SARANAC — After two difficult weeks, Beekmantown picked up some steam and built some confidence on Saturday.
The Eagles (1-2) collected a much-needed 29-8 win over Saranac (0-3) in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football action.
Nate Parliament completed 13 of 20 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, and he also rushed for a score to help lead the Beekmantown charge.
Andrew VanNatten did his part with five catches for 120 yards and a score, Ben Welch had a touchdown grab, Carter Ducatte notched a pick-six and the Eagle defense was just over a minute shy of pitching a shutout.
“Our kids needed it,” Beekmantown coach Jamie Lozier said. “We needed it. To be 0-2, it’s just not something we are used to. It’s tough. Between COVID and concussion protocol, we have had 19 or 20 kids at practice all week when we usually have 35. It’s been a tough year, so this win was big. The kids played well.”
The Chiefs were dealt a big blow when starting quarterback Landen Smith suffered an injury to his hand during the second quarter that forced him to the sidelines for the rest of the game.
Hunter Devins did what he could for Saranac with 120 yards on the ground and a score, but it was not enough.
“Missed opportunities in the first quarter and mental breakdowns led to them scoring,” Chiefs coach Dylan Everleth said. “Once you start to dig yourself a hole, from what I thought was our own mistakes, it’s hard to get out of it. The injury then sets us back, and since we are already low on numbers, it’s hard to make changes on the fly.”
Welch caught a 16-yard pass from Parliament with 7:31 to go in the second quarter to give the Eagles the lead.
“I started to settle in after Ben Welch got that first TD,” Parliament said. “We got in a groove and got settled. Our line started to block, and we started making plays.
“Everybody’s energy shifted. Saranac’s energy got down, and we took advantage of that.”
The momentum continued to swing further in Beekmantown’s favor near the end of the first half.
The Eagles recovered a fumbled snap by Bryce DeAngelo of the Chiefs with 25 seconds to go before halftime and put points on the board.
VanNatten caught short pass from Parliament and eluded a couple tackles before making his way into the end zone for a 26-yard score as the buzzer sounded.
An energized Beekmantown squad took a 14-0 lead into halftime.
“Just with that one score, you could tell the momentum was in our favor,” VanNatten said. “Their quarterback got hurt, but our defense came out and played.”
Through two games, the Eagles had surrendered 84 points, so to see a defensive performance that featured just eight points allowed was a refreshing sight for the Beekmantown coaching staff.
“Throughout the week, we actually had consistent people at practice,” Lozier said. “We talked about the personnel and what Saranac was trying to do with their run and their pass games. When Saranac came out in a formation, our kids recognized it. Hats off to the Devins kid, though. He was impressive. He was tough for us.”
Saranac fumbled away its opening drive of the third quarter when Devins was unable to handle a snap, and the Eagles took over at their own 35-yard line.
Parliament capped off an eight-play drive with a 1-yard rush to the outside for six points at the 2:47 mark.
Ducatte upped Beekmantown’s advantage with a 39-yard interception return to pay dirt with 3:02 remaining in the regulation.
“Our defense has been struggling the past couple weeks,” VanNatten said. “Our secondary is really good. The run game still needs some work, but the defense stepped up today, and we can build off that.”
Trailing 29-0, Devins gave the Chiefs their lone points after a 3-yard scamper across the goal line as 1:14 showed on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.
“Hunter is a leader and a ballplayer,” Everleth said. “He is going to do whatever is necessary even when it is on the fly. He’s a kid I can count on to give me 100% and will do whatever we need.”
The Eagles’ Peyton Viau turned in six catches for 53 yards, and Saranac’s Gabe Spaulding made three catches for 43 yards.
In Week 4, the CVAC schedule features Saranac travelling to AuSable Valley and Beekmantown hosting Saranac Lake at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
“Momentum is huge in high school football,” Lozier said. “We have Saranac Lake coming to us. They have gotten our number the last few times, so this is a big game. Having a win helps our confidence and allows us to go into a week with momentum.”
Beekmantown 29, Saranac 8
BCS 0 14 8 7 — 29
SCS 0 0 0 8 — 8
BCS- Welch 16 pass from Parliament (kick missed), 7:31.
BCS- VanNatten 26 pass from Parliament (VanNatten from Parliament), 0:00.
BCS- Parliament 1 run (VanNatten run), 2:47.
BCS- Ducatte 39 interception return (Jolicoeur kick), 3:02.
SCS- Devins 3 run (Fleury pass from Devins), 1:14.
BCS- VanNatten 13-38; Welch 1-6; Parliament 14-3, TD; Barber 4-2. Totals: 32-49, TD.
SCS-Devins 25-120, TD; Smith 6-1; DeAngelo 1-(-9). Totals: 32-112, TD.
BCS- Parliament 13-20-0-211, 2TD.
SCS- Smith 2-6-0-27; DeAngelo 1-1-0-16; Devins 0-3-1-0. Totals: 3-10-1-43.
BCS- VanNatten 5-120, TD; Viau 6-53; Barber 1-22; Welch 1-16, TD.
SCS- Spaulding 3-43.
BCS- Ducatte, TD.
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