Moriah and Ticonderoga played to a virtual deadlock in the Section VII-X Class D football championship game at Linney Field Nov. 5. The difference? A catastrophic penalty.
The Vikings beat Ti, 14-7, in overtime to secure a berth in the state tournament.
Moriah faces Section II champion Cambridge at 1 p.m. today in Schuylerville. Cambridge advanced with a 35-0 thrashing of Rensselaer in the Section II Class D title game Nov. 5.
The Moriah-Ti matchup was a physical, defensive struggled that took overtime to decide.
Tied 7-7 after regular play, the Vikings got the ball first in the extra session and were seemingly stopped as a fourth down pass fell incomplete. A pass interference penalty on the play, though, gave Moriah new life.
The Vikings took full advantage and Nick Gilbo crashed into the end zone from a yard out to score the go-ahead touchdown. Ryan Mascarenas' extra point made it 14-7.
Ticonderoga had a final chance to tie the game. The Sentinels drove the 2 yard line, where Moriah's Zach DeSimone intercepted a pass in the end zone to secure the Viking win.
Moriah dominated much of the first half, but it was Ticonderoga that held a 7-0 lead at intermission.
The Ti defense twice stopped Moriah on downs - once from the 6 yard line - and recovered a fumble to keep the Vikings off the scoreboard.
Ti grabbed the lead when Dan Morrison broke free for a 65-yard TD run on the final play of the first period. Carson Granger booted the extra point.
Moriah finally got its offense on track in the third period with a long scoring drive. Gilbo capped the drive with a 1-yard TD plunge on the final play of third period and Mascarenas kicked the PAT to knot the game, 7-7.
Neither team could move the ball in the final period, setting the stage for overtime.
Ticonderoga, which finished the season at 6-4 and had a five-game winning streak snapped, ran for 112 yards in the game, doing little against the Moriah defense other than Morrison's long TD run. The Sentinels threw for 12 yards in the contest.
Moriah ran for 178 yards, led by Gilbo's 88. Tom Ida ran for 79 yards for the Vikings, who completed just one pass for 11 yards.
It's the third straight Section VII-X championship for Moriah, which is 8-1 on the season. The past two seasons the Vikings reached the state Class D championship game in Syracuse.
Cambridge had no trouble beating Rensselaer. Matt Best ran for 148 yards and two TDs on 12 carries, while Billy Pine completed 7 of 13 passes for 117 yards and a TD to lead Cambridge. The Indians racked up 378 total yards and 17 first downs.