Burnt Hills football team seeks 10th final, seventh title

The Spartans begin the Section II Class A tournament against Gloversville on Friday. Full sectional
Burnt Hills head coach Matt Shell, left, communicates a play to quarterback John Clayton during a football game at Queensbury High School on Sept. 26.
Burnt Hills head coach Matt Shell, left, communicates a play to quarterback John Clayton during a football game at Queensbury High School on Sept. 26.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake will host a Gloversville football team it beat soundly just a few weeks back when the Section II tournament opens with quarterfinal games Friday.

“We’ve got nothing to lose. We’re telling our kids, ‘You never know what can happen,’ ” Gloversville coach Jared Bongo said of the Class A game on the Spartans’ new turf field. “We’re playing with house money.”

Burnt Hills will be playing its own numbers game, looking to roll a 10, and then a seven, at this fall’s football festival.

Two wins will get the Spartans to a 10th straight championship game, something only one other Section II team has done. Three wins will give them seven titles since 2006.

“We have an opportunity to add to the success of the program,” Burnt Hills coach Matt Shell said. “We’re looking forward to that challenge.”

It starts with Gloversville in a rare quarterfinal matching teams from the same division. Burnt Hills (5-0, 7-0) won the Class A Northwest which included a 50-14 homecoming victory over Gloversville. Gloversville (1-4, 3-4) placed fifth in the Northwest, but got the playoff nod over Averill Park (1-3, 2-5), which finished fourth on the Southeast side.

“We have the same [league] record. It went to a tie-breaker,” Bongo said. “The criteria has been in place for a few years.”

Section II football coordinator Bob Dorrance said a fifth-place team must meet two of three criteria to supplant a fourth-place team, which Gloversville did, with a better overall record and a head-to-head win. The other criteria is better record against common opponents, which was a tie.

Taylor McCredie threw his fifth touchdown pass in the fourth quarter when Gloversville rallied past Averill Park 34-29 in a Week 2 crossover.

“Everyone is playing with their back to the wall, so to speak,” said Shell, who will be putting his team up against his alma mater. “You can’t be mediocre at this time of the year. It’s the playoffs, and teams are capable. It’s one and your done now, and we’ll be emphasizing that to our guys all week.”

Gloversville scored first in the Oct. 10 game at Burnt Hills before the Spartans rattled off 50 unanswered points, with Mike Leveroni accounting for three of their touchdowns.

“It was a 14-7 game. It was a battle for a while. We did some things, but we hurt ourselves,” Bongo said. “We moved the ball, but we made mistakes. We’ve got to play a perfect game.”

Burnt Hills’ perfect run through the Northwest included a key 24-20 win at Queensbury. Queensbury beat Burnt Hills in games that decided the division title in each of the last two years, and topped Burnt Hills again in Section II title-game rematches.

Burnt Hills strung together five consecutive area championships before that, and, in 2012, claimed the state title.

“Last year is over. We can’t do anything about it. We got beat by a better team,” Shell said. “We can only take care of this year.”

Burnt Hills will host a semifinal game if successful Friday. The Spartans’ bracket has Amsterdam (3-1, 4-3) meeting South Glens Falls (3-2, 4-3) in the other quarterfinal.

“The No. 1 seed is big. If you get a win, you get a second game at home. It’s nice to know you have that opportunity,” Shell said. “In any sport, you want to be at home. You’ve got your crowd. There’s less things you have worry about.”

Burnt Hills’ path to the final last year (quarterfinal) and the year before (semifinal) included a win over Troy. The Southeast champion Flying Horses (4-0, 7-0) are seeded No. 1 in the opposite bracket, and open Friday against Green Tech (2-3, 4-3).

“I worry about our kids. I try to get them ready to play the next game on our list,” Shell said. “If we see Troy, it means we’ve had a heck of a season.”

Schalmont (5-1, 6-1) begins its bid for a seventh straight Class B title-game berth by hosting Hudson Falls (3-2, 4-3). The Sabres’ bracket includes Schuylerville (5-0, 7-0), the team the Sabres beat last year for the area title. The opposite bracket is topped by Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (6-0, 7-0), which ended the Sabres’ 26-game Section II win streak Friday on a late touchdown.

