Thomas Ruppel scored four touchdowns, and his running mate Daniel Porter collected three as Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake romped past Franklin Academy of Malone, 63-20, in a Class A regional football game Saturday night at Steuerwald Stadium.
Burnt Hills, 10-1, advanced to meet Cornwall Friday at 8 p.m. at Dietz Stadium in the state semifinals.
“The guys up front did a nice job coming off the ball,” said Burnt Hills coach Matt Shell. “The backs hit the hole hard, finished off runs and made big plays. Most of the credit to the line up front and the rest of the credit to the backs.
“We just kind of got on a roll. The kids just responded and executed real well. Our next opponent is pretty awesome. They are an impressive football team. If we want to have any aspirations of moving on, we better bring our A-plus effort next week, that’s for sure.”
Burnt Hills put together one of its most powerful running attacks. Ruppel gained 242 yards on 10 carries, and Porter contributed 171 yards on eight rushes.
“It feels good. The offensive line blocked great and opened up some big holes,” said Ruppel. “They’re [Franklin Academy] a real good, tough team. They had size. We’re starting to come together as a team. We all have one goal in mind.”
Franklin Academy scored on its first series. Starting at the Burnt Hills 48, it took four plays before quarterback Mitchell Gallagher raced 39 yards for a touchdown with 7:54 left and a 7-0 advantage.
It didn’t take long for the Spartans to respond. Taking possession at its 29, Porter ran 14 yards and then got by the Franklin Academy defense for a 57-yard touchdown to tie the game.
After Franklin Academy failed to generate any offense, Burnt Hills went to work again, this time in quicker fashion. Getting started from their 41, the Spartans called on Porter again, and he sped for a 59-yard touchdown and a 14-7 advantage with 5:24 left in the first quarter.
And the scoring wasn’t done yet.
Burnt Hills received great field position after a Franklin Academy punt and a personal foul call leaving the ball on the Franklin Academy 25. McDonnell picked up 24 yards and then he pitched to Ruppel for a one-yard touchdown and the Spartans were on top by two scores.
On the first play of the second quarter, Ruppel hit the line, cut left and found a lot of room to run 67 yards for another score and a 28-7 lead.
After Korey Prue reached the end zone from one yard away for Franklin Academy to cut the deficit to 28-14, it was Burnt Hills the rest of the way.
On the next series, Burnt Hills took only four plays when Ruppel dashed 86 yards for his third touchdown of the game and a 35-14 margin.
Franklin Academy came up empty on its series, and Burnt Hills scored again. Eric Dillon jolted past the Franklin Academy line for a 28-yard touchdown, and the Spartans increased their lead to 42-14.
Austin Dunlavey hauled in a 38-yard touchdown pass from Gallagher with just 22.3 seconds left in the first half cur the deficit to 42-20.
The Spartans continued their offensive onslaught when the second half began as Ruppel dashed nine runs for another touchdown.
The ensuing kickoff saw Michael Danz fall on a loose ball, and Burnt Hills was on the attack again. Porter scored on a two-yard run and the scoreboard read 56-20.
Shell was shuffling reserves in and out of the lineup, giving the starters a break, and Darian Jehle took advantage of his playing time with a seven-yard touchdown run to close out the scoring explosion.
“From a standpoint of just rushing yards, this is probably the biggest output we’ve had this year,” said Shell. “The inside was open for us early on and when they made the adjustment to inside, we were able to go outside. It was nice to have that complement of plays.
Franklin Academy 7 13 0 0 — 20
Burnt Hills 21 21 21 0 — 63
FA — Gallagher, 39 run (Smith kick)
BH — Porter, 57 run (McDonnell kick)
BH — Porter, 59 run (McDonnell kick)
BH — Ruppel, 1 run (McDonnell kick)
BH — Ruppel, 67 run (McDonnell kick)
FA — Prue, 1 run (Smith kick)
BH — Ruppel, 86 run (McDonnell kick)
BH — Dillon, 28 run (McDonnell kick)
FA — Dunlavey, 38 pass from Gallagher (pass failed)
BH — Ruppel, 9 run (McDonnell kick)
BH — Porter, 2 run (McDonnell kick)
BH — Jehle, 7 run (A. Marchesiello kick)