The growing pains are over for the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team.
Since a 38-7 loss at Amsterdam in Week 2, the Spartans -- who had to replace several starters from last year's Section II championship squad -- have been an unstoppable force. Even Lansingburgh, which was ranked No. 1 in the state, couldn't contain BH-BL's high-octane offense when they met Sept. 28 a 35-22 Spartans victory.
They've been improving every week, and they want to learn," said BH-BL coach Matt Shell.
The Spartans (3-0 division, 5-1 overall) kept their wheels rolling Saturday when they defeated neighborhood rival Scotia-Glen-ville 41-7 in a rain-shortened homecoming game in Burnt Hills. The victory sets up a showdown with Bishop Maginn (3-0, 5-1) for the Division I title Friday in Albany.
"We have a really big game against a really big opponent," said Shell.
If BH-BL can get off to the type of quick start that it did against Scotia-Glenville, the Spartans should have a good chance to beat Bishop Maginn. On the first play from scrimmage Saturday, quarterback Paul Layton faked a handoff and raced 69 yards for a touchdown to give BH-BL a 7-0 lead 21 seconds into the game.
"It's a play we've been working on, and the kids executed it great," said Shell.
The Spartans showed more facets of their attack in the first quarter. The next drive took approximately five minutes to cover 72 yards, with several running backs sharing the carries and Layton connecting on a couple of passes. Tyler Paluba capped the series with a 3-yard touchdown run, and Layton added the extra point to double BH-BL's lead to 14-0.
Layton got one more touchdown in before the end of the first quarter. The junior saw Derek Seward open in the middle of the field and threw a pass to the senior wide receiver. Seward caught it and ran untouched to complete the 60-yard scoring play that extended the lead to 21-0.