SARANAC LAKE - For the second time in three games, the Saranac Lake football team paid for its inability to move the football and tackle opposing running backs.
On Saturday at Ken Wilson Field, visiting Ticonderoga utilized an nearly unstoppable running game and a stingy defense to claim a 35-13 victory over the Red Storm.
Led by the backfield combination of Jarryn Granger and Cameron Wright, the Sentinels churned out 383 yards on a whopping 55 carries, with five of those runs going for touchdowns. Granger and Wright each carried the ball 19 times. Granger scored three touchdowns and piled up 205 yards, while Wright finished with one rushing touchdown and 136 yards.
Saranac Lake senior receiver Carl Bevilacqua eyes the end zone on his 18-yard receiving touchdown play during the second quarter of Saturday’s game at Ken Wilson Field.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Saranac Lake struggled just as much on the other side of the ball. With senior quarterback Trent Fitzgerald out with an injury, his younger brother Tristin, a sophomore, played the whole game and found some success, completing half of his 20 attempts, including a touchdown pass to Carl Bevilacqua.
But when it came to establishing a running game, the Red Storm couldn't get the job done as they gained just 92 yards on 28 carries.
"We just got manhandled," Saranac Lake head coach Eric Bennett. "We were hoping to get to the perimeter early and wear them out, and then hit them up the middle, but that just didn't happen.
"We just couldn't run the ball. When you can't move on offense, and you're not making tackles, you aren't going to win football games."
The Sentinels scored on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead in the opening quarter. Granger got the first, capping off an eight-play, 69-yard march with a 6-yard touchdown run at the midway mark of the period.
After picking up one first down on their first possession before punting, the Red Storm went three-and-out the next time they had the ball. A bad snap on the punt, however, set the Sentinels up at Saranac Lake's 21-yard line, and two plays later, Granger was in the end zone on an 11-yard run. Ty Denno, who was a perfect 5-for-5 on conversion kicks, tacked on the extra point for a 14-0 Ticonderoga edge with 4:08 remaining in the first.
Saranac Lake finally put together a scoring march that started at its own 26 with 5:30 remaining in the first half. The Red Storm's seven-play drive ended with Tristin Fitzgerald connecting with Bevilacqua on an 18-yard catch-and-run play for a touchdown 2:53 before the intermission. The conversion kick attempt ended on a bobbled snap, leaving the Red Storm trailing 14-6.
The Sentinels, however, regained control, getting a 49-yard touchdown run from Granger with 15 seconds left in the first half, and then driving into the end zone again on the first possession of the second half. Wright, a senior, scored the Sentinels fourth touchdown on a 31-yard run. Senior quarterback Mike Graney notched the fifth Ticonderoga touchdown, scoring on a 1-yard plunge up the middle with 2:23 remaining in the third quarter.
Senior Dustin Fischer accounted for Saranac Lake's second touchdown, reaching the end zone on a 10-yard sweep on the second play of the final quarter.
After rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns in Saranac Lake's 20-14 win at Moriah, senior Lance Ackerson was held to just 26 yards on 11 carries in Saturday's matchup. In his first complete game at quarterback, Tristin Fitzgerald completed 10-of-20 pass attempts for 81 yards. Junior Ty Marmion paced the Red Storm with 32 yards rushing and 70 receiving yards on five catches.
Ticonderoga improved to 2-1 in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference, while Saranac Lake fell to 1-2.
"It's been a long time since we've left this field with a win," said Ticonderoga head coach Bob Sutphen. "Someone told me the last time was 1987. Saranac Lake always plays us tough, and even today, they gave us a battle. After we went up 14-0, they came right back. Fortunately we got a big touchdown right before halftime, and then we came out and dictated the tempo to start the second half, just like we did in the first quarter."
The Class D Sentinels and Class C Red Storm will next face divisional rivals. Ticonderoga will take on rival Moriah Friday, and Saranac Lake will host AuSable Valley Saturday, with the opening kickoff slated for 1:30 p.m.
Ticonderoga 35, Saranac Lake 13
Ti Granger 6 run (Denno kick), 5:59
Ti - Granger 11 run (Denno kick), 7:52
SL - Bevilacqua 18 pass from Tri. Fitzgerald (Run failed), 9:07
Ti - Granger 49 run (Denno kick), 11:30
Ti - Wright 31 run (Denno kick), 2:03
TI - Graney 1 run (Denno kick), 8:37
SL - Fischer 10 run (Marmion kick), :14
Ticonderoga - Granger 19-205 3TDs, Wright 19-136 TD, Trudeau 3-9, Bruce 1-0, Graney 3-0 TD, Bevins 6-21, Lawrie 4-12. Totals: 55-383 5TDs.
Saranac Lake - Marmion 5-32, Fischer 4-7 TD, Tri. Fitzgerald 3-5, Ackerson 11-26, Stack 1-(-4), Ryan 2-17, Kilner 2-9. 28-92 TD.
Ticonderoga - Graney 2-6-0-29.
Saranac Lake - Tri. Fitzgerald 10-20-0-81 TD.
Ticonderoga - Trudeau 1-14, Denno 1-15.
Saranac Lake - Marmion 5-70, Bevilacqua 1-18 TD, Gunther 1-0, Ackerson 1-0, Strack 1-9, Stack 1-(-4).