Matt Shell called them “hidden points.”
They’re the unexpected points a team scores on special teams. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake earned them on a blocked punt a little more than three minutes into the second quarter, and they helped the Spartans’ juggernaut roll on in a 45-0 Class A victory over Gloversville at Husky Field Friday night.
With Burnt Hills leading, 10-0, and Gloversville pinned on fourth-and-14 from its own six-yard line, Zachary Morton got his hands on a punt by Matt Baldwin and the ball bounded into the end zone, where Michael Matrazzo pounced on it for six points.
“We got a good rush in, a good jump on the ball,” Morton said. “I was back there pretty quick.”
“I just saw it on the ground and just jumped at it,” Matrazzo said.
The Spartans also recovered a fumble late in the third quarter, which set up a 14-yard touchdown run by Erik Vuillaume, his second TD of the game, pushing the Burnt Hills lead to 38-0.
The Spartans entered the game leading Section II in points scored — they’re now up to 160 in three games, with only 14 scored against them. They also have beaten the Huskies seven consecutive times.
Nicholas Henderson ran 11 times for 81 yards and scored one touchdown to lead Burnt Hills (3-0), which totaled 266 yards rushing on 39 carries. Along with his two touchdowns, Vuillaume ran for 55 yards on six carries. Jahi Owens (38 yards) also ran for a one-yard TD.
Paul Layton was 4-for-8 passing for 61 yards with one touchdown and an interception, and ran for 51 yards on seven carries in less than three quarters at quarterback. Layton also kicked a 36-yard field goal and was perfect on six extra-point attempts.
Chad McCloskey went 5-for-10 passing for 42 yards with an interception to lead the Huskies (1-2). Connor Burns ran for 31 yards on nine carries, and Nick DiPasquale ran for 30 yards on eight carries.
“It was a complete win,” Shell said. “Our special teams I thought did a great job. . . . Getting the punt block was a big play on special teams. . . . I mean, you go into every game and you think your offense needs to generate points, which it obviously does, but when you can get some hidden points in the special teams game and the return game its always a big boost. That’s real important.”
“You can’t beat a team if you’re not going to win special teams and win the turnover battle against a team like Burnt Hills,” Huskies coach Tom Ciaccio said. “From that point, you’re digging and scratching to get back into the game.”
The Spartans scored on every possession but two, when Cory Viscosi intercepted Layton midway through the second quarter and when Layton sent a booming punt into the end zone from a ball snapped at the Gloversville 44-yard line. Meanwhile, the defense held Gloversville to 119 offensive yards and earned its second shutout of the season.
“I have to give our defense a lot of credit,” Layton said. “They just fly to the ball and they’ve been stoning every offense cold, so far. We knew tonight was going to be a tough game with the ties that coach Shell and Gloversville have. We knew that Gloversville was
going to come out real hard, and that’s exactly what they did. We were fortunate to hold them off in the first quarter a little bit, and from there our offense just exploded.”
Burnt Hills had two long touchdown runs negated in the first half by holding penalties, including one on their opening possession. Layton wound up kicking a 36-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
The Huskies came back and drove 56 yards to Burnt Hills’
24-yard line — including completions of 11 and 15 yards from McCloskey — but Baldwin’s 42-yard field goal attempt fell just short.
The Spartans responded with an 80-yard march capped by Layton’s lofting 11-yard pass to Keaton Flint over one defender for a touchdown, sparking them to a 10-0 lead.
Matrazzo’s fumble recovery came four plays later.
“Those guys played real hard,” Shell said. “Mike Matrazzo, this is his first year back into the program, and we knew we had a good player when he decided he wanted to come out this year. He’s real strong, aggressive and has real good agility on the defensive line, and we knew that was going to be a big help for us.”
“We can’t let this game shake our confidence as a team and our spirit,” Ciaccio said. “We’ve got young kids that are fired up and love to play the game of football. We’re going to come back fighting, ready to play next week, I know they are, and we’re going to move forward.”
BH-BL 3 21 14 7 — 45
Gloversville 0 0 0 0 — 0
BH — FG Layton 36
BH — Keaton 11 pass from Layton (Layton kick)
BH — Matrazzo fumble recovery in end zone (Layton kick)
BH — Vuillaume 22 run (Layton kick)
BH — Henderson 1 run (Layton kick)
BH — Vuillaume 14 run (Layton kick)
BH — Owens 1 run (Layton kick)
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