SARANAC LAKE - The Tupper Lake football team has played four competitive games this season and currently holds a 2-2 record.
The Lumberjacks are hoping to continue that solid play at home tonight in an effort to pick their second-straight victory and jump above the .500 mark when they host Malone.
Tupper Lake returns to Frank Tice Field after being on the road for the past three games, and the 'Jacks are coming off a 27-12 victory over Gouverneur. The Huskies bring a 1-3 record into the matchup after being shut out 32-0 by unbeaten Potsdam a week ago.
Tupper Lake defenders Nash Botala (65) and Hunter Savage (80) converge on Gouverneur quarterback Troy Gates during last week’s game.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
"We played really well. We had a great game last week," Tupper Lake head coach Dennis Klossner said. "We moved the ball well and we tackled well. Each week, we just want to keep improving. We are keeping our penalties to a minimum, and hopefully, we can keep on rolling against Malone."
The Huskies have been fairly solid on defense in giving up 78 points over four games, but they have struggled offensively, scoring a Section X low 38 points. Meanwhile, the Lumberjacks have allowed more points than the Huskies, giving up 94, but have been productive on offense, averaging a little more than 25 points per game.
"We have a lot of returners on offense, so we figured that would come around first," Klossner said. "I'm really happy with what we've been able to accomplish on offense, and I think we are also getting better each week on defense."
Klossner expects the Huskies will attempt to establish a running game.
"They have a spread offense similar to everybody else," Klossner said. "They put guys in motion, but we are mainly looking for them to run. I've seen them pass, but they've done that when they are behind."
Tupper Lake has found success throwing and running the football. Senior Jeremy Roussel leads the 'Jacks running attack and is averaging nearly 100 yards per game. Morgan Stevens, who is a four-year starter at quarterback, will also be looking to air it out, with senior Mitch Keniston as a favorite target. Keniston is one of the top receivers in the North Country.
Stevens tossed three touchdown passes against the Wildcats, with two going to Keniston, and another a 50-yard scoring strike to senior Cody LaPierre.
"I'm really happy with Morgan's decision making, and Mitch has shown he's one of the best all over the field," Klossner said. "On offense, on defense, and on special teams, Mitch is a big player for us all over the field.
"A key in this game will be keeping the ball," Klossner said. "We can score, but we don't want to start trading touchdowns with Malone. They are a decent team."
Saranac Lake's football team will be off this weekend. The 2-2 Red Storm were originally slated to play in Plattsburgh tonight but the Hornets dropped their varsity program two games into the season. Saranac Lake's next game is Saturday, Oct. 12 on the road at Beekmantown.