MASSENA — After being shut down for almost two full quarters, Saranac Lake’s offense was rejuvenated, and the Red Storm were driving for the game-tying points late in Friday’s fourth quarter.
They got 36 yards from the end zone. And then Ogdensburg Free Academy’s Jordan McCormick made one of several big plays he had in game.
The senior running back/linebacker, who led the Blue Devils in rushing and had a touchdown reception, picked off a Saranac Lake pass, and Ogdensburg was able to run the clock out for a 27-19 victory in an NYSPHSAA Class C regional semifinal football game at Massena High School.
Ogdensburg coach Matt Tessmer said that after defeating run-oriented Potsdam in the Section X final, the Blue Devils had to get used to Saranac Lake’s more versatile offense.
“It was a tougher adjustment when we were getting spread out all over the field and they were going to their quick kids,” Tessmer said. “It was hard for us to simulate that in practice as well as they do it. And maybe (the Blue Devils) got a little bit used to it.”
Ogdensburg (9-1) advanced to a state quarterfinal game in Section II. Saranac Lake, which won its fourth straight Section VII title last week, wrapped up its season at 5-5.
The Red Storm’s offense started out strong, going 46 yards on the first possession of the game and taking a 6-0 lead on Trent Ftizgerald’s 8-yard run. Saranac Lake doubled its advantage eight seconds into the second quarter when Dylan Gunther ran 8 yards up the middle and into the end zone.
Then Ogdensburg got its offense going. Josh Liebstein hit Jon Rogers for a 10-yard scoring pass with just under five minutes left in the quarter.
The big momentum swing came right before halftime.
The Blue Devils started on their own 24-yard line, and it looked like the drive might be in trouble with about a minute left. But Liebstein’s 12-yard run gave them first-and-goal, and on fourth down, Jon Tayler made a great catch, landing in the end zone with 3.3 seconds left. Liebstein’s conversion run gave Ogdensburg a 14-12 lead at the half.