MASSENA The situation was intense, but very familiar.
With 2 minutes, 19 seconds to play in Friday nights Class C regional football game at Massena Central High School, Ogdensburg Free Academy held a 27-19 lead, and Section 7 champion Saranac Lake was looking to drive for a potential tying touchdown and two-point conversion.
But this was nothing new to the Blue Devils who had secured a victory on the final possession five times, including last Fridays two-point overtime win over Potsdam in the Section 10 Class C Championship game.
The Blue Devils upped the total to six after securing the eight-point 27-19 north country championship victory and a trip to the state quarterfinals against undefeated and top-ranked Hoosick Falls of Section 2 on Friday at 7 p.m. at Stillwater High School.
First, the defense made stand as linebacker Jordan McCormick intercepted a Tristan Fitzgerald pass. Then the offense shifted to wishbone formation and grounded out the remainder of the game with Jon Rogers (50 yards) running for two first downs.
We have been is so many close games this year, and we just try to keep things on an even keel, said quarterback/safety Josh Liebstien, who played a two-way role in which the Devils scored 27 straight points after the Red Storm had raced out to a 12-0 lead early in the second quarter.
It just comes from the heart and doing what our coaches tell us, Liebstein said.
Liebstein gained 63 of his 69 yards in the first half, pitched fourth-down touchdown passes of 11 yards to Rogers and eight yards to Jon Tayler, and then gave the Devils a 14-12 lead with a two-point conversion run just eight seconds before the half.
Liebstein went to complete nine of 17 passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns. The Devils never trailed again.
Their quarterback had a great night. He went to the air on a cold night and made the plays, Saranac Lake coach Eric Bennett said.
Cody Rolfes leaping catch of an onsides kick attempt to open the second half created the field position that eventually led to a 26-yard run by Rogers and Taylers PAT upped the margin to 21-12.
Late in the third quarter, Liebstein intercepted a pass on the Saranac Lake 39 yard-line and then pitched an eight-yard touchdown pass to McCormick out of the backfield.
The passing of Tristan Fitzgerald (12 of 19 passing for 103 yards) and the hard running of Trent Fitzgerald (19 carries for 102 yards) created a spark for the Red Storm.
MORIAH 29, TUPPER LAKE 14
Cole Gaddor threw three touchdown passes as Section 7s Moriah defeated Tupper Lake 29-14 in a Class D first-round game at AuSable Valley High School.
Gaddor threw two scoring passes to Rainier Garnica, one for 29 yards and another for 51. He also connected on a 53-yard pass to Tyler Pratt.
Moriah (6-4) never trailed in the game and scored 22 straight points after Tupper Lake cut the lead to 7-6.
Cody Stockwell scored on a 22-yard interception return and Jarrod MacDougal kicked a 26-yard field goal for Moriah.
Mitch Keniston scored both touchdowns for Tupper Lake (4-6). He ran for one yard and caught a three-yard pass from Morgan Stevens.