Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake enters unchartered territory

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team is in uncharted territory.

The Spartans (11-0) advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in school history after dispatching Section X champion Indian River 35-12 in last Friday's Class A regional in Watertown.

BH-BL's reward for beating Indian River is a semifinal match-up against Section I's Nyack (10-1) Friday at Kingston's Dietz Stadium a team that could be a lot like the Spartans, according to coach Matt Shell.

They have a really good quarterback. He seems like a good runner," said Shell. "And up front, they seem to have good size."

BH-BL senior quarterback Paul Layton has been beating opponents with his arm and his feet this season. Against Indian River, Layton rushed for 189 yards, threw for 118 yards and accounted for four of the Spartans' five touchdowns.

The Spartans defense also came up big when they needed to against Indian River. Though they allowed more than 360 yards, they kept the Warriors out of the end zone on several occasions by forcing three turnovers.

"I don't care how many yards we give up as long as we keep them out of the end zone," said Shell. "Indian River is a really good team. Their running back (Curtis Dukes) is going to Penn State."

Layton capped BH-BL's first offensive series with a 15-yard touchdown run to give the Spartans a 7-0 lead. Then early in the second quarter, Layton connected with Kraig Page on a 29-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-0.

Indian River ended the first half with some momentum when Zane Fish scored on a 5-yard touchdown run, but BH-BL took the momentum back in the third quarter. After forcing an Indian River punt on the Warriors' first series, the Spartans marched down the field. Layton capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to put BH-BL ahead 21-6.

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