SARANAC LAKE - After falling prey to mistakes in a season-opening 22-19 loss to Peru a week ago, Saranac Lake's football team hopes to rebound on Saturday when it travels downstate to take on Broadalbin-Perth of Section II.
And tonight in Massena, Tupper Lake will look to improve to 2-0 in Northern Football Conference action in a matchup against the Red Raiders.
Saranac Lake head coach Eric Bennett said last week's game proved to be an eye-opener for his young squad, adding that the key to finding success against a strong Patriots team will be cleaning up mistakes and staying focused.
Saranac Lake senior running back Kyle Dora looks for running room during last week’s season-opening loss to Peru. Dora, a Red Storm co-captain, and his teammates will be on the road Saturday for a matchup against Broadalbin-Perth.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
"I think our inexperience showed against a good Peru football team," Bennett said. "Focus, focus, focus - that's what we have to do against this team we are playing on Saturday.
"Most of our kids have a lack of critical playing time in varsity football, and we have to get up to speed. We made critical mistakes on critical downs against Peru. Last year, we had all kinds of experience. A lot of our seniors this year got loads of playing time, but most of that came when we had big leads. Our kids aren't used to pressure situations."
The Red Storm have a tough task ahead in their non-league matchup against Broadalbin-Perth, playing up a class against a big Class B team. The Patriots will also be looking for their first win after falling 42-25 last week against Albany Academy, a perennial Section II power.
"They are a scary squad in that they run a ton of offensive sets," Bennett said of Saturday's opponent. "They have good size, they have a lot of good players and some really nice backs."
Juniors Matt Phelan and Mike Burpoe had solid performances in providing most of the offense for the Red Storm against Peru. Phelan, Saranac Lake's quarterback, completed 9 of 18 passing attempts for 172 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 92 yards on 21 carries. One Phelan scoring pass went to Burpoe on a 74-yard completion, with senior receiver Devin Darrah hauling in the second touchdown pass on a 34-yard play. Burpoe finished the game with 127 receiving yards on five catches.
The opening kickoff for the Saranac Lake-Broadalbin-Perth game is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Tupper Lake defeated Gouverneur 24-18 in Week 1 despite turning the ball over seven times. Tonight, the Lumberjacks look to make it two straight wins when they play under the lights against Massena, which lost its season opener 42-14 to Ogdensburg.
The running game proved to be a big weapon in Tupper Lake's victory over the Wildcats, as the 'Jacks piled up 277 yards on the ground. Eight running backs combined to carry the football 53 times for Tupper Lake, with senior Jordan Garrow leading the way with 91 rushing yards on 22 attempts. Junior Elliot Kerst followed with 63 yards on 10 runs and sophomore Tim Ropas gained 54 yards on seven carries.
Starting for his second season, sophomore quarterback Morgan Stevens completed 4 of 6 passes for 41 yards and had no interceptions. Stevens also rushed for 38 yards on seven carries.
The opening kickoff for tonight's game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.