At some point, Keaton Flint said he didn’t even need to look for the ball. He was confident quarterback Phillip Neumann would deliver it right to his hands.
Neumann and Flint connected for seven passes, including two touchdowns, as Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake surrendered an opening touchdown but little else in its 46-7 victory over Niskayuna Friday night.
Neumann went 12-for-17 for 194 yards and three touchdowns. Flint’s seven receptions were good for 134 yards, and teammate Brandon Beatty led a balanced attack by rushing for 104 yards on 16 carries.
The Spartans gained 205 yards on the ground and totaled 399 yards of offense.
“Traditionally, we’ve been more of a run-oriented team,” Spartans coach Matt Shell said. “Tonight, we had to throw the ball a bit more, and thankfully, we were able to make some plays in the passing game. So it was nice.”
Neumann completed his first five passes in his second game as the starter for the Spartans (2-0).
“I think each game, you get more and more comfortable,” Neumann said. “You see things a little bit better, and you’ve got to believe in yourself.”
After Niskayuna (1-1) struck first on a 70-yard drive, the Burnt Hills defense clamped down and limited the Silver Warriors to 92 yards the rest of the way.
“We came out flat, which we can’t do,” defensive end Jacob Meyers said. “It’s a lesson we’re going to learn from tonight.”
Niskayuna looked confident on its opening drive, with quarterbacks Ryan Alden and Kyle Bayly splitting the duties in going 3-for-5 passing. Alden, in particular, did a bit of everything on that drive, running twice for 19 yards, catching a pass from Bayly for 23 yards and completing two throws, including an 18-yard touchdown down the middle to Brendan Krol.
“I think the kids probably felt pretty positive about that,” Niskayuna coach John Furey said. “But it was a long game to go. We didn’t get the running game going, even in that drive. You can’t win football games unless you get the running game going, and tonight we couldn’t get it rolling.”
Burnt Hills came right back, finishing a 70-yard drive of its own with a one-yard TD run by Jahi Owens to tie it at 7-7 with 2:32 remaining in the first quarter.
Meyers tackled the first two Silver Warrior ballcarriers for a loss of four yards on Niskayuna’s next possession.
“Being a captain and being a senior, I know if we’re slacking, I’ve got to be the spark plug to get us going,” Meyers said. “One play, and then we were rolling the rest of the game.”
Evan Nusbaum followed that up by sacking Alden on third down, forcing the Silver Warriors to punt. The Spartans needed only five plays after that to take the lead.
From Niskayuna’s 24-yard line, Neumann pump-faked, then fired to Flint at the left sideline, inside the five. Flint evaded his defender in catching it and ran into the end zone.
“It was right in my hands every time,” Flint said. “I didn’t even have to look at it.”
“He’s a great wide receiver,” Neumann said. “He’s got all the talent in the world, and he really puts it to good use. He works really hard. I love throwing him the ball.”
Burnt Hills took a 20-7 advantage when Neumann lofted a high pass to an open Tyler Paluba near the 10-yard line. Paluba went the rest of the way for the score.
The Spartans opened the second half with a 65-yard drive that consumed nearly seven minutes, with Beatty running one yard for the TD.
Neumann and Flint ended their night on the first play of the fourth quarter, when Flint beat his defender down the sideline for a 38-yard scoring reception from Neumann.
“The line blocked great, and Phil made a beautiful pass,” Flint said. “You couldn’t ask for a better one — right in the chest.”
Three plays later and Meyers recovered a Silver Warriors fumble at the Niskayuna 17, setting up a brief drive that ended with a one-yard scoring run for the Spartans’ Jack Guba. William Fisher added a final TD for Burnt Hills on a two-yard run with 5:56 remaining in the game.
“Our whole team is going to work hard, do our best every single day, keep getting better,” Neumann said. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”
BH-BL 7 13 6 20 — 46
Niskayuna 7 0 0 0 — 7
N — Krol 18 pass from Alden (Norling kick)
BH — Owens 1 run (Nusbaum kick)
BH — Flint 24 pass from Neumann (Nusbaum kick)
BH — Paluba 33 pass from Neumann (run failed)
BH — Beatty 1 run (kick wide)
BH — Flint 38 pass from Neumann (kick blocked)
BH — Guba 1 run (Nusbaum kick)
BH — Fisher 2 run (Nusbaum kick)
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Categories: High School Sports