TICONDEROGA — Ticonderoga’s Michael Graney finished the first half of play 0-for-3 through the air with no yards to show for.
But the senior signal-caller made sure to make his throws count in the second half, if nothing else.
Graney hit Ty Denno for two touchdown strikes, helping the Sentinels (5-1) to a 28-12 come-from-behind defeat of Saranac in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football Friday.
“In the first half, we didn’t want to move away from our running game,” Graney said. “Jarryn (Granger), Cameron (Wright) and Konner (Bruce) — they run the ball really well. In the second half, it was just consistency with the line. They made huge blocks. Ty got open quite a few times and reeled in some big passes for me.”
Ticonderoga, who entered Week 6 ranked No. 19 in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association Class D poll, didn’t get off to the start it was hoping for, though.
The Chiefs (2-4) got on the board first when John Maye scored on a two-yard run with 10:51 remaining in the second quarter.
Sentinels coach Bob Sutphen said Senior Night festivities, which included player introductions, put Ticonderoga at a disadvantage from the get-go.
“As I said on my headset, it was just like Twilight Zone here (Friday),” Sutphen said. “We had three possessions in the first half. We had two crucial special teams errors early. The window breaks in the press box. It was just a Twilight Zone — weird stuff happening (Friday).
“But the big thing was our kids kind of regrouped, focused, put points up on the board, did what they had to do to execute and won the game.”
Wright helped the Sentinels take their first lead of the contest with 4:15 remaining in the second quarter.
After Saranac’s Lance Hackett took an end-around 44 yards to the end zone to open second-half scoring, Denno helped Ticonderoga regain its lead with a 17-yard reception. The Sentinels maintained a 14-12 advantage with 5:31 remaining in the third quarter.
“We started off real slow,” Denno said. “After the touchdown, I tried to get the intensity up and get my teammates going. Coach has faith in me, calling my number a couple times. I just wanted to make him proud, you know.”
Denno helped extend Ticonderoga’s lead to 21-12 with the second of his two touchdown receptions with under two minutes to play in the third quarter.
This time, Graney hit his fellow senior for a 31-yard score.
“It was just a great ball, a great catch,” Sutphen said. “There was really nothing the defender could do there. The second one provided a little bit more separation.”
The Chiefs were unable to convert points on back-to-back possessions, starting at their own 36 and 15-yard line, respectively.
Granger put the icing on the cake with a five-yard touchdown run with just under a minute remaining in regulation.
The senior running back and slot back finished with 117 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown.
Wright added 74 yards on 19 carries, including one end zone appearance. Graney finished 3-for-7 with 57 yards and two touchdowns.
“They have to cover for everybody,” Granger said. “It makes it hard for the defense. Our line works really hard to open up the holes. It always turns out good for us in the end, I guess.”
Maye paced Saranac with 25 carries for 120 yards and one touchdown.
The Chiefs were without starting quarterback Ethan Goslin, who was injured in Week 5 versus Peru. Three Saranac players combined to go 1-for-7 with seven passing yards and one interception.
The Sentinels will be credited with a forfeit win next week over now defunct Plattsburgh High. Sutphen, though, said he’s trying to find a nonleague opponent.
“We’ve got the bye week, which kind of stinks,” Sutphen said. “We’ve tried (to contact) everybody under the sun. Nobody wants to play. We haven’t been able to find anybody, so we’ll take the bye week. We’ll go from there.”
Ticonderoga 28, Saranac 12
Saranac 0 6 6 0 — 12
Ticonderoga 0 7 14 7 — 28
S- Maye 2 run (run failed), 1:09.
T- Wright 1 run (Denno kick), 7:45.
S- Hackett 44 run (run failed), 3:41.
T- Denno 17 pass from Graney (Denno kick), 6:29.
T- Denno 31 pass from Graney (Denno kick), 10:46.
T- Granger 5 run (Denno kick), 11:10.
S- Maye 25-120, TD; Hackett 2-47, TD; Church 8-35; O’Neill 1-(-5); Bryant 2-(-9); Rascoe 3-(-23). Totals: 41-165, 2TD.
T- Granger 13-117, TD; Wright 19-74, TD; Bruce 6-19; Trudeau 4-15; Hughes 2-7; Graney 1-2. Totals: 45-234, 2TD.
S- Bryant 1-1-0-7. Rascoe 0-5-1-0. Maye 0-1-0-0. Totals: 1-7-1-7.
T- Graney 3-7-0-57, 2TD.
S- Hackett 1-7.
T- Denno 2-48, 2 TD. Trudeau 1-9.