PERU — Zane Bazzano wasn’t sure how the ball ended up in his hands, but he knew he had a clear lane to the end zone once he got.
The Peru junior took the interception back for a touchdown in the third quarter and later caught a touchdown pass to clinch the Indians’ 21-6 win over Beekmantown in Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football Saturday.
Peru was clinging to a 7-6 lead and had Beekmantown pinned deep in its own territory when Bazzano came up with the pick, which he said might have been tipped to him by a teammate.
“I didn’t know what happened. It was probably the easiest touchdown I’ll ever have,” Bazzano said. “I kinda got lucky.”
Bazzano, who was back in the lineup after missing last week with an injury, snagged a second interception early in the fourth quarter.
After Mitchell Cunningham picked off Zachary Myers later in the fourth, the Indians (3-1) got the ball on the Eagles’ 23-yard line and finished the short drive with a 1-yard pass from Blake Altizer to Bazzano in the end zone.
“That was the game-sealer,” Bazzano said. “It’s scary when you get into those 8-point games. You don’t want to leave it up to your defense if you don’t have to.”
Beekmantown got the ball back with less than a minute to go and couldn’t go anywhere.
Mackenzie LaRocque ran in Peru’s first touchdown from the 2-yard line late in the first quarter and led the rushing attack with 72 yards on 23 carries. Altizer was 4-for-11 for 38 yards and an interception in wet, windy conditions that limited both teams’ passing games.
The Eagles (3-1) came into the game undefeated, while the Indians’ only loss was to Saranac Lake in Week 1. Peru coach Nick Damiani said the two teams were pretty evenly matched Saturday.
“We’re pretty much equal up front I, think. So between them being real good and us having some penalties, we had to battle for all four quarters,” he said. “I thought we flew to the ball well defensively. We didn’t really give up much.”
Beekmantown’s only touchdown came 1:40 before halftime. The Eagles started on Peru’s 29 and needed just two plays to score. Haydin Fountain caught an 18-yard pass and then made an 11-yard catch for a touchdown. An illegal-substitution flag moved back the extra-point attempt, and it just missed, so Peru took a 7-6 lead into the break.
The Eagles didn’t advance past midfield in the second half.
“We just didn’t execute at all on offense,” Beekmantown coach Jamie Lozier said. “We couldn’t get anything going. The kids were maybe a little too excited for the game; maybe the nerves got into it. But we just did not execute on any series, and that was really frustrating.
“I just felt like we shot ourselves in the foot the entire game.”
Peru 21, Beekmantown 6
Beekmantown 0 6 0 0 — 6
Peru 7 0 7 7 — 21
P- LaRocque 2 run (Boyer kick), 9:04.
Beek- Fountain 11 pass from Meyers (kick missed), 10:20.
P- Bazzano 20 interception return (Boyer kick), 7:31.
P- Bazzano 1 pass from Altizer (Boyer kick), 11:03.
Beek- Guerin 3-22; Roser 4-24; Pickering 7-12; Dupigny 1-(-1); Stevens 4-(-6); Myers 4-(-10). Totals: 23-41.
P- LaRocque 23-72, TD; Remillard 3-39; Bazzano 6-32; Avanzato 4-16; Bruno 3-8; Altizer 4-(-14). Totals: 40-153, TD.
Beek- Myers 3-17-3-39, TD.
P- Altizer 4-11-1-38, TD; Remillard 0-1-0-0. Totals: 4-12-1-38.
Beek- Fountain 2-29, TD; Barber 1-10.
P- Bazzano 2-11, TD; Remillard 1-24; Bruno 1-3.
Beek- Myers 2.
P- Bazzano 2, Cunningham.