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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.

— The fact that Queensbury came away from that drive without any points was a credit to BH-BL’s defensive determination. On the final play of the first half, Queensbury quarterback Michael Hewitt lofted a pass for Ketter near the left sideline of the end zone, but Ketter was knocked out of bounds by the BH-BL defense as he leapt for the ball. Instead of having the lead, Queensbury trailed 7-6 entering halftime.

“We made some good [defensive] plays,” said Shell. “We gave up one big play [Earle’s 39-yard run], and we contained them after that.”

BH-BL grabbed the lead earlier in the second quarter on Ryan McDonnell’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Peltier and extra-point kick. Peltier did most of the work on the scoring play as he caught a short pass and avoided several Queensbury tacklers on his way to the end zone.

Queensbury threatened to take the lead in the third quarter, but a botched handoff led to a loose ball that Thomas Iwinski recovered at BH-BL’s 20-yard line. That was the last time that Queensbury got near the end zone, as BH-BL’s defense bottled up Earle and Ketter the rest of the afternoon.

BH-BL still needed some breathing room, and it got it midway through the fourth quarter. Eric Dillon’s diving catch on a McDonnell pass got the Spartans inside Queensbury’s 20-yard line. Two plays later, Guba found a hole on the left side of Queensbury’s line and ran through it for an 11-yard touchdown. McDonnell added the extra point to put BH-BL ahead 14-6.

“Niko Fragele made a nice kickout on the end, Iwinski sealed off the edge and Justin Carrier came through the hole to make a nice block,” said Guba. “I almost kind of walked in there.”

“Offensively, we did enough good things to get that second score,” said Shell.

McDonnell completed seven of his 13 passes for a season-high 115 yards and a touchdown to lead BH-BL’s offense. Thomas Ruppel was BH-BL’s top running back with 42 yards on eight carries.

The Spartans now turn their attention to a Mohonasen team that has won three of its last four games to qualify for the Class A playoffs. BH-BL owns a nine-game Sectional playoff winning streak, but Shell said that’s all in the past.

“Last year and the years prior were great, but it’s about this team right now,” said Shell.

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