TICONDEROGA - The Saranac Lake football team notched its third win of the season and 400th in school history Friday, topping Ticonderoga 30-6 to improve to 3-0 in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference.
The Red Storm scored all their points before halftime, including 23 in the opening quarter, and then saw their reserves get plenty of playing time after intermission, which has been a trend in Saranac Lake's first three games of the season.
And for the third time in as many starts, senior quarterback Matt Phelan rushed for a pair of touchdowns to lead Saranac Lake. Phelan also threw a scoring strike to Kevin Morgan, Lance Ackerson rushed for a touchdown and senior Seth Pickreign booted a field goal and tacked on three points on conversion kicks. The Red Storm also recovered three fumbles in the contest, including two deep in their own territory that spoiled drives mounted by the Sentinels.
Saranac Lake’s defenders, including Kevin Morgan (12) drag down Ticonderoga running back Miles Austin in the first half of Friday’s game.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Red Storm junior running back Derek Thurber breaks loose for a 19-yard gain during the second half of Friday’s game.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
"I couldn't be happier with our effort," Saranac Lake head coach Eric Bennett said. "Our kids were ready. From top to bottom, they did a great job executing. They knew their assignments."
Saranac Lake put points on the board on each of its first four possessions, with two of those scores coming after the Sentinels fumbled away the football. The Red Storm's first possession was capped off by a 22-yard field goal by Pickreign - his first of the season - that gave Saranac Lake a 3-0 edge 3:46 into the game.
Ticonderoga then went three and out on its next possession, and Saranac Lake was back in business again at its own 47. It only took four plays for the Red Storm to reach the end zone, with Phelan crossing the goal line on an 8-yard run. Two big plays in the drive came on Phelan passes - a 14-yard catch and run reception by T.J. Monroe and 30-yard gain by Pickreign.
Saranac Lake 30,
SL - Pickreign 22 field goal, 3:48
SL - Phelan 8 run (Run failed), 6:26
SL - Morgan 15 pass from Phelan (Pickreign kick), 8:55
SL - Phelan 48 run (Pickreign kick), 10:55
SL - Ackerson 7 run (Pickreign kick), 8:39
Ti - Denno 8 pass from Graney (Kick failed), 6:27
Saranac Lake - Pickreign 5-54, Ackerson 4-26 TD, Phelan 4-62 2TDs, Fitzgerald 5-15, Gunther 2-45, Grebe 4-27, Thurber 3-69, Leahy 2-(-4). Totals: 31-292 3TDs.
Ticonderoga - Wright 7-29, Graney 5-(-32), Austin 23-119, Raymond 5-35, Granger 3-14, Bevins 1-(-2). Totals: 44-162.
Saranac Lake - Phelan 9-12-0-111 TD, Fitzgerald 0-4-1-0. Totals: 9-16-1-111 TD.
Ticonderoga - Graney 3-5-0-50 TD.
Saranac Lake - Morgan 2-13 TD, Monroe 2-21, Pickreign 2-36, Ackerson 1-0, Burpoe 1-35, McCabe 1-6.
Ticonderoga - Costello 2-42, Denno 1-8 TD.
Ticonderoga - Bevins.
The Sentinels then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, with junior Derek Thurber making the recovery for Saranac Lake at the Ticonderoga 41-yard line. Five plays later, the Red Storm reached the end zone for the second time when Phelan completed a 15-yard pass to Morgan, who was wide open in the middle of the field.
Phelan then added to the Red Storm lead the next time they had the ball when he raced 48 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the possession, which put Saranac Lake firmly in charge with a 23-0 lead with 1:05 still remaining in the first quarter.
Ackerson scored the Red Storm's final touchdown on a 7-yard burst up the middle with 3:21 remaining in the second quarter, and Pickreign followed with his third successful conversion kick to send Saranac Lake into halftime with a 30-0 lead.
The Sentinels averted the shutout midway through the fourth quarter when quarterback Mike Graney completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Ty Denno.
Saranac Lake's running attack netted 292 yards on 31 attempts on a night when its backs averaged more than nine yards per carry. Ticonderoga's Miles Austin, a speedy senior, led all rushers in the game. He carried the ball 23 times and ground out 119 yards.
Phelan finished with nine pass completions on 12 attempts for 110 yards.
Ticonderoga dropped to 0-3 with the setback.
Saranac Lake will be back in action on the road Friday at AuSable Valley.