Quarterback Mike Graney had gone 0-for-9 in the second half, and Ticonderoga’s 10-point lead had suddenly shrunk to four in the fourth quarter Friday.
But Graney knew the middle of the field was open, and he found Ty Denno there. Denno caught the pass, turned away from a defender and raced to the end zone to restore the Sentinels’ cushion.
High School Sports Magazine
Ticonderoga held off Moriah from there for a 24-12 win in a Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football game at Sentinel Field.
“We know going into these games, momentum is always key,” Graney said. “Coach said it all week — they’re going to make big plays; good things are going to happen. It’s how we respond to things.
“And by the scoreboard, I think we responded all right.”
Ticonderoga led 16-6 at halftime, and the Vikings didn’t do anything to close the gap in the third quarter. But the Sentinels (3-1) didn’t add to their advantage either; their offense seemed to stall.
That gave the Vikings (2-2) a chance to climb back in it. Cole Gaddor connected with Tyler Pratt for a 58-yard passing play that put Moriah on Ticonderoga’s 13-yard line. Gaddor then hit Rainier Garnica in the end zone with 7:03 left in the game. The two-point conversion pass failed, making it 16-12.
“I think we didn’t execute in the start of the third quarter,” Ticonderoga coach Bob Sutphen said. “We got too conservative in the third quarter, and that’s on me.
“I think everybody in these games gets really tense. I think the biggest thing for us was to execute our game plan and go out and play loose a little bit.”
The Sentinels loosened up after Denno’s 42-yard touchdown and the ensuing conversion put them ahead 24-12, although Graney said they knew they had to stay focused and prevent big plays by Moriah.
The Vikings almost made one with five minutes left.
Facing fourth-and-12 from Ticonderoga’s 20, Gaddor put the ball up in the right corner of the end zone. Receiver C.J. Raymond and defensive back Jarryn Granger battled for it. Raymond came down juggling the ball, and it popped out as he hit the ground.
The Sentinels converted on two third-down plays during their drive and were able to eat up the clock.
Graney went 6-for-18 for 160 yards, and Denno caught four of those passes for 119 yards. Granger had two catches and ran for 66 yards and a score.
Cameron Wright rushed for a game-high 139 yards on 20 attempts while playing against his former team. The senior transferred from Moriah to archrival Ticonderoga this year. He said he was excited to see his old friends, but he admitted that lining up against them at the start of the game was strange.
“That was a little weird, but I just prepared myself for it,” Wright said. “And I have a great team, and I’m happy.”
Penalty flags flew left and right in the first half, mostly against Ticonderoga. The Sentinels had several good drives hampered by infractions.
“The penalties, I think, really marred it, and I think we did commit a lot of those penalties,” Sutphen said. “It’s a good win, and I’m happy for the win, but obviously we have a lot of work to do.”
Ticonderoga took a 13-0 lead after Graney snuck in from the 1 in the first quarter and Granger broke free for a 24-yard touchdown run in the second. Then Raymond put Moriah on the board with a 7-yard run that was set up by Garnica’s 32-yard catch earlier in the drive.
On the Sentinels’ last possession of the first half, they had first-and-goal from Moriah’s 10 but were stopped short of the end zone three times. Denno kicked a 24-yard field goal for a 16-6 lead.
Gaddor completed 12-of-21 passes for 168 yards, and Pratt and Garnica both hauled in four catches. Moriah’s ground game never really got going, totaling just 72 yards. Raymond had 52 of those on 19 carries. While the Sentinels were happy to beat their rival, they were already looking ahead to the next matchup — the two teams will meet again in the Section VII Class D championship game.
“This is just like the first round, kinda,” Sutphen said. “It’s going to be a showdown; it’s going to be a war the second time, we know that.”
Ticonderoga 24, Moriah 12
Moriah 0 6 0 6 — 12
Ticonderoga 7 9 0 8 — 24
T- Graney 1 run (Denno kick), 8:45.
T- Granger 24 run (kick failed), 2:39.
M- Raymond 7 run (pass failed), 4:22.
T- Denno 24 field goal, 7:26.
M- Garnica 13 pass from Gaddor (pass failed), 4:57.
T- Denno 42 pass from Graney (Granger pass from Graney), 5:57.
M- Raymond 19-52, TD; Graham 5-17; Welch 3-3; VanBuren 1-2; Gaddor 2-(-2). Totals: 30-72, TD.
T- Wright 20-139; Granger 12-66, TD; Graney 6-8, TD; Trudeau 2-4. Totals: 40-217, 2TD.
M- Gaddor 12-21-0-168, TD.
T- Graney 6-18-0-160, TD.
M- Pratt 4-86; Garnica 4-54, TD; Petro 3-21; Raymond 1-7.
T- Denno 4-119, TD; Granger 2-41.
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