SARANAC LAKE — Nate Finley became the first Beekmantown quarterback in the 21st century to throw five touchdown passes in a game, and the Eagles clinched the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference title with a 42-21 win over Saranac Lake Saturday at Wilson-Raymond Field.
Beekmantown successfully defended its CVAC crown after graduating 21 players from its 2018 team that finished 8-2 and reached the state quarterfinals.
“It’s tough to follow it up back-to-back,” Eagles coach Jamie Lozier said. “It really is. But there’s been a lot of changes. This has been a weird league this year. Coaches changing and moving, and we haven’t. We’re all the same. In a couple games, we feel that we’ve had the advantage there a little bit because we’ve been together for so long.”
The Red Storm (4-2) pulled within 29-21 with 6:57 remaining after facing a 29-7 deficit, but Finley put the game away with scoring tosses to Connor McGinnis and Carson LaPier in the last 5:23.
Finley finished 8 of 16 with 164 yards.
“They really shut down our run game, so we had to resort to the throwing, and we just had (the) trust in our receivers, and they did a great job (Saturday),” Finley said. “We work hard every week in practice to try and get guys open, and we’re always subbing in new guys, so it’s really nice having multiple targets.”
Lozier said the game plan was to run the football, but Beekmantown was held to seven rushing yards in the first half.
“We’ve had some issues with our offensive line, and we made some tweaks again this week,” Lozier said. “Number 56, (Patrick) Alberga, is a monster. Can’t run at him, and then (the) backfield’s slipping. But they had 10 in the box all day. So that’s why there’s five touchdown passes. In the past, Beekmantown hasn’t been able to hit those guys, and we lose games because people just put 10 in the box.”
The Eagles (5-1) turned a 20-7 lead into 29-7 in the span of 46 seconds.
Jonah Phaneuf sacked Carter Sturgeon, who temporarily replaced Saranac Lake quarterback Rhett Darrah after an injury on the previous play, in the end zone for a safety, and Kaden Myers followed with a 14-yard touchdown run.
“They stepped up huge,” Finley said. “We couldn’t have won this game without them. It means a lot for us to play as a team like that.”
Beekmantown held a 14-7 first-half lead, and neither team had 100 yards of offense in the opening 24 minutes.
Matt Dion opened scoring with a pair of touchdown receptions, and Logan Brown put the Red Storm on the scoreboard with a 7-yard run with 1:20 left in the second quarter.
In the end, the Eagles outgained Saranac Lake by a 268-230 margin.
Beekmantown will conclude its conference schedule at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Moriah.
The Red Storm can clinch the top seed in the Section VII Class C playoffs with a win over Peru or AuSable Valley loss to Ticonderoga.
Beekmantown 42, Saranac Lake 21
Beekmantown 14 0 8 20 — 42
Saranac Lake 0 7 0 14 — 21
B- Dion 45 pass from Finley (LaMora kick), 6:34.
B- Dion 30 pass from Finley (LaMora kick), 3:24.
SL- Brown 7 run (Darrah kick), 1:20.
B- C. McGinnis 9 pass from Finley (kick blocked), 8:47.
B- Phaneuf tackles Sturgeon for safety, 0:36.
B- Myers 14 run (LaMora kick), 11:50.
SL- Brown 3 run (Darrah kick), 8:55.
SL- Warner 23 pass from Darrah (Darrah kick), 6:57.
B- C. McGinnis 45 pass from Finley (LaMora kick), 5:23.
B- LaPier 17 pass from Finley (kick missed), 0:45.
B- Myers 17-68, TD; Stevens 6-43; Finley 3-11; C. McGinnis 7-6; Team 1-(-24). Totals: 34-104, TD.
SL- Darrah 14-76; Brown 8-27, 2TD; Donaldson 4-3; Sturgeon 1-(-10). Totals: 27-96, 2TD.
B- Finley 8-16-1-164, 5TD.
SL- Darrah 13-25-1-134, TD.
B- Dion 2-75, 2TD; C. McGinnis 3-53, 2TD; LaPier 2-30, TD; Ferigno 1-6.
SL- Dashnaw 3-60; Warner 2-31, TD; LaVair 2-15; Donaldson 4-15; Munn 1-11; Rascoe 1-2.
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