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Red and Black hope to solve North Stars

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Quarterback Harry Rascoe has never lost to the Watertown Red and Black and the Plattsburgh North Stars have yet to lose a game this season.

The nation’s oldest semipro football has plans to change both of those facts at tonight’s 7 p.m. Empire Football League game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.

“This team rallies around him,” Red and Black coach George Ashcraft said of Rascoe. “But they’re beatable. If we can get to him and disrupt him, I think we’ll be alright. But I don’t want to take anything away from what he’s done. Every team has their lead dog and he’s theirs.”

Rascoe is blistering EFL defenses this season, throwing for a league-best 727 yards and 14 touchdowns in just three games. He has led the North Stars a perfect 4-0 record thus far, including a forfeit victory over Montreal. They are averaging 50.3 points per game.

The Red and Black will enter with a 2-2 record, coming off its first on-field victory of the season over the Finger Lakes impact in a nonleague game last Saturday.

“They got, I’d say, the best quarterback in the league,” Red and Black linebacker Rob Hughes said. “He’s smart, he’s got a real accurate arm, a good arm. They’re really good on the timing routes and their offensive line is really technically sound.”

“If we can’t slow their pass down, it’s going to be a long night,” Hughes added. “Hopefully our defensive line can get some pressure on them and force some mistakes.”

Rascoe replaced Ken Stay as Plattsburgh’s starting quarterback in the 2011 season and led the North Stars past the Red and Black that year.

He then accounted for four touchdowns in a 31-14 victory over Watertown last September, and threw for three more to end the Red and Black’s 2012 season with a 20-13 victory in last year’s EFL playoff semifinals.

“That was one heck of a game and there were a few things that happened that could have changed the outcome,” Ashcraft said.

Tonight’s game will mark Plattsburgh’s first trip to the Fairgrounds since the 2009 EFL title game.

On that night, the Red and Black defeated the North Stars, 6-0, in front of 3,000 fans for its first league championship since 1980.

Plattsburgh has won all five games between the two teams since, including the rematch in the 2010 EFL title game.

“It’s become quite a rivalry,” Ashcraft said.

The Red and Black has a bye scheduled for next Saturday and has just three games remaining on its schedule after tonight’s matchup with the North Stars.

It will play at the Scranton-based NEPA Miners on Aug. 24, host the Syracuse Shock on Sept. 7 and travel to Plattsburgh on Sept. 21.

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