CLINTONVILLE - Oct. 15 was Homecoming night in AuSable Valley, and the Patriots did something few teams have been able to accomplish this season; they put points on the board against Saranac Lake.
Unfortunately, that came after the Red Storm dumped seven touchdowns on their hosts to stay unbeaten in the Northern Football Conference and clinch the Class C title with a 50-8 win.
The Patriots managed to hold Saranac Lake to just 81 yards of total offense in the first half as the Red Storm sabotaged themselves with penalties.
"I think that was the most disappointing part of tonight," said Saranac Lake head coach Eric Bennett. "We had some holding and some offsides. We weren't sharp, and that's not the football we expect to play."
Defensively, Saranac Lake remained stalwart with several tackles in the backfield by Chris Dorman and Sean Ryan.
AuSable Valley threatened to score a couple times in the first half, but those drives ended with costly interceptions. Running back Jordan Bouyea broke loose for some big runs, and finished with 95 yards to lead the Patriots.
Meanwhile, the Red Storm had just one first-half score, a 14-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Mike Phelan, but some adjustments at halftime led to a big third quarter.
"Frankly, I just told them to get their heads together," Bennett said. "I could tell on the bus ride over that we weren't in the right mindset. I think we were a little full of ourselves; that we had lost our focus, and it was up to them to find it again."
According to Bennett, feedback from players in the locker room about what plays were working helped create a different picture in the second half.
The Red Storm got started early with a 61-yard run by Forrest Morgan, then pinned the Patriots in the end zone for a safety. On the ensuing possession, Peter Madden ran 45 yards to paydirt, and Austin McDonough followed that up by returning an interception for a touchdown. In a little more than four minutes, they had increased their 7-0 lead to 31.