SARANAC LAKE — Saranac Lake’s three captains accepted the Section VII Class C football championship trophy and casually walked it back to the rest of their teammates.
There wasn’t a whole lot of celebration from the Red Storm, who have their eyes on further playoff success.
Still, they were proud of their third straight sectional crown.
They claimed this one with a 40-6 win over AuSable Valley at Ken Wilson Field Saturday.
“It’s a great feeling,” Saranac Lake receiver Kevin Morgan said. “Whenever you’re champion at all it’s just the best feeling in the world.”
Matt Phelan threw all six of the Red Storm’s touchdowns, including three to Morgan. Saranac Lake (9-0) will take on Ogdensburg Free Academy next Saturday in a regional game at AuSable Valley.
Phelan distributed four touchdown passes as Saranac Lake took a 27-6 halftime lead in the sectional final. After Seth Pickreign brought the ball down the field on two long carries, Phelan hit Jonathan McCabe for an 8-yard score.
Then the senior quarterback connected with Morgan, who juked and took off for the end zone and a 40-yard touchdown. On the Red Storm’s next drive, Phelan lofted a perfectly placed ball 36 yards down the right sideline for Morgan, who caught it for another score.
“Matty just knows where to throw it and when to throw,” Morgan said. “He’s good at that.”
Late in the half, Phelan found McCabe again, and the senior receiver raced to the end zone to help the Red Storm take a 27-0 lead.
“I thought our kids had a good concept of the game plan,” Saranac Lake coach Eric Bennett said. “We were able to attack where they weren’t, and we moved the ball pretty efficiently, particularly with Matt through the air.”
AuSable Valley (0-9) constructed a nice drive before the McCabe touchdown but fumbled it away about five yards from the end zone. On the Patriots’ next possession, Michael Thompson gave them a spark with a 40-yard run. They reached the 13-yard line and then were whistled for a 15-yard illegal-block penalty that looked like it might kill the drive. But Kodie Simpson threw a 28-yard scoring strike to Jonathan Luxon with four seconds left in the half.
After halftime, Phelan tossed touchdowns to Morgan and T.J. Monroe. Phelan was 10-for-12 for 181 yards on the day. Morgan grabbed four passes for 138 yards, and McCabe also finished with four catches.
Pickreign scampered for a couple of big gains on the Red Storm’s last scoring drive and totaled a game-high 163 yards on nine carries. The senior back missed a game a couple of weeks ago with an injury but has shown no signs of wear since returning.
“It’s nice to have Seth back. That kid’s got a heart as big as this field,” Bennett said. “He’s a tremendous competitor and athlete.”
Saranac Lake receiver Mike Burpoe finished the game on the sideline with a bag of ice on his left shoulder. Bennett said he wasn’t sure how bad the injury was and they’ll see how it is on Monday.
Michael Thompson led the Patriots with 122 rushing yards on 16 attempts. Luxon had four catches for 47 yards, and Simpson went 10-for-14 for 100 yards an interception.
The Red Storm have beaten everyone in Section VII by wide margins this season. Morgan said they haven’t overestimated anyone and will make sure not to as they go forward. He said if they face tougher tests outside of the section, they’ll be ready.
“I think we’ve honestly been ready the whole season,” Morgan said. “We just want it so bad.”
Saranac Lake 40, AuSable Valley 6
AuSable Valley 0 6 0 0 — 6
Saranac Lake 20 7 13 0 — 40
SL- McCabe 8 pass from Phelan (kick missed), 3:20.
SL- Morgan 40 pass from Phelan (Pickreign kick), 7:24.
SL- Morgan 36 pass from Phelan (Pickreign kick), 10:38.
SL- McCabe 26 pass from Phelan (Pickreign kick), 9:48.
AV- Luxon 28 pass from Simpson (kick blocked), 11:56.
SL- Morgan 47 pass from Phelan (Pickreign kick), 1:52.
SL- Monroe 13 pass from Phelan (kick missed), 4:53.
AV- Thompson 16-122; Simpson 10-43; Coolidge 2-3; Owen 3-0; Cobb 1-(-2). Totals: 32-166.
SL- Pickreign 9-163; Ackerson 4-35; Leahy 3-33; Kilner 1-13; Phelan 2-12; Colon 1-4; Ryan 1-2; Thurber 1-0. Totals: 22-262.
AV- Simpson 10-14-1-100, TD; Coats 3-5-0-20. Totals: 13-19-1-120.
SL- Phelan 10-12-0-181, 6 TD.
AV- Luxon 4-47, TD; Owen 3-32; Sikandar 2-18; Smith 2-13; Cobb 2-10.
SL- Morgan 4-138, 3 TD; McCabe 4-34, 2 TD; Monroe 1-13, TD; Pickreign 1-(-4).
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