PLATTSBURGH — New team. New year.
That’s the outlook Plattsburgh North Stars head coach Scott Aguglia is carrying. After all, Aguglia is a new head coach, and he has some newcomers on his roster.
But especially for today’s 7:30 p.m. game against the Albany Metro Mallers (2-1) at Bleeker Stadium in Albany, Aguglia shakes his head at the thought of bringing up last year, which ended with a loss to Albany in the semifinal of the Empire Football League playoffs. That game helped lead Albany to a title.
But even a stinging defeat at the hands of a dual-threat quarterback in C.J. Tarver isn’t sticking in the minds of the North Stars.
“We’re not thinking about last year at all,” Aguglia said.
Last season’s playoff defeat was dominated by Tarver, who lined up as a wildcat quarterback. Though listed as wide receiver/running back/kick returner, Tarver notched 18 of the Metro Mallers 29 points as a quarterback, running for two touchdowns and throwing for another. Then-coach Pat Keleher said seeing Tarver lineup in the wildcat was the one thing he didn’t want to see happen.
Tarver is back in the wildcat this season, and this time around Aguglia knows what the speedster can do when he breaks out of the pocket.
“We are very aware of the damage C.J. Tarver does with his legs,” he said. “We hope to limit that.”
Limiting the damage could mean keeping Tarver in the pocket while not letting him look for running lanes out. But focusing solely on Tarver could be a threat in itself. Aguglia said Albany’s roster is full of athletes, including some quick wide receivers, solid running backs and a big, aggressive defense.
How Plattsburgh will match up against Albany is yet to be determined, especially in what Aguglia called an unpredictable league.
“Any team can beat any team any week,” he said. “We’re going to prepare the best we can and expect to win.”
How Plattsburgh prepares despite the uncertainty could be important. Following last week’s 38-36 loss to Monroe County, Aguglia said his team needed to practice better in order to prepare for the Metro Mallers. At Thursday’s practice, the head coach said he needed to wait to see how his team finished out the week, but Tuesday’s practice was a step up from the past.
“We practiced better on Tuesday than we have in the last two weeks,” Aguglia said.
No matter how they prepare, the North Stars will still be looking for a better team effort than in the Monroe County game. Plattsburgh overcame a 24-14 deficit in the first half to eventually take a lead, but each time the North Stars scored, the Sting answered. Even on a night when Monroe County didn’t have a kicker, it still was able to eek out the victory.
Aguglia won’t be looking for any particular player to step up to lead Plattsburgh to victory this week. He said the team has talked about giving a better overall effort.
“We just need to play better overall as a team,” Aguglia said. “If we do that, we’ll be just fine.”