CLINTONVILLE - Ben Weightman got the job done in the air and on the ground, leading Saranac to a 27-20 win against AuSable Valley in Northern Football Conference action Sept. 3.
The Chiefs' quarterback threw 11-of-28 for 289 yards and led his team with 59 rushing yards.
"He's something else," said AuSable Valley head coach Heith Ford said of Weightman. "I have to give him credit."
Weightman demonstrated excellent scrambling ability as he opened the scoring mid-way through the first quarter, dodging three would-be tacklers before stretching into the end zone.
AuSable Valley answered quickly however when, on the second play of the ensuing drive, quarterback Austin House found Hank Whisher for a 69-yard touchdown pass.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Weightman tossed one to Dylan Everleth, who reversed field and outran defenders 68 yards to paydirt.
Everleth caught another Weightman pass in the end zone late in the second quarter, giving the Chiefs a 21-7 halftime lead. He would finish with nine receptions for 151 yards.
Saranac seemed to be its own worst enemy on offense, however, accumulating about a dozen penalties.
"It's very disappointing to see this group of guys get that many flags, which probably cost us several touchdowns in the game," said Saranac head coach Mark Burrell.
AuSable Valley had its share of penalties, too, however, including a few instances where too many players lined up on defense.
"The penalties did hurt us, especially the substitution penalties," said Ford. "That's just players learning where they fit as they find their way into the rotation."
The Patriots came out strong in the second half when a 51-yard scamper by running back John Sikandar set up a 5-yard rushing touchdown by House. Sikander led AuSable Valley with 135 yards on 12 carries while House had 108 rushing yards on 10 carries.
"We found a lot of depth we didn't know we had tonight," said Ford, noting how surprise performances from Kyle Prinsen and Hank Whisher on defense and Jordan Bouyea on offense helped keep the Patriots in the game. "We didn't give up, and we fought right to the end."
Following another rushing touchdown by Weightman, the Patriots drove all the way to Saranac's 11-yard line where they gave up a costly fumble.
AuSable Valley got the ball back in the fourth, however, when James Crowningsheild recovered a Weightman fumble, leading to a quarterback sneak by House that turned into 59-yard rushing touchdown and cut the lead to 27-20.
Weightman threw an interception late in the fourth quarter that gave the Patriots an opportunity to tie. They drove to the 24, where, on a fourth-and-nine with less than a minute to play, House threw a pass down the middle of the field that was tipped by the reciever and picked-off by Weightman on the goal line.
"I think they had a chance to make the play. The receiver was certainly in position," said Burrell. "Overall, our defense didn't play well tonight. For us to give up 20 points and make the mistakes we did and come away with the victory, we're very fortunate."