The BH-BL lead lasted all of 12 seconds. That’s how long it took Amsterdam’s Matt White to return the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Rouse’s extra point tied the game at 7.
McDonnell got BH-BL going again with a 49-yard scramble to put the Spartans at Amsterdam’s 23-yard line. Four plays later, Ruppel swept right and avoided a pair of Amsterdam tacklers for a 3-yard scoring run to give BH-BL a 13-7 lead.
Amsterdam pulled even again when Chris Carbone caught a short pass from Vinny Sobkowicz and turned it into a 25-yard touchdown with 1:47 left in the second quarter. Then in a play reminiscent of Amsterdam’s 23-7 regular-season victory over BH-BL Sept. 9 that involved the Rugged Rams taking advantage of seven Spartan turnovers, Nate Farley recovered a BH-BL fumble and returned it inside the Spartans’ 5-yard line. Sobkowicz scored two plays later on a 1-yard plunge to put the Rugged Rams ahead 20-13.
BH-BL didn’t stay down about the turnover, though. On the Spartans’ first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Ruppel raced 36 yards before being tackled at Amsterdam’s 29-yard line. Ruppel finished the drive a short time later with a 10-yard touchdown run, and McDonnell’s extra point tied the game at 20.
“We kept our composure [at halftime] because we knew we could come back,” said McDonnell. “Everybody stuck together.”
Amsterdam nearly took the lead later in the third quarter when Sobkowicz threw a 30-yard pass into the end zone that White couldn’t hold on to as he made a diving attempt at catching the ball. The Rugged Rams made another bid when they drove the ball to BH-BL’s 15-yard line, but the Spartans held firm and forced Amsterdam to turn the ball over on downs.
The Spartans had their own golden opportunity go by the wayside in the fourth quarter. The Spartans recovered a fumble at Amsterdam’s 31-yard line, but they couldn’t go anywhere on four plays and gave the ball back to Amsterdam. The Rugged Rams then held on to the ball for nearly eight minutes as they drove into position for Rouse’s field goal.
But thanks to a couple of Amsterdam miscues and Shell’s improvised play calling, BH-BL got the touchdown it needed for its fourth consecutive Sectional title and a berth in next Saturday’s regional final in Clifton Park against Section X champion Franklin Academy.
“Between the way the two teams played and the way the game ended, it was awesome,” said Shell.
“This is what a championship game should be like,” added McDonnell.