RICKY ST. CLAIR
CLINTONVILLE — Beekmantown football coach Jamie Lozier might not ever receive a better birthday gift.
Lozier’s Eagles (5-4) converted four touchdowns on Peru turnovers to upset the Indians (6-2) 33-28 in the Section VII Class B championship Saturday.
The win discontinued Peru’s five-game winning streak over its archrival.
“We felt our chances were good,” Lozier said. “Peru, though, they lost the Gallo kid and they’ve had some injuries on their line. That’s very tough on their part.
“When you have two teams like this that know each other so well, turnovers make or break you. We got lucky (Saturday). It was a wet field, and we didn’t turn the ball over.”
The Indians, who entered the game ranked No. 17 in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association Class B poll, maintained a one-point lead with more than four minutes remaining in regulation.
After operating one play from scrimmage, Peru quarterback Blake Altizer mishandled the center’s snap. With the football falling to the wet turf, Beekmantown pounced on it at the Indians’ 4-yard line.
Two plays later, Beekmantown’s Justin Stevens scored the third of his three rushing touchdowns on a four-yard scamper, giving the Eagles a five-point lead with 3:19 remaining.
“We knew we had to get in,” Stevens said. “It was a sweep (to the) left. Everything just closed, so I ran back across the field and saw Zane standing there at the goal line. Thankfully, I was able to get in.”
Peru regained possession at its own 40-yard line and advanced the ball 30 yards downfield. After calling their final timeout, the Indians were presented with a fourth-and-five situation.
Zane Bazzano received a pitch toward the far sideline, but Beekmantown sent pressure off the edge, resulting in a 10-yard loss.
Peru coach Nick Damiani said it was an unsuccessful halfback-option pass.
“They just got some immediate flat pressure on us,” Damiani said. “The kid was right there. Zane could not throw it. We made the call and if it’s executed correctly, we’re OK. They did a nice job. They got a stop on it.”
The Eagles got off to the start they were hoping for, jumping out to a 14-0 lead after the first quarter’s conclusion and a 13-point advantage at halftime.
“We started out playing very well,” Lozier said. “We tried a little bit different pregame (Saturday) to help keep them relaxed. But we spent a lot of hours prepping for what we were going to see. We had to adjust kind of on the fly. I’m glad we did, though.”
Stevens was Beekmantown’s impact player on offense. The junior registered 108 all-purpose yards, including four total touchdowns.
“He’s got the gift,” Lozier said. “He’s got the gift and he knows it. He’s a good kid, he works hard and his teammates believe in him. That goes a long way.”
Bazzano concluded his four-year career with 28 carries for 174 yards and two touchdowns, leading the charge as the Indians recovered from an early 13-point deficit.
Damiani will graduate 14 seniors from his six-win team.
“I just think highlighting the fight in our team is huge,” Damiani said. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do. You can’t win them all obviously. But they fought their butts off the entire season. They really did.”
The Eagles will face Franklin Academy, the Section X representative, in the regional semifinals at AuSable Valley. The Huskies defeated Gouverneur Saturday, 27-7.
“We have a pretty good scout on both of them, so I feel pretty good,” Lozier said. “The fact that it’s here helps. We are healthy, so we didn’t have any injuries (Saturday). That’s a plus for us.”
Beekmantown 33, Peru 28
Beekmantown 14 13 0 6 — 33
Peru 0 14 7 7 — 28
B- Stevens 13 run (Remchuk kick), 4:59.
B- Stevens 32 run (Remchuk kick), 11:18.
P- Lovely 45 pass from Altizer (Guay kick), 0:11.
B- Fessette 60 run (kick failed), 4:13.
P- Avanzato 3 run (Guay kick), 7:52.
B- Stevens 17 pass from Remchuk (Remchuk kick), 9:47.
P- Bazzano 6 run (Guay kick), 8:13.
P- Bazzano 3 run (Guay kick), 3:28.
B- Stevens 4 run (run failed), 8:41.
B- Fessette 17-85, TD; Stevens 15-71, 3TD; Peryea 2-6; Remchuk 7-5. Totals: 41-167, 4TD.
P- Bazzano 28-174, 2TD; Landon 2-16; Avanzato 4-13, TD; Hendricks 1-5; Lovely 1-4; Altizer 1-1. Totals: 37-213, 3TD.
B- Remchuk 7-14-0-78, TD.
P- Altizer 6-13-1-152, TD.
B- Stevens 2-37, TD; Fessette 3-23; Dupigny 1-17; Barber 1-1.
P- Hendricks 2-69; Lovely 1-45, TD; No. 23 1-20; Guay 1-11; P. LaRocque 1-7.