TICONDEROGA — Ticonderoga’s defense got a stop on almost every big moment Friday and propelled the Sentinels to a big Week 1 win.
In addition to a strong defense, Terrence Benedict led the way on offense, throwing for 219 yards and a touchdown to help Ticonderoga take down Peru, 12-7, in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football.
The victory also marked Bob Porter’s first win as coach of the Sentinels.
“This is huge,” Porter said. “This game was everything to me. I wanted to turn this thing around right away, and I wanted this team to believe. We are young, and we need to believe. We believed in this game.”
The contest came right down to the final minute after a 39-yard touchdown pass from Peru’s Zach O’Connell to Austin Carpenter made it a five-point game with 33 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Indians recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, but a combined sack from Noah Bogart and Aidan Porter sealed the win for Ticonderoga, as time expired for Peru on its last-minute drive.
Bogart and Porter’s key sack highlighted an impressive defensive night for the Sentinels that also included two interceptions by Monty Benedict and one pick apiece from Dillon Schlogl and Conall Tierney.
“The kids never gave up and made amazing, big plays when we needed them,” Bob Porter said. “We stayed in coverage and continued to play hard on defense all game.”
Ticonderoga opened scoring with 2:17 remaining in the first quarter when Owen Stonitsch scored on a 1-yard rush to cap off a 79-yard drive by the Sentinels.
Ticonderoga added insurance after a 39-yard touchdown pass from Terrence Benedict to Tierney with 1:33 left in the fourth quarter.
“We put in a lot of work during this preseason, and it’s amazing to see all our hard work pay off right away in our first game,” Terrence Benedict said.
“The receiving crew I work with is incredible, and that showed. I trust my receivers, and trust is what allowed us to thrive.”
On Peru’s final drive, the Sentinels forced two straight incompletions before sacking O’Connell on the last play of the game.
O’Connell finished with 109 passing yards in his first game under center and Pat Keleher’s first game as the Indians’ head coach.
Carpenter powered Peru in receiving with 96 yards on four catches.
Next week, the Indians travel to face Moriah at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, while Ticonderoga plays Beekmantown at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at Plattsburgh High.
“This win helps tremendously because it allows the boys to continue to believe what the coaches have been telling them,” Bob Porter said.
“Going forward, we have to continue to play hard. We have Beekmantown next week, and we know they are going to bring it. We have to make sure we are prepared.”
Ticonderoga 12, Peru 7
Peru 0 0 0 7 — 7
Ticonderoga 6 0 0 6 — 12
T- Stonitsch 1 run (kick blocked), 2:17.
T- Tierney 39 pass from T. Benedict (run failed), 1:33.
P- Carpenter 39 pass from O’Connell (Smith kick), 0:33.
P- Hart 9-36, Brennan 6-29, O’Connell 9-21, J. Hanson 2-8, Carpenter 2-5, Padron 3-3. Totals: 31-102.
T- Stonitsch 5-18, TD, Schlogl 5-13, Porter 7-7, T. Benedict 5-(-9). Totals: 22-29, TD.
P- O’Connell 7-21-4-109, TD.
T- T. Benedict 13-24-0-219, TD.
P- Carpenter 4-96, TD, Joy 3-13.
T- Tierney 6-110, TD, M. Benedict 4-53, Yaw 1-49, Schlogl 1-4, Porter 1-3.
T- M. Benedict 2, Schlogl, Tierney.
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