BURNT HILLS — The 25th meeting between Queensbury and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake will be remembered for a drive that chewed up the entire first quarter, and for all the big things Liam O’Mara did afterward.
O’Mara scored a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter and proceeded to reach the end zone five more times in a record-setting effort that led Queensbury to a 42-21 win Friday night and the Section II Class A Grasso Division football championship.
O’Mara, a senior running back, scored the last three of his six touchdowns in the fourth period after Burnt Hill had pulled within 22-21.
“It’s the preparation,” O’Mara said after Queensbury ended a four-game slide against Burnt Hills and earned the division’s No. 1 seed for the upcoming postseason. “The coaches set us up, the offensive line executes, and I just run behind them.”
While Queensbury (6-0, 7-0) was impressive in a game that matched state-ranked teams, Burnt Hills (5-1, 6-1) aided the visitors’ cause with several miscues on special teams and a pair of turnovers.
“I talked to the guys and that’s the first thing I addressed,” Burnt Hills coach Matt Shell said. “In big games like this, you can’t have one phase be bad. We’ve been good all year in the kicking game. The kicking game wasn’t good to us.”
The run game was very good to Quenesbury, though, as O’Mara rumbled for 176 yards on 22 carries. He scored second-quarter touchdowns on runs of 2 and 4 yards, the latter of those two coming after a 56-yard kickoff return by Jason Rodriguez, and scored in the third quarter on a 9-yard gallop after a blocked punt by Zaki Farah. His last three scores came on jaunts covering 16, 5 and 18 yards.
O’Mara’s final TD came after a fumble recovery by Connor Havern. O’Mara also ran for three 2-point conversions, and set school single-game record with his six touchdowns and 42 points.
“I am nothing without them,” O’Mara said of his offensive line. “That’s the heart of the team.”
Queensbury drove 96 yards on 20 plays to begin the game, with O’Mara scoring from the 2 at the outset of the second quarter. O’Mara started the contest with a 21-yard run, and later in the drive, he ran for four yards on a fourth-and-four play and caught the lone pass that was part of the march, good for 10 yards.
“That was 13 minutes of just us grinding, and pushing it and getting it into the end zone,” Quensbury senior two-way tackle Devin Hunt said.
Rece Gobel got into the end zone twice for Burnt Hills on passes from Darien LaPietro. Gobel’s second scoring grab covered 19 yards and got Burnt Hills within 22-21 late in the third quarter. Ghaith Shahin missed the extra point afterward, and O’Mara capped Queensbury’s next three drives with scoring runs.
“We had momentum,” Shell said. “When you have momentum you want to keep it. We didn’t.”
Queensbury earned a home game next week against La Salle (2-3, 2-5), the Capital Division No. 4 seed, when the Section II quarterfinals begin. Queensbury will also be at home for a semifinal game should it beat La Salle.
“Home is key,” Queensbury coach Matt Crossman said. “That was the goal for this week, to play two possible home games.”
Vincent Daviero paced BH-BL with 73 rushing yards on 14 carries and scored the first of his team’s trio of touchdowns.
“I remember my sophomore year when we lost to Averill Park and we came back and beat them in the championship game,” Daviero said. “Anything can happen. I hope we see them [Queensbury] again.”
The Class A Capital Division title and No. 1 seed playoff seed was also determined Friday when Troy (5-0, 6-1) beat Averill Park (4-1, 6-1).
Queensbury 0 14 8 20 — 42
BH-BL 0 8 13 0 — 21
Q — O’Mara 2 run (O’Mara run)
BH — Daviero 8 run (Lashley pass from LaPietro)
Q — O’Mara 4 run (pass failed)
Q — O’Mara 9 run (O’Mara run)
BH — Gobel 15 pass from LaPietro (Shahin kick)
BH — Gobel 19 pass from LaPietro (kick failed)
Q — O’Mara 16 run (O’Mara run)
Q — O’Mara 5 run (run failed)
Q — O’Mara 18 run (pass failed).
Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.
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Categories: High School Sports, Sports