Burnt Hills Any doubt surrounding the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team ended the moment Thomas Ruppel caught the opening kickoff.
Ruppel returned the kick 85 yards for the first of five consecutive touchdowns by the Spartans in a 36-6 victory over Gloversville in last Friday’s home opener.
“We were all pleased with how we played,” said BH-BL coach Matt Shell. “We had a good preseason. We had some nervous moments as to how it would all turn out, but they played well.”
BH-BL fans were likely wondering what sort of team the Spartans (1-0) would be following the graduation of a talented senior class that reached the state Class A semifinals three years in a row and two state championship game appearances. But with solid contributions from several newcomers, BH-BL eased past a Gloversville team that had its sights set on upending the Spartans.
Quarterback Ryan McDonnell showed off his arm with a pair of touchdown passes and his leg by making four of his five extra-point attempts. The first scoring strike went to Mark Peltier for 14 yards, and the second went to Tom Iwinski for six yards.
“We were happy with how he played,” Shell said of McDonnell, who replaced Keaton Flint at quarterback this season. “The early touchdown pass was a nice read of the defense, and he delivered a good ball [to Peltier].”
Daniel Porter contributed 122 rushing yards on seven carries, and Ruppel added a 6-yard touchdown run for BH-BL.
“As a sophomore, he really came into his own a little bit in this game,” Shell said of Porter. “He’s a big kid with really good speed.”
The Spartans travel to Amsterdam Friday to face a Rams team that is coming off a 29-7 victory over Queensbury last weekend.
“Amsterdam is traditionally an outstanding team,” said Shell. “They have some really good kids coming back this season. We have to be ready to play.”