CLIFTON PARK — In the fourth quarter, the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake defense couldn’t get out of the weeds.
Then Jake Stanko started “running over kids like they were dandelions in the field,” as linebacker Chris Serafini said.
Queensbury used a 16-play drive, going 4-for-4 on third down and also converting a fourth down, to chew through most of the fourth quarter to tie the Section II Class A Super Bowl 20-20 on Saturday night.
With just over three minutes to work with, Burnt Hills moved 69 yards on seven plays, including a 34-yard scamper into Queensbury territory by Stanko, and scored the game-winning touchdown with 23.4 seconds left for a 27-20 victory at Shenendehowa High School.
It was Burnt Hills’ eighth Section II tournament championship, and its first in three Super Bowl matchups against Queensbury.
Queensbury’s long, methodical drive in the fourth quarter could’ve sucked the air out of Burnt Hills, but when the extra-point kick went wide to leave the game tied, Burnt Hills had new life and didn’t waste the opportunity.
Stanko easily scored from 2 yards out in the final half-minute, and the game ended when Queensbury was stopped short of midfield on a desperate multiple-lateral running play.
“We thought we could stick with our offense,” Burnt Hills head coach Matt Shell said. “We needed to get a few first downs, and we were able to get Jake Stanko free a little bit around the edge. That momentum, once the game was tied, rejuvenated us a little bit. We did a good job fielding the kickoff and got into a good rhythm on offense.”
“The line did a great job right there,” Stanko said of his long run on the last possession. “There wasn’t much I had to do but run. Then I think [they only] got a finger on me when I scored my touchdown.”
Vincent Daviero scored on two short touchdown runs for Burnt Hills, and Brendan Scott scored two for Queensbury, including a 7-yarder to cap the long fourth-quarter drive.
Burnt Hills’ defense appeared to be in good shape when they had Queensbury in third-and-6 at Queensbury’s own 47, but quarterback Nate Angell ran for 10 yards, the only one of the 16 plays on that drive that went for longer than 8.
Burnt Hills also hurt itself with an encroachment penalty as Queensbury was facing a fourth-and-3 at the Burnt Hills 24.
“When they tied it up, that whole drive was a little nerve-racking,” Serafini aaid. “That was stressful. But I didn’t think anything about the game. That felt like the longest drive ever. It just kept going on and on.
“It’s tough when you play, because that’s what you’re going to get,” Shell said. “Three hours of … they’re tough. They’re a class football team, and I mentioned that to them. I’m proud of our guys for stepping up and making plays against a really good football team.”
Burnt Hills will receive a bye in the first round of the state championship.
“Queensbury’s a great team. Hard to stop,” Stanko said. “This gives us great momentum going into the rest of the season and chase what we’re in it for, and that’s a state championship.”
Queensbury 0 14 0 6 — 20
Burnt Hills 7 6 7 7 — 27
BH — Daviero 47 run (Kenyon kick).
Q — Scott 25 run (Doin kick).
Q — Conway 44 pass from Angell (Doin kick).
BH — LaPietro 16 run (kick failed).
BH — Daviero 3 run (Kenyon kick).
Q — Scott 7 run (kick failed).
BH — Stanko 2 run (Kenyon kick).
Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3148 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.
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Categories: High School Sports, Sports