On a night when wet, muddy conditions limited Saranac's dynamic offense, a long run and a big defensive play gave the Chiefs a quick lead.
The defense took over from there, and Saranac tacked on two late scores for a 28-0 Northern Football Conference win against Moriah.
Matt McCasland broke through the Vikings' defense for a 57-yard touchdown on the Chiefs' second snap, and Jordan Gillespie returned an interception 42 yards for another score and a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
The field was soggy at the start and only got sloppier after a first-quarter downpour. Still, Saranac (5-2) made it through without a turnover.
"It was very tough. My first play I fumbled, it hit the ground, we recovered it," said McCasland, who was covered head to toe in mud. "Second play, my touchdown, I had the ball and I was fumbling all the way down the field even though no one was touching me. Arms were just so wet it was hard to hold onto it."
McCasland finished with a team-high 82 yards on nine carries.
The Vikings (1-6) had chances to pull close in the first half. Tom Ida gave them a boost with a 70-yard run on their third possession, but a holding penalty later cost them and the drive stalled. They couldn't take advantage of good field position on their next drive. Then, after Ryan Kerner's interception and lengthy return gave the Chiefs the ball 37 yards from the end zone, Moriah's defense came up big — Saranac turned it over on downs at the 20-yard line. But the Vikings couldn't get anywhere on the ensuing possession.
"I thought our defense was going to play particularly well, and they came through certainly when we needed them to. Because Moriah definitely threatened," Saranac coach Mark Burrell said. "They were knocking on the door multiple times."
Jim Curran led the Vikings with 90 yards on the ground. He took all but three handoffs after Ida was knocked out of the game with a leg injury early in the second quarter. Ida returned to the sidelines on crutches in the second half.
Burrell said he tried to go to the passing game a few times, but the ball just had too much mud on it. Quarterback Ben Weightman did connect with Nate Bedell for a 19-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Weightman added a 44-yard running score. He was just 3-for-5 for 27 yards in the air but ran for 59 yards.
McCasland said the conditions weren't all bad. When the game was over, both teams went sliding in the mud.
"This is probably the most fun game I've ever played," McCasland said. "Mud got deep; it was fun."
Saranac 28, Moriah 0
Saranac 14 0 0 14 — 28
Moriah 0 0 0 0 — 0
Sar- McCasland 57 run (run failed), 2:29.
Sar- Gillespie 42 interception return (McCasland run), 4:30.
Sar- Bedell 19 pass from Weightman (run failed), 0:55.
Sar- Weightman 44 run (Bedell pass from Weightman), 6:45.
Sar- McCasland 9-82, TD; Weightman 11-59, TD; Houle 3-29; Goslin 1-(-3); Bernardi 2-(-5). Totals: 26-162, 2 TD.
Mor- Curran 23-90; Ida 5-69; Cheney 2-7; Nephew 3-7; Gaddor 2-(-1). Totals: 35-172.
Sar- Weightman 3-5-0-27, TD.
Mor- Gaddor 1-8-2-9.
Sar- Bedell 1-19, TD; Velie 1-5; Kerner 1-3.
Mor- Calkins 1-9.
Sar- Gillespie, Kerner.
Email Courtney Lewis at: firstname.lastname@example.org