Every football team wants to win its homecoming game, but Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake had extra incentive Saturday.
“Say we lose this game, no home playoff game,” Spartans junior Danny Maynard said. “We all knew how huge it was.”
Burnt Hills scored touchdowns on six of its first seven possessions and steamrolled Amsterdam in a game similar to last season’s Super Bowl, 49-0, and locked up the Class A Northwest Division’s No. 2 playoff seed.
Making his third consecutive start at quarterback, John Clayton threw a touchdown pass to Josh Quesada to begin the scoring flurry, Quesada ran for a trio of scores afterward, and Maynard added two more. The Spartans were equally impressive on the defensive side, three times stopping Amsterdam on four downs while surrendering 128 yards from scrimmage.
“Coach brought in a former player [1995 Gazette All-Area lineman Jesse Brust] before the game, and he just fired us up,” said Maynard. “To be honest, I’ve never seen this team so fired up. The locker room was going nuts.”
Burnt Hills beat South Glens Falls last week, 60-14, after the reigning state champion saw its 15-game winning streak halted the week before at Queensbury, 28-27. Burnt Hills (3-1, 5-1) will be the No. 2 Northwest seed behind Queensbury (3-0, 6-0), regardless of the outcome between Queensbury (3-0, 6-0) and Gloversville (1-2, 4-2) next Saturday.
“We needed to get a home playoff game. Today was for the No. 2 seed. It was a big win from that standpoint,” coach Matt Shell said after BH-BL’s final division game. “We had an opportunity a few weeks back, and it didn’t work out in our favor. You’ve got to move on and play the next game.”
Maynard said Saturday’s victory — BH-BL’s fourth straight against Amsterdam — was a special one for the Spartans.
“This game, we finally came together as a team,” he said. “Last year, it happened quick, after we lost our first game to Troy. This year, it took a little longer. We used South Glens Falls to work out the kinks, and with today’s game, the ball is going to start rolling.”
Shell was particularly pleased with the defensive effort, which included an interception by Mike Foster and a fourth-down sack by Max Charlton that ended Amsterdam’s last good scoring opportunity.
“I’m pleased with the way were able to contain their run game and force punting situations,” Shell said. “To date, this is the best we’ve tackled. In previous weeks, we might have given up more first downs.”
Amsterdam had not been held scoreless since the 2009 season. The Rugged Rams had eight first downs Saturday, two coming on BH-BL penalties.
“We had nine hats to the ball on every single play,” said Maynard.
Playing mostly running back and spotting Clayton at quarterback in BH-BL’s realigned offense, Maynard outgained Amsterdam (1-2, 3-3) by himself with 156 rushing yards on 19 carries. Quesada also outgained the Rugged Rams, running 15 times for 149 yards and catching three Clayton passes for 50 more.
“It starts up there, with the line,” said Clayton, a sophomore who was brought up to the varsity prior to the Queensbury game. “Nico [Fragale], Ros [Warren], they all played great.”
Quesada raced 48 yards on a right sweep to begin BH-BL’s first drive, and two plays later, the senior hauled in a seven-yard touchdown pass from Clayton.
Burnt Hills scored three times in the second quarter, on a one-yard surge by Maynard, a five-yard run by Quesada and a seven-yard run by Quesada.
Maynard turned a quarterback keeper into a 45-yard gain to help set up Quesada’s five-yard TD. From his running back spot, Maynard broke off a 31-yard run just before Quesada delivered from the seven.
“We wanted to get him [Maynard] involved more in the running game,” said Shell. “With Danny and John, our offense is in a good situation.”
Quesada caught a 35-yard pass before his five-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, Maynard scored on a six-yard run later in the frame, and Joey Butler added a one-yard TD run in the fourth period.
Amsterdam sophomore Bryan Stanavich ran 16 times for 52 yards and caught three Julian Gallup passes for 36 yards.
Burnt Hills closes its regular season Friday at home against crossover opponent Averill Park (2-1, 4-2). Amsterdam will host South Glens Falls (0-3, 0-6) Friday in its final Northwest contest.
Amsterdam 0 0 0 0 — 0
BH-BL 7 21 14 7 — 49
BHBL — Quesada 7 pass from Clayton (Clayton kick).
BHBL — Maynard 1 run (Clayton kick).
BHBL — Quesada 5 run (Clayton kick).
BHBL — Quesada 7 run (Clayton kick).
BHBL — Quesada 5 run (Clayton kick).
BHBL — Maynard 6 run (Clayton kick).
BHBL — Butler 1 run (Perregaux kick).