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Burnt Hills turns to defense in win

Spartans earn No. 2 seed by beating Queensbury

Nicholas Fragale (70) sees the loose ball created when Sean Simpson (52) knocks it out of the hands of Queensbury quarterback Michael Hewitt’s hands during last Saturday’s Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake home game.

Nicholas Fragale (70) sees the loose ball created when Sean Simpson (52) knocks it out of the hands of Queensbury quarterback Michael Hewitt’s hands during last Saturday’s Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake home game. Photo by John McIntyre.

— Jack Guba did not want last Saturday’s home game against Queensbury to be his final one in a Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football uniform.

The senior tailback scored an insurance touchdown and recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter to help BH-BL defeat Queensbury 14-6 and give the Spartans (4-1 division, 6-1 overall) the Northwest Division’s No. 2 seed and a home game against Mohonasen in this weekend’s Section II Class A playoffs.

“It’s my senior year, and it’s bittersweet,” said Guba. “I keep thinking back to past teams and players I’ve played with, so I have a lot of nice memories on this field. To get one more game here is great.”

Defenses ruled the day in the Battle of the Spartans. Queensbury’s lone touchdown was set up by a fumble recovery deep in BH-BL territory in the first quarter, while BH-BL’s defense forced three second-half Queensbury turnovers.

“I was really happy with the way my kids played,” said BH-BL coach Matt Shell. “Queensbury is a heck of a team, and for us to play a physical game like that at this time of year is great.”

BH-BL struggled to find a way of stopping Queensbury running back Nic Ketter. The 6-foot, 4-inch senior was larger than most of BH-BL’s defenders, and with his speed he was a threat to break a big play every time he touched the ball. So, it was an accomplishment that BH-BL limited Ketter to 74 yards.

“They’re a big, physical team,” said Guba. “And unlike other years, they got to the edge quickly on us.”

Ironically, it was Queensbury’s smaller back – Evan Earle – who provided his team’s two big offensive plays. Earle scored on a 3-yard run that gave the visiting Spartans a 6-0 first-quarter lead, and he took off on a 39-yard run late in the second quarter that put Queensbury (3-2, 4-3) at BH-BL’s 20-yard line.

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