in a 50-yard pass down to Plattsburgh’s 10-yard line. But, a sack by Kevin Gibson and an interception by Brandon St. John, his second of the night, ended any scoring threat by the Shock.
The only scoring by Syracuse all night came on a 60-yard interception return by DP Crowell.
“The defense has been playing great the past few weeks,” Aguglia said. “They are forcing a lot of three-and-outs and giving the offense some really good field position. And, the offense has been able to take advantage.”
The night didn’t start off perfectly for the North Stars as Shock quarterback Duane Milton completed six consecutive passes to start the game before St. John ended the streak with an interception.
Plattsburgh moved the ball down the field on its first possession to take an early 7-0 lead on Josh Nephew’s seven-yard touchdown run with 3:08 left in the first quarter.
After St. John’s interception the North Stars were setup again on Syracuse’s 20-yard line. Two plays later Harry Rascoe connected with Gibson for a three-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
“The offense had a good mix of running and passing,” Aguglia said. “We have been balanced the past few weeks. Defenses haven’t really been able to key on any one player.
“We have, in my opinion, the best receiving corps in the Empire Football League. Any given night one of five guys can have a great night, and Harry has done a great job of getting the ball to whomever is open.”
Rascoe found one of his receivers, Jordon Keleher, for his second touchdown pass of the night, this one for 29 yards and a 21-0 lead.
Rascoe finished with 11 completions for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also led the way on the ground with 53 yards rushing.
Keleher led the way for the receivers with 47 yards receiving.
Burke was the standout for the Shock, leading the way in both receiving (98 yards) and rushing (41 yards).
“I think we’re in a great spot,” Aguglia said. “We are clicking in all phases of the game right now and we just beat the No. 1 team in the EFL and No. 9 team in the country.
“Full speed ahead.”
Plattsburgh is off next week, but will be back in action on Sept. 8 when it will be the visiting team on the scoreboard against the Montreal Voyageurs, but will be playing at Melissa L. Penfield Park at 7:30 p.m.
Plattsburgh 21, Syracuse 7
Syracuse 0 0 0 7 — 7
Plattsburgh 14 0 7 0 — 21
P- Nephew 7 run (White kick), 11:52.
P- Gibson 3 pass from Rascoe (Whit kick), 15:00.
P- Keleher 29 pass from Rascoe (White kick), 7:13.
S- Crowell 60 interception return (Kirkland kick), 4:58.
S- Milton 2-7; Burke 10-41; Marshall 3-9. Totals: 15-57.
P- McCray 4-21; Rascoe 10-53; Nephew 8-38, TD; Karnley 5-9; Parks 3-0. Totals: 30-121, TD.
S- Milton 13-22-3-58, Marshall 0-1-0-0, Morales 1-1-0-50. Totals: 14-24-108.
P- Rascoe 11-25-1-102, 2 TD.
S- Burke 7-98; Serino 4-33; Cunningham 1-(-3); Marshall 1-13; Williams 1-5.
P- McCray 2-9; Gibson 3-19, TD; N. O’Meara 1-13; Price 1-13; Keleher 3-47, TD.
P- St. John 2, Haskins.
P- Shepler, Roberson 3, D. O’Meara, Gibson.