Gloversville football coach Tom Ciaccio and his counterpart from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Matt Shell, both talked about making plays after their teams squared off Friday night in a Class A Northwest Division opener.
Ciaccio, most of all, had the Spartans’ Keaton Flint on his mind when he spoke, after the junior receiver burned his Huskies for two touchdown grabs.
“Their receiver went up and outmuscled us twice. You’ve got to make plays, and if you don’t against Burnt Hills, you’re not going to win,” Ciaccio said. “We didn’t make plays. None.”
Gloversville, of course, did make a few, yet hardly enough to counter the reigning Section II champions, who rattled off touchdowns on six consecutive possessions to break away for a 46-6 victory.
Phil Neumann hit Flint with those scoring passes in a three-touchdown second quarter after Gloversville (0-1, 2-1) had pulled within 7-6 on an end zone burst by Nick DiPasquale.
“We didn’t give up big plays to let them get momentum, and we made big plays,” Shell said after his team, ranked No. 2 in the state, extended its winning streak to 13 games against Section II foes. “You have to be able to make plays.”
None were bigger than Flint’s second touchdown grab with 13.7 seconds left in the first half, a play that covered 53 yards and dashed the Huskies’ hopes of a comeback. Flint outjumped defenders Josh Rose and Cory Viscosi at the 20, and sprinted down the left sideline to the end zone for his fifth touchdown of the young season.
“That one hurt,” said Ciaccio. “They all hurt.”
“Their guys jumped up too early. I jumped and got it, and no one tackled me,” said Flint, who finished with three catches for 82 yards. “It was a crazy play, and it got us all pumped up.”
“It was not the greatest throw on my part, and he made a great catch,” said Neumann, a senior who served as a backup on last year’s 12-1 state runner-up team. “He’s made a lot of them, but that was one of the best I’ve seen.”
Flint also beat two defenders on a 25-yard scoring catch early in the second quarter, and Jahi Owens followed that with a three-yard touchdown run. Neumann tossed his third touchdown pass to Tyler Paluba in the third period, a 37-yard hookup, before Brandon Beatty and William Fisher added scoring runs from 10 and 25 yards away.
That was all part of a 406-yard offensive showing for the Spartans (1-0, 3-0), who extended their division winning streak to 14 games, and knocked off Gloversville for the eighth straight time under Shell’s direction. Gloversville came in with a No. 15 state rank, owning lopsided wins against Mohonasen and Bishop Maginn.
“Some people were saying it was Gloversville’s year, and that gave us something to work for,” said Flint, who also plays cornerback and safety. “We had a great week of practice getting ready for it, and tonight, the good Lord was willing.”
Neumann was 6-for-8 passing for 158 yards, while Evan Nusbaum rushed for 90 yards and BH-BL’s first touchdown on six carries.
Beatty gained a team-leading 111 yards on 14 attempts behind a line featuring Nicholas Crocetto, Jake Batty, Zach Morton, Jason Kritz, Johnathan Acors and Jacob Meyers.
“We’ve got guys who can run the ball, and our line is great. They’re huge for us,” Neumann said. “They always come through for us in big games. Without them, we don’t go anywhere.”
“It comes down to blocking and tackling,” said Shell. “Our line blocked tremendously, and we tackled real well.”
Kevin Knightes led BH-BL with nine tackles and a forced fumble, while Morton forced a fumble and recovered another. Meyers also pounced on a fumble, and Connor Young made a sensational diving interception of a tipped ball.
“The defensive guys made plays out there in the running and passing game,” said Neumann. “After they made stops, we [the offense] tried to do something with it.”
Gloversville quarterback Chad McCloskey completed his first five passes and finished 6-for-10 with the one interception. Mike Johnston and DiPasquale were the Huskies’ leading ground gainers with 38 and 37 yards, respectively. McCloskey hit Doug Lopez for 22 yards, and DiPasquale ran for 12 and 15 yards before scoring his team’s lone touchdown from the four.
“I think this win is huge because you’ve only got five [division] games,” said Shell, whose Spartans topped Scotia-Glenville and Niskayuna by a combined 92-21 before Friday’s game. “It’s nice to get the momentum on your side. It’s nice to have that.”
Gloversville was denied its first 3-0 start since 2000, the year it reached its last Section II Super Bowl.
“We didn’t do much all night, and Burnt Hills did,” Ciaccio said. “Now, we’ve got to regroup and get it back. There’s no feeling sorry for yourself in this game.”
Gloversville 6 0 0 0 — 6
Burnt Hills 7 20 12 7 — 46
B — Nusbaum 27 run (Nusbaum kick).
G — DiPasquale 4 run (run failed).
B — Flint 25 pass from Neumann (Nusbaum kick).
B — Owens 3 run (Nusbaum kick).
B — Flint 53 pass from Neumann (run failed).
B — Paluba 37 pass from Neumann (kick failed).
B — Beatty 10 run (kick failed).
B — Fisher 25 run (Nusbaum kick).
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Categories: High School Sports