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AuSable Valley hands Red Storm first loss

Braden Ryan returns a kick for Saranac Lake in the second half of Friday’s game. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

CLINTONVILLE — Some big-time catches by athletic receivers helped give the AuSable Valley football team the edge in the first half of Friday’s game against Saranac Lake.

Some really bad mistakes by the Red Storm all game long, and especially after intermission, helped pave the way for the Patriots to win for the first time this season.

Playing on the road under the lights in Clintonville, Saranac Lake lost for the first time this season, falling 21-15 to AuSable Valley on the Patriots homecoming weekend.

AuSable Valley scored a touchdown on the opening possession of the game, added another touchdown with seven seconds left in the first half, and then crossed the goal line again with what proved to be the game-winning points in the closing seconds of the third quarter.

All three Patriots touchdowns came on throws from quarterback Evan Snow. Two of his scoring strikes went to Eli Douglas and Luis Perez grabbed the other touchdown pass.

AuSable Valley’s Eli Douglas leaps to grab a pass between Saranac Lake's Jeff LaVair and Braden Ryan. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Saranac Lake scored twice on running plays, with Logan Brown reaching the end zone in the first half and Ben Munn scampering for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

The Red Storm fell behind 7-0 after the Patriots drove 66 yards on their first possession. The scoring march took eight plays and was capped off on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Snow to Douglas, which came on a play where the Patriots’ sophomore made a leaping grab between two Saranac Lake defenders and spun into the end zone.

After giving up the four minutes into the game, the Red Storm got a big play on its first possession when junior receiver David Warner ran right past the Patriots secondary and caught a throw from quarterback Rhett Darrah, which was good for 52 yards and set Saranac Lake up at the AuSable Valley. But the Red Storm wasted the opportunity after being penalized on three straight plays; two were holding calls and the third was an illegal procedure penalty.

Saranac Lake was able to take the lead in the second quarter after starting possession in great field position at the Patriots’ 25 yard line. The short march lasted six plays, with Brown crashing into the end zone on a 1-yard run. Munn added two points on the conversion run for an 8-6 Red Storm lead.

AuSable Valley took the lead for good with an amazing late drive in the closing seconds of the half. In 1:54, the Patriots went 75 yards in seven plays, with Perez snagging a 1-yard pass from Snow for the touchdown.

Ben Munn runs toward the sideline while picking up a first down for Saranac Lake during the second half of Friday’s game in Clintonville. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

AuSable Valley took a 21-7 lead on Douglas’s second touchdown catch of the night on an eight-yard toss from Snow with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.

Munn rounded out the scoring, reaching the end zone on a 4-yard run with 3:27 left in the game.

Penalties, turnovers and missed assignments cost Saranac Lake dearly in the game.

“We slayed ourselves with mistakes,” Saranac Lake head coach Eric Bennett said. “We made them all over the field.”

Bennett, however, did give plenty of credit to the Patriots, who won for the first time after getting their season off to a 0-2 start.

“They have some really athletic kids, and they made some great plays, big catches,” he said. “Our defenders they were in the right spots, really good coverage. Their kids just went up and got the ball.”

After losing for the first time this season, Saranac Lake will look to rebound in its next game when it hosts Ticonderoga on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Wilson Raymond Field starting at 1:30 p.m.