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Football: Fourth time is the charm for BH-BL

Huge first half propels Spartans to first state title

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team celebrates its first state title after beating Section VI’s Sweet Home 40-20 the Class A final at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team celebrates its first state title after beating Section VI’s Sweet Home 40-20 the Class A final at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Anne-Marie Warren

— This was familiar territory for BH-BL, which led Maine-Endwell by double digits in the 2011 state final but could not hold on in a 27-20 defeat. So, it was another bit of bitter history the Spartans had no intention of repeating.

Aided by a Sweet Home roughing-the-passer penalty on third-and-12 that put the ball deep inside Panther territory, McDonnell threw his second touchdown pass of the game with a 20-yard strike to Dillon. This time McDonell’s extra point went through, and BH-BL led 19-0 early in the second quarter.

Throughout the first 18 minutes of game time, the Spartans’ defense held Sweet Home without a first down, swarming to the ball anywhere it went. Penalties helped, too, as a string of them kept the Panthers pinned back deep in its own end, leading to short fields for BH-BL to work with.

“Our defense came up big,” said Shell.

Maynard -- who was chosen as the game’s most valuable player -- broke free for a 35-yard run later in the second quarter, which led to his second touchdown of the game. This time, he scored from three yards out to put the Spartans ahead 26-0.

Sweet Home started to move the ball late in the second quarter. Starting from their own 18, the Panthers got deep into BH-BL's territory. But with less than a minute left, linebacker Logan Ball tipped Mike Torrillo’s roll-out pass, and Dan Newell picked it off in the end zone to end the threat.

So completed 24 minutes of total Spartan domination. Maynard gained 82 of BH-BL’s 105 yards on the ground, while McDonnell went five-for-eight for 98 yards through the air. More importantly, the Spartans did not commit a single penalty, while Sweet home had nine flags that cost them 88 yards.

“We came out really fired up,” said Dillon. “Everything was clicking.”

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