Sep 11, 2022
Saranac Lake’s Carter Hewitt looks down field during Saturday’s home opener against Plattsburgh. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)
SARANAC LAKE — Saranac Lake’s football team kicked off its 100th season of high school competition with a 48-31 victory over Plattsburgh Saturday on home turf at Wilson Raymond Field.
On a hot, sunny day, senior running back Carter Hewitt had an outstanding performance to lead Saranac Lake as he piled up 262 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 28 carries. The third-year starter also picked up another 50 receiving yards on a pair of screen passes from quarterback Brady Roberts, who completed 7-of-11 pass attempts for 136 yards.
Saranac Lake found a great deal of success running the ball behind a big offensive line, finishing the game with 332 yards and seven touchdowns on 49 attempts. Senior running backs Jon Kratz and Logan Hathaway each reached the end once to account for the Red Storm’s other two touchdowns. On special teams, Landon Faubert connected on six of his seven point-after kicks.
Clinging to a 7-6 lead after the first quarter, the Red Storm pulled away by going on a 21-3 run that culminated with a two-yard rushing touchdown by Kratz on the opening drive of the second half. The teams then traded scores the rest of the way as Saranac Lake improved to 1-0 in the Champlain Valley while Plattsburgh dropped to 0-2 overall.
“I think we were really successful getting under center and just running the ball,” Red Storm head coach Eric Bennett said. “I think we had a lot of kinks to work out in our first couple series, and I’m glad that we could run the ball downhill when we needed to.”
Saranac Lake’s Logan Hathaway gets ready to stiff arm a Plattsburgh defender during Saturday’s home opener. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)
The teams each scored a touchdown in the opening quarter. Saranac Lake mounted an 80-yard, eight play drive for the game’s first points, with Hewitt capping off the march with a 14-yard touchdown on a fourth-down handoff. A key play in the drive was a 44-yard completion from Roberts to Marcus Navarra that gave the Red Storm a first down at Plattsburgh’s 33.
Down by a touchdown, the Hornets came right back when Dominic DeAngelo returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards into the end zone. A bobbled snap on the conversion play left Plattsburgh trailing 7-6.
Saranac Lake put together two long scoring drives on both of its second quarter possessions, and Hewitt finished the marches off with one-yard touchdown runs. The first drive went 70 yards, and the second advance went 82 yards in 11 plays and gave the Red Storm a 21-6 edge with 30 seconds remaining in the opening half.
The Hornets took advantage of the time left on the clock. In three plays, they reached the Red Storm’s 30, and Owen Mulligan then drilled a 47-yard field goal on the final play of the half to head into intermission trailing 21-9.
“I was relatively happy with our special teams,” Plattsburgh head coach Mike Bordeau said. “That’s where the depth of our roster is beginning to take shape. We got a big kickoff return from Dominic DeAngelo, Owen came through with two field goals, it was good to see. Some of our younger kids are stepping up on special teams. It was the highest of the three phases, but we’d rather get touchdowns than field goals. Still, three points is better than none.”
Hewitt splits the defense to score his third touchdown of the game during the Red Storm’s home opener against Plattsburgh. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)
Saranac Lake had the ball four times in the second half, and all four possessions went for touchdowns. That was fortunate for the hosts, because Plattsburgh also put points on the board after halftime.
The Red Storm started the third quarter with a 53-yard drive that saw Kratts reach the end zone on a two-yard run for a 28-9 lead. The Hornets also scored on their first possession of the third quarter when Mulligan connected for his second field goal, this time a 36-yarder, to cut their deficit to 28-12. Saranac Lake answered with another drive, with Hewitt scoring from the seven-yard line. Plattsburgh came right back, with quarterback Michael Phillips tossing a five-yard touchdown strike to Julian Brooks, making it a 34-18 contest with three minutes left in the third quarter.
Hewitt scored on a one-yard run and Hathaway banged in from the two to score the Red Storm’s touchdowns in the final quarter. Plattsburgh earned its fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 49-yard run by Trenton Griffiths and a seven-yard scamper by Phillips.
Griffiths, a senior, paced Plattsburgh’s ground game with 86 yards on eight carries, and Phillips chipped in 58 yards on 10 attempts. Griffiths also hauled in three passes for 51 yards. Phillips, a senior, had a solid afternoon throwing the ball, going 12-for-20 for 197 receiving yards.
Plattsburgh junior Max Filosca finished as the game’s top receiver with four catches and 82 yards.
After racking up 312 yards of offense on a busy afternoon, Hewitt said hot weather made things tough.
“This was hotter than any day in practice,” Hewitt said. “Overcoming the heat was the hardest part today, for both teams. I’m just happy the hard work we put in during the preseason is coming together. It’s fun being able to show what we can do as a team.
“Our defense was good and we ran the ball really well,” he added. “My linemen were making some beautiful gaps. We have some tanks there on the front line. You can’t ask for a better line.”
Despite the loss, Bordeau said he saw bright spots on the field.
“Saranac Lake moved the ball in a variety of ways and we didn’t have any answers,” Bordeau said. “We have to play better on the defensive side. We had some nice plays on offense, special teams were good, but if we don’t get the stops, then we’re not going to be able to outscore teams.
“We asked the kids to play hard, and they played hard. The effort was there,” Bordeau added.
In addition to completing a big pass to Navarra early in the game, Roberts also tossed a key 36-yard completion to Evan Willette that led to a Red Storm score in the second half. Bennett said he was pleased with the performance of his second-year starter.
“I thought Brady threw the ball really well, especially on crossing patterns, and it was nice to see Marcus and Willette come up with some big plays,” Bennett said. “Brady is throwing nice balls where his players can catch them. He’s come so far since last year, and that’s a testament to his work ethic.
“We have a lot to work on. Everybody says that after game one,” Bennett added. “The best thing today was a lot of kids got playing time. I was glad we got to see kids get on the field today.”
Saranac Lake next plays on the road Saturday at Saranac Central with the opening kickoff slated for 1:30 p.m. Plattsburgh next hosts Peru under the lights Friday starting at 7:30 p.m.
Saranac Lake 48,
Red Storm 7 14 13 14 — 48
Hornets 6 3 9 13 — 31
SL — Hewitt 14 run (Faubert kick), 9:53
PHS — Deangelo 85 kick return (Run failed), 10:09
SL — Hewitt 1 run (Faubert kick), 6:26
SL — Hewitt 1 run (Faubert kick), 11:30
PHS – NO 9 46 field goal, 12:00
SL — Kratz 2 run (Faubert kick), 1:27
PHS — No 9 31 field goal, 4:10
SL — Hewitt 7 run (Kick missed), 6:50
PHS — NO 18 5 pass from NO 2 (Run failed), 9:00
SL — Hewitt 1 run (Faubert kick), :43
PHS — No 13 49 run (No 9 kick), 1:19
SL — Hathaway 1 run (Faubert kick), 6:55
PHS — No. 2 7 run (Run failed), 10:10
PHS — No 13 8-86 TD, DeAngelo 5-1, No. 2 10-58 TD. Totals: 23-145 TD
SL — Hewitt 28-262 5TDs, Roberts 6-7, Hathaway 7-39 TD, Kratz 8-24 TD. 49-332 7TDs
PHS — No 2 12-20-0-197 TD
SL — Roberts 7-11-0-136
PHS — Polhemus 1-4, Griffiths 3-51, Filosca 4-82, Hummel 1-9, Brooks 2-8 TD, DeAngelo 1-43
SL — Munn 2-7, Navarra 1-44, Hewitt 2-50, Willett 1-36, Kratz 1-(-1)
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