‘Jacks take down former rivals
TUPPER LAKE — Over the past few years, the Tupper Lake football team has been playing most of its games against Section III opponents after switching to 8-man football in 2017. But on Friday, the Lumberjacks took on a Section X foe, and the team didn’t let the game go to waste.
Playing on their home turf on a windy and cold night, the Tupper Lake eight were led by a strong defensive stance en route to a 16-0 victory over the St. Lawrence Central Larries. The win pushed the Lumberjacks’ overall record to 2-2 on the season.
Tupper Lake’s defense controlled the tempo of the game by allowing just 117 yards while forcing three fumbles in the win. Senior Owen Whitman recorded seven tackles while recovering a fumble for the Lumberjacks, while Kyler McClain had a team-high nine tackles in the win.
On the offensive side, Tupper Lake’s two-headed monster in the backfield of Luke Robillard and Brayden Shannon led the charge. The pair combined for 118 rushing yards, while they each scored a two-point conversion.
“It was fun and it was nice to be able to play St. Lawrence,” Lumberjack’s head coach Dennis Klossner said. “It was two evenly matched teams, back and forth all night. I’m excited about the kids, they did a good job.”
Despite being shutout, the Larries’ defense set the tone on the game’s opening drive. After allowing the Lumberjacks to march down the field on eight plays, St. Lawrence forced and recovered a fumble on its own 24-yard line to prevent the Lumberjacks from scoring.
However, the Larries’ offense wasn’t able to capitalize on the turnover. St. Lawrence Central Bruce Truax said his offense didn’t play well on Friday, as the team’s biggest play of the game came on a 26-yard run in the fourth quarter.
“But with that being said, it’s a whole new offense because it’s just different,” Truax said. “We’re missing players. But the kids worked hard just the same and they fought hard. This group, I’m never not going to be proud of them.”
On the Lumberjacks’ first drive of the second quarter, St. Lawrence’s Dawson Shatraw picked off a pass thrown by Tupper Lake’s sophomore quarterback Wyatt Godin, who was making his first-career start at the position after the team’s typical starter suffered an injury on Thursday.
Following the interception, the Lumberjacks’ defense came up with a big turnover of their own by knocking the ball out of the Larries’ quarterback Ayden Beach’s hands on the St. Lawrence 13-yard line.
Tupper Lake capitalized on the great field position on six straight rushes before Robillard scored his second touchdown of the season from two yards out. Robillard also ran in on the two-point attempt to give his team an 8-0.
After forcing the Larries into their third punt of the first half, the Lumberjacks marched down the field, but things quickly turned for the worst when Shatraw picked off Godin again.
This time, Shatraw ran all the way to the Tupper Lake 27-yard line, but the ball was stripped right out of his hands and was picked up by a Lumberjacks defender.
Despite throwing two interceptions, Klossner credited Godin for filling in at the position on less than a day of preparation.
“(Godin’s) got a lot of time through practice,” Klossner said. “He’s worked hard, he knew the offense and I thought he did a really good job. I knew they picked off a couple but he threw a really good ball. The kid did a really good job of defending it. Wyatt did a really good job running the offense and I’m proud of him.”
Leading 8-0 in the fourth quarter, Godin completed his first pass of the game, which was a 15-yard toss to Jamin Whitmore. The pass was then followed by three straight runs to put the team at the St. Lawrence four-yard line before Klossner called a timeout.
“We were going to throw just a look in because they weren’t looking at Avery (Amell) out there,” Klossner said. “So I called a timeout and called a fade instead. We just changed the play instead. We were throwing to Avery no matter what. He was wide open and it was a beautiful ball. He just threw it out there. Avery grabbed a hold of it — he’s got good hands — and pulled it right in.”
Godin hit the wide-open senior receiver for a four-yard strike. Amell’s touchdown was his first-career varsity touchdown. Shannon then ran in for the two-point conversion to seal the Lumberjacks’ second victory at home.
The Larries dropped to 0-4 overall with the loss. The team is slated to take on Potsdam Central on the road Friday at 7 p.m.
“We’re having a rough year. We’ve just got to keep fighting on and keep going forward,” Truax said. “Next week we go back to 11-man. We’ve already got our plays set up so it won’t take as long.”
Tupper Lake will travel to take on the Speckenkill Spartans Saturday in Poughkeepsie at 3 p.m. The Spartans are currently 3-0 on the season.
Tupper Lake 16, St. Lawrence Central 0
Larries 0 0 0 0 — 0
Lumberjacks 0 8 0 8 — 16
TL — Robillard 2 run (Robillard run), 5:47
TL — Amell 4 pass from Godin (Shannon run), 7:51
SL — Beach 9-58, Shatraw 5-6, LaBrake, 3-0, Roberts 7-(-6), Wentzel 4-12, Ashley 3-16, Shattuck 2-21, Spinner 1-2, Lasalle 1-0. Totals: 35-109.
TL — Robillard 21-75 TD, Shannon 15-43, Godin 2-5. Totals: 38-123 TD.
SL — Beach 1-5-0-3, Wentzel 1-1-0-4. Totals: 2-6-0-7.
TL– Godin 2-4-2-19 TD.
SL — Spinner 1-4, Ashley 1-3. Totals: 2-13.
TL — Amell 1-4 TD, Whitmore 1-15. Totals: 2-19.
SL — Shatraw (2).