SARANAC LAKE - It's the second weekend of the high school football season, and Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake will both be on the road for respective Section VII and X matchups.
After being overpowered by Peru in a season-opening 33-7 loss at home, the Red Storm hope to get on track tonight in an environment where winning isn't easy when they tangle with the Moriah Vikings at Linney Field.
Then on Saturday, the Lumberjacks will be looking to earn their second-straight victory when they travel to face Massena.
Lance Ackerson, Saranac Lake’s top running back, was held to minus-1 yard rushing on five carries by the Peru defense during the Red Storm’s season-opening game last Saturday.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Senior Cody LaPierre ran back a kickoff return 78 yards for a touchdown and hauled in two passes during the Lumberjacks’ 30-28 win over St. Lawrence last week.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Saranac Lake will go against a Vikings team that opened the season with a 39-6 win over Plattsburgh, and head coach Eric Bennett and his Red Storm face the real possibility of starting the schedule with two losses unless their offense comes alive. The Red Storm sputtered with the football against the Indians, finishing that game with less than 100 yards of total offense. This evening, the Red Storm will butt heads with a Vikings defense that held Plattsburgh to negative yardage a week ago.
"Sometimes you are just outmatched, and I think that was the case against Peru last week," Bennett said. "We are going to a place where the atmosphere is great for high school football, and in order to win there, we absolutely have to generate some offense.
"For the most part, I think our defense is in a place where they need to be," Bennett said. "On offense, we need to find some way to run the football."
The Red Storm will be facing a hungry Vikings team that loves to run the football. On the first week of the season, Moriah ran the ball 39 times for 279 yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Senior C.J. Raymond, who transfered from Ticonderoga, led the Vikings with 87 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Tyler Pratt also scored two touchdowns in the Vikings' win, snagging a 35-yard scoring pass from returning starting quarterback Cole Gaddor, and taking a punt 76 yards to the end zone.
Saranac Lake's lone touchdown in week 1 was scored by junior receiver Torin Smith on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Tristin Fitzgerald in the second half.
"We're going to face a typical, hard-nosed football team in Moriah," Bennett said. "They have some big kids up front and they always bring it. It looks like coach (Don) Tesar has put together a nice football team this year."
The opening kickoff for tonight's game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Tupper Lake travels to Massena
The Lumberjacks are looking to start the season at 2-0 for the first time since 2007, and they are facing a Massena team that also opened the schedule with a win after dealing Franklin Academy a 21-0 blanking.
In his team's 30-28 victory over St. Lawrence, Tupper Lake head coach Dennis Klossner said the Lumberjacks gradually improved as the game progressed.
"We didn't tackle very well early in the game, but we got better," Klossner said. "I'm happy with our offense. They moved the ball well at times, and our run game, especially Jeremy Roussell, really came on."
Roussell, a senior, ran for 149 yards on 24 carries a week ago. Senior Mitch Keniston had one touchdown reception, hauling in a 57-yard scoring strike from quarterback Morgan Stevens on Tupper Lake's first offensive play of the game.
Keniston also returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown, and Cody LaPierre took a kickoff 78 yards for another Lumberjacks touchdown.
Klossner and his team have been preparing for a Red Raiders squad that likes to mix it up on offense.
"Massena runs a spread offense. They are an explosive team," Klossner said. "We are expecting them to pass a little more than they run, and we've changed our defense up a bit to deal with that. They will see some zone coverage from our defense and some man coverage. We want to keep them off balance."
Massena normally plays its home games on Friday evenings, but the school is celebrating Hall of Fame Day this week. The opening kickoff Saturday is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.