SARANAC LAKE — Saranac Lake threw a little wrinkle in its offense, made good use of an under-the-radar receiver and made big defensive plays when it needed to Saturday.
The Red Storm took a 21-0 lead into halftime and ended up with a 40-6 Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football victory over Beekmantown.
Matt Phelan started things off by hitting Kevin Morgan for a 6-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the first quarter, and in the second he launched a 37-yard strike to Morgan to make it 13-0. That second score happened only after Beekmantown was called offsides on fourth down near midfield, giving the Red Storm (6-0) a first down and new life.
The Eagles fumbled away their next possession, and on fourth down of Saranac Lake’s ensuing drive, Seth Pickreign fired a halfback pass to Jonathan McCabe for a 23-yard touchdown. Coach Eric Bennett said the Red Storm have had that play in their playbook all along and were waiting for a good opportunity to use it.
Beekmantown coach Jamie Lozier said the costly penalty and turnover were frustrating.
“I mean we can’t win games against anybody let alone one of the best teams in the league when we turn the ball over and just make youthful mistakes,” he said.
The Eagles missed a great chance to trim their deficit before the end of the half. Justin Stevens returned a punt all the way to Saranac Lake’s 6, but the Red Storm made a defensive stand. Beekmantown tried four rushes and was denied entrance to the end zone every time.
“That was the ball game right there,” Bennett said. “To potentially go into the half 21-7 and instead have a goal-line stand to make it 21-0 … not only was it good for the scoreboard, it was good for our morale. And I’m sure it stung them a little bit.”