PERU — Facing a 7-0 deficit in the second quarter, Peru was unfazed and tied the game shortly after falling behind and went on to collect a 17-7 victory against Saranac Lake Friday in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football.
Jack Hanson scored two touchdowns for the Indians (4-3) thanks to a 49-yard touchdown connection from Zach O'Connell as well as a 5-yard run to the end zone.
Keegan Smith provided some crucial insurance with a 33-yard field goal that extended Peru's lead over the Red Storm (4-3) to 10 points with 9:19 left in the fourth quarter.
"I had complete confidence in Keegan," Indians coach Pat Keleher said. "We practice live field goals a lot. We know he has a good leg, and we watched him kick a 40-yard kick in a scrimmage. I knew he could drill that kick, and it was a huge point in the game."
With the loss, Saranac Lake, controlling its own destiny, was unable to clinch the top seed in Class C, and Peru knew it would be playing a team that had a lot on the line.
"It was a lot about pride for us," Keleher said. "We wanted to keep the momentum we had going last week after we played the best football of our season against Saranac.
"Saranac Lake was playing for a top seed in Class C, and we just wanted to continue playing well and keep the momentum going into the playoffs."
Red Storm quarterback Rhett Darrah opened scoring with an impressive 16-yard run with 8:20 left in the second quarter, breaking at least four tackles and working his way to the end zone to give Saranac Lake the first lead of the contest.
The Indians punched right back, however, thanks to the 49-yard touchdown pass from O'Connell to Hanson.
Hanson put Peru ahead for good at the 2:42 mark of the second quarter.
The freshman running back finished with 107 yards.
"We knew Jack was a good player when we moved him up, but I am glad we have developed him more and brought him along," Keleher said. "He's only a freshman, and I am glad I have him for another three years.
"Jack is the guy. He has taken the bull by the horns and embraced that role as the lead back. He's a tough kid and works hard."
O'Connell finished with 143 yards on six completions for the Indians, and Eric Frechette (54) led Peru in receiving yards.
The Indians host Plattsburgh High at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, in a Section VII Class B semifinal.
"The kids feel good about themselves. We are healthy for the most part, and we are ready for the playoffs. Gavin Padron has been a huge difference maker for us. He is back and running the ball for us as well and giving us great leadership on both sides of the football.
"We feel pretty good. We have delivered two weeks in a row now, and we want to continue playing well in the playoffs."
Peru 17, Saranac Lake 7
Saranac Lake 0 7 0 0 — 7
Peru 0 14 0 3 — 17
SLCS- Darrah 16 run (Darrah kick), 8:20.
PCS- Hanson 49 pass from O'Connell (Smith kick), 7:36.
PCS- Hanson 5 pass (Smith kick), 2:42.
PCS- Smith 33 kick, 9:19.
SLCS- Darrah 19-87, TD; Donaldson 13-50; Brown 1-0; Sturgeon 1-0. Totals: 34-137, TD.
PCS- Hanson 17-107, TD; Padron 8-47; Carpenter 2-11; O'Connell 3-9. Totals: 30-174, TD.
SLCS- Darrah 13-28-1-116.
PCS- O'Connell 6-14-0-143.
SLCS- Warner 5-52; LaVair 3-39; Dashnaw 2-12; Brown 1-9; Donaldson 2-4.
PCS- Frechette 1-54; Hanson 2-47, TD; Carpenter 3-42.
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