SARANAC — The Moriah Vikings were not to be denied.
In one of the most exciting Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football games of the season, the Vikings rallied from behind and pulled out a 28-22 victory over the Saranac Chiefs Saturday afternoon.
Moriah spoiled the Chiefs’ homecoming festivities when senior signal caller Cole Gaddor hit wideout Rainier Garnica on a 47-yard scoring strike with just 50 seconds remaining as the game appeared to be heading toward overtime.
“Both teams played a hard-fought game,” Moriah coach Don Tesar said. “Saranac played a great game defensively.”
Tesar singled out defenders Paul Herrera, Zachary Daniels and Michael Charland in his praise of the Chiefs’ defense.
Both teams started tentatively by trading possessions early in the first quarter with running backs C.J Raymond of Moriah and John Maye of Saranac handling most of the early load.
Maye was a key contributor in the Chiefs’ first score, but the senior running back used his arm rather than his legs when he threw a 37-yard strike to Lance Hackett after receiving a lateral from quarterback Ethan Goslin.
Goslin dented the goal line on a 1-yard plunge three plays later, and Maye tacked on the two-point conversion.
“John’s a big kid,” Saranac coach Mark Burrell said of Maye’s 220-yard rushing effort on the day. “We put a lot of weight on his shoulder. He played an extremely tough game.”
The Chiefs upped their lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter when Goslin hit Tanner Rascoe on a 28-yard scoring strike. Goslin fielded a poor snap from center, scrambled in the backfield and hit a wide-open Rascoe in the end zone.
“We had to make some quick adjustments in the second quarter,” Tesar said. “Their line was doing a good job opening holes, and we had to find a way to take away their running gaps.”