’Jacks football tops Ticonderoga on the road
TUPPER LAKE — After defeating the Ticonderoga Sentinels in its home opener two weeks ago, the Tupper Lake football team didn’t get the hot start they wanted when they faced off against the Sentinels again on Friday night.
Playing on Ticonderoga’s home field, the Lumberjacks trailed 8-6 at halftime. But after intermission, a fired-up Tupper Lake team put the brakes on Ticonderoga’s chance at an upset, claiming a 34-22 victory.
“I am very proud of our team for playing a hard-fought game and working through our miscues and mistakes,” Lumberjacks head coach Dennis Klossner said.
Kyler McClain sparked the Tupper Lake defense with two interceptions both of which he returned for touchdowns in the second half. McClain also had 11 tackles in Friday’s win.
The Lumberjacks’ Luke Robillard had another solid performance on both sides of the ball. The junior tailback had 161 yards rushing on 33 carries while scoring one touchdown on the ground and two successful conversion attempts. Defensively, Robillard led the team with 13 and one sack.
After both teams were forced to punt on their opening drives, Tupper Lake eventually put together the first scoring drive of the day late in the first quarter on a 46-yard, six-play advance that Robillard capped off with a 15-yard touchdown run. On the extra-point attempt, the Sentinels blocked the kick, making the score 6-0.
After Ticonderoga went three and out on its next possession, its defense stepped up forcing the Lumberjacks to punt the ball, which was blocked by the Sentinels’ Mason Tuthill and recovered by Landen Frazier at the Lumberjacks’ 42.
Ticonderoga took advantage of the solid field position when Tommy Montalbano collected a flea flicker and tossed the ball to a wide-open Tyler Fleener for a 32-yard gain. The Sentinels capped off the drive with three plays before Montalbano found the endzone on a 3-yard run.
While trailing by two, the Lumberjacks had a chance to take the lead in the final minutes of the first half but were forced into a turnover on downs inside the Senitels 10 yards.
Coming out of halftime, Tupper Lake scored on its opening drive, with sophomore quarterback Wyatt Godin making a short pass to Logan Flagg, who cut to the middle of the field and juked out one defender before spinning around another and racing into the end zone from 23 yards out. The Lumberjacks pushed the score to 12-8 when Robillard ran in on the two-point attempt.
On the Sentinels’ ensuing drive, McClain tipped the pass and as the ball came down it bounced off the head of Tupper Lake’s Brenden Arsenault and into the hands of McClain, who dashed 34 yards for the pick-six.
Trailing by 12, Montalbano raced 34 yards passed the Lumberjack defense before eventually being pushed out at the 1-yard line. The play set up a quarterback sneak from Carter Perron for the score. On the two-point attempt, Perron converted on a pass to Montalbano to make the score 20-16.
Tupper Lake kicked off the fourth quarter with a long drive, which ended with Godin on the quarterback sneak from 3 yards out with the help of his lineman. Klossner said he was proud of the way his offensive and defensive linemen have stepped up this season.
“(They’re) continually playing well and constantly improving,” he said.
Ticonderoga answered right back, turning its next possession into another touchdown drive that ended with a 2-yard run from Montalbano. The drive was set up on a big 35-yard run from Montalbano and a 36-yard pass from Perron to the hands of Nathan Smith.
After scoring, the Sentinels successfully attempted an onside kick with Nate Lacor recovering it. However, after stopping Ticonderoga on three straight plays Perron attempted a short screen pass to Montalbano, which McClain read perfectly.
The junior tipped the ball up to himself and shed off a tackle before running 58 yards for his second pick-six of the afternoon, to seal the Lumberjacks’ second straight victory. The team improved to 2-1 overall, while the Sentinels fell to 0-3.
Tupper Lake’s Brayden Shannon had a solid performance defensively contributing with seven tackles. Tyler Wood and Tyler LaPlante each had five tackles.
On the offensive side, Shannon had 75 yards on 11 carries. He also hauled in one catch for 20 yards. LaPlante had two catches for 25 yards. Godin completed four passes for 68 yards.
Following the win, Tupper Lake will take on Livingston Manor on Saturday at 3 p.m. The game will be played at a neutral site at Waterville High School.
Tupper Lake 34, Ticonderoga 22
Lumberjacks 6 0 14 14 — 34
Sentinels 0 8 8 6 — 22
TL — Robillard 15 run (Kick Blocked)
TI — Montalbano 3 run (Montalbano pass from Perron)
TL — Flagg 23 pass from Godin (Robillard run)
TL — K. McClain 34 interception return (Run failed)
TI — Perron 1 run (Montalbano pass from Perron)
TL — Godin 3 run (Run failed)
TI — Montalbano 2 run (Run failed)
TL — K. McClain 58 interception return (Robillard run)