The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team put forth a valiant effort, but it had no answers for Sweet Home's dynamic offense.
Senior quarterback Casey Kacz threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran for another score to lead the Panthers to a 35-28 victory over the Spartans in last Saturday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championship game at Syracuse University's Carrier Dome.
Quarterback Paul Layton accounted for 171 total yards of offense and a touchdown, and tailback Erik Vuillaume scored twice for BH-BL (12-1), but it wasn't enough to overcome a 28-7 second quarter deficit.
It was a tough ending, but we went out fighting, said Layton.
"They just didn't quit. They just ran out of time," said BH-BL coach Matt Shell.
Big plays staggered the Spartans in the first half. After Kacz capped Sweet Home's first offensive series with a nine-yard touchdown run, D.J. Nettles took a handoff on an end-around and scampered 91 yards for another score to put the Panthers (13-0) ahead 14-0.
Layton threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Keaton Flint with 1:45 left in the first quarter to pull BH-BL within seven points, but Sweet Home had a quick answer for that. Kacz threw a short pass over the middle to Will Reese, who then cut to the left sideline and broke free for a 76-yard touchdown play with three seconds left in the period. Mike Lawandus added the extra point to give the Panthers a 21-7 lead.
"The first half, we didn't come out the way we wanted to," said senior linebacker Connor Hadcock. "We knew we had to show that we wanted (to win), and we didn't do it."
Hadcock gave BH-BL's beleaguered defense a lift by intercepting Kacz at the Spartans' 19-yard line early in the second quarter, but that was only a brief respite. On Sweet Home's next offensive series, Kacz connected with Nettles on a 39-yard touchdown pass to put the Panthers ahead 28-7 with 5:31 left before halftime.