TUPPER LAKE - The Tupper Lake football team scored 21 points in the second quarter Friday night on the way to a 34-7 blowout of Gouverneur.
Junior tight end Liam LaMere provided a big spark with 10:51 left in the second quarter when he dived in the back of the end zone to catch a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Morgan Stevens. After an extra point kick from Cody LaPierre, the Lumberjacks took a 14-0 lead.
That touchdown came on a drive that started after Tupper Lake forced Gouverneur running back Adrian McShane to fumble, giving the Lumberjacks the ball at Gouverneur's 43-yard line.
Tupper Lake’s Liam LaMere dives for the ball during the second quarter against Gouverneur Friday night. LaMere made the catch in the end zone to give his team a 14-0 lead.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
After LaMere's touchdown, Lumberjacks senior standout Mitch Keniston recovered a loose ball on the kickoff to give Tupper Lake possession at Gouverneur's 30-yard line.
The Lumberjacks then moved the ball 30 yards on five plays, capping off the drive with a touchdown from running back Jeremy Roussel on a 7-yard run. That made the score 21-0.
Tupper Lake coach Dennis Klossner said the turnovers were key in the second quarter.
"It gave us good field position and it set us up," he said. "The defense was so enthused, our offense just fed off that."
The Lumberjacks scored their third touchdown of the second quarter on a 52-yard punt return by Keniston with 1:27 in the first half, giving them a 28-0 lead.
"The kids played real well," Klossner said. "They came fired up to play. It wasn't too hot to play and it wasn't too cold. We like this kind of temperature and everything was just clicking from the get-go."
The only point in the game when Tupper Lake wasn't in complete control came during a few minute period in the third quarter when Gouverneur scored its only points of the game on a 27-yard touchdown by Adrian McShane, who had 73 rushing yards to lead his team.
On offense, the Lumberjacks once again had a balanced game. Stevens completed nine passes for 89 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Keniston had three catches for 47 yards and LaPierre had three catches for 27 yards.
In the backfield, Roussel had another strong game with 25 rushes for 120 yards and three touchdowns. He consistently gained positive yardage on his runs, allowing Tupper Lake to maintain possession of the ball.
Roussel gave credit to his offensive line, which provided him with running room throughout the contest.
"Our line stepped up and made blocks and after the initial hit they drove through and gave me a chance to cut off the blocks," he said.
Klossner also thought the line played well.
"The interior line's done a real good job," he said. "(Center) Brandon Picerno does a great job getting the ball to us and getting to the linebackers. Then, of course, both our guards, Nash Botala and Taylor Keniston, do a great job with their pulls and Tuna, Zack Boushie, we call him Tuna, and Tom Barton do a great job outside as tackles. The line has just done a great job. They've gotten better each week, opening holes for Jeremy Roussel. ... He's getting hit by the linebackers instead of at the line of scrimmage, (they're) just opening up (holes), making it easier for him."
Roussel's final touchdown came on a 14-yard run in the final quarter. The run was the only play of that drive for Tupper Lake, which got the ball on the 14-yard line after Gouverneur was unable to get off a punt from its end zone, forcing punter Jose Flores to attempt to run for a first down.
"We gave them a couple of extra opportunities to score and a team like Tupper Lake, who has a couple big-play type players, you can't give them the ball any more than they should have it," Gouverneur coach Sean Devlin said. "Field position hurt us again and we did have some injuries. They outplayed us today."
Gouverneur fell to 1-7 while Tupper Lake improved to 4-4. Klossner, though, believes the Lumberjacks are much better than a .500 team. They have lost a few very close games to schools much bigger than them.
"We're a real good ballclub," he said. "There were some real tight games with Ogdensburg and Malone. You wish you would have had them but we're even better than a .500 club. I mean, our record doesn't show it but I'm real proud of the way the kids play. They play real hard."
Tupper Lake 34, Gouverneur 7
TL - Roussel 6 run (LaPierre kick), 0:13
TL- LaMere 16 pass from Stevens (LaPierre kick), 10:51
TL- Roussel 7 run (LaPierre kick), 9:17
TL- Keniston 52 punt return (LaPierre kick), 1:27
G - McShane 27 run (McEathron kick), 6:41
TL - Roussel 14 run (kick failed), 9:07
Gouverneur - Gates 7-9, Casey 7-24, McShane 9-73 TD, Bush 4- -6, McEathron 4-23, Flores 2-2. Totals: 31-125 TD.
Tupper Lake - Roussel 25-120 3TDs, Savage 3-6, LaVassaur 3-9, Stevens 2-4. Totals: 33-139 3TDs.
Gouverneur - Casey 4-12 53, Bush 0-1. Totals: 4-13 55
Tupper Lake - Stevens 9-18 89 TD
Gouverneur - Gates 2-29, McShane 1-0, McEathron 1-26. Totals: 4-55.
Tupper Lake - Keniston 3-47, LaPierre 3-27, LaMere 1-16 TD, Larson 1-8, DeLair 1-9. Totals: 9-89 TD.