BEEKMANTOWN — Momentum swings were the norm in Eagle country Saturday afternoon.
Beekmantown survived a late surge by the Moriah Vikings to record a 29-20 win in an exciting Champlain Valley Athletic Conference football game.
“It was definitely closer than we would have liked,” said Beekmantown coach Jamie Lozier. “Moriah is a great club, well coached. They don’t give up.”
The Eagles (4-1) controlled play throughout the first half with an aggressive defense and a solid ground game en route to a 14-0 halftime lead.
The offense was fueled by touchdown runs of 11 and 9 yards from Devin Fessette, who had missed the team’s first three games due to injury.
“It was big getting Devin back along with Justin Stevens (who missed last week’s showdown in Peru),” Lozier said. “Having those guys makes our offensive that much quicker and more difficult to defend.”
Meanwhile, the Beekmantown defense held Moriah in check through the first half, limiting the Vikings to just over 50 total yards. Linebacker Tanner Roser had a solid effort with several strong hits.
The Vikings (2-3) returned to the field for the second half with obvious determination, sparked by a 45-yard return on the opening kickoff by
Taylor Whalen to start the half at midfield.
Whalen put Moriah on the scoreboard four plays later with a 32-yard scamper up the middle.
“We had to spread out our offense (to open the third quarter), which is not normal for us,” said Vikings coach Don Tesar. “They were doing a lot of blitzing (in the first half), so we had to spread them out to create some gaps.”
The momentum from that drive was short-lived, however. Beekmantown scored on the ensuing kickoff when Quenton Barber broke down field on the left flank and then cut to the middle to split the Viking defense en route to a 79-yard scoring run.
Beekmantown seemed to ice the game when quarterback Zachary Myers hit Haydin Guerin on a six-yard scoring strike following a five-play 62-yard drive.
“They’re a good team, but we made too many mistakes,” Tesar said. “We were able to get back in the game, and then they’d take advantage of a mistake and build up the lead again.”
Lozier was also critical of his team for taking some costly penalties in the second half that sparked Viking drives.
“We just need to clean up some of those mistakes,” he said. “Otherwise, I thought our defense played pretty well.”
Moriah running back Cameron Wright cut into a 29-6 Eagle lead late in the third quarter with a 38-yard run, followed by a two-point conversion on a pass from Cole Gaddor to Ryan Shpur.
Gaddor brought Moriah closer when he hit Whalen on a two-yard scoring pass late in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings could not recover an on-sides kick with less than one minute remaining.
“The one positive note is that we did not give up,” Tesar said.
Fessette led the Beekmantown offense with 90 yards rushing. Myers passed for 66 yards, while Stevens had three catches for 35 yards.
Wright rushed for 100 yards to lead the Vikings, while Whalen chipped in with 44. Gaddor threw for 79 yards. Ranier Garnica had four catches for 48 yards.
Beekmantown 29, Moriah 20
Moriah 0 0 14 6 — 20
Beekmantown 7 7 15 0 — 29
B- Fessette 11 run (Remchuk kick), 5:50.
B- Fessette 9 run (Remchuk kick), 4:11.
M- Whalen 30 run (kick failed), 2:58.
B- Barber 79 kickoff return (Remchuk run), 3:14.
B- Fountain 6 pass from Myers (Remchuk kick), 7:23.
M- Wright 38 run (Shpur pass from Gaddor), 8:10.
M- Whalen 3 pass from Gaddor (pass failed), 11:37.
M- Wright, 15-100, TD; Whalen, 6-44, TD; Beeman, 1-4. Nadeau, 1-(-3); Gaddor, 5-26. Totals: 28-171, 2 TD.
B- Fessette, 11-90, 2 TD; Pickering, 8-16; Myers, 3-15; Seymour, 3-1; Stevens, 1-1. Totals: 24-130, 2 TD.
M- Gaddor, 8-14-1-79.
B, Myers, 6-9-0-66, TD.
M- Whalen, 3-25, TD; Garnica, 4-48 Stockwell, 1-6.
B- Stevens, 3-35; Barber, 1-34; Fountain, 1-6, TD; Fessette, 1-(-9).