GOUVERNEUR - Tupper Lake scored 14 points on a pair of long second-quarter passes Saturday afternoon on the way to a 27-12 win over Gouverneur.
Lumberjacks quarterback Morgan Stevens hit wide receiver Cody LaPierre for a 50-yard pass on the first play of the second quarter to kick off the scoring. Then with 37 seconds left in the first half, Stevens again connected on a long play, hitting wide receiver Mitch Keniston for a 34-yard touchdown.
The scores gave the Lumberjacks a 14-0 lead heading into halftime and enough scoring to last them for the entire game.
Tupper Lake quarterback Morgan Stevens looks to pass against Gouverneur Saturday afternoon on the road. Stevens threw three touchdowns in his team’s 27-12 win.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
LaPierre, a senior, said he saw an opening in the defense and told his coach about it before the play.
"I told coach over on the left side, that the safety just kept pushing up, and he said, 'OK, we'll give you a shot,'" LaPierre said. "And Morgan just laid it softly up there."
The pass play was one of three touchdowns that Stevens threw on the day. One went to LaPierre, who had four catches for 68 yards, and two went to Keniston, who had two catches for 35 yards. Both of Keniston's receptions went for touchdowns.
The second catch was a one-yard touchdown that came midway through the third quarter. It followed an interception from defensive back Devin Larson, who had picked off the ball at about the 12-yard line and ran it back to the two-yard line.
Overall, Stevens finished 11-for-17 for 141. He had three touchdown passes and three interceptions. The interceptions would have been more costly had Tupper Lake not played strong defense.
On the ground, Lumberjack running back Jeremy Roussel continued his strong season by rushing 27 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. The score came with 3:40 left in the game on a five-yard run.
Tupper Lake was able to get excellent field position to start this drive after Gouverneur punter Jose Flores accidently touched his knee to the ground when catching the snap. This gave the Lumberjacks the ball at the five-yard line, leading to Roussel's score.
Overall, Tupper Lake did a good job on capitalizing on Gouverneur's mistakes and coach Dennis Klossner was excited with the results.
"We put together a real good game today," Klossner said. "We blocked well. We tackled well. That has been one of our down-points - the tackling. It wasn't really bad, but it shaky at times. But it was excellent today. We were in the backfield, I think we just missed on one or two tackles, but tackling was good. Protection was good. We moved the ball offensively, and again, I was very proud our defense keeping them to a shutout through much of the game."
Tupper Lake also was able to generate some extra points after scoring touchdowns. LaPierre went three-for-four on extra point kicks. This was a big plus for Tupper Lake. The previous week, the Lumberjacks lost by one point after failing on its two-point conversion attempts.
For Gouverneur, it was a tough game, but they played hard until the end. The Wildcats scored twice in the final two minutes of the game.
The first came at the end of a 55-yard drive when Gouverneur quarterback Ben Casey scored on an 11-yard run. That made the score 27-6.
The Wildcats scored a short while later after blocking a punt and getting the ball back at the 6-yard line with 24 seconds left.
Offensive lineman Dustin Hutton scored the game's final touchdown on a 6-yard run after he lined up in the backfield and took the ball up the middle.
The Wildcats failed to score on both two-point conversion attempts.
Gouverneur coach Sean Devlin said the game came down to just a few plays.
"Four football plays were the difference in today's game," he said. "We had two broken coverages on touchdowns. We threw an interception and they got the ball inside the 10. The accidental kneel down on our punt inside the five, were the four plays that made the difference in the game in our opinion.
Although not happy about the loss, Devlin was glad to see his team competed to the very end of the game, picking up the two late touchdowns.
"We're always working to get better for the next game and for next year," he said. "We're always working to get to the next stage in the season, and our kids never quit. Our attitudes were good. They had fun. The scoreboard, it's never fun to lose a football game, but if you can take away positives out of a loss, then that's something to build on for next week."
With the win, the Lumberjacks improved to 2-2 on the season. The win also snapped a two-game losing streak.
Keniston said the team came into the game having a strong week of practice. He thought defense and the team's intensity were the keys to the victory.
"We definitely stepped it up in practice this week," he said. "Everyone was focused and came here and did what we practiced for."
Tupper Lake 27, Gouverneur 12
TL - LaPierre 50 pass from Stevens (LaPierre kick), 11:51
TL - Keniston 34 pass from Stevens (LaPierre kick), 0:37
TL - Keniston 1 pass from Stevens (LaPierre kick), 8:32
TL - Roussel 5 run (kick failed), 3:40
G - Casey 11 run (pass failed), 1:48
G - Hutton 6 run (pass failed), 0:19
Tupper Lake - Roussel 27- 101 TD, Stevens 4-0, Keniston 1-6, Wood 2-6. Totals: 33-113 TD.
Gouverneur - Hutton 1-6 TD, McShane 8-52, Wainwright 2-5, Gates 7-15, Bush 1-6, Casey 6-34 TD. Totals: 25-96 TD.
Tupper Lake - Stevens 11-17 141 3TDS, 3INTS
Gouverneur - Gates 3-12 22 2INTS, Casey 3-8 55 1INT. TOTALS: 6-20 77 3INTS.
Tupper Lake - Wood 1-3, LaPierre 4-68 TD, DeLair 2-22, Keniston 2-35 2TD, Roussel 1-18. Totals: 10 -143 3TDS.
Gouverneur - Ashley 1-14, McEathron 1-3, Bush 1-5, Gates 2-50. TOTALS: 5-72.