QUEENSBURY — Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football coach Matt Shell was hoping for a big play as Queensbury lined up for a field goal attempt late in Saturday’s Section II Class A semifinal game.
“We had our block kick on,” Shell said. “We get that there, we scoop and we score.”
That didn’t happen.
Alex Roca’s 32-yard field goal with 54 seconds left just cleared the crossbar and sealed a 22-11 win that kept Burnt Hills out of the area championship game for only the second time since the 2006 season.
Roca wasn’t even around when Queensbury (Grasso Division No. 1 seed, 9-0) was building a 12-0 lead in the first quarter Saturday. His soccer team had lost to Burnt Hills 1-0 in the Section II Class A final at Colonie earlier in the day.
“You could tell when he came back he was heartbroken,” Queensbury coach Matt Crossman said of his two-sport senior standout. “He stayed mentally tough and made a big kick for us.”
Burnt Hills (Grasso Division No. 3 seed, 5-4) showed its stick-to-it, too, after Jason Rodriguez started the contest with a 71-yard touchdown run and Joe Slattery added another TD from 19 yards away on Queensbury’s next possession.
“Our team is special in the way we never give up,” Burnt Hills senior Logan Stubblebine said. “We try to do our best. We wanted to win the section and make a run at the state title. Not everything went our way today.”
Stubblebine excelled in defeat, making 10 receptions for 157 yards, and his blocked punt in the second quarter resulted in a safety that began a Burnt Hills comeback. His catches of 17 and 7 yards helped set to a 21-yard field goal by Michael Sbuttoni that made it 12-5 in the third.
“He had a heck of a day,” Shell said of Stubblebine, who caught two scoring passes when Burnt Hills lost at Queensbury 28-12 in Week 7. “He had a heck of a season. He’s been fantastic all year.”
“It’s not about me,” the wide receiver and defensive back said. “I want the team to succeed.”
Trailing 19-11, Burnt Hills was within striking distance in the fourth quarter when Stubblebine caught a fourth-down, 9-yard option pass from Caeden LaPietro to make it first-and-10 at the Queensbury 35. Burnt Hills quarterback Ryan Salisbury (15-for-29, 195 yards) threw incomplete three times before Shawn Stimpson recorded a sack, which led to Roca’s clinching field goal.
“Par for the course when we see each other,” said Crossman, whose teams had lost to Burnt Hills in the last two Section II title games. “It’s always an emotional rollercoaster.”
Queensbury experienced highs and lows almost immediately when Rodriguez scored on the first play and ran for a 2-point conversion, but that was erased on an illegal helmet hit. An incomplete pass by Nate Angell followed to leave the score 6-0. Queensbury also failed on a 2-point run attempt by Kolby Anderson after Slattery’s TD.
“That takes the momentum out of you,” Stubblebine said of Queensbury scoring twice in the game’s opening minutes. “We made some momentum for ourselves.”
Rodriguez (24-131) scored his second touchdown from one yard away on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Roca kicked the PAT to make it 19-5. Salisbury hit Sam Lindberg with a 12-yard touchdown pass afterward, and Angell blocked the extra point try. A fumble recovery by Matt Seidel gave Burnt Hills that late opportunity to cut into Queensbury’s 19-11 lead.
Queensbury will meet Troy (Capital Division No. 1, 8-1) for the Class A championship Saturday at 7 p.m. at Shenendehowa.
The last time Burnt Hills failed to reach the Super Bowl was in 2015 after a semifinal loss to Amsterdam.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 0 2 3 6 — 11
Queensbury 12 0 0 10 — 22
Q — Rodriguez 71 run (pass failed)
Q — Slattery 19 run (run failed)
BH — Safety (blocked punt, ball out of end zone)
BH — Sbuttoni 21 FG
Q — Rodriguez 1 run (Roca kic)
BH — Lindberg 12 pass from Salisbury (kick blocked)
Q — Roca 32 FG