It was a wet and wild ride, but the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team is heading back to the Section II, Class A Super Bowl.
Tailback Nick Henderson's 9-yard touchdown run and Keaton Flint's interception in the final 1:09 helped the Spartans defeat Amsterdam 22-19 in last Friday's rain-soaked semifinal in Burnt Hills.
Any time you can beat an Amsterdam team, that's a feather in your cap, said BH-BL coach Matt Shell.
The game featured more twists and turns than Route 67 from Amsterdam to Ballston Spa. The Rugged Rams (7-2) took the lead twice in the second half, but missed extra points left the door open for the Spartans (8-1) to walk through and advance to Saturday's class A Super Bowl against Lansingburgh.
"It was a crazy game tonight, but I'm glad we kept our composure," said quarterback Paul Layton, who led BH-BL's offense with more than 80 rushing yards.
Amsterdam grabbed the lead midway through the third quarter when Ben Miseikis capped a long Rugged Rams series with a 14-yard touchdown run. BH-BL blocked Joe Flint's extra point attempt, though, leaving Amsterdam with a 13-7 advantage.
The lead lasted all of 12 seconds. That was the time it took Derek Seward to return the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a BH-BL touchdown. Layton added the extra point to give the Spartans a 14-13 lead.
"We needed that (return). That was really big for us," said Layton.
Amsterdam steadily marched down the field on its next possession, and Miseikis once again capped the Rugged Rams' series with a touchdown run. This time, the junior tailback scored from two yards out to make the score 19-14 early in the fourth quarter. But Amsterdam's two-point conversion attempt was stopped short, giving BH-BL new life.
The Spartans took advantage, putting together their most impressive drive of the game. Starting from their own 20-yard line, they kept the ball moving with sweeping runs toward the sidelines. Eventually, BH-BL got inside Amsterdam's 5-yard line with two minutes left in regulation.