MINEVILLE — Cole Gaddor came up empty on his first four passes Friday and had completed just one by halftime. But Moriah got its passing game going in the second half and rallied past Saranac Lake in a Section VII crossover football game at Linney Field.
Gaddor threw for all four of the Vikings’ touchdowns and the defense got a big stop at the end for a 27-24 win.
Moriah will play Ticonderoga in the Section VII Class D title game next week, and Saranac Lake will play for the Class C championship.
The Vikings (4-4) trailed 18-6 after Saranac Lake started the third quarter with a 65-yard scoring drive, but they quickly responded. Gaddor connected with Rainier Garnica on a 21-yard play and then hit Garnica again for a 29-yard touchdown. Moriah took its first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter when Gaddor found Petro for an 8-yard score and then Garnica for a 2-point conversion that made it 21-18.
But the lead lasted just 19 seconds.
The Red Storm (4-4) started with the ball on their own 47, and Dylan Gunther took his first handoff of the game 53 yards to the end zone, making it 24-21.
The Vikings faced fourth-and-short from Saranac Lake’s 23 on their next drive. Garnica caught a pass for a first down and kept running for the go-ahead touchdown.
“We were looking to get the first down, but I know if Rainier gets the ball, he can break any tackle. Any arm tackles, he breaks them,” Gaddor said, adding that the safety was playing off of Garnica and they took advantage with little out routes.
The Red Storm began their next drive at their own 35 and immediately got into trouble. Starting quarterback Tristan Fitzgerald had to head to the sideline with an injury, and on fourth-and-11, Trent Fitzgerald’s completion to Gunther came up just short. But a 15-yard penalty against Moriah gave Saranac Lake a new set of downs and a second chance at pulling ahead. Tristan Fitzgerald came back in, but the Vikings still kept the Red Storm from getting another first down.