Red Storm topples Patriots on the gridiron
SARANAC LAKE — A week after suffering a tough overtime loss to Class C foe Saranac Central, Saranac Lake’s football team turned in a strong all-around performance to claim a 28-7 victory over AuSable Valley on Saturday.
Playing on homecoming day at Wilson Raymond Field, the Red Storm led 21-0 at halftime and was never threatened on the way to improving to 2-1 in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference.
For the third straight game, running back Carter Hewitt paced Saranac Lake on offense. The senior scored two touchdowns — his eighth and ninth of the season — and finished with 82 yards on 16 carries. He also hauled in one screen pass from senior quarterback Brady Roberts that went for 33 yards.
Logan Hathaway picked up Saranac Lake’s third rushing touchdown on a four-yard carry in the second quarter and Markus Navarra rounded out the Red Storm scoring on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Roberts in the closing seconds of the third period.
Landon Faubert had a perfect day kicking extra points, going four-for-four for the Red Storm. The senior did miss one field goal attempt, clanging a 26-yarder off the top of the right goal post during the final minute of the opening half.
“We had a good week of practice,” Saranac Lake head coach Eric Bennett said. “I thought the kids were focused. We had a great run-through in practice Friday, and they made plays when they needed to make them.
“I think as coaches we gave the kids less to do this week,” Bennett continued. “The packages were smaller, there weren’t as many plays, and we really wanted to just try to get good at a few things, and I think that served us well. They played very well.”
Dylan Bombard proved to be a bright spot for the Patriots, scoring his team’s lone touchdown on a nine-yard run in the fourth quarter. He led AuSable Valley on the ground with 42 yards on five attempts.
Saranac Lake took advantage of field position right off the bat to get on the board. After pinning the Patriots deep on the game’s opening possession and benefitting from a short punt, the Red Storm offense took the field at the AuSable Valley 39-yard line. It took three plays for the hosts to reach the end zone, with Hewitt scoring on a 32-yard run.
Leading 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, Saranac Lake tacked on two more rushing touchdowns in the second period. Hewitt capped off a 53-yard, 11-play drive with a six-yard touchdown run that led to a 14-0 Red Storm lead with 2:16 gone in the second.
The Red Storm mounted a 71-yard march for their third touchdown, with Hathaway rambling into the end zone from the four-yard line on the fifth play of the drive. Two long completions were key plays during the possession. Roberts first connected with Nick Munn for a 31-yard gain, and then hooked up with Hewitt on a screen pass two plays later that went for 33 yards and a first down at AuSable Valley’s nine-yard line. The Patriots then jumped offsides, which opened the door for Hathaway’s scoring run up the middle.
Navarra, a junior, got his first touchdown of the season when he snagged a Roberts pass in the middle of the field on a 10-yard scoring play in the closing seconds of the third quarter. Faubert then followed with his fourth successful extra-point kick of the afternoon to push Saranac Lake’s lead to 28-0.
The Patriots marched 56 yards for their touchdown, with Dylan Bombard getting the job done on four successive runs to finish the drive. He banged out five yards at a time on three straight carries, and on the seventh play, Bombard scampered in from the nine for AuSable Valley’s touchdown with 5:21 left in the game. Addie Stanley followed with a successful point-after kick to round out the scoring.
“Saranac Lake is always a very well coached team,” Patriots head coach Kyle Nolan said. “They’re always going to be doing the right things, the fundamentals, and that’s what we didn’t do today. If you don’t do the fundamentals against a good team, you’ll see it in the end result.
“We’re super young, and this will be a good learning lesson for us,” Nolan continued. “We’ll go back and look at the tape and start working on ways to correct things and we’ll go from there. What I did like was that we showed some grit at the end. They didn’t stop. We came back and battled a little bit. I think this was a good reality check and I think this could help us moving forward.”
The Patriots dropped to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the CVAC with the loss. They next host unbeaten Peru Friday.
Roberts didn’t have an exceptionally busy day throwing the ball for the Red Storm, but he did have a successful outing. He completed 9-of-12 pass attempts to six different receivers for 143 yards. Navarra led Saranac Lake’s pass catchers with two receptions for 45 yards. Nick Munn also hauled in three passes for 36 yards.
“There’s no question that we were stagnant last week,” Bennett said. “We had a plan that we thought was going to roll and it clearly didn’t. It was a big reevaluation weekend last weekend. We have to spread the ball around so everybody isn’t teeing off on No. 23 (Hewitt). I think we did a nice job with that today.”
Saranac Lake will next be on the road Friday to take on Ticonderoga with the opening kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.
Saranac Lake 28, AuSable Valley 7
Red Storm 7 14 7 0 — 28
Patriots 0 0 0 7 — 7
SL — Hewitt 32 run (Faubert kick)k, 7:32
SL — Hewitt 6 run (Faubert kick), 2:16
SL — Hathaway 4 run (Faubert kick), 9:29
SL — Navarra 10 pass from Roberts (Faubert kick), 11:02
AV — D. Bombard 9 run (Stanley kick), 6:39
AV – Depo 7-13, Garcia 3-(-2), Fletcher 6-11, Holzer 3-27, D. Bombard 6-42 TD, Smith 5-10. Totals: 30-101 TD.
SL — Hewitt 16-82 2TDs, Hathaway 5-14 TD, Roberts 5-11, Munn 2-7, Willett 3-4, Rivers 2-3, Mitchell 1-0. Totals: 34-121 3TDs.
AV — Garcia 5-7-0-44.
SL — Roberts 9-12-0-143 TD.
AV — Goodman 3-33, No 88 – 1-7, H. Bombard 1-4.
SL — Munn 3-36, Kratts 1-6, Hewitt 1-33, Navarra 2-45 TD, Faubert 1-10, McDuff Taylor 1-13.