TUPPER LAKE - Massena rolled to a 40-20 football victory over host Tupper Lake Friday on opening night for both squads.
Both teams struggled on offense in the first quarter but then exploded in the second quarter, when the Red Raiders scored 20 points and the Lumberjacks put up 13 points.
Massena running back Jordy Mitchell had a huge second quarter, scoring a pair of 49-yard touchdowns. Mitchell led the Red Raiders' rushing attack with 163 yards on just eight carries.
Tupper Lake senior running back Tyler Minogue breaks through the Massena defense to pick up yards in the second half of Friday’s game at Frank Tice Field. Minogue returned a kickoff for a touchdown and rushed for another score in the Lumberjacks’ 40-20 setback.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
This game was won and lost in the trenches, where Massena was able to open holes for all of its running backs. The Red Raiders ran wild in the game, piling up 576 rushing yards on 55 carries.
Part of that may be due to inexperience on Tupper Lake's part. The Lumberjacks graduated nearly all of their offensive and defensive linemen from a year ago.
"The youth is really showing on the defense," Tupper Lake coach Dennis Klossner said. "That's where we have to get a little more experience. We have to get in position and finish wraps, but it'll come as the season goes. We did a lot of good things, and we're very pound of that."
Massena 40, Tupper Lake 20
Red Raiders020137- 40
M - Perry 6 run (kick failed), 11:20
M - Mitchell 49 run (run failed), 8:22
TL - Minogue 72 kickoff return (Gillis kick), 8:08
M - Mitchell 49 run (Paquin run), 3:07
TL - Minohue 13 run (kick failed), 1:26
M - Perry 3 run (run failed), 8:56
M -Perry 6 run (Kershner kick), 4:48
TL - Tarbox 7 pass from Stevens (Gillis kick), 1:13
M - Reagan 10 run (Kershner kick), 1:12
M - Mitchell 8-163 2TD, Manley 3-26, Paquin 11-116, Reagan 7-47 TD, Corcoran 1-7, Nicholson 1-17, Malone 4-68, Landon 1-8, Perry 19-124 3TD. Totals: 55-576 6TDs.
TL - Richer 2-27, Roussel 9-40, Stevens 4-16, Minogue 12-62 TD, Kerst 3-8. 30-153 TD.
M - Corcoran 3-6 23 1INT
TL - Stevens 7-17 98 TD
M - Mitchell 1-8, Paquin 1-2, Viskovich 1-8
TL - Tarbox 1-7 TD, Minogue 1-17, Keniston 4-68, Charland 1-8.
TL - LaPierre
In addition to Mitchell, Connor Paquin had 116 yards on the ground for the Red Raiders, Jeremy Malone had 68, and Isaiah Perry had 124 and three touchdowns.
"We found out what was working for us," Red Raiders coach Anthony Diagostino said. "Our line was making the blocks and running backs were hitting the hole and doing well. Keep doing that and that's what happens."
Tupper Lake got on the board in the second quarter with the help of Tyler Minogue. The senior running back returned a kickoff 72 yards with just over 8 minutes left in the second quarter to give the Lumberjacks their first points of the season. The score came after Mitchell's two touchdowns.
Minogue then scored again with 1:26 left in the first half when he ran off tackle for a 13-yard touchdown to cut Massena's lead to 20-13.
After the score, the 'Jacks seemed to gain some momentum. They followed the touchdown by recovering an onside kick. Junior quarterback Morgan Stevens then hit Mitch Keniston on a 33-yard bomb down the sideline. Keniston was able to outleap his defender to make the catch.
After the drive stalled, Tupper Lake kicker Ian Gillis attempted a 42-yard field goal, but it fell just short.
Still, Klossner was happy with the special teams play. Gillis knocked down two extra points and kicked deep into Massena's territory on kickoffs.
Tupper Lake also consistently had good field position on offense due to some long returns.
"We did a lot of good things," Klossner said. "Special teams did a great job today with our onside kick. We returned one for a touchdown. Our special teams seemed to be in sync."
Tupper Lake was also able to establish a running game when it had the ball. Jeremy Roussel rushed nine times for 40 yards, and Minogue ran 12 times for 62 yards. Minogue really ran well in the second half, stringing together three consecutive 10-yard runs at one point.
Massena took control of the game in the third quarter, scoring the first two touchdowns of the half.
Tupper Lake tried to counter when Stevens hit tight end Brock Tarbox for a seven-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, but the Lumberjacks couldn't generate any more points the rest of the way.
"Like I told the guys, I was very proud of what we did on the field today," Klossner said. "We're a young, inexperienced team. What we need is the game situations. The more we play, the better we're going to get."
The Lumberjacks return to action on Friday when they host Potsdam.