CLINTONVILLE — After not being able to muster any offense all game, Ticonderoga was poised to steal the Section VII Class D football title from Moriah.
The top-seeded Sentinels had first-and-goal from Moriah’s 3-yard line with less than two minutes on the clock.
They ran up the middle. And tried again. Four times total.
And four times No. 2 seed Moriah kept them out of the end zone to preserve a 6-0 lead and claim the championship Saturday.
“That was nerve-racking for sure. It was crazy,” Moriah senior C.J. Raymond said. “But I’m glad to come out on top.
“I think it was a matter of heart and who wanted it. Our defense stepped up, and we played awesome.”
The Vikings (5-4) will return to AuSable Valley’s field to face Tupper Lake in an NYSPHSAA regional semifinal Friday.
The game started with the teams trading interceptions and then progressed to them trading punts. Moriah reached Ticonderoga’s 14 on its first drive, but then Ty Denno picked off a pass. Going the other way, the Sentinels got 25 yards from the end zone but were halted when Tyler Pratt grabbed an interception.
After six punts in the second quarter, plus a Ticonderoga drive that ended with a Jarrod MacDougal interception, the teams went into halftime still deadlocked at 0-0.
The Vikings changed that on their first possession of the third quarter. Raymond slipped through the middle and then sprinted to the end zone for a 48-yard touchdown.
Long runs were rare in the game.
“It felt great to see just green grass in front of me. It was awesome,” said Raymond, who transferred from Ticonderoga this year. “It was set up great by our line. Our fullback came out perfect; perfect block. Then I just found an empty space, and I ran.”
Raymond finished with 107 yards on 14 carries, and Troy Welch complemented him with 113 yards on 21 attempts.
The Sentinels (6-3) struggled to move the ball the rest of the game — until their final drive. They got the ball on their own 40 with 3:31 left and benefitted from two pass interference calls. Then Michael Graney completed just his second pass of the game, hitting Anthony DuShane for a 27-yard gain that put them on the 3.
A run by Ryan Trudeau and two by Konner Bruce got Ticonderoga to the 1. On fourth-and-goal, Bruce took the final handoff, but the Vikings stopped him just short of the line.
“I figured it was going to be a defensive game. And it was great to pitch a shutout for our defense,” Raymond said. “That was the first one this year, so it felt great.”
Ticonderoga’s top running back, Cameron Wright, watched the game from the sidelines, leaning on a pair of crutches. Trudeau and Bruce were his primary replacements, and they rushed for 57 and 61 yards, respectively. Garrison Hughes added 12 yards, while Jarryn Granger was held to four.
Ticonderoga beat the Vikings in the regular season and had lost to just one Section VII team — Peru — heading into Saturday. Meanwhile, Moriah had dropped three of its previous five games.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Raymond said. “We knew it was going to be hard. And we prepared and came out and performed the way we’ve been instructed all week. We stepped up.”
Moriah 6, Ticonderoga 0
Moriah 0 0 6 0 — 6
Ticonderoga 0 0 0 0 — 0
Mor- Raymond 48 run (kick missed), 2:23.
Mor- Welch 21-113; Raymond 14-107, TD; Gaddor 1-5; Pratt 1-2; Graham 1-0. Totals: 38-227, TD.
Ti- Bruce 13-61; Trudeau 15-57; Hughes 4-12; Granger 8-4; Graney 1-3. Totals: 41-137.
Mor- Gaddor 4-10-2-41.
Ti- Graney 2-15-2-51.
Mor- Raymond 1-23; Petro 1-7; Garnica 1-6; Pratt 1-5.
Ti- DuShane 1-27; Granger 1-24.
Mor- Pratt, MacDougal.
Ti- Denno, Graney.
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