SARANAC LAKE - Each week when the starting lineups have been announced prior to Saranac Lake's football games, the Red Storm haven't had the players' names read over the public address system. Standing together along the sideline during introductions, the players are simply referred to as "A team of one."
But 9-0 Saranac Lake has loads of standout athletes, and after Saturday's sectional playoff game against AuSable Valley, 11 Red Storm players - including 10 seniors - were honored at midfield as Champlain Valley Athletic Conference all-star selections.
Several of the Red Storm players who were singled out for their on-field accomplishments were named to multiple teams. Leading the way on the CVAC's only unbeaten squad were offensive player of the year Matt Phelan and defensive player of the year Mike Burpoe.
Saranac Lake football team's all-CVAC selections
(Enterprise photos — Lou Reuter)
Phelan and Burpoe were also named to the first team offense. Phelan has had an incredible season so far and was chosen as the CVAC's top quarterback. The left-hander has thrown touchdown passes in every game for 21 total, and has also rushed for 11 touchdowns.
Burpoe was selected at wide receiver and is joined at the position by teammate Kevin Morgan, who has caught at least one touchdown pass in every game. In nine games, Morgan has 14 touchdown receptions.
Taylor Pellerin and Kellen Munn were Saranac Lake's first team picks at offensive tackle, and Grant Strack was selected at guard. Lance Ackerson, the only Red Storm junior honored, was a first team fullback.
Seth Pickreign was selected to second team offense at running back.
In addition to Burpoe, who plays outside linebacker, five other Saranac Lake players were honored for their defensive play, all landing spots on the CVAC first team. In the trenches, Strack was a top pick at tackle and Kyle McGrain was selected as the league's top nose guard. Craig Leahy was a selection at inside linebacker and Morgan and Pickreign were chosen as cornerbacks.
TJ Monroe, a two-way starter, also received an honorable mention selection by the CVAC.
Saranac Lake also received three other honors from the league. Pickreign was selected as the top place kicker and Eric Bennett was named the coach of the year.
Bennett, whose teams have posted a combined 28-3 record during his three years leading Saranac Lake's football program, said his proudest moment this season came when the Red Storm team was honored with the Ray Holmes Sportsmanship Award.
Also named to the CVAC first team offense were Beekmantown's Rufus Guerin (guard), Peru's Alex Barrett (center) and Tim Remillard (tight end), Ticonderoga's Mile Austin (running back) and AuSable Valley's Dillon Savage (running back).
First team defenders also include Remillard (defensive end), Peru teammates Austin Porter (tackle), Zane Bazzano (safety) and Hunter Bruno (inside linebacker) and Beekmantown's Dustin Pickering (outside linebacker).