Shaker (5-0, 7-0) and Saratoga Springs (5-0, 7-0) are the top Class AA seeds, Greenwich (5-0, 7-0) and Fonda-Fultonville (4-0, 6-0) are one-two in Class C, and Whitehall (5-0, 7-0) is No. 1 in the four-team Class D group ahead of Cambridge (4-1, 6-1).

Cambridge will extend its Section II record for consecutive playoff appearances to 21, while Burnt Hills and Fonda will both stretch theirs to 20.





Bethlehem (Liberty No. 4, 3-2, 4-3) at Saratoga Springs (Empire No. 1, 5-0, 7-0), 7 p.m.

Shenendehowa (Empire No. 3, 3-2, 3-4) at Columbia (Liberty No. 2, 3-2, 4-3), 7 p.m.

Ballston Spa (Empire No. 4, 2-3, 3-4) at Shaker (Empire No. 1, 5-0, 7-0), 7 p.m.

LaSalle (Liberty No. 3, 3-2, 3-4) at Guilderland (Empire No. 2, 4-1, 6-1), 7 p.m.




Green Tech (Northwest No. 4, 2-3, 4-3) at Troy (Southeast No. 1, 4-0, 7-0), 7 p.m.

Gloversville (Northwest No. 5, 1-4, 3-4) at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (Northwest No. 1, 5-0, 7-0), 7 p.m.

South Glens Falls (Northwest No. 3, 3-2, 4-3) at Amsterdam (Southeast No. 2, 3-1, 4-3), 7 p.m.


Mohonasen (Southeast No. 3, 2-2, 3-4) at Queensbury (Northwest No. 2, 4-1, 5-2), 1:30 p.m.




Johnstown (West No. 4, 2-3, 3-4) at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (Reinfurt No. 1, 6-0, 7-0), 7 p.m.

Hudson (Reinfurt No. 4, 3-3, 3-4) at Schuylerville (West No. 1, 5-0, 7-0), 7 p.m.

Hudson Falls (West No. 3, 3-2, 4-3) at Schalmont (Reinfurt No. 2, 5-1, 6-1), 7 p.m.


Lansingburgh (Reinfurt No. 3, 4-2, 4-3) at Glens Falls (West No. 2, 4-1, 6-1), 1 p.m.




Voorheesville/Central (No. 8, 2-3, 3-4) at Greenwich/North (No. 1, 5-0, 7-0), 7 p.m.

Stillwater/Central (No. 5, 4-1, 5-2) at Corinth/North (No. 4, 4-1, 5-2), 7 p.m.

Coxsackie-Athens/South (No. 6, 3-1, 4-3) at Mechanicville/Central (No. 3, 5-0, 5-2), 7 p.m.


Hoosic Valley/North (No. 7, 3-2, 5-2) at Fonda-Fultonville/South (4-0, 6-0), 1 p.m.



Saturday, Oct. 31

(At Schuylerville HS)

Canajoharie (No. 3, 2-3, 4-3) at Cambridge (No. 2, 4-1, 6-1), 11 a.m.

Warrensburg (No. 4, 2-3, 3-4) vs. Whitehall (No. 1, 5-0, 7-0), 2 p.m.



(Times, dates TBA)

Colonie at Albany; Schenectady at Christian Brothers Academy; Bishop Maginn at Scotia-Glenville; Averill Park at Niskayuna; Cohoes at Cobleskill-Richmondville; Albany Academy at Broadalbin-Perth; Ichabod Crane at Cambridge; Holy Trinity at Taconic Hills; Canajoharie at Watervliet; Whitehall at AuSable Valley; Chatham at Rensselaer; Warrensburg at Lake George/Hadley-Luzerne; Schoburg/Berne-Knox-Westerlo at Salem; Granville at Tamarac; Ticonderoga at Hoosick Falls.

Reach Gazette sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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