TUPPER LAKE - The Tupper Lake football team rolled to a 48-30 win over Canton on Saturday in its annual homecoming game.
Already leading 20-14 at halftime, the Lumberjacks scored the first three touchdowns of the second half to take control of the game.
The first score of the second half came on a 12-yard pass from Lumberjack quarterback Morgan Stevens to receiver Mitch Keniston. Taking advantage of Keniston's height, Stevens lofted the ball high in the air to the outside, where Keniston pulled it down over the shorter defender.
Tupper Lake receiver Mitch Keniston catches a touchdown pass from Morgan Stevens as Hunter Yerdon of Canton defends during the third quarter of Saturday’s game in Tupper Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
The touchdown completed a 72-yard drive and gave Tupper Lake a 27-14 advantage.
Tupper Lake's next score came early in the fourth quarter, when Brasen LaVassaur ran up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown, making it a 34-14 game.
The Lumberjacks again found the end zone with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter when leading rusher Jeremy Roussel ran for an 8-yard touchdown to make the score 41-14.
Lumberjacks coach Dennis Klossner said his team settled down in the second half and played the way they have for much of the season.
"We played a little sloppy in the first half, (but we) hung right in there," he said. "We got what we needed done."
Tupper Lake's offense dominated the game and got contributions from a wide variety of players.
Roussel had his usual strong game on the ground with 21 rushes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. But in the second half, LaVassaur picked up a fair share of the workload, recording 13 rushes for 56 yards.
"They had some big ends," Canton coach Austin Weakfall said. "They pushed us up the middle a little bit. Offensively, they were able to push us off-tackle around the two- and four-hole. We expected that, but we thought that maybe we had some schemes that would help us out. The better team won today, so we just have to hit the drawing board on Monday."
Stevens credited the offensive line with being the key on offense.
"We started out real strong," he said. "We got a little slow early in the second half. After that, our line really stepped it up and held their blocks."
In the passing game, Stevens threw for 169 yards and four touchdowns, connecting with six different receivers.
Keniston had four catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns, Roger Delair had four catches for 33 yards and a touchdown, LaVassaur had a catch for 10 yards, Cody LaPierre had two catches for 28 yards and a touchdown, Devin Larson had two catches for 26 yards and Kevin Becker had a one catch for nine yards.
Perhaps the most impressive reception of the game came in the second quarter when Keniston again used his height to his advantage. This time, he reached over the smaller defender and took the ball from his hands.
From there, Keniston ran to the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown. That came with 3:16 in the first half and put the Lumberjacks up 20-7.
The two-touchdown lead wouldn't last long. Canton answered less than a minute later when quarterback Hunter Yerdon ran 42-yards for a touchdown, to pull his team within six points.
Canton wouldn't get any closer than that for the rest of the game, though.
Overall, the Golden Bears struggled on defense but had some good contributions on offense.
Payton Vanbibber spearheaded a strong running game with 14 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Vanbibber's touchdowns were 33 and 66 yards.
Yerdon finished 8-for-14 for 113 yards in the air. He also had eight rushes for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
Coming into the game, Tupper Lake was looking to keep him from getting to the outside, which he was able to do a few times early in the game but not much overall.
"That was our idea, to get our ends wide and contain him," Klossner said. "He got out on us a couple times early, so we were rotating games, trying to get them to understand this guy's got speed."
With the win, Tupper Lake improved to 3-4, while Canton fell to 1-6.
"Blocking and tackling," Weakfall said. "That's what it all boils down to. They did a better job blocking and tackling, executing. We didn't excecute very well. So that's what it boils down to."
Tupper Lake returns to action Friday night at home against Gouverneur.
Tupper Lake 48, Canton 30
Tupper Lake - LaPierre 15 pass from Stevens (kick failed), 7:47
Tupper Lake - Roussel 4 run (LaPierre kick), 0:08
Canton - Vanbibber 33 run (Vanbibber kick), 5:18
Tupper Lake - Keniston 33 pass from Stevens (LaPierre kick), 3:16
Canton - Yerdon 42 run (Vanbibber kick), 2:51
Tupper Lake - Keniston 12 pass from Stevens (LaPierre kick), 6:43
Tupper Lake - LaVassaur 1 run (LaPierre kick), 10:21
Tupper Lake - Roussel 8 run (LaPierre kick), 8:23
Canton - Vanbibber 66 run (Zeller pass from Yerdon), 8:03
Tupper Lake - Delair 5 pass from Stevens (LaPierre kick), 5:55
Canton - Yerdon 1 run (Vanbibber run), 4:05
Canton - Vanbibber 14-145 2TDs, Yerdon 8-65 2TDs , Erlichman 1-3. Totals: 23-213 4TDs
Tupper Lake - Roussel 21-121 2TDs, LaVassaur 13-56 TD, Stevens 4-12, Savage 7-28, Santana 1-2. Totals: 46-219 3TDs.
Canton - Yerdon 8-14 113.
Tupper Lake - Stevens 14-22 169 4TDs, Santana 1-1 13.
Canton - Porter 3-41, Zeller 4-66, Erlichman 1-6. Totals: 8-113
Tupper Lake - Keniston 4-63 2TDs, Delair 4-33 TD, LaVassaur 1-10, LaPierre 2-28 TD, Larson 2-26, Becker 1-9. 14-169 4TDs.