OGDENSBURG - When the Saranac Lake and Ogdensburg football teams clashed during the regular season, the Blue Devils came up with the play of the game with just 18 seconds remaining to eke out a 7-6 victory over the Red Storm.
When the two teams battled again on Friday for the Class C championship, the Blue Devils didn't wait around to come up with big plays.
Junior quarterback Jared Morrow threw a touchdown pass on Ogdensburg's first offensive play, and followed with another scoring strike in the second quarter for a 13-0 lead. The Blue Devils then withstood the surging Red Storm to claim a 25-14 victory and advance into the state playoff round.
Saranac Lake defender Forrest Morgan lays a hard hit on Ogdensburg’s Gene Bouyer, but the speedy senior slipped away for a 50-yard gain during the second half of Friday’s Class C title game.
Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter
The Red Storm outgained the Blue Devils, but the hosts rode touchdown passes of 35 and 78 yards to improve to 9-1.
Meanwhile, Saranac Lake fell short in its bid to defend its title, ending the season with a 7-2 record.
"We left it all on the field," said Saranac Lake senior quarterback Brandon Patraw, who played the final football game of his high school career.
"We drove the ball up and down the field, but they were able to connect on some big plays. That was the difference in this game," he said.
Saranac Lake turned the ball over twice in the contest, and Ogdensburg took advantage of the first miscue, recovering a fumble at the Red Storm's 35-yard line less than three minutes into the game.
On the host's opening snap of the game, Morrow found Jordan Remi wide open in the middle of the field for the Blue Devils' first touchdown. Gene Bouyer, who came up with two big catches of his own later on, was good on the conversion kick to give Ogdensburg a 7-0 edge.
The Blue Devils got their second touchdown when Joel King ran past a pair of Red Storm defensive backs and hauled in a 78-yard scoring pass from Morrow with 3:45 remaining in the opening half. It only took the Blue Devils
four plays to notch the touchdown, and they marched 99 yards to get it done after Saranac Lake turned the ball over on downs just one yard short of a touchdown. Bouyer's second conversion attempt missed the mark.
The Red Storm came up big for their first score, starting at their own 44-yard line with just 38 seconds left in the first half. Working the clock and the sidelines, Saranac Lake marched 56 yards in four plays, with Patraw capping off the drive on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Logan Ploof.
Patraw completed three of four attempts on the possession, connecting with Austin McDonough for a 27-yard gain, following with a 22-yard pass to Ploof, and finding Ploof again in the corner of the end zone for the score with three seconds left on the clock. Forrest Morgan added the convesion kick, sending Saranac Lake into halftime trailing 13-7.
The Blue Devils upped their edge to 19-7 midway through the third quarter, marching 59 yards in six plays with Conor Ives scoring on a 2-yard run.
The big play in the drive should have been stopped for no gain by the Red Storm defense when Bouyer caught a pass at the line of scrimmage. Bouyer was hit hard by Morgan and other defenders on the play, but the Blue Devils' senior slipped loose and scampered for a 50-yard gain to the Saranac Lake 17. Four plays later, Ogdensburg was in the end zone.
Saranac Lake answered right back, driving 53 yards in four plays, with Morgan reaching the end zone on a 16-yard run. He added the conversion kick, cutting the Blue Devils' edge to 19-14.
Ogdensburg, however, quickly took away any momentum the Red Storm captured, turning the next possession into the final points of the game on a 52-yard march that ended when Morrow crossed the goal line on an 8-yard run.
"Ogdensburg beat us twice this season, and they are very worthy of this championship," said Saranac Lake head coach Mark Farmer. "We made too many mistakes today, and they made the big plays."
"We were able to get out to a little lead, and then we held on for dear life," said Blue Devils coach Matt Tessmer. "Last year, Saranac Lake made lots and lots of big plays to win this game. When we play each other, there usually isn't a lot of opportunities for big plays. This time, we were fortunate enough to make the plays and get the win."
The Blue Devils now move onto to the state Class C quarterfinal action, and will play the winner of today's Section II championship matchup between Chatam and Hoosick Falls.