It wasn't a typical Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team victory, but it was still a historic victory.
Paul Layton scored the go-ahead points with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter, and Jacob Meyers recovered a fumble with 10 seconds left to give the Spartans a 14-13 victory over Section IX champion Nyack in last Friday's Class A state semifinals at Kingston's Dietz Stadium.
As a result, BH-BL (12-0) advances to the program's first state championship game Saturday against Section VI champion Sweet Home at Syracuse University's Carrier Dome.
I'm kind of speechless right now, said BH-BL coach Matt Shell. "It's an honor to represent the school, Burnt Hills and Section II."
It appeared that BH-BL's dream of a state final appearance was going to end midway through the fourth quarter. After the Spartans tied the game at 7 on a Brandon Beatty touchdown run and a Layton extra point, Nyack's Francis Stewart returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. The Indians (10-2) missed the extra point, though, which left the Spartans with a 13-7 deficit and 4:46 on the clock.
That proved to be enough time for Layton. Using both his arm and his feet, the senior quarterback guided BH-BL down the field to Nyack's 7-yard line. From there, Layton tucked the ball under his arm, cut through a hole on the left side of Nyack's defensive line and bulldozed his way into the end zone to tie the game at 13.
"I was supposed to go right, but it looked stuffed. So, I cut back to the left," said Layton.
There was still the matter of the extra point " not always a given in high school football. But Layton easily kicked the ball through the uprights to give BH-BL a 14-13 lead.
Nyack gave itself a chance to win the game in the closing seconds. Indians quarterback Raymond Nichols completed a pair of passes to get inside BH-BL's 30-yard line with 18 seconds left.