SARANAC LAKE — Coach Mark Burrell said Saranac running back John Maye doesn’t seem to get tired late in games when everyone else is wearing down.
Maye showed that Saturday, slipping through the defense for a 39-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to give the Chiefs some separation from Saranac Lake.
Saranac went on to beat the Red Storm 34-13 in a Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football game. It was possibly the Chiefs’ first win against Saranac Lake.
“It’s been a long time. Long before my era, I think,” Burrell said. “I don’t even know if Saranac’s ever beat Saranac Lake.
“But it was a real great team win. I thought everybody contributed and just played some great football.”
Saranac Lake’s Lance Ackerson took off down the middle of the field for a 60-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to put his team within 14-13. On Saranac’s next drive, quarterback Ethan Goslin connected with Maye on a 32-yard passing play, and then Maye scampered into the end zone from the 5-yard line for a 21-13 lead.
After getting a defensive stop, the Chiefs (3-4) took a two-touchdown advantage when Maye sprinted for his fourth touchdown with 9:40 left in the game. Saranac’s Lance Hackett tacked on one more score with a 15-yard run.
Maye finished with 175 yards on a whopping 41 carries. The Chiefs moved the ball through the air as well, with Goslin frequently evading pass rushers as he completed 10-of-20 passes for 168 yards. The quarterback missed last week with an injury, and Burrell said he didn’t decide that Goslin would play until an hour before the game.
Ryan Kneussle caught four passes for 69 yards, and Maye had two catches for 49 yards.
Burrell said he tried to mix up the play calling.
“We’ve got a good offensive line, and Saranac Lake kind of plugged up some holes early, so I wanted to spread it out a little bit and be able to run and pass,” Burrell said. “Our O-line gave us a good amount of protection, and it was good to see. And John just ran so inspired today.”
Saranac never trailed in the game and led 14-7 at the half thanks to Maye’s 3- and 20-yard scoring runs.
Ackerson and Dylan Gunther were the bright spots in Saranac Lake’s (4-3) offense. Ackerson rushed for 150 yards on 14 carries, while Gunther, who caught a 14-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, totaled four receptions.
Tristan Fitzgerald was 11-for-22 passing for 63 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Burrell said the Chiefs were able to hold Saranac Lake’s offense in check by defending the screen game, adding that his defensive ends played very well.
The Chiefs had lost their last two four games played (they also earned a forfeit win), and Maye said they had to refocus this week.
“Our practices needed a lot of work,” he said. “There was a lot of goofing around, a lot of just not focusing. We had some meetings; we had some time to talk. We just kind of worked it out and made our practices more serious. We all worked hard, and we got it done in practice.”
The senior back hopes the win will send Saranac into the playoffs with some momentum. The Chiefs face AuSable Valley next week in a Section VII Class C semifinal. Saranac Lake secured the No. 1 seed, and the playoff bye that goes with it, earlier in the season.
“It’s the start of us getting that banner,” Maye said. “We just gotta keep working. Hopefully, in two weeks when we play them again — if we beat AuSable — we can do the same thing.”
Saranac 34, Saranac Lake 13
Saranac 7 7 7 13 —34
Saranac Lake 0 7 6 0 —13
Sar- Maye 3 run (Herrera kick), 10:44.
SL- Gunther 14 pass from Tri. Fitzgerald (Marmion kick), 4:23.
Sar- Maye 20 run (Herrera kick), 8:29.
SL- Ackerson 60 run (pass failed), 3:56.
Sar- Maye 5 run (Herrera kick), 9:47.
Sar- Maye 39 run (kick missed), 2:20.
Sar- Hackett 15 run (Herrera kick), 10:17.
Sar- Maye 41-175, 4 TD; Hackett 2-20, TD; Church 3-7; Goslin 6-4. Totals: 52-206, 5 TD.
SL- Ackerson 14-150, TD; Tri. Fitzgerald 8-40; Fischer 2-13; Gunther 2-8; Tre. Fitzgerald 1-7; Marmion 1-5; Kilner 1-(-6). Totals: 29-217, TD.
Sar- Goslin 10-20-0-168.
SL- Tri. Fitzgerald 11-22-1-63, TD.
Sar- Kneussle 4-69; Maye 2-49; Hackett 1-19; Earp 1-12; Christopherson 1-12; Moulton 1-7.
SL- Gunther 4-30, TD; Smith 1-14; Martin 1-13; Strack 1-7; Bevilacqua 1-1; Marmion 1-(-3).
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